Aviation and air defense: the results of transformations

The complex process of change in the protection of the sky of the state

Reforming of the domestic Air Force and Air Defense Forces is inextricably linked with the formation of the so-called new look of the Russian Armed Forces as a whole. At the same time, it appears that the Russian Air Force, in the course of the transformation process that has taken place since 2008, underwent the most profound and large-scale transformations of all the armed forces of the Russian Federation. This is mainly due to the large number of chronic problems that have accumulated here.

The Russian Air Force’s reforms approached the beginning of the “Serdyukovskiy” reforms without significant changes after the previous large-scale wave of mergers and disbands of the Air Force and Air Defense Regiments that took place in 1997–2000, which became a single type of the Russian Armed Forces. Transfer to the Army Air Force aviation in 2003 did not significantly affect their overall appearance. When the leadership of the Ministry of Defense began reforming the army and fleet, Air Force and Air Defense, at least on paper, still looked very impressive. They included up to 2800 aircraft and helicopters and about 100 divisions of air defense systems.

New structure

Perhaps the most significant stage of the transition of the Russian Air Force to a new look, begun in the fall of 2008, was the fundamental reform of their structure. In terms of scale, it has been unprecedented since the nineties of the last century, when there was a reduction in the surplus forces of the air force inherited by Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The first phase of the reorganization was carried out by December 1 2009.

According to the plan of reforming the Air Force and Air Defense, as a priority, it was decided to abandon the existing structure “air army - corps (division) - regiment”. In place of the air armies came the independent commands of the Air Force and Air Defense, the commands of long-range and military transport aviation. On the basis of the corps and divisions of the air defense formed a brigade of aerospace defense. Commanders themselves now include air bases, aerospace defense brigades and smaller support units.

According to the original plan, the air bases consisted of squadrons (the squadron, we recall, is the main tactical unit of the Air Force), and air defense brigades are from regiments. Thus, the transition to the three-link structure “command - air base - squadron” was originally carried out. However, in the course of further reform, this structure has undergone changes.

Functionally, a long-range aviation command was formed on the basis of the former 37 Air Force of the Supreme High Command (strategic purpose), uniting all strategic and long-range bombers and refueling aircraft. In 2011, the entire command and control of the naval aviation of the Russian Navy was transferred to the command. On the basis of the 61 Air Force, the Supreme Command (Military Transport Aviation) created the Command of Military Transport Aviation, and on the basis of the Special Purpose Command (and its 16 Air Force) - the Operational and Strategic Command of Aerospace Defense ( OSK VKO), which has a special elevated status and is responsible for the Moscow air defense zone, as well as almost the entire territory of the Moscow Military District. OSK VKO was officially activated on July 2 2009 of the year, but it existed in the formed form a little more than two years.

On a territorial basis, four commands were created, replacing six former armies of the Air Force and Air Defense, subordinate to the six relevant military districts. These commands are generally in line with the new four “large” military districts formed in 2010. Although, in general, the system of compliance with military districts remains, however, in some cases, the forces of the former armies of the Air Force and Air Defense were combined or partially redistributed areas of responsibility.

In the 2010 year, these four Air Force and Air Defense commands became part of the four corresponding newly created military districts (joint strategic commands): districts, 1-e Command Air Force and Air Defense - in the Eastern Military District, 2-e Command Air Force and Air Defense - in the Southern Military District.

As mentioned above, one of the main measures of the reform of the Air Force is the transition to the air bases, which became the main structural unit of the Air Force, and the aerospace defense brigades in the air defense. As a result, the regimental structure of aviation units that existed since 1938 was abolished. The aviation bases formed on the site of the aviation regiments united the aviation regiments themselves and the auxiliary parts ensuring their functioning, which were previously independent. The composition of the airbases included previously separate airfield support battalions, as well as communications and radio engineering battalions.

Such a reassignment allowed to ensure the principle of unity of command within the air base. The idea is to integrate all aviation and ground units under the leadership of the air base command. Due to the elimination of the status of individual parts in them, management structures and command personnel were significantly reduced. Previously, independent commanders received the status of deputy commander of the air base. This change was made in the general spirit of the reform of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, one of the stated tasks of which was to reduce the percentage of officers in them.

Many airbases formed in 2009 year have increased significantly in number compared to the previous air regiments. They were enlarged due to the disbanding of part of the aviation regiments and separate squadrons that were available at the beginning of the reform and the transfer of their equipment and personnel to the air bases being formed. Produced and the union of the regiments, based on the same airfield. As a result, the estimated total number of airbase equipment can reach one hundred airplanes and helicopters.

