Military Review

War of the Air in the Horn of Africa

Gradually accumulated from the middle of the 90-ies. in relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea, political and economic contradictions in early May 1998 developed into an open armed confrontation, which took the form of a border conflict. This conflict, with varying degrees of intensity, lasted for two and a half years and ended with the signing of a peace treaty in December 2000.

War of the Air in the Horn of Africa

The formal reason for the conflict was the dispute over the ownership of the so-called "Jirga triangle" - the territory located between the Takăze and Mereba / Gash rivers.

6 May 1998 was a border incident involving representatives of local law enforcement agencies of both countries in the area of ​​Badme village (on a number of maps also listed as Baduma Asa) located in the administrative district of Sheraro of Tigray region in northwestern Ethiopia.
All sorts of misunderstandings about the ownership of the disputed territories on the Eritrean-Ethiopian border have repeatedly occurred before. For example, back in July 1997, a border incident took place in the Bada region (Adi-Murug), in the eastern part of the border. A Bilateral Ethiopian-Eritrean Commission was established to settle them in November 1997, which regularly held meetings alternately in the capitals of both states - Addis Ababa and Asmara. Therefore, this incident at first did not give much attention. Bilateral consultations continued and it seemed that the incident would be settled following a regular meeting of the 8 Commission in May.

However, quite unexpectedly, on May 12, units of the regular Eritrean army - at least three infantry brigades supported by 13 tanks - occupied the village of Badime with the surrounding area. All the Ethiopian attempts to resist the invasion were in vain: having lost from 16 to 20 people killed, two dozen wounded and 24 prisoners, the Ethiopian police and border guards were forced to retreat. During the armed clashes, seven buildings were destroyed - several schools, a hospital and other public institutions.

The next day, on May 13, the Ethiopian Council of Ministers met for an extraordinary meeting and, after considering the situation at the border, appealed to the authorities of the neighboring state demanding the unconditional withdrawal of Eritrean troops from the territory they had seized. On the same day, the national airline, Ethiopian Airlines, suspended scheduled flights to Asmara and Assab, and two Ethiopian-flagged merchant ships were diverted from the Eritrean port of Assab to Djibouti.

14 in May, the Eritrean Cabinet of Ministers, in turn, issued an official statement accusing the Ethiopian authorities of "continuing border violations" and calling for the early mediation of the third party to delimit the interstate border and the subsequent demilitarization of border areas. The Eritrean Ambassador in Ethiopia described Badame’s border incident as “regrettable” and at the same time told media representatives accredited in Addis Ababa that there are at least five or six disputed areas throughout the Eritrean-Ethiopian border. requiring consideration in international arbitration.

During the following week, against the backdrop of the "war of words", attempts were made to mediate for the peaceful resolution of the conflict. Thus, the President of Djibouti Hassan Gulid Aptidon made a blitz voyage to Addis Ababa and Asmara, where he met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Malas Zenawi and Eritrean President Isaias Aphiuorca. Following him, the vice-president of Rwanda Paul Kigame and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan E. Rice consistently visited the same mission of the capital of the conflicting states. However, all attempts made to find a mutually acceptable settlement formula were not crowned with success. At the same time, tensions on both sides of the border steadily increased as Ethiopia and Eritrea carried out individual mobilization activities and the buildup of groups of troops and forces both in the Yirga triangle and in other parts of the border.

On May 22, Ethiopians interrupted a telephone connection to Eritrea, and on May 23, on the eve of the national holiday, Eritrean Independence Day, the border crossing point on the highway leading to the Eritrean port of Assab was closed (the passage points on the Asmara-Deckhamra highway were closed a few days earlier - Adi-Keiikh - Adigrath - Mekele and on the Mereb River on the Asmara-Mendefar (Adi-Ugri) Highway - Adi-Kuala-Adua).
By the end of May, when the US-Rwandan mediation in the peaceful settlement of the conflict seemed to bring the first positive results, a new aggravation of the conflict occurred.

