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Soviet Air Forces

The Soviet Air Forces (Russian:Военно-воздушные силы, tr. Voyenno-Vozdushnyye Sily (VVS), literally "Military Air Forces") were one of the air forces of the Soviet Union. The other was the Soviet Air Defence Forces. The Air Forces were formed from components of the Imperial Russian Air Service in 1917, and faced their greatest test during World War II. The groups were also involved in the Korean War, and dissolved along with the Soviet Union itself in 1991–92. Former Soviet Air Forces' assets were subsequently divided into several air forces of former Soviet republics, including the new Russian Air Force. "March of the Pilots" was its song.

Soviet Air Forces
Военно-воздушные силы СССР
Voyenno-vozdushnye sily SSSR
Flag of the Soviet Air Forces
Founded24 May 1918
Disbanded14 February 1992
CountryRussian SFSR (1918–1922)
Soviet Union (1922–1991)
CIS (1991–1992)
Size10,101 aircraft (1973) 7,859 aircraft (1990)
Part ofSoviet Armed Forces
Main staffMoscow
March"March of the Pilots"
Commanders
Commander-in-Chief of the Soviet Air ForcesSee list
Insignia
Roundel
Aircraft flown
AttackSu-22, Su-24, Su-25, MiG-27
BomberTu-16, Tu-22, Tu-95, Tu-160
FighterMiG-15, MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-29, Su-27, MiG-31
HelicopterMi-2, Mi-8, Mi-17, Mi-14
Attack helicopterMi-24
TransportIl-76, An-12, An-22, An-124

Contents

The All-Russia Collegium for Direction of the Air Forces of the Old Army (translation is uncertain) was formed on 20 December 1917. This was a Bolshevik aerial headquarters initially led by Konstantin Akashev. Along with a general postwar military reorganisation, the collegium was reconstituted as the "Workers' and Peasants' Red Air Fleet" (Glavvozduhflot), established on 24 May 1918 and given the top-level departmental status of "Main Directorate".

It became the Directorate of the USSR Air Forces on 28 March 1924, and then the Directorate of the Workers-Peasants Red Army Air Forces on 1 January 1925. Gradually its influence on aircraft design became greater. From its earliest days, the force mimicked ground forces' organization especially in the 1930s, by which time it was made up of air armies, aviation corps, aviation divisions, and aviation regiments (composed of air squadrons, flights, and fireteams, respectively).[citation needed]

After the creation of the Soviet state many efforts were made in order to modernize and expand aircraft production, led by its charismatic and energetic commander, General Yakov Alksnis, an eventual victim of Joseph Stalin's Great Purge. Domestic aircraft production increased significantly in the early 1930s and towards the end of the decade, the Soviet Air Force was able to introduce Polikarpov I-15 and I-16 fighters and Tupolev SB and SB-bis and DB-3 bombers.[citation needed]

Spanish civil war

One of the first major tests for the VVS came in 1936 with the Spanish Civil War, in which the latest Soviet and German aircraft designs were employed against each other in fierce air-to-air combat. At first, the I-16 proved superior to any Luftwaffe fighters, and managed to achieve local air superiority wherever they were employed. However, the Soviets refused to supply the plane in adequate numbers, and their aerial victories were soon squandered because of their limited use. Later, Bf 109s delivered to Franco's Spanish Nationalist air forces secured air superiority for the Nationalists, one they would never relinquish. The defeats in Spain coincided with the arrival of Stalin's Great Purge of the ranks of the officer corps and senior military leadership, which severely affected the combat capabilities of the rapidly expanding Soviet Air Forces. Newly promoted officers lacked flying and command experience, while older commanders, witnessing the fate of General Alksnis and others, lacked initiative, frequently referring minor decisions to Moscow for approval, and insisting that their pilots strictly comply with standardized and predictable procedures for both aerial attack and defence.[citation needed]

On 19 November 1939, VVS headquarters was again titled the Main Directorate of the Red Army Air Forces under the WPRA HQ.

Between 1933 and 1938, the Soviet government planned and funded missions to break numerous world aviation records. Not only did aviation records and achievements become demonstrations of the USSR's technological progress, they also served as legitimization of the socialist system. With each new success, Soviet press trumpeted victories for socialism, popularizing the mythology of aviation culture with the masses. Furthermore, Soviet media idolized record-breaking pilots, exalting them not only as role models for Soviet society, but also as symbols of progress towards the socialist-utopian future.

Positive heroism

The early 1930s saw a shift in ideological focus away from collectivist propaganda and towards "positive heroism." Instead of glorifying socialist collectivism as a means of societal advancement, the Soviet Communist Party began uplifting individuals who committed heroic actions that advanced the cause of socialism. In the case of aviation, the government began glorifying people who utilized aviation technology as opposed to glorifying the technology itself. Pilots such as Valery Chkalov, Georgy Baydukov, Alexander Belyakov, and Mikhail Gromov—as well as many others—were raised to the status of heroes for their piloting skills and achievements.

Transpolar flights of 1937

In May 1937, Stalin charged pilots Chkalov, Baydukov, and Belyakov with the mission to navigate the first transpolar flight in history [ru]. On 20 June 1937, the aviators landed their ANT-25 in Vancouver, Washington. A month later, Stalin ordered the departure of a second crew to push the boundaries of modern aviation technology even further. In July 1937 Mikhail Gromov, along with his crew Sergei Danilin and Andrei Yumashev, completed the same journey over the North Pole and continuing on to Southern California [ru], creating a new record for the longest nonstop flight.

The public reaction to the transpolar flights was euphoric. The media called the pilots "Bolshevik knights of culture and progress." Soviet citizens celebrated Aviation Day on 18 August with as much zeal as they celebrated the October Revolution anniversary. Literature including poems, short stories, and novels emerged celebrating the feats of the aviator-celebrities. Feature films like Victory, Tales of Heroic Aviators, and Valery Chkalov reinforced the "positive hero" imagery, celebrating the aviators' individuality within the context of a socialist government.

Folkloric themes in aviation propaganda

Soviet propaganda, newspaper articles, and other forms of media sought to connect Soviet citizens to relevant themes from daily life. For aviation, Stalin's propagandists drew on Russian folklore. Examples increased dramatically following the successes of the transpolar flights by Chkalov and Gromov in 1937. Aviators were referred to symbolically as sokoly (falcons), orly (eagles), or bogatyr (warriors). Newspapers told traditional Russian narratives (skazki) of fliers conquering time and space (prostranstvo), overcoming barriers and completing their missions in triumph. Even the story of each aviator suggests roots in old Russian storytelling and narratives—virtuous heroes striving to reach an end goal, encountering and conquering any obstacles in their path. By using folklore rhetoric, Stalin and Soviet propagandists connected aviation achievements to Russian heritage, making aviation seem more accessible to the Soviet population. Furthermore, the narratives emphasize the aviators' selflessness and devotion to a higher socialist ideal, pointing to Soviet leaders as inspirers and role models.

Paternalism was also a theme that Soviet propagandists exploited in aviation culture. The media presented Stalin as an example and inspiration, a father figure and role model to the most prominent Soviet pilots of the period. When recounting stories of meetings between Stalin and Chkalov, for example, Soviet newspapers spoke of Stalin's paternalism towards the young pilot. The paternal metaphor was completed with the addition of a maternal figure—Russia, the motherland, who had produced "father" Stalin's heroic sons such as Chkalov.

The use of familial metaphors not only evoked traditional hereditary pride and historic Russian patriotism, they boosted Stalin's image as a benevolent leader. Most importantly, paternalism served to promote the message of individual subordination to authority. Through his paternal relationships with Soviet pilots, Stalin developed an "ethos of deference and obedience" for Soviet society to emulate.

Aviation and the purges

The successful achievements in Soviet aviation also came during the worst days of the Great Purge. The transpolar flights in summer 1937 occurred following the arrest and execution of a large body of the Red Army officer corps. Fifteen of sixteen total army commanders were executed; more than three-fourths of the VVS senior officers were arrested, executed, or relieved of duty. News coverage of the arrests was relatively little compared to treatment of aviation exploits, deflecting attention away from the arrests.

Some practical combat experience had been gained in participating in the Spanish Civil War, and against Japan in the Far East. Shortly before the start of war with Germany a Soviet Volunteer Group was sent to China to train the pilots from the Republic of China Air Force for the continuing war with the Japanese. However, these experiences proved of little use in the Winter War against Finland in 1939, where scores of inexperienced Soviet bomber and fighter pilots were shot down by a relatively small number of Finnish Air Force (FAF) pilots. The VVS soon learned established Soviet air defence procedures derived from the Spanish Civil War, such as forming defensive circles when attacked, did not work well against the Finns, who employed dive-and-zoom tactics to shoot down their Soviet opponents in great numbers. The effects of the Great Purge undoubtedly played a role in the slow reaction of the VVS and its command to the new realities of air combat. The Soviet Air Force as well as the Soviet aircraft industry would eventually learn from these combat experiences, though not before the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.[citation needed]

On 1 January 1941, six months prior to Operation Barbarossa, the Air Forces of the Soviet Red Army had 363,900 serving personnel, accounting for 8.65% of all military force personnel of the Soviet Union.

The first three Air Armies, designated Air Armies of Special Purpose, were created between 1936 and 1938. On 5 November 1940 these were reformed as the Long Range Bombardment Aviation of the High Command of the Red Army (until February 1942) due to lack of combat performance during the conflict with Finland.

The Air Force was hit hard by the Red Army purges in 1941.[citation needed]

Early World War II aviation failures

1930s Soviet aviation also had a particular impact on the USSR's military failures in the beginning of World War II. By 1938, the Soviet Union had the largest air force in the world, but Soviet aeronautical design distinctly lagged behind Western technological advances. Instead of focusing on developing tactical aircraft, the Soviets engineers developed heavy bomber planes only good for long distance—in other words, planes that would be used for record-breaking flights like those of Chkalov's. The Soviet government's focus on showy stunts and phenomenal record-breaking missions drained resources needed for Soviet defense. When Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941, it quickly became apparent that the Soviet Air Force was not prepared for war. Poor planning and lack of organization left planes sitting on the tarmac at airbases, allowing the Luftwaffe to destroy 4,000 Soviet planes within the first week. The disorganized Soviet defenses and technologically deficient aircraft were no match for the Luftwaffe.[citation needed]

At the outbreak of World War II, the Soviet military was not yet at a level of readiness suitable for winning a war: Joseph Stalin had said in 1931 Soviet industry was "50 to 100 years behind" the Western powers. By the end of the war, Soviet annual aircraft production had risen sharply, reaching 40,241 in 1944. Some 157,261 machines were produced during the Great Patriotic War, 125,655 being of combat types.

Original star roundel in World War II
Pilot Ivan Kozhedub during WWII

One of the main reasons for the large aircraft losses in the initial period of war with Germany was not the lack of modern tactics, but the lack of experienced pilots and ground support crews, the destruction of many aircraft on the runways due to command failure to disperse them, and the rapid advance of Heer troops, forcing the Soviet pilots on the defensive during Operation Barbarossa, while being confronted with more modern German designs. In the first few days of the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Luftwaffe destroyed some 2,000 Soviet aircraft, most on the ground, at a loss of only 35 (of which 15 were non-combat-related).

The principal VVS aircraft during World War II were the Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik armored ground attack monoplane and the series of AS Yakovlev OKB-115 designed single-engined fighters, beginning with the Yak-1 and its successors. The Il-2 became (at 36,183 built) the most produced military aircraft of all time, with the four main versions of Yak fighters (the Yak-1, −3, −7 and −9) being slightly more numerous, at a total of 36,716 among them. These two main types together accounted for about half the strength of the VVS for most of the Great Patriotic War. The Yak-1 was a modern 1940 design and had room for development, unlike the mature 1935-origin Messerschmitt Bf 109. The Yak-9 brought the VVS to parity with the Luftwaffe and eventually allowed it to gain the upper hand, until in 1944, many Luftwaffe pilots deliberately avoided combat with the last and best variant, the out-of-sequence numbered Yak-3. The other main VVS types were Lavochkin fighters (mainly the La-5), the Petlyakov Pe-2 twin engined attack-bombers, and a basic but functional and versatile medium bomber, the Ilyushin Il-4.

The 31st Bomber Aviation Regiment, equipped with Pe-2s and commanded by Colonel Fyodor Ivanovich Dobysh, was one of the first Guards bomber units in the Air Forces – the 4th Guards Bomber Aviation Regiment (ru:4-й гвардейский пикирующий бомбардировочный авиационный полк). The title was conferred on the regiment for its actions on the Leningrad Front in November–December 1941 during defensive operations and the Soviet counterattack near Tikhvin.

Women

Alone among World War II combatants, the Soviet Air Force initiated a program to bring women with existing flying training into combat air groups. Marina Raskova, one of very few women in the VVS prior to the war, used her influence with Stalin to form three all-female air regiments: the 586th Fighter Aviation Regiment, the 587th Bomber Aviation Regiment, and the 588th Night Bomber Aviation Regiment (a.k.a. the Night Witches.) Women flew aircraft so heavy that sometimes two of them were required to haul back on the joystick on takeoff.

Due to their achievements in battle, the latter two air force units were honored by being renamed Guards units. Beyond the three official regiments, individual Soviet women sometimes served alongside airmen in otherwise all-male groups. Women pilots, navigators, gunners, mechanics, armament specialists and other female ground personnel made up more than 3,000 fighting members of the VVS. Women pilots flew 24,000 sorties. From this effort came the world's only two female fighter aces: Lydia Litvyak and Katya Budanova.