The new air bases were divided into three categories: the 1-i is equivalent to the former aviation division, the 2-i is still the aviation regiment, the 3-i is a separate squadron. In total, by the end of 2009, in the first stage of the reform, 52 aviation bases were formed in Russia, which replaced the total 72 aviation regiment that previously existed in the Air Force and Air Defense, the 14 former aviation bases and 12 individual aviation squadrons and detachments. In total, the number of units and formations of the Air Force and Air Defense in the first stage of the reform was planned to be reduced from 340 to 180.

All educated air bases and air defense brigade became parts of constant combat readiness deployed by wartime states. This implies increased requirements for the serviceability of equipment and increased attention to its provision. A noticeable positive effect on the air defense missile forces, some of whose regiments had been cropped before the reform.

Subsequently, the reduction in the number of units of the Air Force and Air Defense continued mainly due to the concentration and further consolidation of air bases. The military leadership decided to actually abandon the structure of the airbases of three categories. By the middle of 2010, only 37 airbases remained in the air force and air defense, and by the end - eight airbases of the 1 category and seven - of the 2 category.

Unification practice

The new stage of reforming the Air Force started at the end of 2010, when the unification of aviation around the so-called super-air bases began. As of today, it is planned to leave only ten air bases - one tactical aircraft base in each new military district and two air bases of long-range, military transport aviation and naval aviation commands.

At the same time, the structure of each airbase (all - 1-th category) is now included from two to five aviation groups, stationed at separate airfields. In total, as stated, there will be 27 airfields based on aviation (excluding military). Each air group in turn consists of one or several squadrons.

Thus, the new air bases are a kind of “umbrella structures”. It is not difficult to see that with this, the new structure of the Russian Air Force "Air Base - Air Group" actually reproduces under the new name of the former - "Air Division - Air Regiment".

Since in the course of reforming the practice of combining within one aviation base parts of two or even more former aviation regiments is widely used, this is accompanied by significant movements of equipment and personnel.

The Air Force training system has also been reformed. In 2008, the two leading higher military educational institutions of the Air Force - the Air Force Academy named after Yu. A. Gagarin in Monin and the Air Force Engineering Academy named after Professor N. Ye. Zhukovsky in Moscow were united into a single structure - Military Training and Research Center (VUNC) Air Force "Air Force Academy. Professor N. E. Zhukovsky and Yu. A. Gagarin ”, which is located in Monin. Training officers for the Air Force and Air Defense is now being conducted in the branches of the VUNC in Krasnodar, Syzran, Yaroslavl and Voronezh.

The reform of the Air Force's governing bodies, including the High Command, also became very significant. After reassigning the main body of the “tactical” Air Force in 2010 to the new four military districts and creating long-range and military transport aviation commands, the Special Purpose Command had the role of the Air Force Main Command drastically reduced. Of the 30 tasks previously assigned to him, five remained, far from being the most crucial ones (training, ordering new equipment, providing peacekeeping missions, etc.), so that the Air Force General Command became a kind of support structure and in fact lost command functions. His full-time strength decreased from 1500 to 150 – 170 officers.

The process of reforming the air force and air defense in 2009 – 2011 was accompanied by a massive write-off of obsolete and incompetent technology (up to half of the aircraft fleet), as well as significant reductions in personnel. It was reported that all in the Air Force and Air Defense planned to abolish 50 thousands of officer positions.

Unknown until the future

During the first stage of the reform of the Air Force in 2009 – 2010, the air defense forces that were part of them were seriously reorganized. In 2009, all former divisions and air defense corps were disbanded, and instead of them, 13 aerospace defense brigades were created, combining fighter aviation bases, air defense missile and radio regiments. These 13 brigades were distributed between the operational-strategic command of the aerospace defense and the four commands of the Air Force and Air Defense. At the same time, the anti-aircraft missile brigades of the Ground Forces, which were equipped with Z-2007В missiles and partially Buk, were transferred to the air defense forces in 300 year. In the course of the subsequent reform, seven of these brigades were reorganized into anti-aircraft missile regiments, and two more were disbanded. At the same time, the main part of the Buk air defense missile system nevertheless remains in the Land Forces.

