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Russia's air and space forces suffered a dramatic decline following demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, numerous programs have sought to modernize the force, with varying degrees of success.

In 2006, the air force began a comprehensive upgrade program to renew the entire fleet by 2020. More money was also allocated for fuel -- an extra 200,000 tons in 2007 over 2006 -- allowing junior officers to increase flight hours over 40, up 10 from the prior year and...

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