Innovation and Lend-lease

While there were scores of Red Army divisions on the ground formed from specific Soviet republics, there appears to have been very few aviation regiments formed from nationalities, among them being the 1st Latvian Night Aviation Regiment.

Soviet WWII airmen reenactors on parade in 2020.

Chief Marshal of Aviation Alexander Novikov led the VVS from 1942 to the end of the war, and was credited with introducing several innovations and weapons systems. For the last year of the war German military and civilians retreating towards Berlin were hounded by the presence of "low flying aircraft" strafing and bombing them, an activity in which even the ancient Polikarpov Po-2, a much produced flight training (uchebnyy) biplane of 1920s design, took part. However, this was but a small measure of the experience the Wehrmacht were receiving due to the sophistication and superiority of the Red Air Force. In one strategic operation alone, the Yassy-Kishinev Strategic Offensive, the 5th and 17th Air Armys and the Black Sea Fleet Naval Aviation aircraft achieved a 3.3 to 1 superiority in aircraft over Luftflotte 4 and the Royal Romanian Air Force, allowing almost complete freedom from air harassment for the ground troops of the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts.

As with many Allied countries in World War II, the Soviet Union received Western aircraft through Lend-Lease, mostly Bell P-39 Airacobras, Bell P-63 Kingcobras, Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks, Douglas A-20 Havocs, Hawker Hurricanes, and North American B-25 Mitchells. Some of these aircraft arrived in the Soviet Union in time to participate in the Battle of Moscow, and in particular with the PVO or Soviet Air Defence Forces. Soviet fliers in P-39s scored the highest individual kill totals of any ever to fly a U.S. aircraft. Two air regiments were equipped with Spitfire Mk.Vbs in early 1943 but immediately experienced unrelenting losses due to friendly fire as the British aircraft looked too much like the German Bf 109. Lend-Lease aircraft from the U.S. and UK accounted for nearly 12% of total Soviet air power.

The greatest Soviet fighter ace of World War II was Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub, who scored 62 victories from 6 July 1943 to 16 April 1945, the top score for any Allied fighter pilot of World War II.

This section includes a list of general references, but it remains largely unverified because it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this section by introducing more precise citations.(July 2010) ()
Soviet Tupolev Tu-95 escorted by a United States Navy Grumman F-14 Tomcat
An air-to-air right underside rear view of a Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 aircraft carrying four AA-6 Acrid missiles

In 1945–46, the WPKA Army Air Forces became the Soviet Air Forces once again. Its capabilities increased. The force became one of the best services of the Soviet Armed Forces due to the various types of aircraft being flown and their capabilities and the strength and training of its pilots, and its air defense arm became an independent component of the armed forces in 1949, reaching full-fledged force status in 1954.[citation needed]

The 64th Fighter Aviation Corps (ru:64-й истребительный авиационный корпус) fought in the Korean War.[citation needed]

During the Cold War, the Soviet Air Force was rearmed, strengthened and modern air doctrines were introduced. At its peak in 1980, it could deploy approximately 10,000 aircraft, making it the world's largest air force of the time.

In 1977 the VVS and the Soviet Air Defense Forces were re-organised in the Baltic states and the Leningrad Oblast, as a trial run for the larger re-organisation in 1980 covering the whole country. All fighter units in the PVO were transferred to the VVS, the Air Defence Forces only retaining the anti-aircraft missile units and radar units. The 6th independent Air Defense Army was disbanded, and the 15th Air Army became the VVS Baltic Military District.[citation needed]

Though the experiment was then applied countrywide in 1980, it was reversed in 1986, but then most of the Air Defense Forces's command and control duties and assets became part of the Air Force, as well as several educational and training institutions.[citation needed]

According to a 1980 Time Magazine article citing analysts from RAND Corporation, allegedly Soviet non-Slavs, including Jews, Armenians, and Asians were generally barred from senior ranks and from joining elite or strategic positions in the Air Force, Strategic Rocket Forces, and the Soviet Navy because of doubts regarding the loyalty of ethnic minorities. RAND analyst S. Enders Wimbush said, "Soldiers are clearly recruited in a way that reflects the worries of society. The average Russian citizen and Soviet decision maker have questions about the allegiance of the non-Slav, especially the Central Asian."

During the Cold War the VVS was divided into three main branches (equivalent to commands in Western air forces): Long Range Aviation (Dal'naya Aviatsiya – DA ), focused on long-range bombers; Frontal Aviation (Frontovaya Aviatsiya – FA), focused on battlefield air defence, close air support, and interdiction; and Military Transport Aviation (Voenno-Transportnaya Aviatsiya – VTA), which controlled all transport aircraft. The Soviet Air Defence Forces (Voyska protivovozdushnoy oborony or Voyska PVO), which focused on air defence and interceptor aircraft, was then a separate and distinct service within the Soviet military organisation.[citation needed]

Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 fighter aircraft in 1989

Yet another independent service was the Soviet Navy's air arm, the Soviet Naval Aviation (Aviatsiya Voenno Morskogo Flota – "AV-MF"), under the Navy Headquarters.[citation needed]

The official day of VVS was the Soviet Air Fleet Day, that often featured notable air shows meant to display Soviet air power advancements through the years, held in Moscow's Tushino airfield.[citation needed]

1980s fighter programs

In the 1980s the Soviet Union acknowledged the development of the Advanced Tactical Fighter in the US and began the development of an equivalent fighter.[citation needed]

Two programs were initiated, one of which was proposed to directly confront the United States' then-projected Advanced Tactical Fighter (that was to lead to the development of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and the Northrop YF-23). This future fighter was designated as Mnogofounksionalni Frontovoi Istrebitel (MFI) (Multifunctional Frontline Fighter) and designed as a heavy multirole aircraft, with air-supremacy utmost in the minds of the designers.[citation needed]

In response to the American Boeing X-32/Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) projects, Russia began the LFI program, which would develop a fighter reminiscent of the X-32/F-35 with a single engine, without the capabilities of a true multirole aircraft.[citation needed] The LFI (Lyogkiy Frontovoy Istrebitel, Light Frontline Fighter) project was intended to develop a lightweight fighter with respectable air-to-ground capabilities. Yakovlev proposed the Yak-43, an upgraded Yakolev Yak-41 with a stealthier design and more powerful engines. After neglecting the MFI competition, Sukhoi decided to submit a design for the LFI called the S-37 (unrelated to the heavyweight forward-swept wing fighter). This S-37 resembled the Gripen in that it had canard foreplanes, a delta wing and one engine. Mikoyan entered the MiG 4.12. MiG could not afford to develop both the MFI and LFI, so their LFI entry was eventually withdrawn. Developed into Mikoyan LMFS.

Russia would later change the designation of the LFI project to LFS, making it a multirole aircraft with emphasis on ground attack capability. During the 1990s the Russian military cancelled the LFS projects and continued with the MFI project, with minimal funding, believing that it was more important than the production of a light fighter aircraft. No advanced fighter successor to the Su-27 and MiG-29 family has entered service. Sukhoi won the latest PAK FA competition in 2002; the aircraft's first flight took place on 29 January 2010.

Breakup of the Soviet Union

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 the aircraft and personnel of the Soviet VVS were divided among the newly independent states. Russia received the plurality of these forces, approximately 40% of the aircraft and 65% of the manpower, with these forming the basis for the new Russian Air Force.

Forces in the late 1980s

Sukhoi Su-27 Soviet fighter aircraft
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31 fighter/interceptor aircraft

The Soviet Air Force's aviation assets were organised into four types of forces (sing. вид авиации) - Long Range Aviation, Frontal Aviation, Military Transport Aviation and Army Aviation (which would transfer to the Ground Forces in case of war). Pilot training establishments were integrated into the Air Armies of the Frontal Aviation.

General structure of the Soviet Air Forces
Type of aviation Aviation arm Higher command echelons Notes
Long Range Aviation (дальная авиация) a single arm Air Armies of the Supreme Military Command Reserve (Strategic Purpose) (ВА РГК (СН)) under the Air Force Main Staff. Included:
  • heavy bomber air regiments,
  • heavy bomber reconnaissance air regiments and
  • in-flight refueling air regiments.
Frontal Aviation (фронтовая авиация) Fighter aviation (истребительная авиация)
  • Air Armies of the Supreme Military Command Reserve (Operational Purpose) (ВА РГК (ОН)) under the Air Force Main Staff, to transfer to the High Commands of the Strategic Directions in case of war.
  • Air Armies (ВА) operationally subordinated to the Military Districts and Groups of Forces.
Provided air cover of the ground forces and escort to own aviation assets. Secondary tasks included ground attack with unguided ordnance, air reconnaissance and tactical nuclear strike. In the late 1980s its types of aircraft included the Su-27S, the MiG-29 and the MiG-23MLD.
Bomber aviation (бомбардировочная авиация) Main mission was penetration of enemy air defences and precision strikes against enemy targets in operational depth. Secondary tasks included close air support, aerial reconnaissance and tactical nuclear strike. In the late 1980s its air regiments flew the Su-24 and the upgraded Su-24M with a handful (no more than 20) of the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses-specialised Su-24MP variant.
Fighter-bomber aviation (истребительно-бомбардировочная авиация) Main mission was penetration of enemy air defences and precision strikes against enemy targets in tactical depth. Secondary tasks included close air support, aerial reconnaissance and tactical nuclear strike. In the late 1980s its air regiments flew the MiG-27 and (in limited numbers) the Su-17M.
Ground attack aviation (штурмовая авиация) Main mission was battlefield close air support and destruction of armored targets from low and extra low altitude. Its air regiments flew the Su-25.
Reconnaissance aviation (разведывательная авиация) The reconnaissance aviation included two types of units:
  • strategic and operational reconnaissance air regiments flew a squadron of MiG-25R aircraft and 1 or 2 squadrons of Su-24MR aircraft.
  • tactical reconnaissance air regiments flew 3 squadrons of Su-17M aircraft.
Transport aviation (транспортная авиация) The Military Transport Aviation provided strategic airlift and airborne dropping capabilities to the Soviet military. The transport aviation provided tactical airlift capabilities, liaison and medevac assets. It included Composite Air Regiments and Composite air Squadrons flying mostly An-26 aircraft and Mi-8 helicopters.
Special Aviation (специальная авиация) Main units in this category included electronic warfare and intelligence aircraft, based on modified airliners, EW and ELINT helicopters and aerial command posts, based mostly on the Mi-8 and UAV reconnaissance squadrons.
Military transport aviation (Военно-транспортная авиация) a single arm Military Transport Aviation HQ under the Air Force Main Staff.
Army aviation (армейская авиация) a single arm Attached to the Air Armies in peace time. To transfer to the Ground Forces in case of war. At the end of 1990 right before the collapse of the USSR the Army Aviation was transferred to the Ground Forces and became one of their branches.

Higher command echelons of the Air Forces

Higher command echelons of the Air Forces
Operationaly subordinated to the Main Staff of the Air Forces
HQ Notes
Units directly subordinated to the Main Staff of the Air Forces (Части центрального подчинения Главного штаба ВВС) See Directly subordinated to the AF Main Staff section below. Moscow, RSFSR
Military Transport Aviation Command (Командование военнотранспортной авиации) Moscow, RSFSR Belonged to the Military Transport Aviation.
Aviation of the Reserve of the Supreme Military Command (Авиация Резерва Главного Командования) 30th Smolenskaya Red Banner Air Army of Strategic Purpose (30-я Смоленская краснознаменная воздушная армия стратегического назначения) Irkutsk, RSFSR Belonged to the Long Range Aviation.
37th Air Army of Strategic Purpose (37-я воздушная армия стратегического назначения) Moscow, RSFSR Belonged to the Long Range Aviation.
46th Air Army of Strategic Purpose (46-я воздушная армия стратегического назначения) Smolensk, RSFSR Belonged to the Long Range Aviation.
4th Air Army of Operational Purpose (4-я воздушная армия оперативного назначения) Legnica, Polish People's Republic Belonged to the Frontal Aviation. Under Air Forces HQ in peace time. To transfer to Supreme Command of the Western Strategic Direction control in wartime.
24th Air Army of Operational Purpose (24-я воздушная армия оперативного назначения) Vinnitsa, Ukrainian SSR Belonged to the Frontal Aviation. Under Air Forces HQ in peace time. To transfer to Supreme Command of the South-Western Strategic Direction control in wartime. Based in the Kiev Military District in peace time, which lead to the KMD's own 17th Red Banner Air Army (17-я краснознаменная воздушная армия) being made up of training units in peace time.
Operationally subordinated to the Military Districts and the Groups of Forces
High Command of the Forces of the Western Strategic Direction (Главное командование войск Западного направления) - HQ in Legnica, Polish People's Republic
directly subordinated (transferred from Air Force HQ in wartime):

4th Air Army of Operational Purpose (4-я воздушная армия оперативного назначения)

Legnica, Polish People's Republic
Western Group of Forces (Западная группа войск) 16th Red Banner Air Army Wünsdorf (suburb of Zossen), German Democratic Republic The Western Group of Forces is the new designation of the recently renamed Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, based in the German Democratic Republic.
Central Group of Forces (Центральная группа войск) No Air Army.

(131st Mixed Air Division)

Milovice, Czechoslovak People's Republic Central Group of Forces were based in the Czechoslovak People's Republic.
Northern Group of Forces (Северная группа войск) No Air Army.

(4th AIr Army of Operational Purpose was based in the Northern Group of Forces's AOR.)

