“TheCeļotājs”
"Latvia" Former Soviet Union Military Bases
 
Soviet Air Forces
Военно-воздушные силы СССР
Voyenno-vozdushnye sily SSSR
 
    
                            Flag of the Soviet Air Force
 
Active: 24 May 1918
Country: RSFSR, USSR
Main Staff: Moscow
 
The Soviet Air Force, officially known in Russian as "Военно-воздушные силы" or "in the Latin alphabet" Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily literally, "Military Air Forces" and often abbreviated VVS "ВВС in Cyrillic" was the official designation of one of the air forces of the Soviet Union. The other was the Soviet Air Defense Forces. The Air Forces were formed from components of the "Imperial Russian Air Force in 1917", faced their greatest test during World War II, were involved in the Korean War, and dissolved along with the Soviet Union itself in 1991-1992.
 
Origins
 
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 reorganization, 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 then being made up of Air armies, Aviation Corps, Aviation Divisions, and aviation regiments.
 
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 years of the 1930s and towards the end of the decade the Soviet Air Force was able to introduce I-15 and I-16 fighters and Tupolev SB and SB-bis and DB-3 bombers.
 
One of the first major tests for the VVS came in 1936 with the Spanish Civil War, in which the latest aircraft designs, both Soviet and German, were employed against each other in fierce air-to-air combat. At first, the Polikarpov I-16 fighters proved superior to any of the German Luftwaffe fighter aircraft, 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 German 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 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.
 
On 19 November 1939, VVS headquarters was again titled the Main Directorate of the Red Army Air Forces.
 
The War with Finland
 
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 that established Soviet air defense 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 in 1937–1938 on the Red Army's officer corps 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.
 
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. 
 
1930s Aviation Cult
 
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 instead of 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. On the 20th of June, 1937, the aviators landed their ANT-25 plane in Vancouver, Oregon. 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, 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 August 18th 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 of folklore mythology in Soviet aviation culture exploded 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 bogatyrs "warriors"]. Newspapers told traditional Russian narratives "skazka" 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 attempting 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 accounting 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 were beneficial to 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 Air Force was hit hard by the Red Army purges in 1941.
 
The successful achievements in Soviet aviation also came during the worst of 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 coverage of aviation
exploits, deflecting attention away from the arrests. 
 
Purge of the Red Army in 1941
 
    
     Beria's proposal of 29 January 1942, to execute the 46 and Stalin's
     resolution: "Shoot all named in the list. - J. St."
 
Between October 1940 and February 1942, the impending start of the German invasion in June 1941 notwithstanding, the Red Army, in particular the Soviet Air Force, as well as Soviet military-related industries were decapitated by repressions once again. After a pause in mass repressions after the Great Purge, in October 1940 the NKVD "People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs" under its new chief Lavrenty Beria started a new purge that initially hit the "People's Commissariat of Ammunition, People's Commissariat of Aviation Industry and People's Commissariat of Armaments". High level officials admitted guilt, typically under torture, then testified against each other and were repressed on fabricated charges of anti-Soviet activity, sabotage and spying.
 
While the new wave of repression in the military-related industries continued well into 1941, in April–May 1941 Stalin's Politburo inquired about the high accident rate in the Air Force, which led to the dismissal of several commanders, including Head of the Air Force Lieutenant General Pavel Rychagov. In May, a German Junkers Ju 52 landed in Moscow, undetected by the ADF beforehand, leading to massive repressions among the Air Force leadership. The NKVD soon focused attention on them and started repressions against the alleged anti-Soviet conspiracy of German spies in the military, centered around the Air Force and linked to the conspiracies of 1937-1938. The repression had taken on a large scale by early June, when the suspects were transferred from the custody of the Military Counterintelligence to the NKVD, and continued uninterrupted into well after the German attack on the Soviet Union, which started on 22 June 1941.
 
Timeline of Arrests:
  • 30 May People's Commissar of Ammunition Ivan Sergeyev and Major General Ernst Schacht
  • 31 May Lieutenant General Pyotr Pumpur
  • 7 June People's Commissar of Armaments Boris Vannikov and Colonel General Grigory Shtern
  • 8 June Lieutenant General Yakov Smushkevich
  • 18 June Lieutenant General Pavel Alekseyev
  • 19 June Colonel General Alexander Loktionov
  • 24 June General Kirill Meretskov and Lieutenant General Pavel Rychagov
  • 27 June Lieutenant General Ivan Proskurov
Additionally, during the first months of the war, scores of commanders, most notably, General Dmitry Pavlov, were repressed as scapegoats for failures. Some of them were conveniently linked to the conspirators. Only two of the accused were spared, People's Commissar of Armaments Boris Vannikov "released in July" and Deputy People's Commissar of Defense General Kirill Meretskov "released in September", although at least the latter had confessed guilt under torture. 
 
