“TheCeļotājs”
"Latvia" Former Soviet Union Military Bases
 
Vaiņode Former Soviet Union Aerodrome Army Air Force Base –
Lat: N56.41104, Lon: E021.89177
Entrance to Base Area Lat: N56.41104, Lon: E021.89177 and/or
Center of Air Base Lat: N56.40638, Lon: E021.88861
Vaiņodes muiža 7, Vaiņode, Latvia 
 
                   
 
Vaiņode Air field “formerly known as Luftschiffhafen Wainoden, Kurland, ICAO: EVFA” was an airfield in the southwest of Latvia, 150 kilometers from Riga.
 
The airfield, under command of I/ Armee-Korps Königsberg, was built by the Germans during World War I as an airship base with two 240 meter long Airship hangars.
 
The hangars were known as "Walhalla" and "Walther".
 
Zeppelin Airships stationed at the base were LZ58 [a.k.a. LZ88 or L25], LZ68 [a.k.a. LZ98], LZ 75 [a.k.a. L37], LZ84 [a.k.a. L38] and SL14.
 
Production Number: LZ 58
Class: P
Tactical Numbering: LZ 88,L 25
First Flight: 14 November 1915
Remarks: 14 reconnaissance missions; 3 attacks dropping a total 4,249 kilograms
"9,370 pounds" of bombs along the Western Front; in January 1917 handed to the
German Navy who used it for experimental purposes. Decommissioned in September 1917.
 
Production Number: LZ 68
Class: Q
Tactical Numbering: LZ 98
First Flight: 28 April 1916
Remarks: One attack on London dropping 1,513 kilograms "3,340 pounds" bombs, plus
several flights aborted due to bad weather; handed to the German Navy in November 1916;
15 reconnaissance missions around the Baltic Sea. Decommissioned in August 1917.
 
Production Number: LZ 75
Class: R
Tactical Numbering: L 37
First Flight: 9 November 1916
Remarks: 17 reconnaissance missions around the North and Baltic Sea and England;
4 raids dropping a total of 6,450 kilograms "14,200 pounds" of bombs; retired on
24 December 1917; transferred to Japan in 1920 "Disassembled"
 
Production Number: LZ 84
Class: R
Tactical Numbering: L 38
First Flight: 22 November 1916
Remarks: Damaged beyond repair in a forced landing "due to heavy snowfall" during
an attempted raid on Reval and Saint Petersburg on 29 December 1916
 
SL14
Navy airship based at Seerapen and Wainoden. Carried out two reconnaissance missions and two bombing raids. A later attack on Riga was abandoned because of engine failure. Rebuilt February 1917 but later damaged before finally being scrapped on 18 May 1917.
 
First Flight: 16 May 1916
Length: 174 meters "571 feet"
Diameter: 20.1 meters "66 feet"
Gas Capacity: 38,800 cubic meters
Performance: 93.6 km/h
Payload: 20.5 tons
Engines: 4 Maybach 960 hp/716 kW total
 
A major problem for the unit was obtaining "Hydrogen Gas", which had to be brought to the airfield from other airfields by train.
 
According to the "Versailles Treaty" the airfield became a part of Latvia.
 
In 1924 the hangars were dismantled, and their steel support beams were used to cover "Rigas Central Market" pavilion buildings where they exist to this day.
 
During World War II the airfield was used by the German Sturmgeschwader 4
 
After the end of World War II it became a "first line" Soviet Air Base, tasked with Air Defense and Nuclear Missiles. 
 
              
 
Vaiņode “also somewhere written as Vainodo, Vainede, Vaynede, Vaynodo, and Toyvanede” is a former USSR air base in Latvia, located 31 kilometers “19 miles” south of Skrunda. It was abandoned in 1993. It is only 4 kilometers “2 miles” from the border with Lithuania.
 
During World War I it was a German Airship Base with two 240 meters “787 feet” long Airship Hangars. After the war, they were dismantled and parts of them reused as top cover of Riga Central Market's pavilion buildings. They are still in use today.
 
 
Vaiņode was home to the 54th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment “54 Gv IAP”, in 1944 equipped with American supplied Bell P-39 Aircobras as part of the 1st Guards IAD; re-equipped with Sukhoi Su-15 “some of the first Su-15 aircraft ever fielded” in 1967, flying some of the first Sukhoi Su-15 aircraft ever fielded, then the Su-15TM from the 2nd half of the 1970's, and Su-27 Flankers from the 2nd half of the 1980's. These planes were upgraded to Su-27 aircraft in the 1980s, and there is some evidence that MiG-23 aircraft were flown. The 54th Regiment was withdrawn to Savasleyka in the Moscow Military District after 1990. 
 
         
 
The 54th Guards IAP PVO was activated in May 1941 as the 237th Fighter Aviation Regiment “IAP” equipped with the Yak-1. On 3 February 1943 it became the 54th Guards IAP; "Kerch" designation from April 1944; 1944 equipped with P-39 Airacobra, as part of the 1st Guards IAD; reequipped with Su-15 in 1967, Su-15TM from the 2nd half of the 1970's, and Su-27 from the 2nd half of the 1980's. 
 
          
     A right side view of two vehicle-mounted Soviet                                  R-14 Missile being installed
     R-14 missiles "SS-5 Skean" IRBMs "1977".                                         into its Silo Complex
 
Vaiņode, Latvia was also home to three R-14 Chusovaya “NATO: SS-5 “Skean” theatre ballistic missiles Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles or "IRBMs". The Vaiņode IRBM “Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles” R-14U “SS-5 Mod 2 Skean” Deployment Base “Chusovaya" type Silo Complex with its 3 Underground Launch Silos was located at Lat: N56.47321, Lon: E021.83453, 8.7km north of Vaiņode Air Base.
 
Please Note: This site has now been destroyed as of October 2013.  
 
At 30 meter long and with a range of 3,700 kilometers "2299 Miles" [See Appendix XVI], launch could take place within 30 min after a direct order by telephone from the Kremlin.
 
Their reported targets where the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. [See Appendix XVII]
 
Vaiņode Air Base was unique in the Baltic area, because it had two “parallel” paved runways, instead of the more common single runway.
 
Runway: 08L/26R - 2500x60 meters/8202x180 feet - Concrete “CLOSED”
 
Runway: 08R/26L - 2500x60 meters/8202x180 feet - Concrete “CLOSED”
 
Runway: 08/26 - 1900x60 meters/ 6233x180 feet - Concrete/Asphalt
 
The site has been derelict since Latvian independence from the USSR in 1991, and is located only 4 kilometers from the Lithuanian border.
 
Like other Soviet military installations, they also  housed SAM Batteries, "Ground to Air Missiles". As to what types were station at these locations, the information is non existent. For the Soviet Union leaders, KGB, GRU and its
military leaders kept a very close rain on this information.
 
Like the other former Soviet military installations in Latvia, it has been stripped of everything including most of its concrete harden shelters slab floors and one of its two 2500x60 meters runway and anything of use and of any value. 
 
The concrete slabs of the remaining and shortened runway “the southern runway was removed in the 1990s” are in need of repair and are uneven in certain places.
 
 
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Revised: 01/28/2013 – 10:26:11