Northern Group of Forces were based in the Polish People's Republic.
Belarussian Military District(Белорусский военный округ) 26th Red Banner Air Army (26-я краснознаменная воздушная армия) Minsk, Belarus SSR On 15 June 1992, by decree No. 05 of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus, the 26th Air Army headquarters became the command of the Air Forces of the Republic of Belarus.
Carpathian Military District (Прикарпатский военный округ) 14th Red Banner Air Army Lviv, Ukrainian SSR
(Naval forces operationally attached):

Twice awarded the Red Banner Baltic Fleet (Дважды Краснознамённый Балтийский флот)

Air Forces of the Baltic Fleet

(ВВС Балтийского флота)

Kaliningrad, Kaliningrad Oblast, RSFSR Belonged to the Naval Aviation.
(Air Defence forces operationally attached): 2nd Separate Air Defence Army (2-я отдельная армия ПВО) Minsk, Belarus SSR Belonged to the Air Defence Forces.
High Command of the Forces of the South-Western Strategic Direction (Главное командование войск Западного направления) - HQ in Chișinău, Moldavian SSR
directly subordinated (transferred from Air Force HQ in wartime):

24th Air Army of Operational Purpose (24-я воздушная армия оперативного назначения)

Vinnitsa, Ukrainian SSR
Southern Group of Forces

(Южная группа войск)

36th Red Banner Air Army Debrecen, Hungarian People's Republic The Southern Group of Forces were based in the Hungarian People's Republic.
Kiev Military District

(Киевский военный округ)

17th Red Banner Air Army Kiev, Ukrainian SSR Consisted of Air Force higher schools.
Odessa Military District

(Одесский военный округ)

5th Red Banner Air Army Odessa, Ukrainian SSR
(Naval forces operationally attached):

Red Banner Black Sea Fleet

Air Forces of the Black Sea Fleet

(ВВС Черноморского флота)

Sevastopol, Ukrainian SSR Belonged to the Naval Aviation.
High Command of the Forces of the Southern Strategic Direction (Главное командование войск Западного направления) - HQ in Baku, Azerbaijan SSR
North Caucasus Military District

(Северо-Кавказский военный округ)

Air Forces of the North Caucasus Military District (ВВС Северо-Кавказского военного округа)
Transcaucasus Military District

(Закавказский военный округ)

34th Air Army Tbilisi, Georgian SSR
Turkestan Military District

(Туркестанский военный округ)

73rd Air Army Alma Ata, Kazakh SSR Until June 1, 1989 the TMD's air army was the 49th Air Army (HQ in Tashkent, Uzbekistan SSR). The 73rd Air Army controlled the Air Force assets of the Central Asian Military District. On June 1, 1989 the CAMD was disbanded and integrated back into the TMD. The two air armies were therefore also integrated, with the new command retaining the designation of the 73rd.
High Command of the Forces of the Far East (Главное командование войск Дальнего Востока) - HQ in Ulan-Ude, RSFSR
Far Eastern Military District (Дальневосточный военный округ) 1st Red Banner Air Army (1-я краснознаменная воздушная армия) Khabarovsk, RSFSR
Transbaikal Military District (Забайкальский военный округ) 23rd Red Banner Air Army Chita, RSFSR
(Naval forces operationally attached):

Red Banner Pacific Fleet

Air Forces of the Pacific Fleet

(ВВС Тихоокеанского флота)

Vladivostok, RSFSR Belonged to the Naval Aviation.
internal military districts
Moscow Military District

(Московский военный округ)

Air Forces of the Moscow Military District (ВВС Московского военного округа) Formerly the 78th Air Army.
Leningrad Military District

(Ленинградский военный округ)

76th Red Banner Air Army Leningrad, RSFSR
Baltic Military District

(Прибалтийский военный округ)

15th Air Army Riga, Latvian SSR
Volga-Ural Military District

(Приволжско-Уральский военный округ)

Air Forces of the Volga-Ural Military District (ВВС Приволжско-Уральского военного округа) Sverdlovsk (present-day Yekaterinburg), RSFSR The Volga Military District and the Ural Military District were merged on September 1, 1989 into the Volga-Ural Military District. Due to their remoteness from the front lines in a possible armed conflict, the two military district were tasked with mainly with training (including pilot training for the Air Forces). For that reason the newly unified military district held 1st place by total aircraft quantity of all the military districts and groups of forces (1735 units), but this changed to 16th place if only combat aircraft were taken into consideration.
Siberian Military District

(Сибирский военный округ)

Air Forces of the SIberian District (ВВС Сибирского военного округа) Due to its remoteness from the front lines in a possible armed conflict, the SMD were tasked with mainly with training (including pilot training for the Air Forces). For that reason the military district held the median 9th place by total aircraft quantity of all the military districts and groups of forces, but this changed to dead-last 19th place if only combat aircraft were taken into consideration.

In addition, the 34th Mixed Aviation Corps (ru:34-й смешанный авиационный корпус), later re-designated to the Air Forces of the 40th Army, supported the 40th Army in Afghanistan during the Soviet–Afghan War. Its HQ was in Kabul, Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, co-located with the HQ of the 40th Army itself.

Directly subordinated to the AF Main Staff

Several formations and flying units were directly subordinated to the Air Forces Main Staff (Главный штаб ВВС). They provided air transport for high-ranking government and military officials, flight testing or support to other research and development fields.

Units directly subordinated to the Main Staff (Структуры центрального (Главкомату ВВС) подчинения):

  • 21st Separate Aviation Squadron of Flying Laboratories (21-я отдельная авиационная эскадрилья летающих лабораторий (21-я оаэлл)) - Kubinka - An-12, An-26, Mi-8
  • 27th Separate Helicopter Squadron (27-я отдельная вертолетная эскадрилья (27-я овэ)) - Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan SSR - Mi-8 (provided liaison flight support to the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Center)
  • 101st Separate Test [Support] Aviation Squadron (101-я отдельная испытательная авиационная эскадрилья (101-я оиаэ), 287th according to some sources) - Nukus, Uzbekistan SSR - An-26, Mi-8 (provided support to the 8th Chemical Defence Station (Восьмая станция химической защиты) test range on the Ustyurt Plateau)
  • 220th Separate Test [Support] Aviation Squadron of Specific Purpose (220-я отдельная испытательная авиационная эскадрилья особого назначения (220-я оиаэ он) - Aralsk, Kazakhstan SSR - An-72, An-26, Mi-26, Mi-8, An-2 (provided airborne telemetric surveillance support to the Kapustin Yar missile test range. The airfield also provided liaison flights to the top-secret "Barkhan" bacteriological warfare test range on Vozrozhdeniya Island)
  • unidentified Separate Aviation Squadron (отдельная авиационная эскадрилья (оаэ)) - Klin - Tu-134, An-12, An-26, An-24, Mi-8 (Klin air base was also considered the 'household' airfield of the Air Defence Forces aviation and a mixed air regiment was based there with the mission to provide liaison flights to the Air Defence Forces Main Staff and flight skills refreshment for the high ranking pilot officers)
  • Separate Transport Aviation Squadron (отдельная транспортная авиационная эскадрилья (отаэ)) - Privolzhskiy (near Astrakhan) - Il-18, An-26, Mi-8 (provided liaison flights to the 116th Combat Application Training Center of the Air Defence Aviation (116-й Центр боевого применения авиации ПВО))
  • 2nd State Central Test Range (2-й Государственный центральный испытательный полигон (2 ГЦИП)) (designation in some sources given as the 2-й Государственный центральный научно-исследовательский испытательный полигон (2 ГЦНИИП)) - Semipalatinsk
    • Separate Transport Aviation Squadron (отдельная транспортная авиационная эскадрилья (отаэ)) - ZATO Kurchatov-21 (also listed sometimes as the Semipalatinsk-21) - An-30RR, An-24RR, Mi-8/9 (RR - Radiation Reconnaissance)
    • Separate Transport Aviation Squadron (отдельная транспортная авиационная эскадрилья (отаэ)) - Semipalatinsk (Zhanasemei airfield) - An-30, An-24RR
  • 5th Central Scientific Research Institute (5-й Центральный научно-исследовательский институт (5 ЦНИИ) (designation in some sources given as the 5-й Центральный научно-исследовательский испытательный институт (5 ЦНИИ) - Voronezh
    • Separate Composite Aviation Squadron (отдельная смешанная авиационная эскадрилья (осаэ)) - Voronezh Airport - Il-20, Mi-8 (EW)
  • 8th Aviation Division of Specific Purpose (8-я авиационная дивизия особого назначения (8-я ад он)) - Chkalovsky
    • 353th Aviation Regiment of Specific Purpose (353-й авиационный полк особого назначения (353-й ап он)) - Chkalovsky - Il-62, Tu-154, Tu-134, Il-18, Il-76, An-72
    • 354th Aviation Regiment of Specific Purpose (354-й авиационный полк особого назначения (354-й ап он)) - Chkalovsky - Il-76, Il-22, An-12, An-26, An-24
    • (355th Aviation Regiment of Specific Purpose (355-й авиационный полк особого назначения (355-й ап он)) - Chkalovsky - disbanded in 1989 and absorbed into the 353rd Aviation Regiment along with its Tu-134 and Tu- 154 aircraft)
    • Separate Composite Aviation Squadron (отдельная смешанная авиационная эскадрилья (осаэ)) - Chkalovsky - Il-80 (4 aircraft), Il-76RT (2 aircraft) (attached to the 8th ADSP for air traffic control, ground support and maintenance, but reporting directly to the Ministry of Defence. The Il-80 was the airborne command center variant of the Il-86 and the Soviet counterpart to the E-4. The four Il-80 received command task force of officers detailed from the Ministry of Defence when on airborne duty. The two Il-76RT were relay aircraft (RT - 'retranslator') and had no command task force on board. They provided Ultra high frequency link between the Soviet nuclear triad and the command centers and were equipped with drag antennae array, which could extend to a total length of 6 kilometers. The Navy's SSBNs and the Air Force's Long Range Aviation normally used alternative communications channels, so the main task for the Il-76RTs remained to provide a link to the Strategic Rocket Forces. The command and control system was designated "Chain Link" ("Звено") and included the Il-80s, the Il-76RTs, the underground silo-based 'Perimetr' and the railway-based 'Gorn' command alert missiles.)
  • High Command of the Forces of the Southern Strategic Direction (Главное командование войск Южного направления (ГК ЮН)) - Baku, Azerbaijan SSR
    • 300th Separate Composite Aviation Squadron (300-я отдельная смешанная авиационная эскадрилья (300-я осаэ)) - Kala - Tu-154, Tu-134, Il-22, An-26, An-24, Mi-6, Mi-8/9, Ka-27PS, An-2, Mi-2
  • High Command of the Forces of the South-Western Strategic Direction (Главное командование войск Юго-Западного направления (ГК ЮЗН)) - Kishinev, Moldavian SSR
    • 153rd Separate Composite Aviation Squadron (300-я отдельная смешанная авиационная эскадрилья (153-я осаэ)) - Kishinev - Tu-134, Il-22, An-72, An-26, An-24, Mi-8/9
  • Warsaw Pact Organisation (Организация варшавского договора (ОВД))
    • 25th Separate Composite Aviation Squadron (25-я отдельная смешанная авиационная эскадрилья (25-я осаэ)) - Legnica and Krzywa, Polish People's Republic - Tu-134, Il-22, An-12, An-72, An-26, Mi-8
    • 100th Separate Helicopter Flight (100-й отдельный вертолётный отряд (100-й ово)) - Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic - Mi-8PPA/SMV/MTPI (supporting the Soviet military advisors embedded in the Syrian military)
  • 929th State Flight Test Center named after V. P. Chkalov of the Ministry of Defence of the USSR (929-й Государственный лётно-испытательный центр им. В. П. Чкалова Министерства обороны СССР (929 ГЛИЦ МО СССР)) - Akhtubinsk (testing of each type of military aircraft destined for the Air Force, Air Defence Forces, Naval Aviation and export)
    • 75th Separate Composite Aviation Regiment (75-й отделный смешанный авиационный полк (75-й осап)) - Akhtubinsk - Ан-12, Ан-26, Ан-24, Ан-72, Ту-154, Ми-8
    • 333rd Separate Composite Aviation Regiment (333-й отделный смешанный авиационный полк (333-й осап)) - Akhtubinsk - Tu-16, MiG-21
    • Air Force Test Pilots Training Center (Центр подготовки лётчиков-испытателей ВВС) - Akhtubinsk - MiG-21, L-39, Yak-40, An-26, Mi-8
    • Separate Composite Aviation Regiment of Specific Purpose (отдельный смешанный авиационный полк особого назначения (осап он)) Северный (Кировское) - Су-27, МиГ-29, Ка-25, Ка-27, Ми-14, Ка-29, Ан-12, Ан-72, Ил-38, Ту-142, MI-6, Mi-8, Як-38 (flight testing of naval aviation)
    • 368th Separate Composite Aviation Squadron (368-я отдельная смешанная авиационная эскадрилья (368-я осаэ)) - Nalchik Airport - An-12, Mi-8 (mountain testing)
    • 47th Separate Composite Aviation Squadron (47-я отдельная смешанная авиационная эскадрилья (47-я осаэ)) - Вольск - An-26, Mi-8
    • Separate Composite Aviation Squadron (отдельная транспортная авиационная эскадрилья (отаэ)) - Чкаловский - Il-76, An-12, An-72, An-26
    • Separate Helicopter Squadron (отдельная вертолётная эскадрилья (овэ)) - Чкаловский - Mi-26, Mi-6, Mi-8
    • Separate Aviation Flight (отдельный авиационный отряд (оао)) - Чкаловский - Ил-20, Ил-22 (possibly two separate air flights based at Chkalovsky, one flying Il-20 and another one flying Il-22)
  • Nizhny Tagil Metal Proving Institute (Нижнетагильский институт испытания металлов (НТИИМ))
    • Flight Test Base (Лётно-испытательная база (ЛИБ)) - Salka airfield, Nizhny Tagil - Tu-16, Su-24, Su-25, MiG-21, An-12, An-24 (testing of aviation armaments)