About 300 commanders, including Lieutenant Generals Nikolay Klich and Robert Klyavinsh and Major General Sergey Chernykh, were hastily executed on 16 October 1941, during the Battle of Moscow, the others were evacuated to Kuybyshev, provisional capital of the Soviet Union, on 17 October. On 28 October twenty were summarily shot near Kuybyshev on Beria's personal order of 18 October, including Colonel Generals Alexander Loktionov and Grigory Shtern, Lieutenant Generals Fyodor Arzhenukhin, Ivan Proskurov, Yakov Smushkevich and Pavel Rychagov with his wife. 
 
In November Beria successfully lobbied Stalin to simplify the procedure for carrying out death sentences issued by local military courts, which wouldn't require approval of the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court and Politburo for the first time since the end of the Great Purge. Moreover, the right to issue extrajudicial death sentences was once again granted to the Special Council of the NKVD. Forty six persons, including 17 Generals, among them Lieutenant Generals Pyotr Pumpur, Pavel Alekseyev, Konstantin Gusev, Yevgeny Ptukhin, Nikolai Trubetskoy, Pyotr Klyonov, Ivan Selivanov, Major General Ernst Schacht, and People's Commissar of Ammunition Ivan Sergeyev, were sentenced to death by the Special Council with the approval of Stalin and were executed on the Day of the Red Army, 23 February 1942. On 4 February 1942, Beria together with his ally Georgy Malenkov as members of the State Defense Committee were assigned to supervise production of aircraft, armaments and ammunition.
 
Many of the victims were exonerated posthumously during de-Stalinization in the 1950s-1960s. In December 1953 a special secret session of the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union, itself without due process, among other things found Beria guilty of terrorism for the extrajudicial execution of October 1941 and sentenced him to death.
 
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 was distinctly lagging 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 the Nazis attacked the Soviet border in June of 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 defense bases, allowing the Luftwaffe to destroy 4,000 Soviet planes within the first week. The Soviet's disorganized defenses and technologically deficient aircraft were no match for the Luftwaffe, costing the USSR millions of lives early on in the war.
 
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 that Soviet industry was "50 to 100 years behind"  the Western powers. By the end of the war, Soviet annual aircraft production had risen sharply with annual Soviet production reaching to 40,241 aircraft in 1944. Some 157,261 aircraft were produced during the Great Patriotic War, of them 125,655 combat types. 
 
 
    
    Original star roundel in World War II
 
The main reason 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 the Wehrmacht ground troops, forcing the Soviet pilots on the defensive during Operation Barbarossa, while being confronted with more modern German aircraft. In the first few days of Operation Barbarossa the Luftwaffe destroyed some 2000 Soviet aircraft, most of them on the ground, at a loss of only 35 aircraft of which "15 were non-combat-related". 
 
The principal aircraft of the VVS during World War II were the Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik armored ground attack monoplane and the series of the A.S. Yakovlev-designed single-engined fighters, beginning with the Yakovlev Yak-1 fighter and its trio of successors in their many variants; for which the Il-2 became at "36,183 aircraft" the single most produced military aircraft design of all time, with the four main versions the "Yak-1, -3, -7 and -9" of the Yak fighters being slightly more numerous, at a total of 36,716 aircraft, the two main types together accounting 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 design of the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The Yak-9 brought the VVS to parity with the Luftwaffe, eventually allowing it to gain the upper hand over the Luftwaffe until in 1944, when many Luftwaffe pilots were deliberately avoiding combat with the last and best variant, the out-of-sequence numbered Yak-3. The other main VVS aircraft types were Lavochkin fighters, mainly the Lavochkin La-5, the Petlyakov Pe-2 twin engine 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.
 
Alone among World War II combatants, the Soviet Air Force initiated a program to bring women with existing air 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"]. Because of their chievements in battle, the latter two 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.
 
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.
 
Chief Marshal of Aviation Alexander Novikov led the VVS from 1942 to the end of the war, and was credited with introducing several new 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 biplane of 1920s design, took part. However, this was but a small measure of the experience Wehrmacht front-lines were receiving of the sophistication and superiority the Red Air Force had achieved. In one strategic operation alone, the Yassy-Kishinev Strategic Offensive, the 5th, 17th Air Armies and the Black Sea Fleet Naval Aviation aircraft achieved a 3.3:1 superiority in aircraft over the 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 by Lend-Lease, mostly P-39 Airacobras, P-63 Kingcobras, Hawker Hurricanes, Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks and A-20 Havocs. Soviets in P-39s scored the highest individual kill totals of any pilot ever to fly a U.S. aircraft. Two air regiments were equipped with Spitfire Mk. Vb in early 1943 but immediately experienced unrelenting losses due to friendly fire as the British aircraft looked too much like its German nemesis, the Bf 109. Lend-Lease aircraft from the US 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 individual aerial victories from 6 July 1943 to 16 April 1945, the top score for any Allied fighter pilot of World War II.
 
