The competition has been christened Aviadarts-2015, and forms part of the larger Army Games taking place in Russia.
Aircraft and pilots from four countries will be put through their paces, shooting at specially constructed targets with live ammunition. Aviadarts-2015 started on Monday in Russia’s central Ryazan region, and features participants from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and China, according to RT.
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Various aircraft to compete in Russian skies
Until August 15, the skies over Ryazan will be filled by fighter, bomber, ground attack, transport and long-range aircraft showing off their aerial skills. It is thought that Su-30 and Su-25 fighter jets will be on display, along with Mi-28 helicopters and Il-76 planes, all of which will demonstrate their skill in shooting at targets with rocket launchers and aircraft guns.
Despite the fact that the aircraft will be firing live ammunition, the organizers insist that Aviadarts is a sporting competition rather than a war game. RIA Novosti reported that the winning pilots will be awarded medals and other prizes, such as vehicles.
Viktor Bondarev, Chief Commander of the Russian Air Force, addressed the crowd at the opening ceremony of the games, which also featured a parade. Since its inception 3 years ago, Aviadarts has grown in stature and become part of the International Army Games.
Aviadarts may feature new competitors next year
For the uninitiated, other events at the Army Games include Tank Biathlon, Air Defense Battle, Safe Route games between combat engineers and Safe Route games between military chemists.
RIA Novosti cites the Russian Defense Ministry, which stated that more than 50 crews are expected to take part in Aviadarts 2015, flying 12 different types of aircraft. Sorties will be flown from three airfields in the Ryazan, Bryansk and Kaluga regions.
The performance of the crews will be judged by moderators from each competing country. Observers from 10 more countries, such as Egypt, Venezuela, Slovenia and India, will be present during the games, and it is hoped that they will take part next year.
It may be argued that Aviadarts is another example of how Russian society is becoming increasingly militarized, and the gamification of military exercises is certainly not a traditional spectator sport.