Military Transport Aviation

The Soviet Military Transport Aviation had the following structure in the end of the 1980s:

Military Transport Aviation Command (Командование военнотранспортной авиации), Moscow, RSFSR

  • 18th Guards Taganrogskaya, awarded the Order of the Red Banner, the Order of Suvorov and the Order of Kutuzov Military Transport Aviation Division (18-я гвардейская Таганрогская Краснознаменная орденов Суворова и Кутузова военно-транспортная авиационная дивизия), Šiauliai, Lithuanian SSR
    • 128th Guards Leningradskiy, awarded the Order of the Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Regiment (128-й гвардейский Ленинградский Краснознаменный военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Panevėžys, Lithuanian SSR - Ilyushin Il-76M
    • 196th Guards Minskiy Military Transport Aviation Regiment (196-й гвардейский Минский военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Tartu, Estonian SSR - Ilyushin Il-76M
    • 600th Military Transport Aviation Regiment (600-й военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Kėdainiai, Lithuanian SSR - Ilyushin Il-76
    • 117th Berlinskiy, awarded the Order of Kutuzov Aviation Regiment for Radio-electronic warfare (117-й Берлинский ордена Кутузова авиационный полк РЭБ), Šiauliai, Lithuanian SSR - Antonov An-12PP/PPS
  • 6th Guards Zaporozhskaya, awarded the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky Military Transport Aviation Division (6-я гвардейская Запорожская Краснознаменная ордена Богдана Хмельницкого военно-транспортная авиационная дивизия), Kryvyi Rih, Ukrainian SSR
    • 37th Military Transport Aviation Regiment (37-й военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Artsyz, Ukrainian SSR - Ilyushin Il-76
    • 338th Military Transport Aviation Regiment (338-й Рижский военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Zaporizhzhia, Ukrainian SSR - Ilyushin Il-76
    • 363rd Cherkaskiy, awarded the Order of Suvorov and the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky Military Transport Aviation Regiment (363-й Черкасский орденов Суворова и Богдана Хмельницкого военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Kryvyi Rih, Ukrainian SSR - Ilyushin Il-76
  • 7th Military Transport Aviation Division (7-я военно-транспортная авиационная дивизия) Melitopol, Ukrainian SSR
    • 25th Moskovskiy Military Transport Aviation Regiment (25-й гвардейский Московский военно-транспортный авиационный полк) - Ilyushin Il-76
    • 175th Military Transport Aviation Regiment (175-й военно-транспортный авиационный полк) - Ilyushin Il-76
    • 369th Military Transport Aviation Regiment (369-й военно-транспортный авиационный полк) - Ilyushin Il-76
  • 3rd Guards Smolenskaya, awarded the Order of Suvorov and the Order of Kutuzov Military Transport Aviation Division (3-я гвардейская Смоленская орденов Суворова и Кутузова военно-транспортная авиационная дивизия), Vitebsk, Belarussian SSR
    • 110th Military Transport Aviation Regiment (110-й военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Krechevitsy (near Novgorod), RSFSR - Ilyushin Il-76
    • 334th Berlin Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Regiment (334-й Берлинский Краснознаменный военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Pskov, RSFSR - Ilyushin Il-76
    • 339th Awarded the Order of Suvorov Military Transport Aviation Regiment (339-й ордена Суворова военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Vitebsk, Belarussian SSR - Ilyushin Il-76
  • 12th Mginskaya Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Division (12-я Мгинская Краснознаменная военно-транспортная авиационная дивизия), Tver, RSFSR
    • 566th Solnechnogorskiy, awarded the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Kutuzov Military Transport Aviation Regiment (566-й Солнечногорский Краснознаменный ордена Кутузова военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Seshta (near Bryansk), RSFSR - Antonov An-124
    • 978th Military Transport Aviation Regiment (978-й военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Seshta (near Bryansk), RSFSR - Antonov An-124 (2 squadrons), Ilyushin Il-76 (1 squadron)
    • 8th Military Transport Aviation Regiment (8-й военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Tver, RSFSR - Antonov An-22
    • 81st Military Transport Aviation Regiment (81-й военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Ivanovo - Severny - Antonov An-22
  • separate Military Transport Aviation regiments:
    • 192nd Guards Kerchenskiy Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Regiment (192-й гвардейский Керченский Краснознаменный военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Ukkurey, Chita Oblast, RSFSR - Ilyushin Il-76MD
    • 708th Military Transport Aviation Regiment (708-й военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Taganrog, Rostov Oblast, RSFSR - Ilyushin Il-76MD
    • 930th Komsomolskiy Transylvanskiy Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Regiment (930-й Комсомольский Трансильванский Краснознаменный военно-транспортный авиационный полк), Zavitinsk, Amur Oblast, RSFSR - Antonov An-12
    • 194th Guards Bryanskiy Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Regiment named after N. F. Gastello (194-й гвардейский Брянский Краснознаменный военно-транспортный авиационный полк им.Н.Ф.Гастелло), Fergana, Uzbek SSR - Antonov An-12
  • training establishments
    • 610th Center for Combat Training and Conversion of Flight Personnel of the Military Transport Aviation (610-й центр боевого применения и переучивания летного состава ВТА), Ivanovo - Severny - Ilyushin Il-76 (2 training and 1 test and evaluation squadrons)
  • wartime mobilization assets
    • the State-owned flag carrier Aeroflot was wartime mobilization reserve to the Military Transport Aviation, with some Il-76 aircraft of the civilian air company as much as retaining the aft self-defence gun turrets ()
  • airlift assets outside the Military Transport Aviation
    • 8th Aviation Division of Special Purpose (8 авиационная дивизия ОСНАЗ), Moscow - Chkalovskiy Air Base, RSFSR - transport and command aviation unit for the USSR's high officials
    • Each Strategic Direction Command and each Military District also had a Separate Composite Aviation Regiment (отдельный смешанный авиационный полк (осап)), which included An-24, An-26 (possibly An-12) transport aircraft, Mi-8 (possibly) Mi-2 helicopters and a Tu-134 as the commander of the strategic direction or the military district's personal transport aircraft.

Soviet Air Defence Forces

Independent air defense component of the Soviet Armed Forces under Headquarters, Voyska PVO (Soviet Air Defence Forces).

Training schools of the VVS and PVO

A Krasnaya Zvezda military schools list of 17 January 1980 included 24 Air Forces schools. Nine Higher Aviation Schools of Pilots were reported (including the Borisoglebsk Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots at Borisoglebsk), two navigator schools (including the Chelyabinsk Higher Military Aviation School of Navigators/50th Anniversary of the Komsomols), the Khar'kov Higher Military Aviation Command School of Signals, five three-year technical secondary schools, six Air Force engineering schools (including the Kiev Higher Military Aviation Engineering School), and the Kurgan Higher Military-Political Aviation School.

In 1988, schools included:

There is also a list of Soviet Air Force bases listing the various air bases of the force.