In total, after the reform, the Russian Air Force planned to retain the 45 anti-aircraft missile regiments (including seven Land Forces reorganized from anti-aircraft missile brigades). Radio regiments and brigades providing airspace control were reorganized into 18 radio regiments, which are also part of the aerospace defense brigades. Along the way, in 2009, a significant reduction in the equipment left in the combat personnel of anti-aircraft missile and radio regiments was made.

The combat training of anti-aircraft missile units of the Air Force and Air Defense was noticeably intensified in connection with the transformation. The regiments not only carry out firing at various targets, but also regularly work out the process of redeployment. Apparently, the “champions” in training now are the Far Eastern anti-aircraft missile regiments, which annually carry out 40 – 50 combat firing, which is an extremely high figure even by Soviet standards.

In 2011, the second, even more ambitious stage of reforming the air defense forces began, connected with the formation of a new kind of Armed Forces, the Aerospace Defense Forces (ISC). The peculiarity of the creation of the IACV is that they were formed not on the basis of the Air Defense Forces, but on the management of the Space Forces that existed separately. EKR troops were activated on December 1 2011 of the year.

On the rights of operational associations, the Air Defense and Missile Defense Command and the Space Command entered the EKR Troops. The first to obey the 9-I division of the missile defense and three near-Moscow brigade of the East-Kazakhstan region, formerly part of the USC East-Kazakhstan Air Force. The second is the 820 th main missile attack warning center, the 821 th main space reconnaissance center (former center of space monitoring), the 153 st. G.S. Titova with 14 individual measuring points dispersed from Komsomolsk-on-Amur to Kaliningrad. In addition, the 1 th state test space center (Plesetsk), as well as parts of central subordination, became part of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces.

As a result, the EKR Troops today are in essence an association of air defense and missile defense forces of the Moscow region (without combat aircraft) with a missile attack warning system. It is not yet clear how the IQTD will develop further. It is not known whether the remaining air defense forces of the Air Force will integrate into the East Kazakhstani Army in the future or will they remain subordinate to four new military districts.

Taking into account the subordination of the forces of the former USC to the Armed Forces armies and the transfer of tactical and army aviation to the control of the four new military districts, only the commanders of long-range and military transport aviation, as well as training and test units, are directly subordinate to the Russian Air Force General Command.


At the end of 2010, a major change was announced in the structure of army aviation. After seven years in the Air Force, it was reassigned to the operational-strategic commands (four new military districts). That is, it actually returned to the control of the Ground Forces. After all, army aviation is designed to ensure their mobility and provide them with direct fire support on the battlefield. The main command of the Air Force is now assigned only the duties of combat training of army aviation and the provision of its materiel.

After a long period of decline and degradation, the development of army aviation is now highlighted and is considered as one of the priorities of military construction in Russia. The experience of both Chechen campaigns and numerous conflicts on the territory of the former USSR, where helicopters played a very important role, certainly contributed to this.

Army aviation was also transferred from the regimental to the “airbase” structure in 2009 – 2010. At 2011, eight bases of army aviation were created (all of them are considered bases of the 2 category) and announced plans to increase their number in the future to 14 or even 16 (perhaps in the future they will be called brigades). The staff of such an airbase (brigade) is about 60 helicopters. In addition, 2012 reported on plans to create army aviation subordinate to the Airborne Forces.

Since 2010, the army aviation transferred almost all unmanned aerial vehicles (including promising) with the exception of heavy UAVs, which remained in the hands of the Air Force.

Still to be resolved

Despite the scale of the reforms of the structure of the Air Force, it should be noted that a number of the following issues remain unresolved:

  • the unclear effectiveness of the structure with the subordination of the greater part of the Air Force to operational-strategic commands — military districts (will this not lead to the regionalization of air power instead of its concentration);
  • manageability of new “super-abies” and their real effectiveness in the conditions of dynamically developing potential conflict;
  • the not quite clear status and development prospects of the created Aerospace Defense Forces;
  • the backwardness of the methods of application of the Air Force, the lack of experience in modern large-scale air operations;
  • large-scale movement of personnel in the framework of the reform caused many purely everyday problems. The main (and still traditional) problem is the provision of housing. In the garrisons that have increased in number, there is also a shortage of social and cultural infrastructure. This situation will continue at least until 2013 – 2014, for which it is planned to provide housing for all officers.
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  1. +6
    10 October 2012 11: 10
    The main thing is that they renamed, everything else is nonsense !!! Glory to our reformers !!! No need to replenish, no need to learn. We make a decision, then cancel, return to the starting position. Great!!! And so in everything!
  2. Rockets
    10 October 2012 11: 15
    Breaking, not building. On cats would be trained, geniuses.
    Oh, Comrade Stalin is not on them!
    1. 0
      10 October 2012 14: 54