Cold War
 
In the late 1940s and in the 1950s, the WPKA Army Air Forces became the Soviet Air Forces once again, and 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.
 
During the Cold War, the Soviet Air Force was rearmed, strengthened and modern air doctrines were introduced. At its peak in the 1980s, it could deploy approximately 10,000 aircraft, and at the beginning of the 1990s the Soviet Union had an air force that in terms of quantity and quality fulfilled superpower standards. 
 
In 1977 the VVS "Air Force" and the Soviet Air Defense Forces were re-organized in the Baltic states and the Leningrad Oblast, as a trial run for the larger re-organization in 1980 covering the whole country. All fighter units in the PVO were transferred to the VVS, the Air Defense 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. Though the experiment was then applied countrywide in 1980, it was reversed in 1986, but then most of the Air Defense Force's command and control duties and assists became part of the Air Force, as well as several educational and training institutions.
 
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 or "DA"", focused on long-range bombers; Frontal Aviation "Frontovaya Aviatsiya or "FA", focused on battlefield air defense, close air support, and interdiction; and Military Transport Aviation "Voenno-Transportnaya Aviatsiya or "VTA", which controlled all transport aircraft. The Soviet Air Defense 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 organization.
 
Yet another independent service was the Soviet Navy's air arm, the Soviet Naval Aviation "Aviatsiya Voenno Morskogo Flota or "AV-MF", under the Navy Headquarters.
 
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.
 
1980s Fighter Programs
 
In the 1980s the Soviet Union acknowledged the development of the Advanced Tactical Fighter in the USA and began the development of an equivalent fighter.
 
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 "F-22 Raptor/YF-23 Black Widow II". 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.
 
In response to the American X-32/F-35 project, 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.
 
Russia would later change the designation of the LFI project to LFS, making it a multirole aircraft with primarily emphasized 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. Most recently, the PAK FA was planned, 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 collapse 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
 
Long Range Aviation:
  • 30th Air Army VGK "Irkutsk, Long Range Aviation"
  • 37th Air Army VGK "Special subordination Moscow, "Long Range Aviation"
  • 46th Air Army VGK "Smolensk, Long Range Aviation"
Frontal Aviation:
  • 16th Air Army "Group of Soviet Forces in Germany"
  • 4th Air Army VGK "Special purpose"
  • 36th Air Army "Southern Group of Forces, Hungary"
  • 131st Mixed Aviation Division "Central Group of Forces", Milovice, Czechoslovakia
Military Transport Aviation:
 
Military Transport Aviation included six separate regiments, and five divisions with a total of 18 military transport aviation regiments in 1988. The divisions were the 3rd Guards Military Transport Aviation Division "VTAD" at Vitebsk "Four Regiments", the 6th Military Transport Aviation Division at Krivoy Rog "Two Regiments", the 8th Division at Omsk Chkalovsk near Omsk "Three OSNAZ Regiments", the 12th Military Transport Aviation Division at Migalovo, which traced its heritage to the 12th Bomber Aviation Division of the World War II period, and had three regiments, and the 18th Military Transport Aviation Division at Shaulyai, tracing its history to the wartime 6th Guards Bomber Aviation Division, and had three regiments.
 
Frontal Aviation:
  • 5th Air Army "Frontal Aviation" "Odessa Military District"
  • 15th Air Army "Baltic Military District"
  • 26th Air Army "Belarussian Military District" On 15 June 1992, by decree No. 05 of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Belarus, the 26th Air Army headquarters became the command of the Air Forces of the Republic of Belarus. 14th Air Army VVS
  • 24th Air Army VGK "Special Purpose" "South-Western Strategic Direction" At the dissolution of the Soviet Union this Army had forces in Belarus and Ukraine. In Ukraine forces consisted of the 32nd Bomber Aviation Division, at      Starokonstantinov, the 56th Bomber Aviation Division at Cherlyany, and the 138th Fighter Aviation Division at Mirgorod. In Ukraine in 1991–92, this Army had available over 140 Su-24 Fencer, over 35 Yak-28 electronic warfare aircraft, and 40 MiG-27 Floggers and 40 Su-27 Flankers for strike escort.
  • 34th Air Army "Transcaucasian Military District"
  • 73rd Air Army "Tashkent, Turkestan Military District"
  • 76th Air Army "Leningrad, Leningrad Military District"
  • VVS Moscow Military District
  • 23rd Air Army "Transbaikal Military District"
  • 1st Air Army of Frontal Aviation "Far Eastern Military District"
  • VVS Of Volga-Urals Military District
Soviet Air Defense Forces:
 