175 strategic bombers
160 Tupolev Tu-95
15 Tupolev Tu-160
390 medium bombers
80 Tupolev Tu-16
120 Tupolev Tu-22
190 Tupolev Tu-22M
1,825 fighters
50 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21
595 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23
90 Sukhoi Su-27
540 Mikoyan MiG-29
2,510 attack aircraft
535 Sukhoi Su-17
830 Sukhoi Su-24
340 Sukhoi Su-25
905 Mikoyan MiG-27
74 tankers
14 Ilyushin Il-78
40 Myasishchev M-4 'Molot'
20 Tupolev Tu-16
835 Reconnaissance and ECM aircraft
50 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21
160 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25
135 Sukhoi Su-17
150 Sukhoi Su-24
170 Yakovlev Yak-28
120 Tupolev Tu-16
20 Tupolev Tu-22M
30 Ilyushin Il-22
577 transport aircraft
12 Antonov An-124
55 Antonov An-22
125 Antonov An-12
385 Ilyushin Il-76
2,935 civilian and other transport aircraft, usually Aeroflot aircraft which were easily converted
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Soviet Air Forces
Soviet Air Forces Language Watch Edit 160 160 Redirected from Soviet Air Force The Soviet Air Forces Russian Voenno vozdushnye sily tr Voyenno Vozdushnyye Sily VVS literally Military Air Forces were one of the air forces of the Soviet Union The other was the Soviet Air Defence Forces The Air Forces were formed from components of the Imperial Russian Air Service in 1917 and faced their greatest test during World War II The groups were also involved in the Korean War and dissolved along with the Soviet Union itself in 1991 92 Former Soviet Air Forces assets were subsequently divided into several air forces of former Soviet republics including the new Russian Air Force March of the Pilots was its song Soviet Air ForcesVoenno vozdushnye sily SSSR Voyenno vozdushnye sily SSSRFlag of the Soviet Air ForcesFounded24 May 1918Disbanded14 February 1992Country Russian SFSR 1918 1922 Soviet Union 1922 1991 CIS 1991 1992 Size10 101 aircraft 1973 7 859 aircraft 1990 Part ofSoviet Armed ForcesMain staffMoscowMarch March of the Pilots CommandersCommander in Chief of the Soviet Air ForcesSee listInsigniaRoundelAircraft flownAttackSu 22 Su 24 Su 25 MiG 27BomberTu 16 Tu 22 Tu 95 Tu 160FighterMiG 15 MiG 21 MiG 23 MiG 25 MiG 29 Su 27 MiG 31HelicopterMi 2 Mi 8 Mi 17 Mi 14Attack helicopterMi 24TransportIl 76 An 12 An 22 An 124 Contents 1 Origins 1 1 Spanish civil war 2 1930s aviation and propaganda 2 1 Positive heroism 2 2 Transpolar flights of 1937 2 3 Folkloric themes in aviation propaganda 2 4 Aviation and the purges 3 Early combat 3 1 Early World War II aviation failures 4 World War II 4 1 Women 4 2 Innovation and Lend lease 5 Cold War 5 1 1980s fighter programs 5 2 Breakup of the Soviet Union 5 3 Forces in the late 1980s 5 3 1 Higher command echelons of the Air Forces 5 3 2 Directly subordinated to the AF Main Staff 5 3 3 Military Transport Aviation 5 3 4 Soviet Air Defence Forces 5 3 5 Training schools of the VVS and PVO 6 Commanders in Chief 7 Soviet Air Force inventory in 1990 8 See also 9 References 10 Bibliography 11 External linksOrigins EditThe All Russia Collegium for Direction of the Air Forces of the Old Army translation is uncertain was formed on 20 December 1917 This was a Bolshevik aerial headquarters initially led by Konstantin Akashev Along with a general postwar military reorganisation the collegium was reconstituted as the Workers and Peasants Red Air Fleet Glavvozduhflot established on 24 May 1918 and given the top level departmental status of Main Directorate 1 2 It became the Directorate of the USSR Air Forces on 28 March 1924 and then the Directorate of the Workers Peasants Red Army Air Forces on 1 January 1925 Gradually its influence on aircraft design became greater From its earliest days the force mimicked ground forces organization especially in the 1930s by which time it was made up of air armies aviation corps aviation divisions and aviation regiments composed of air squadrons flights and fireteams respectively citation needed After the creation of the Soviet state many efforts were made in order to modernize and expand aircraft production led by its charismatic and energetic commander General Yakov Alksnis an eventual victim of Joseph Stalin s Great Purge 3 Domestic aircraft production increased significantly in the early 1930s and towards the end of the decade the Soviet Air Force was able to introduce Polikarpov I 15 and I 16 fighters and Tupolev SB and SB bis and DB 3 bombers 4 citation needed Historical Air Forces of Russia Russian Empire Emperor s Military Air Fleet 1909 1917 Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic Workers and Peasants Red Air Fleet 1918 1991 Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Commonwealth of Independent States Military Air Forces of the USSR 1918 1992 Aviation of the Military Maritime Fleet 1918 1992 Anti Air Defence Troops 1948 1992 Strategic Rocket Forces 1959 1992 Russian Federation Military Air Forces of the Russian Federation 1991 present update Aviation of the Military Maritime Fleet 1991 present update Strategic Rocket Forces 1991 present update Spanish civil war Edit See also Spanish Republican Air Force and Condor Legion One of the first major tests for the VVS came in 1936 with the Spanish Civil War in which the latest Soviet and German aircraft designs were employed against each other in fierce air to air combat At first the I 16 proved superior to any Luftwaffe fighters and managed to achieve local air superiority wherever they were employed However the Soviets refused to supply the plane in adequate numbers and their aerial victories were soon squandered because of their limited use Later Bf 109s delivered to Franco s Spanish Nationalist air forces secured air superiority for the Nationalists one they would never relinquish The defeats in Spain coincided with the arrival of Stalin s Great Purge of the ranks of the officer corps and senior military leadership which severely affected the combat capabilities of the rapidly expanding Soviet Air Forces Newly promoted officers lacked flying and command experience while older commanders witnessing the fate of General Alksnis and others lacked initiative frequently referring minor decisions to Moscow for approval and insisting that their pilots strictly comply with standardized and predictable procedures for both aerial attack and defence citation needed On 19 November 1939 VVS headquarters was again titled the Main Directorate of the Red Army Air Forces under the WPRA HQ 1930s aviation and propaganda EditBetween 1933 and 1938 the Soviet government planned and funded missions to break numerous world aviation records Not only did aviation records and achievements become demonstrations of the USSR s technological progress they also served as legitimization of the socialist system With each new success Soviet press trumpeted victories for socialism popularizing the mythology of aviation culture with the masses Furthermore Soviet media idolized record breaking pilots exalting them not only as role models for Soviet society but also as symbols of progress towards the socialist utopian future Positive heroism Edit The early 1930s saw a shift in ideological focus away from collectivist propaganda and towards positive heroism 5 Instead of glorifying socialist collectivism as a means of societal advancement the Soviet Communist Party began uplifting individuals who committed heroic actions that advanced the cause of socialism 6 In the case of aviation the government began glorifying people who utilized aviation technology as opposed to glorifying the technology itself Pilots such as Valery Chkalov Georgy Baydukov Alexander Belyakov and Mikhail Gromov as well as many others were raised to the status of heroes for their piloting skills and achievements Transpolar flights of 1937 Edit In May 1937 Stalin charged pilots Chkalov Baydukov and Belyakov with the mission to navigate the first transpolar flight in history ru 7 On 20 June 1937 the aviators landed their ANT 25 in Vancouver Washington A month later Stalin ordered the departure of a second crew to push the boundaries of modern aviation technology even further In July 1937 Mikhail Gromov along with his crew Sergei Danilin and Andrei Yumashev completed the same journey over the North Pole and continuing on to Southern California ru creating a new record for the longest nonstop flight 8 The public reaction to the transpolar flights was euphoric The media called the pilots Bolshevik knights of culture and progress 9 Soviet citizens celebrated Aviation Day on 18 August with as much zeal as they celebrated the October Revolution anniversary 10 Literature including poems short stories and novels emerged celebrating the feats of the aviator celebrities 11 Feature films like Victory Tales of Heroic Aviators and Valery Chkalov reinforced the positive hero imagery celebrating the aviators individuality within the context of a socialist government 8 12 Folkloric themes in aviation propaganda Edit Soviet propaganda newspaper articles and other forms of media sought to connect Soviet citizens to relevant themes from daily life For aviation Stalin s propagandists drew on Russian folklore Examples increased dramatically following the successes of the transpolar flights by Chkalov and Gromov in 1937 Aviators were referred to symbolically as sokoly falcons orly eagles 13 or bogatyr warriors 14 Newspapers told traditional Russian narratives skazki of fliers conquering time and space prostranstvo overcoming barriers and completing their missions in triumph 15 Even the story of each aviator suggests roots in old Russian storytelling and narratives virtuous heroes striving to reach an end goal encountering and conquering any obstacles in their path By using folklore rhetoric Stalin and Soviet propagandists connected aviation achievements to Russian heritage making aviation seem more accessible to the Soviet population Furthermore the narratives emphasize the aviators selflessness and devotion to a higher socialist ideal pointing to Soviet leaders as inspirers and role models 15 Paternalism was also a theme that Soviet propagandists exploited in aviation culture The media presented Stalin as an example and inspiration a father figure and role model to the most prominent Soviet pilots of the period 16 When recounting stories of meetings between Stalin and Chkalov for example Soviet newspapers spoke of Stalin s paternalism towards the young pilot The paternal metaphor was completed with the addition of a maternal figure Russia the motherland who had produced father Stalin s heroic sons such as Chkalov 15 The use of familial metaphors not only evoked traditional hereditary pride and historic Russian patriotism they boosted Stalin s image as a benevolent leader Most importantly paternalism served to promote the message of individual subordination to authority 17 Through his paternal relationships with Soviet pilots Stalin developed an ethos of deference and obedience 16 for Soviet society to emulate Aviation and the purges Edit The successful achievements in Soviet aviation also came during the worst days of the Great Purge The transpolar flights in summer 1937 occurred following the arrest and execution of a large body of the Red Army officer corps 18 Fifteen of sixteen total army commanders were executed more than three fourths of the VVS senior officers were arrested executed or relieved of duty 19 News coverage of the arrests was relatively little compared to treatment of aviation exploits deflecting attention away from the arrests 20 Early combat EditSome practical combat experience had been gained in participating in the Spanish Civil War and against Japan in the Far East Shortly before the start of war with Germany a Soviet Volunteer Group was sent to China to train the pilots from the Republic of China Air Force for the continuing war with the Japanese However these experiences proved of little use in the Winter War against Finland in 1939 where scores of inexperienced Soviet bomber and fighter pilots were shot down by a relatively small number of Finnish Air Force FAF pilots The VVS soon learned established Soviet air defence procedures derived from the Spanish Civil War such as forming defensive circles when attacked did not work well against the Finns who employed dive and zoom tactics to shoot down their Soviet opponents in great numbers The effects of the Great Purge undoubtedly played a role in the slow reaction of the VVS and its command to the new realities of air combat The Soviet Air Force as well as the Soviet aircraft industry would eventually learn from these combat experiences though not before the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 citation needed On 1 January 1941 six months prior to Operation Barbarossa the Air Forces of the Soviet Red Army had 363 900 serving personnel accounting for 8 65 of all military force personnel of the Soviet Union 21 The first three Air Armies designated Air Armies of Special Purpose were created between 1936 and 1938 22 On 5 November 1940 these were reformed as the Long Range Bombardment Aviation of the High Command of the Red Army until February 1942 due to lack of combat performance during the conflict with Finland 23 The Air Force was hit hard by the Red Army purges in 1941 citation needed Early World War II aviation failures Edit 1930s Soviet aviation also had a particular impact on the USSR s military failures in the beginning of World War II By 1938 the Soviet Union had the largest air force in the world but Soviet aeronautical design distinctly lagged behind Western technological advances 24 Instead of focusing on developing tactical aircraft the Soviets engineers developed heavy bomber planes only good for long distance in other words planes that would be used for record breaking flights like those of Chkalov s 25 The Soviet government s focus on showy stunts and phenomenal record breaking missions drained resources needed for Soviet defense When Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941 it quickly became apparent that the Soviet Air Force was not prepared for war 26 Poor planning and lack of organization left planes sitting on the tarmac at airbases allowing the Luftwaffe to destroy 4 000 Soviet planes within the first week 27 The disorganized Soviet defenses and technologically deficient aircraft were no match for the Luftwaffe citation needed World War II EditMain article Air warfare of World War II At the outbreak of World War II the Soviet military was not yet at a level of readiness suitable for winning a war Joseph Stalin had said in 1931 Soviet industry was 50 to 100 years behind 28 the Western powers By the end of the war Soviet annual aircraft production had risen sharply reaching 40 241 in 1944 Some 157 261 machines were produced during the Great Patriotic War 125 655 being of combat types 29 Original star roundel in World War II Pilot Ivan Kozhedub during WWII One of the main reasons for the large aircraft losses in the initial period of war with Germany was not the lack of modern tactics but the lack of experienced pilots and ground support crews the destruction of many aircraft on the runways due to command failure to disperse them and the rapid advance of Heer troops forcing the Soviet pilots on the defensive during Operation Barbarossa while being confronted with more modern German designs 30 In the first few days of the invasion of the Soviet Union the Luftwaffe destroyed some 2 000 Soviet aircraft most on the ground at a loss of only 35 of which 15 were non combat related 31 The principal VVS aircraft during World War II were the Ilyushin Il 2 Shturmovik armored ground attack monoplane and the series of AS Yakovlev OKB 115 designed single engined fighters beginning with the Yak 1 and its successors 30 The Il 2 became at 36 183 built the most produced military aircraft of all time with the four main versions of Yak fighters the Yak 1 3 7 and 9 being slightly more numerous at a total of 36 716 among them These two main types together accounted for about half the strength of the VVS for most of the Great Patriotic War The Yak 1 was a modern 1940 design and had room for development unlike the mature 