      Yes, it’s not Stalin’s question, but in the frames, smart ass managers and not responsible leaders ...
  3. +3
    10 October 2012 14: 23
    And everything that happened is called "reformist itch." As my coach once said, "The swing is ruble, but the blow is penny." But in this case, there is not even a penny in the profit, one heroic overcoming of the consequences of decisions made by amateurs.
    1. VAF
      10 October 2012 14: 56
      Quote: Understudy
      "The swing is ruble, but the blow is penny."

      Sorry dear. The reformers had a hit, not even a knockdown, but ... a complete knockout "!

      And the consequences of these decisions ... God forbid, of course. but it comes back so badly ... that it’s better not to guess! +! soldier
        10 October 2012 20: 56
        Enemies are "reforming" the Russian army, there is nothing more to say !!!!
  4. Max
    10 October 2012 15: 24
    Stop whining, everything is done sensibly. The excess fat is removed, and only a fast and trained sports body will remain, which, like a spring, will always be ready for jump and shock. So long ago they did it in the most advanced armies of the world and such a structure proved itself only from the best sides.
    1. Diesel
      10 October 2012 18: 17
      Quote: max
      Stop whining, everything is done sensibly. The excess fat is removed, and only a fast and trained sports body will remain, which, like a spring, will always be ready for jump and shock. So long ago they did it in the most advanced armies of the world and such a structure proved itself only from the best sides.

      As the saying goes "Breaking is not building"
    2. Don
      23 October 2012 14: 57
      Quote: max
      Stop whining, everything is done sensibly. The excess fat is removed, and only a fast and trained sports body will remain, which, like a spring, will always be ready for jump and shock. So long ago they did it in the most advanced armies of the world and such a structure proved itself only from the best sides.

      I fully agree with you, dear. The reform was asking for a long time, sooner or later it had to be carried out. And it is not over yet. And these critics just blurt out the language.
  5. +2
    10 October 2012 19: 31
    The entire reform of the Armed Forces is being carried out without any plan by the poke method. As the "reformers" themselves have admitted. After that, one should not be surprised at the methods by which the reform is carried out and its results.
  6. toguns
    10 October 2012 20: 53
    on the one hand, reforms in aviation in this form are a minus, but if you look at it from a different angle and recall the 90s, this chronic one is not a raid and the lack of new technology as such is not so bad :)
  7. +1
    10 October 2012 21: 17
    If only the pilots had a working environment and families more or less comfortable.
  8. +1
    10 October 2012 21: 42
    Regiments - a minimum, Generals - the sea. What is the difference - air defense-militia-police-police. They offended me two days ago, they said - you look like a CHAPTER. Here is an unexpected joy!

    If you want to know the truth, go to the troops. Let those people who serve now are certainly not flight (for the most part). According to the documentary in Lipetsk, the second asks the first "Where is the station to turn on?" Honestly, at 51 years old - IT'S COOL !!! The second was - you will be the last!
  9. +1
    11 October 2012 13: 41
    But was it really necessary to join the Air Force and Air Defense? .. Wasn’t it easier to create a coordination center similar to the Committee of Chiefs of Staff, which is available in the organizational structure of the American armed forces? ..
  10. nabludatel_56
    1 December 2012 23: 48
    Someone else's experience (Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya) does not teach anyone. I do not think that the task of destroying air defense was directly posed, but in fact it turned out that way. If you do not assume direct betrayal, then the only sensible explanation for the bacchanalia of reformism, which led to a complete loss of controllability of air defense, can only be blatant criminal unprofessionalism.
    He was amused by the new commander in chief of the Air Force, speaking on the occasion of Air Force Day and saying that the air defense had been taken away from him and now the pilots would only do their own thing. But he said this already after he accepted the post. If the commander in chief did not figure out what he had adopted there, then what about the troops who do not understand who they are reporting to? It is clear that carrying out combat duty in such conditions is simply a fiction. Who will make the decision on the plane to the violator of the state border and what forces to deal with it?
    Reformers do not distinguish, and therefore piled the army and air defense of the country into a heap, but they took away fighter aircraft from the air defense.

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