Independent air defense component of the Soviet Armed Forces under Headquarters, Voyska PVO "Soviet Air Defense Forces".
  • 2nd Air Defense Army "Soviet Air Defense Forces" part
  • 4th Air Defense Army
  • 6th Independent Army of PVO "Soviet Air Defense Forces"
  • 8th Independent Air Defense Army "Soviet Air Defense Force"
  • 10th Independent Air Defense Army "Soviet Air Defense Forces"
  • 11th Air Defense Army "Far East Military District"
  • 12th Independent Air Defense Army "Soviet Air Defense Forces"
  • 14th Air Defense Army "Soviet Air Defense Forces"
  • 19th Air Defense Army
Training schools of the VVS and PVO: 
 
In 1988, Schools Included: 
  • 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
  • Kansk Military Aviation School of Air Rifle-Radio Operators VVS "Kansk" VVS Siberian Military District
  • Krasnodar Higher United Flight-Technical School "Krasnodar" VVS NCMD
  • 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" VVS Moscow Military District
  • Ufa Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots "Ufa"
  • Yeysk Higher Military Aviation School "Yeysk"
  • 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" 
  • 6th Army of the PVO Vainode Latvia. 6th PVO Army, 54 IAP. 38 Su-27.
Commanders-in-Chief
  • Arkadi Rozengoltz "1923–1924"
  • Pyotr Baranov "1924–1931"
  • Yakov Alksnis "1931–1937"
  • Colonel General Aleksandr Loktionov "1937–1939"
  • Lieutenant General Yakov Smushkevich "1939–1940"
  • Chief Marshal of Aviation Alexander Novikov "1942–1946"
  • Chief Marshal of Aviation Konstantin Vershinin - Russian: "Вершинин Константин Андреевич" "1946–1949, 1957–1969"
  • Chief Marshal of Aviation Zhigarev Pavel Fedorovich - Russian: "Жигарев Павел Федорович" "1949–1957"
  • Chief Marshal of Aviation Pavel Stepanovich Kutakhov - Russian: "Кутахов Павел Степанович" "1969–1984"
  • Marshal of Aviation Yefimov Aleksandr Nikolayevich - Russian: "Ефимов Александр Николаевич" "1984–1990"
  • Marshal of Aviation Yevgeny Shaposhnikov "1990–1991" 
Soviet Air Force Inventory as of 1990
  • 205 Strategic Bombers 
    • 160 Tupolev Tu-95 
    • 15 Tupolev Tu-160 
    • 30 Myasishchev M-4 
  • 230 Medium Bombers 
    • 30 Tupolev Tu-22M 
    • 80 Tupolev Tu-16 
    • 120 Tupolev Tu-22 
  • 3,530 Fighters 
    • 610 Su-27 Flanker 
    • 720 MiG-29 Fulcrum 
    • 700 MiG-23 Flogger 
    • 800 MiG-21 Fishbed 
    • 400 MiG-31 Foxhound 
    • 300 MiG-25 Foxbat 
  • 2,135 Attack Aircraft 
    • 630 Su-24 Fencer 
    • 535 Su-17 Fitter 
    • 130 Su-7 Fitter-A 
    • 500 MiG-27 Flogger-D 
    • 340 Su-25 Frogfoot 
  • 84 Tankers 
    • 34 Ilyushin Il-76 Midas 
    • 30 Myasishchev M-4 'Molot' Bison 
    • 20 Tupolev Tu-16 Badger 
  • 40 AWACS 
    • 40 Beriev A-50 Mainstay 
  • 1,015 Reconnaissance and ECM Aircraft 
    • 50 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed 
    • 170 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25 Foxbat 
    • 190 Sukhoi Su-7R 
    • 235 Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer 
    • 200 Yakovlev Yak-28 Brewer 
    • 130 Tu-16 Badger 
    • 30 Tu-22M Backfire 
    • 10 Il-20 Coot 
  • 620 Transport Aircraft 
    • 45 Antonov An-124 'Ruslan' Condor 
    • 55 Antonov An-22 'Antey' Cock 
    • 210 Antonov An-12 Cub 
    • 310 Ilyushin Il-76 Candid 
    • 2,935 civilian and other transport aircraft, usually Aeroflot aircraft which were easily converted 
 
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Revised: 02/07/2013 – 08:59:36