1935 origin Messerschmitt Bf 109 The Yak 9 brought the VVS to parity with the Luftwaffe and eventually allowed it to gain the upper hand until in 1944 many Luftwaffe pilots deliberately avoided combat with the last and best variant the out of sequence numbered Yak 3 The other main VVS types were Lavochkin fighters mainly the La 5 the Petlyakov Pe 2 twin engined attack bombers and a basic but functional and versatile medium bomber the Ilyushin Il 4 The 31st Bomber Aviation Regiment equipped with Pe 2s and commanded by Colonel Fyodor Ivanovich Dobysh was one of the first Guards bomber units in the Air Forces the 4th Guards Bomber Aviation Regiment ru 4 j gvardejskij pikiruyushij bombardirovochnyj aviacionnyj polk 32 The title was conferred on the regiment for its actions on the Leningrad Front in November December 1941 during defensive operations and the Soviet counterattack near Tikhvin Women Edit Alone among World War II combatants the Soviet Air Force initiated a program to bring women with existing flying training into combat air groups Marina Raskova one of very few women in the VVS prior to the war used her influence with Stalin to form three all female air regiments the 586th Fighter Aviation Regiment the 587th Bomber Aviation Regiment and the 588th Night Bomber Aviation Regiment a k a the Night Witches Women flew aircraft so heavy that sometimes two of them were required to haul back on the joystick on takeoff 33 Due to their achievements in battle the latter two air force units were honored by being renamed Guards units Beyond the three official regiments individual Soviet women sometimes served alongside airmen in otherwise all male groups 34 Women pilots navigators gunners mechanics armament specialists and other female ground personnel made up more than 3 000 fighting members of the VVS Women pilots flew 24 000 sorties From this effort came the world s only two female fighter aces Lydia Litvyak and Katya Budanova Innovation and Lend lease Edit While there were scores of Red Army divisions on the ground formed from specific Soviet republics there appears to have been very few aviation regiments formed from nationalities among them being the 1st Latvian Night Aviation Regiment 35 Soviet WWII airmen reenactors on parade in 2020 Chief Marshal of Aviation Alexander Novikov led the VVS from 1942 to the end of the war and was credited with introducing several innovations and weapons systems For the last year of the war German military and civilians retreating towards Berlin were hounded by the presence of low flying aircraft strafing and bombing them an activity in which even the ancient Polikarpov Po 2 a much produced flight training uchebnyy biplane of 1920s design took part However this was but a small measure of the experience the Wehrmacht were receiving due to the sophistication and superiority of the Red Air Force In one strategic operation alone the Yassy Kishinev Strategic Offensive the 5th and 17th Air Armys and the Black Sea Fleet Naval Aviation aircraft achieved a 3 3 to 1 superiority in aircraft over Luftflotte 4 and the Royal Romanian Air Force allowing almost complete freedom from air harassment for the ground troops of the 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts 36 As with many Allied countries in World War II the Soviet Union received Western aircraft through Lend Lease mostly Bell P 39 Airacobras Bell P 63 Kingcobras Curtiss P 40 Kittyhawks Douglas A 20 Havocs Hawker Hurricanes and North American B 25 Mitchells Some of these aircraft arrived in the Soviet Union in time to participate in the Battle of Moscow and in particular with the PVO or Soviet Air Defence Forces 37 Soviet fliers in P 39s scored the highest individual kill totals of any ever to fly a U S aircraft Two air regiments were equipped with Spitfire Mk Vbs in early 1943 but immediately experienced unrelenting losses due to friendly fire as the British aircraft looked too much like the German Bf 109 38 Lend Lease aircraft from the U S and UK accounted for nearly 12 of total Soviet air power 39 The greatest Soviet fighter ace of World War II was Ivan Nikitovich Kozhedub who scored 62 victories from 6 July 1943 to 16 April 1945 40 the top score for any Allied fighter pilot of World War II See also Soviet Air Forces Order of Battle 1 May 1945Cold War EditThis section includes a list of general references but it remains largely unverified because it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations Please help to improve this section by introducing more precise citations July 2010 Learn how and when to remove this template message Soviet Tupolev Tu 95 escorted by a United States Navy Grumman F 14 Tomcat An air to air right underside rear view of a Soviet Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 25 aircraft carrying four AA 6 Acrid missiles In 1945 46 the WPKA Army Air Forces became the Soviet Air Forces once again Its capabilities increased The force became one of the best services of the Soviet Armed Forces due to the various types of aircraft being flown and their capabilities and the strength and training of its pilots and its air defense arm became an independent component of the armed forces in 1949 reaching full fledged force status in 1954 citation needed The 64th Fighter Aviation Corps ru 64 j istrebitelnyj aviacionnyj korpus fought in the Korean War citation needed During the Cold War the Soviet Air Force was rearmed strengthened and modern air doctrines were introduced At its peak in 1980 it could deploy approximately 10 000 aircraft making it the world s largest air force of the time 41 In 1977 the VVS and the Soviet Air Defense Forces were re organised in the Baltic states and the Leningrad Oblast as a trial run for the larger re organisation in 1980 covering the whole country 42 All fighter units in the PVO were transferred to the VVS the Air Defence Forces only retaining the anti aircraft missile units and radar units The 6th independent Air Defense Army was disbanded and the 15th Air Army became the VVS Baltic Military District citation needed Though the experiment was then applied countrywide in 1980 it was reversed in 1986 but then most of the Air Defense Forces s command and control duties and assets became part of the Air Force as well as several educational and training institutions citation needed According to a 1980 Time Magazine article citing analysts from RAND Corporation allegedly Soviet non Slavs including Jews Armenians and Asians were generally barred from senior ranks and from joining elite or strategic positions in the Air Force Strategic Rocket Forces and the Soviet Navy because of doubts regarding the loyalty of ethnic minorities RAND analyst S Enders Wimbush said Soldiers are clearly recruited in a way that reflects the worries of society The average Russian citizen and Soviet decision maker have questions about the allegiance of the non Slav especially the Central Asian 43 44 45 46 47 During the Cold War the VVS was divided into three main branches equivalent to commands in Western air forces Long Range Aviation Dal naya Aviatsiya DA focused on long range bombers Frontal Aviation Frontovaya Aviatsiya FA focused on battlefield air defence close air support and interdiction and Military Transport Aviation Voenno Transportnaya Aviatsiya VTA which controlled all transport aircraft The Soviet Air Defence Forces Voyska protivovozdushnoy oborony or Voyska PVO which focused on air defence and interceptor aircraft was then a separate and distinct service within the Soviet military organisation citation needed Soviet Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 29 fighter aircraft in 1989 Yet another independent service was the Soviet Navy s air arm the Soviet Naval Aviation Aviatsiya Voenno Morskogo Flota AV MF under the Navy Headquarters citation needed The official day of VVS was the Soviet Air Fleet Day that often featured notable air shows meant to display Soviet air power advancements through the years held in Moscow s Tushino airfield citation needed 1980s fighter programs Edit In the 1980s the Soviet Union acknowledged the development of the Advanced Tactical Fighter in the US and began the development of an equivalent fighter citation needed Two programs were initiated one of which was proposed to directly confront the United States then projected Advanced Tactical Fighter that was to lead to the development of the Lockheed Martin F 22 Raptor and the Northrop YF 23 This future fighter was designated as Mnogofounksionalni Frontovoi Istrebitel MFI Multifunctional Frontline Fighter and designed as a heavy multirole aircraft with air supremacy utmost in the minds of the designers citation needed In response to the American Boeing X 32 Joint Strike Fighter F 35 projects Russia began the LFI program which would develop a fighter reminiscent of the X 32 F 35 with a single engine without the capabilities of a true multirole aircraft citation needed The LFI Lyogkiy Frontovoy Istrebitel Light Frontline Fighter project was intended to develop a lightweight fighter with respectable air to ground capabilities Yakovlev proposed the Yak 43 an upgraded Yakolev Yak 41 with a stealthier design and more powerful engines After neglecting the MFI competition Sukhoi decided to submit a design for the LFI called the S 37 unrelated to the heavyweight forward swept wing fighter This S 37 resembled the Gripen in that it had canard foreplanes a delta wing and one engine Mikoyan entered the MiG 4 12 MiG could not afford to develop both the MFI and LFI so their LFI entry was eventually withdrawn Developed into Mikoyan LMFS Russia would later change the designation of the LFI project to LFS making it a multirole aircraft with emphasis on ground attack capability During the 1990s the Russian military cancelled the LFS projects and continued with the MFI project with minimal funding believing that it was more important than the production of a light fighter aircraft No advanced fighter successor to the Su 27 and MiG 29 family has entered service Sukhoi won the latest PAK FA competition in 2002 the aircraft s first flight took place on 29 January 2010 48 49 Breakup of the Soviet Union Edit Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 the aircraft and personnel of the Soviet VVS were divided among the newly independent states Russia received the plurality of these forces approximately 40 of the aircraft and 65 of the manpower with these forming the basis for the new Russian Air Force Forces in the late 1980s Edit Sukhoi Su 27 Soviet fighter aircraft Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 31 fighter interceptor aircraft The Soviet Air Force s aviation assets were organised into four types of forces sing vid aviacii Long Range Aviation Frontal Aviation Military Transport Aviation and Army Aviation which would transfer to the Ground Forces in case of war Pilot training establishments were integrated into the Air Armies of the Frontal Aviation General structure of the Soviet Air Forces Type of aviation Aviation arm Higher command echelons NotesLong Range Aviation dalnaya aviaciya a single arm Air Armies of the Supreme Military Command Reserve Strategic Purpose VA RGK SN under the Air Force Main Staff Included heavy bomber air regiments heavy bomber reconnaissance air regiments and in flight refueling air regiments Frontal Aviation frontovaya aviaciya Fighter aviation istrebitelnaya aviaciya Air Armies of the Supreme Military Command Reserve Operational Purpose VA RGK ON under the Air Force Main Staff to transfer to the High Commands of the Strategic Directions in case of war Air Armies VA operationally subordinated to the Military Districts and Groups of Forces Provided air cover of the ground forces and escort to own aviation assets Secondary tasks included ground attack with unguided ordnance air reconnaissance and tactical nuclear strike In the late 1980s its types of aircraft included the Su 27S the MiG 29 and the MiG 23MLD Bomber aviation bombardirovochnaya aviaciya Main mission was penetration of enemy air defences and precision strikes against enemy targets in operational depth Secondary tasks included close air support aerial reconnaissance and tactical nuclear strike In the late 1980s its air regiments flew the Su 24 and the upgraded Su 24M with a handful no more than 20 of the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses specialised Su 24MP variant Fighter bomber aviation istrebitelno bombardirovochnaya aviaciya Main mission was penetration of enemy air defences and precision strikes against enemy targets in tactical depth Secondary tasks included close air support aerial reconnaissance and tactical nuclear strike In the late 1980s its air regiments flew the MiG 27 and in limited numbers the Su 17M Ground attack aviation shturmovaya aviaciya Main mission was battlefield close air support and destruction of armored targets from low and extra low altitude Its air regiments flew the Su 25 Reconnaissance aviation razvedyvatelnaya aviaciya The reconnaissance aviation included two types of units strategic and operational reconnaissance air regiments flew a squadron of MiG 25R aircraft and 1 or 2 squadrons of Su 24MR aircraft tactical reconnaissance air regiments flew 3 squadrons of Su 17M aircraft Transport aviation transportnaya aviaciya The Military Transport Aviation provided strategic airlift and airborne dropping capabilities to the Soviet military The transport aviation provided tactical airlift capabilities liaison and medevac assets It included Composite Air Regiments and Composite air Squadrons flying mostly An 26 aircraft and Mi 8 helicopters Special Aviation specialnaya aviaciya Main units in this category included electronic warfare and intelligence aircraft based on modified airliners EW and ELINT helicopters and aerial command posts based mostly on the Mi 8 and UAV reconnaissance squadrons Military transport aviation Voenno transportnaya aviaciya a single arm Military Transport Aviation HQ under the Air Force Main Staff Army aviation armejskaya aviaciya a single arm Attached to the Air Armies in peace time To transfer to the Ground Forces in case of war At the end of 1990 right before the collapse of the USSR the Army Aviation was transferred to the Ground Forces and became one of their branches Higher command echelons of the Air Forces Edit Higher command echelons of the Air Forces Operationaly subordinated to the Main Staff of the Air ForcesHQ NotesUnits directly subordinated to the Main Staff of the Air Forces Chasti centralnogo podchineniya Glavnogo shtaba VVS See Directly subordinated to the AF Main Staff section below Moscow RSFSRMilitary Transport Aviation Command Komandovanie voennotransportnoj aviacii Moscow RSFSR Belonged to the Military Transport Aviation Aviation of the Reserve of the Supreme Military Command Aviaciya Rezerva Glavnogo Komandovaniya 30th Smolenskaya Red Banner Air Army of Strategic Purpose 30 ya Smolenskaya krasnoznamennaya vozdushnaya armiya strategicheskogo naznacheniya Irkutsk RSFSR Belonged to the Long Range Aviation 37th Air Army of Strategic Purpose 37 ya vozdushnaya armiya strategicheskogo naznacheniya Moscow RSFSR Belonged to the Long Range Aviation 46th Air Army of Strategic Purpose 46 ya vozdushnaya armiya strategicheskogo naznacheniya Smolensk RSFSR Belonged to the Long Range Aviation 4th Air Army of Operational Purpose 4 ya vozdushnaya armiya operativnogo naznacheniya Legnica Polish People s Republic Belonged to the Frontal Aviation Under Air Forces HQ in peace time To transfer to Supreme Command of the Western Strategic Direction control in wartime 24th Air Army of Operational Purpose 24 ya vozdushnaya armiya operativnogo naznacheniya 50 Vinnitsa Ukrainian SSR Belonged to the Frontal Aviation Under Air Forces HQ in peace time To transfer to Supreme Command of the South Western Strategic Direction control in wartime Based in the Kiev Military District in peace time which lead to the KMD s own 17th Red Banner Air Army 17 ya krasnoznamennaya vozdushnaya armiya being made up of training units in peace time Operationally subordinated to the Military Districts and the Groups of ForcesHigh Command of the Forces of the Western Strategic Direction Glavnoe komandovanie vojsk Zapadnogo napravleniya HQ in Legnica Polish People s Republicdirectly subordinated transferred from Air Force HQ in wartime 4th Air Army of Operational Purpose 4 ya vozdushnaya armiya operativnogo naznacheniya Legnica Polish People s RepublicWestern Group of Forces Zapadnaya gruppa vojsk 16th Red Banner Air Army Wunsdorf suburb of Zossen German Democratic Republic The Western Group of Forces is the new designation of the recently renamed Group of Soviet Forces in Germany based in the German Democratic Republic Central Group of Forces Centralnaya gruppa vojsk No Air Army 131st Mixed Air Division Milovice Czechoslovak People s Republic Central Group of Forces were based in the Czechoslovak People s Republic Northern Group of Forces Severnaya gruppa vojsk No Air Army 4th AIr Army of Operational Purpose was based in the Northern Group of Forces s AOR Northern Group of Forces were based in the Polish People s Republic Belarussian Military District Belorusskij voennyj okrug 26th Red Banner Air Army 26 ya krasnoznamennaya vozdushnaya armiya Minsk Belarus SSR On 15 June 1992 by decree No 05 of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus the 26th Air Army headquarters became the command of the Air Forces of the Republic of Belarus Carpathian Military District Prikarpatskij voennyj okrug 14th Red Banner Air Army Lviv Ukrainian SSR Naval forces operationally attached Twice awarded the Red Banner Baltic Fleet Dvazhdy Krasnoznamyonnyj Baltijskij flot Air Forces of the Baltic Fleet VVS Baltijskogo flota Kaliningrad Kaliningrad Oblast RSFSR Belonged to the Naval Aviation Air Defence forces operationally attached 2nd Separate Air Defence Army 2 ya otdelnaya armiya PVO Minsk Belarus SSR Belonged to the Air Defence Forces High Command of the Forces of the South Western Strategic Direction Glavnoe komandovanie vojsk Zapadnogo napravleniya HQ in Chișinău Moldavian SSRdirectly subordinated transferred from Air Force HQ in wartime 24th Air Army of Operational Purpose 24 ya vozdushnaya armiya operativnogo naznacheniya Vinnitsa Ukrainian SSRSouthern Group of Forces Yuzhnaya gruppa vojsk 36th Red Banner Air Army Debrecen Hungarian People s Republic The Southern Group of Forces were based in the Hungarian People s Republic Kiev Military District Kievskij voennyj okrug 17th Red Banner Air Army Kiev Ukrainian SSR Consisted of Air Force higher schools Odessa Military District Odesskij voennyj okrug 5th Red Banner Air Army Odessa Ukrainian SSR Naval forces operationally attached Red Banner Black Sea Fleet Air Forces of the Black Sea Fleet VVS Chernomorskogo flota Sevastopol Ukrainian SSR Belonged to the Naval Aviation High Command of the Forces of the Southern Strategic Direction Glavnoe komandovanie vojsk Zapadnogo napravleniya HQ in Baku Azerbaijan SSRNorth Caucasus Military District Severo Kavkazskij voennyj okrug Air Forces of the North Caucasus Military District VVS Severo Kavkazskogo voennogo okruga Transcaucasus Military District Zakavkazskij voennyj okrug 34th Air Army Tbilisi Georgian SSRTurkestan Military District Turkestanskij voennyj okrug 73rd Air Army Alma Ata Kazakh SSR Until June 1 1989 the TMD s air army was the 49th Air Army HQ in Tashkent Uzbekistan SSR The 73rd Air Army controlled the Air Force assets of the Central Asian Military District On June 1 1989 the CAMD was disbanded and integrated back into the TMD The two air armies were therefore also integrated with the new command retaining the designation of the 73rd High Command of the Forces of the Far East Glavnoe komandovanie vojsk Dalnego Vostoka HQ in Ulan Ude RSFSRFar Eastern Military District Dalnevostochnyj voennyj okrug 1st Red Banner Air Army 1 ya krasnoznamennaya vozdushnaya armiya Khabarovsk RSFSRTransbaikal Military District Zabajkalskij voennyj okrug 23rd Red Banner Air Army Chita RSFSR Naval forces operationally attached Red Banner Pacific Fleet Air Forces of the Pacific Fleet VVS Tihookeanskogo flota Vladivostok RSFSR Belonged to the Naval Aviation internal military districtsMoscow Military District Moskovskij voennyj okrug Air Forces of the Moscow Military District VVS Moskovskogo voennogo okruga Formerly the 78th Air Army Leningrad Military District Leningradskij voennyj okrug 76th Red Banner Air Army Leningrad RSFSRBaltic Military District Pribaltijskij voennyj okrug 15th Air Army Riga Latvian SSRVolga Ural Military District Privolzhsko Uralskij voennyj okrug Air Forces of the Volga Ural Military District VVS Privolzhsko Uralskogo voennogo okruga Sverdlovsk present day Yekaterinburg RSFSR The Volga Military District and the Ural Military District were merged on September 1 1989 into the Volga Ural Military District Due to their remoteness from the front lines in a possible armed conflict the two military district were tasked with mainly with training including pilot training for the Air Forces For that reason the newly unified military district held 1st place by total aircraft quantity of all the military districts and groups of forces 1735 units but this changed to 16th place if only combat aircraft were taken into consideration 51 Siberian Military District Sibirskij voennyj okrug Air Forces of the SIberian District VVS Sibirskogo voennogo okruga Due to its remoteness from the front lines in a possible armed conflict the SMD were tasked with mainly with training including pilot training for the Air Forces For that reason the military district held the median 9th place by total aircraft quantity of all the military districts and groups of forces but this changed to dead last 19th place if only combat aircraft were taken into consideration 51 In addition the 34th Mixed Aviation Corps ru 34 j smeshannyj aviacionnyj korpus later re designated to the Air Forces of the 40th Army supported the 40th Army in Afghanistan during the Soviet Afghan War Its HQ was in Kabul Democratic Republic of Afghanistan co located with the HQ of the 40th Army itself Directly subordinated to the AF Main Staff Edit Several formations and flying units were directly subordinated to the Air Forces Main Staff Glavnyj shtab VVS 52 They provided air transport for high ranking government and military officials flight testing or support to other research and development fields Units directly subordinated to the Main Staff Struktury centralnogo Glavkomatu VVS podchineniya 21st Separate Aviation Squadron of Flying Laboratories 21 ya otdelnaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya letayushih laboratorij 21 ya oaell Kubinka An 12 An 26 Mi 8 27th Separate Helicopter Squadron 27 ya otdelnaya vertoletnaya eskadrilya 27 ya ove Semipalatinsk Kazakhstan SSR Mi 8 provided liaison flight support to the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Center 101st Separate Test Support Aviation Squadron 101 ya otdelnaya ispytatelnaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya 101 ya oiae 287th according to some sources Nukus Uzbekistan SSR An 26 Mi 8 provided support to the 8th Chemical Defence Station Vosmaya stanciya himicheskoj zashity test range on the Ustyurt Plateau 220th Separate Test Support Aviation Squadron of Specific Purpose 220 ya otdelnaya ispytatelnaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya osobogo naznacheniya 220 ya oiae on Aralsk Kazakhstan SSR An 72 An 26 Mi 26 Mi 8 An 2 provided airborne telemetric surveillance support to the Kapustin Yar missile test range The airfield also provided liaison flights to the top secret Barkhan bacteriological warfare test range on Vozrozhdeniya Island unidentified Separate Aviation Squadron otdelnaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya oae Klin Tu 134 An 12 An 26 An 24 Mi 8 Klin air base was also considered the household airfield of the Air Defence Forces aviation and a mixed air regiment was based there with the mission to provide liaison flights to the Air Defence Forces Main Staff and flight skills refreshment for the high ranking pilot officers Separate Transport Aviation Squadron otdelnaya transportnaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya otae Privolzhskiy near Astrakhan Il 18 An 26 Mi 8 provided liaison flights to the 116th Combat Application Training Center of the Air Defence Aviation 116 j Centr boevogo primeneniya aviacii PVO 2nd State Central Test Range 2 j Gosudarstvennyj centralnyj ispytatelnyj poligon 2 GCIP designation in some sources given as the 2 j Gosudarstvennyj centralnyj nauchno issledovatelskij ispytatelnyj poligon 2 GCNIIP Semipalatinsk Separate Transport Aviation Squadron otdelnaya transportnaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya otae ZATO Kurchatov 21 also listed sometimes as the Semipalatinsk 21 An 30RR An 24RR Mi 8 9 RR Radiation Reconnaissance Separate Transport Aviation Squadron otdelnaya transportnaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya otae Semipalatinsk Zhanasemei airfield An 30 An 24RR 5th Central Scientific Research Institute 5 j Centralnyj nauchno issledovatelskij institut 5 CNII designation in some sources given as the 5 j Centralnyj nauchno issledovatelskij ispytatelnyj institut 5 CNII Voronezh Separate Composite Aviation Squadron otdelnaya smeshannaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya osae Voronezh Airport Il 20 Mi 8 EW 8th Aviation Division of Specific Purpose 8 ya aviacionnaya diviziya osobogo naznacheniya 8 ya ad on Chkalovsky 353th Aviation Regiment of Specific Purpose 353 j aviacionnyj polk osobogo naznacheniya 353 j ap on Chkalovsky Il 62 Tu 154 Tu 134 Il 18 Il 76 An 72 354th Aviation Regiment of Specific Purpose 354 j aviacionnyj polk osobogo naznacheniya 354 j ap on Chkalovsky Il 76 Il 22 An 12 An 26 An 24 355th Aviation Regiment of Specific Purpose 355 j aviacionnyj polk osobogo naznacheniya 355 j ap on Chkalovsky disbanded in 1989 and absorbed into the 353rd Aviation Regiment along with its Tu 134 and Tu 154 aircraft Separate Composite Aviation Squadron otdelnaya smeshannaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya osae Chkalovsky Il 80 4 aircraft Il 76RT 2 aircraft attached to the 8th ADSP for air traffic control ground support and maintenance but reporting directly to the Ministry of Defence The Il 80 was the airborne command center variant of the Il 86 and the Soviet counterpart to the E 4 The four Il 80 received command task force of officers detailed from the Ministry of Defence when on airborne duty The two Il 76RT were relay aircraft RT retranslator and had no command task force on board They provided Ultra high frequency link between the Soviet nuclear triad and the command centers and were equipped with drag antennae array which could extend to a total length of 6 kilometers The Navy s SSBNs and the Air Force s Long Range Aviation normally used alternative communications channels so the main task for the Il 76RTs remained to provide a link to the Strategic Rocket Forces The command and control system was designated Chain Link Zveno and included the Il 80s the Il 76RTs the underground silo based Perimetr and the railway based Gorn command alert missiles High Command of the Forces of the Southern Strategic Direction Glavnoe komandovanie vojsk Yuzhnogo napravleniya GK YuN Baku Azerbaijan SSR 300th Separate Composite Aviation Squadron 300 ya otdelnaya smeshannaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya 300 ya osae Kala Tu 154 Tu 134 Il 22 An 26 An 24 Mi 6 Mi 8 9 Ka 27PS An 2 Mi 2 High Command of the Forces of the South Western Strategic Direction Glavnoe komandovanie vojsk Yugo Zapadnogo napravleniya GK YuZN Kishinev Moldavian SSR 153rd Separate Composite Aviation Squadron 300 ya otdelnaya smeshannaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya 153 ya osae Kishinev Tu 134 Il 22 An 72 An 26 An 24 Mi 8 9 Warsaw Pact Organisation Organizaciya varshavskogo dogovora OVD 25th Separate Composite Aviation Squadron 25 ya otdelnaya smeshannaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya 25 ya osae Legnica and Krzywa Polish People s Republic Tu 134 Il 22 An 12 An 72 An 26 Mi 8 100th Separate Helicopter Flight 100 j otdelnyj vertolyotnyj otryad 100 j ovo Damascus Syrian Arab Republic Mi 8PPA SMV MTPI supporting the Soviet military advisors embedded in the Syrian military 929th State Flight Test Center named after V P Chkalov of the Ministry of Defence of the USSR 929 j Gosudarstvennyj lyotno ispytatelnyj centr im V P Chkalova Ministerstva oborony SSSR 929 GLIC MO SSSR Akhtubinsk testing of each type of military aircraft destined for the Air Force Air Defence Forces Naval Aviation and export 75th Separate Composite Aviation Regiment 75 j otdelnyj smeshannyj aviacionnyj polk 75 j osap Akhtubinsk An 12 An 26 An 24 An 72 Tu 154 Mi 8 333rd Separate Composite Aviation Regiment 333 j otdelnyj smeshannyj aviacionnyj polk 333 j osap Akhtubinsk Tu 16 MiG 21 Air Force Test Pilots Training Center Centr podgotovki lyotchikov ispytatelej VVS Akhtubinsk MiG 21 L 39 Yak 40 An 26 Mi 8 Separate Composite Aviation Regiment of Specific Purpose otdelnyj smeshannyj aviacionnyj polk osobogo naznacheniya osap on Severnyj Kirovskoe Su 27 MiG 29 Ka 25 Ka 27 Mi 14 Ka 29 An 12 An 72 Il 38 Tu 142 MI 6 Mi 8 Yak 38 flight testing of naval aviation 368th Separate Composite Aviation Squadron 368 ya otdelnaya smeshannaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya 368 ya osae Nalchik Airport An 12 Mi 8 mountain testing 47th Separate Composite Aviation Squadron 47 ya otdelnaya smeshannaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya 47 ya osae Volsk An 26 Mi 8 Separate Composite Aviation Squadron otdelnaya transportnaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya otae Chkalovskij Il 76 An 12 An 72 An 26 Separate Helicopter Squadron otdelnaya vertolyotnaya eskadrilya ove Chkalovskij Mi 26 Mi 6 Mi 8 Separate Aviation Flight otdelnyj aviacionnyj otryad oao Chkalovskij Il 20 Il 22 possibly two separate air flights based at Chkalovsky one flying Il 20 and another one flying Il 22 Nizhny Tagil Metal Proving Institute Nizhnetagilskij institut ispytaniya metallov NTIIM Flight Test Base Lyotno ispytatelnaya baza LIB Salka airfield Nizhny Tagil Tu 16 Su 24 Su 25 MiG 21 An 12 An 24 testing of aviation armaments Military Transport Aviation Edit The Soviet Military Transport Aviation had the following structure in the end of the 1980s 53 Military Transport Aviation Command Komandovanie voennotransportnoj aviacii Moscow RSFSR 18th Guards Taganrogskaya awarded the Order of the Red Banner the Order of Suvorov and the Order of Kutuzov Military Transport Aviation Division 18 ya gvardejskaya Taganrogskaya Krasnoznamennaya ordenov Suvorova i Kutuzova voenno transportnaya aviacionnaya diviziya Siauliai Lithuanian SSR 128th Guards Leningradskiy awarded the Order of the Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Regiment 128 j gvardejskij Leningradskij Krasnoznamennyj voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Panevezys Lithuanian SSR Ilyushin Il 76M 196th Guards Minskiy Military Transport Aviation Regiment 196 j gvardejskij Minskij voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Tartu Estonian SSR Ilyushin Il 76M 600th Military Transport Aviation Regiment 600 j voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Kedainiai Lithuanian SSR Ilyushin Il 76 117th Berlinskiy awarded the Order of Kutuzov Aviation Regiment for Radio electronic warfare 117 j Berlinskij ordena Kutuzova aviacionnyj polk REB Siauliai Lithuanian SSR Antonov An 12PP PPS 6th Guards Zaporozhskaya awarded the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky Military Transport Aviation Division 6 ya gvardejskaya Zaporozhskaya Krasnoznamennaya ordena Bogdana Hmelnickogo voenno transportnaya aviacionnaya diviziya Kryvyi Rih Ukrainian SSR 54 37th Military Transport Aviation Regiment 37 j voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Artsyz Ukrainian SSR Ilyushin Il 76 338th Military Transport Aviation Regiment 338 j Rizhskij voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Zaporizhzhia Ukrainian SSR Ilyushin Il 76 363rd Cherkaskiy awarded the Order of Suvorov and the Order of Bogdan Khmelnitsky Military Transport Aviation Regiment 363 j Cherkasskij ordenov Suvorova i Bogdana Hmelnickogo voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Kryvyi Rih Ukrainian SSR Ilyushin Il 76 7th Military Transport Aviation Division 7 ya voenno transportnaya aviacionnaya diviziya Melitopol Ukrainian SSR 25th Moskovskiy Military Transport Aviation Regiment 25 j gvardejskij Moskovskij voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Ilyushin Il 76 175th Military Transport Aviation Regiment 175 j voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Ilyushin Il 76 369th Military Transport Aviation Regiment 369 j voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Ilyushin Il 76 3rd Guards Smolenskaya awarded the Order of Suvorov and the Order of Kutuzov Military Transport Aviation Division 3 ya gvardejskaya Smolenskaya ordenov Suvorova i Kutuzova voenno transportnaya aviacionnaya diviziya Vitebsk Belarussian SSR 110th Military Transport Aviation Regiment 110 j voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Krechevitsy near Novgorod RSFSR Ilyushin Il 76 334th Berlin Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Regiment 334 j Berlinskij Krasnoznamennyj voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Pskov RSFSR Ilyushin Il 76 339th Awarded the Order of Suvorov Military Transport Aviation Regiment 339 j ordena Suvorova voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Vitebsk Belarussian SSR Ilyushin Il 76 12th Mginskaya Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Division 12 ya Mginskaya Krasnoznamennaya voenno transportnaya aviacionnaya diviziya Tver RSFSR 566th Solnechnogorskiy awarded the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of Kutuzov Military Transport Aviation Regiment 566 j Solnechnogorskij Krasnoznamennyj ordena Kutuzova voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Seshta near Bryansk RSFSR Antonov An 124 978th Military Transport Aviation Regiment 978 j voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Seshta near Bryansk RSFSR Antonov An 124 2 squadrons Ilyushin Il 76 1 squadron 8th Military Transport Aviation Regiment 8 j voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Tver RSFSR Antonov An 22 81st Military Transport Aviation Regiment 81 j voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Ivanovo Severny Antonov An 22 separate Military Transport Aviation regiments 192nd Guards Kerchenskiy Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Regiment 192 j gvardejskij Kerchenskij Krasnoznamennyj voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Ukkurey Chita Oblast RSFSR Ilyushin Il 76MD 708th Military Transport Aviation Regiment 708 j voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Taganrog Rostov Oblast RSFSR Ilyushin Il 76MD 930th Komsomolskiy Transylvanskiy Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Regiment 930 j Komsomolskij Transilvanskij Krasnoznamennyj voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk Zavitinsk Amur Oblast RSFSR Antonov An 12 194th Guards Bryanskiy Red Banner Military Transport Aviation Regiment named after N F Gastello 194 j gvardejskij Bryanskij Krasnoznamennyj voenno transportnyj aviacionnyj polk im N F Gastello Fergana Uzbek SSR Antonov An 12 training establishments 610th Center for Combat Training and Conversion of Flight Personnel of the Military Transport Aviation 610 j centr boevogo primeneniya i pereuchivaniya letnogo sostava VTA Ivanovo Severny Ilyushin Il 76 2 training and 1 test and evaluation squadrons wartime mobilization assets the State owned flag carrier Aeroflot was wartime mobilization reserve to the Military Transport Aviation with some Il 76 aircraft of the civilian air company as much as retaining the aft self defence gun turrets Aeroflot Il 76MD airlift assets outside the Military Transport Aviation 8th Aviation Division of Special Purpose 8 aviacionnaya diviziya OSNAZ Moscow Chkalovskiy Air Base RSFSR transport and command aviation unit for the USSR s high officials 70th Transport Regiment of Special Purpose 70 j transportnyj polk OSNAZ Moscow Chkalovskiy Air Base RSFSR Ilyushin Il 62 Il 86 Il 76 353rd Transport Regiment of Special Purpose 353 j transportnyj polk OSNAZ Moscow Chkalovskiy Air Base RSFSR Antonov An 12 An 26 An 24 354th Transport Regiment of Special Purpose 354 j transportnyj polk OSNAZ Moscow Chkalovskiy Air Base RSFSR Tupolev Tu 134 Tu 154 Separate Aviation Squadron for Command and Retranslation otdelnaya aviacionnaya eskadrilya upravleniya i retranslyacii Moscow Chkalovskiy Air Base RSFSR Ilyushin Il 80 Il 82 Each Strategic Direction Command and each Military District also had a Separate Composite Aviation Regiment otdelnyj smeshannyj aviacionnyj polk osap which included An 24 An 26 possibly An 12 transport aircraft Mi 8 possibly Mi 2 helicopters and a Tu 134 as the commander of the strategic direction or the military district s personal transport aircraft Soviet Air Defence Forces Edit Independent air defense component of the Soviet Armed Forces under Headquarters Voyska PVO Soviet Air Defence Forces 2nd Air Defence Army Soviet Air Defence Forces part 4th Independent Air Defence Army 6th Independent Air Defence Army Soviet Air Defence Forces 8th Independent Air Defence Army Soviet Air Defence Force 10th Independent Air Defence Army Soviet Air Defence Forces 11th Independent Air Defence Army Far East Military District 12th Independent Air Defence Army Soviet Air Defence Forces 14th Independent Air Defence Army Soviet Air Defence Forces 19th Air Defence ArmyTraining schools of the VVS and PVO Edit A Krasnaya Zvezda military schools list of 17 January 1980 included 24 Air Forces schools 55 Nine Higher Aviation Schools of Pilots were reported including the Borisoglebsk Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots at Borisoglebsk two navigator schools including the Chelyabinsk Higher Military Aviation School of Navigators 50th Anniversary of the Komsomols the Khar kov Higher Military Aviation Command School of Signals five three year technical secondary schools six Air Force engineering schools including the Kiev Higher Military Aviation Engineering School and the Kurgan Higher Military Political Aviation School In 1988 schools included 56 5th Central Course for Preparation and Improvement of Aviation Personnel Frunze Chui Oblast Kyrgyz SSR HQ VVS 796th Red Banner Center for Preparation of Officers for Fighter and Fighter Bomber Aviation Totskoye Orenburg Oblast HQ VVS Armavir Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots PVO Air Forces of the North Caucasus Military District Balashov Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots Air Forces of the Volga Ural Military District Barnaul Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots Air Forces of the Siberian Military District Borisoglebsk Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots Borisoglebsk VVS NCMD Chelyabinsk Higher Military Aviation School of Navigators Kacha Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots Volgograd HQ VVS ru Kachinskoe vysshee voennoe aviacionnoe uchilishe lyotchikov Kansk Military Aviation School of Air Rifle Radio Operators VVS Kansk VVS Siberian Military District Krasnodar Higher United Flight Technical School Krasnodar VVS NCMD ru Krasnodarskoe vysshee voennoe aviacionnoe uchilishe lyotchikov Orenburg Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots Orenburg VVS Volga Ural Military District Saratov Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots Saratov VVS Volga Urals Military District helicopter training Stavropol Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots and Navigators PVO Stavropol VVS North Caucasus Military District Syzran Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots Tambov Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots Tambov Tambov Oblast Air Forces of the Moscow Military District Ufa Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots Ufa Yeysk Higher Military Aviation School Yeysk ru Ejskij vysshij voennyj aviacionnyj institut 17th Air Army Kiev Military District primarily a training force Chernigov Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots Chernigov VVS Kiev Military District Kharkov Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots Kharkov Chuguyev VVS Kiev Military District Voroshilovgrad Higher Military Aviation School of Navigators Lugansk There is also a list of Soviet Air Force bases listing the various air bases of the force Commanders in Chief EditMain article Commander in Chief of the Russian Air ForceSoviet Air Force inventory in 1990 Edit Tupolev Tu 16 Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 23 Sukhoi Su 15 Sukhoi Su 24 Mil Mi 8T See also List of military aircraft of the Soviet Union and the CIS 175 strategic bombers 57 160 Tupolev Tu 95 15 Tupolev Tu 160390 medium bombers 57 80 Tupolev Tu 16 120 Tupolev Tu 22 190 Tupolev Tu 22M1 825 fighters 50 Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 21 595 Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 23 90 Sukhoi Su 27 540 Mikoyan MiG 292 510 attack aircraft 58 535 Sukhoi Su 17 830 Sukhoi Su 24 340 Sukhoi Su 25 905 Mikoyan MiG 2774 tankers 14 Ilyushin Il 78 40 Myasishchev M 4 Molot 20 Tupolev Tu 16835 Reconnaissance and ECM aircraft 50 Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 21 160 Mikoyan Gurevich MiG 25 135 Sukhoi Su 17 150 Sukhoi Su 24 170 Yakovlev Yak 28 120 Tupolev Tu 16 20 Tupolev Tu 22M 30 Ilyushin Il 22577 transport aircraft 12 Antonov An 124 55 Antonov An 22 125 Antonov An 12 385 Ilyushin Il 76 2 935 civilian and other transport aircraft usually Aeroflot aircraft which were easily convertedSee also EditList of Russian aviators List of Russian aerospace engineers Soviet air showsReferences Edit Glavnoe upravlenie Voenno Vozdushnyh sil Krasnoj Armii GUVVS in Russian RU RKKA archived from the original on 29 May 2008 retrieved 31 May 2008 The Command Structure of the Soviet Air Forces 1918 1941 On Air power 2008 Archived from the original on 27 July 2011 Retrieved 4 February 2011 Higham Robin and Greenwood John T Russian Aviation and Air Power in the Twentieth Century Routledge Press 1998 ISBN 978 0 7146 4784 5 pp 40 46 www warintheskies com Mike Colclough Soviet Air Force VVS www warintheskies com Archived from the original on 30 April 2017 Retrieved 5 February 2017 Palmer Scott 2006 Dictatorship of the Air Aviation Culture and the Fate of Modern Russia Cambridge New York Cambridge University Press p 220 Palmer Dictatorship of the Air 220 In 1935 attempts at navigating a transpolar route ended in failure Palmer Dictatorship of the Air p 223 a b Palmer Dictatorship of the Air p 230 As quoted in Bailes Kendall January 1976 Technology and Legitimacy Soviet Aviation and Stalinism in the 1930s Technology and Culture 17 1 63 doi 10 2307 3103253 JSTOR 3103253 Bergman Jay January 1998 Valerii Chkalov Soviet Pilot as New Soviet Man Journal of Contemporary History 33 1 136 doi 10 1177 003200949803300108 S2CID 157937639 Palmer Dictatorship of the Air 230 Fitzpatrick Sheila 1999 Everyday Stalinism Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times Soviet Russia in the 1930s New York Oxford University Press p 73 Palmer Scott 2005 Icarus East The Symbolic Contexts of Russian Flight The Slavic and East European Journal 49 1 38 doi 10 2307 20058219 JSTOR 20058219 Palmer Icarus east p 38 a b c Palmer Icarus east p 39 a b Bergman p 149 Palmer Icarus east 39 Bailes pp 63 4 Palmer Dictatorship of the Air p 248 Bailes p 64 Hardesty Von 1991 1982 Where Was Our Air Force Red Phoenix The Rise of Soviet Air Power 1941 1945 Washington D C Smithsonian Institution p 55 ISBN 0 87474 510 1 2nd Air Army was created on 15 March 1937 in the Far East and somewhat later 3rd Air Army was created in the North Caucasus Military District Kharin All Aces RU Bailes p 73 Bailes p 69 quotes an article from Red Air Force General Alksnis The constructor who creates and equips the plane must be oriented not toward phenomenally gifted flyers but towards rank and file pilots Bailes p 55 Whiting Kenneth 1986 Soviet Air Power revised ed Boulder Colorado Westview Press p 125 Why did Stalin rise to power Socialist Worker Online 1 August 2003 Archived from the original on 10 January 2011 Retrieved 4 February 2011 Hardesty Von 1991 1982 Barbarossa to Berlin A Summing Up Red Phoenix The Rise of Soviet Air Power 1941 1945 Washington DC Smithsonian Institution p 225 ISBN 0 87474 510 1 a b Buckley John 1999 Air Power in the Age of Total War Indiana University Press pp 134 143 ISBN 0 253 33557 4 Ratley III Maj Lonnie O March April 1983 A Lesson of History The Luftwaffe and Barbarossa Air University Review 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November 2010 Retrieved 21 April 2021 Feskov et al 2004 p 146 Christina F Shelton The Soviet Military Education System for Commissioning and Training Officers permanent dead link a bibliographical description and a link to the document in PDF format Appendix Holm Michael Flying Schools and Training Centres DK WW2 archived from the original on 18 March 2012 retrieved August 2011 Check date values in access date help a b Russia Long range aviation GlobalSecurity org 2010 Archived from the original on 4 February 2012 Retrieved 4 February 2011 Russia Air forces inventory GlobalSecurity org 2010 Archived from the original on 25 May 2011 Retrieved 4 February 2011 Bibliography EditAndersson Lennart Soviet Aircraft and Aviation 1917 1941 Annapolis MD Naval Institute Press 1994 ISBN 1 55750 770 8 Bailes Kendall January 1976 Technology and Legitimacy Soviet Aviation and Stalinism in the 1930s Technology and Culture 17 1 55 81 Bergman Jay January 1998 Valerii Chkalov Soviet Pilot as New Soviet Man Journal of Contemporary History 33 1 136 Boyd Alexander The Soviet Air Force Since 1918 New York Stein and Day 1977 With section of black and white photographic plates charts maps and diagrams together with index First published in The Soviet Air Force by Macdonald and Janes UK in 1977 Cooper Tom July August 2002 Floggers in Action Early MiG 23s in Operational Service Air Enthusiast No 100 pp 56 67 ISSN 0143 5450 Guest Carl Fredrick Talkback Air Enthusiast No 18 April July 1982 pp 78 79 ISSN 0143 5450 Kotelnikov V Kulikov V amp Cony C November 2001 Les avions francais en URSS 1921 1941 French Aircraft in the USSR 1921 1941 Avions Toute l Aeronautique et son histoire in French 104 37 56 ISSN 1243 8650 Kotelnikov V Kulikov V amp Cony C December 2001 Les avions francais en URSS 1921 1941 Avions Toute l Aeronautique et son histoire in French 105 50 56 ISSN 1243 8650 Loza D F Attack of the Airacobras Soviet Aces American P 39s and the Air War Against Germany Lawrence KS University Press of Kansas 2001 ISBN 0 7006 1140 1 Mason Richard Anthony and John William Ransom Taylor Aircraft strategy and operations of the Soviet Air Force London Jane s 1986 Palmer Scott W Dictatorship of the Air Aviation Culture and the Fate of Modern Russia New York Cambridge University Press 2006 ISBN 0 521 85957 3 Palmer Scott 2005 Icarus East The Symbolic Contexts of Russian Flight The Slavic and East European Journal 49 1 38 Pennington Reina 2002 Wings Women and War Soviet Airwomen in World War II Combat Lawrence KS University Press of Kansas 2002 ISBN 0 7006 1145 2 Von Hardesty Ilya Grinberg 2012 Red Phoenix Rising The Soviet Air Force in World War II 2nd ed University Press of Kansas ISBN 978 0 7006 1828 6 Wagner Ray ed Fetzer Leland trans The Soviet Air Force in World War II The Official History Wren Publishing Melbourne 1973 ISBN 0 85885 194 6 Whiting Kenneth 1986 Soviet Air Power Revised Ed Boulder Colorado Westview Press Sovetskie Vojska PVO v poslednie gody Soyuza SSR Chast 1 by A G Lenskiy and M M Tsybin Saint Petersburg 2013 164 pages Vse istrebitelnye aviapolki Stalina by V Anokhin and M Bykhov Moscow 2014 944 pagesExternal links EditWikimedia Commons has media related to Soviet Air Forces Dictatorship of the Air Website and blog devoted to Soviet Russian aviation history Globalsecurity org on Russian air arms useful for structure of Soviet Air Force Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Soviet Air Forces amp oldid 1050385839, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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