On May 30, Eritrean President Isaias Afauorki stated that withdrawing troops from occupied territories seemed "morally unacceptable and physically impossible." The next day, 31 in May, units of the Eritrean army launched an offensive in the central sector of the border, occupying the town of Zelambassa, as well as the villages of Aliten and Ayga located near it in the administrative district of Erob. At the same time, official representatives of Asmara claimed that Eritrean troops were moving to the border of the former Italian colony of Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Be that as it may, until the end of May, the intensity of the border conflict was rather low: in the overwhelming majority of cases, the fire contact of the parties was limited to weapons. The first exchange of artillery-mortar fire and rocket systems of jet systems was recorded 3 June.

That day, US State Department spokesman James Rubin announced a ten-point preliminary plan for resolving the conflict:

1. The parties will adhere to the following principles: the resolution of this and any other dispute that may arise between them by peaceful means; condemnation of force as a means of imposing decisions; consent to take measures to reduce the present level of tension in mutual relations; the desire to establish an interstate border on the basis of the provisions of previously concluded colonial treaties and international law applicable to such treaties.

2. In order to reduce the present level of tension - regardless of the nature of mutual territorial claims - a small group of international observers will be deployed in the disputed area of ​​Badim. At the same time, Eritrean forces are to be withdrawn to the original areas that they occupied before 6 in May 1998. The former civil administration returns to the disputed area. An investigation into the events that took place on 6 May will be undertaken.

3. With a view to a long-term settlement of the border conflict, both parties agree on the expeditious and binding delimitation and demarcation of the Eritrean-Ethiopian border on the basis of previously concluded colonial treaties and international law applicable to such treaties. The delimitation and demarcation of the interstate border will be carried out by a group of qualified specialists in the shortest possible time. The demarcated border is recognized and respected by both states. At the end of the demarcation process, the legitimate authorities of both states assume the relevant sovereign territories under their jurisdiction.

4. Both sides will shortly implement the demilitarization of the interstate border along its entire length.

5 June held a press conference by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Malés Zenawi, during which he stated that the government he headed was adopting the aforementioned peace plan. At the same time, the Ethiopian Prime Minister made it clear that, despite the support of the mediation efforts of the US-Rwandan team, he gave instructions to the leadership of the country's armed forces to take "all the necessary measures" in order to counter any development of Eritrean aggression.

However, all hopes for a peaceful settlement of the conflict have faded after the parties exchanged throughout the day. aviation blows. At 9.45 a couple of Ethiopian MiG-23bn bombed the international airport and the main air force base of Eritrea (having a common runway) in the capital of the country - the city of Asmara. As a result of the impact of damage, the Aero Zambia airline Boeing 727 and two hangars received damage. One bomb fell outside the air base, near a bus stop, resulting in the death of one person and five more injured. Ethiopian “twinks” were met by dense anti-aircraft artillery fire: according to the Eritrean side, one of them was hit and fell outside the city. The pilot did not have time to catapult and died.

In the afternoon of the same day, the Eritrean Air Force struck back: twice a pair of MB.339CE (modification of the base machine AerMacchi MB.339C; in 1996 - 1997, six cars were delivered to Eritrea, including about 45 million) bombed the city of Mekele - the administrative center of the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. Were used cluster munitions. Apparently, Ekerei’s main target was Mekele Airport, but in fact residential areas of the city located in 7 km from the runway were damaged.

The sides exchanged mutual accusations of treachery and top-priority raids, justifying their own actions with the need to strike back. Anyway, blood was shed on both sides, and in the case of Mekele civilians, including high school students, became victims of the airstrike. The total number of victims, according to the Ethiopian side, was 51 killed (including 10 children) and 136 injured.

On the morning of June 6, a pair of Ethiopian MiG-21 reappeared above the asmer airport's runway. The dense fire of Eritrean air defenses found its victim: the MiG-21 with the 1083 tail number was shot down. The pilot, Colonel Baszabbih Petros, ejected and was captured at the landing site. It is noteworthy that once, in May 1984, the pilot had already "visited" the Eritreans: his plane was hit by rebel anti-aircraft guns during the storming of their positions near the city of Nakfa - Eritrean Stalingrad, which gave the name to the national currency. In 1991, after the regime was overthrown by Mengistu Haile-Mariam Baszabbih and the Baszabbih rebels came to power in Eritrea, Petros returned to Ethiopia.

Note: Ethiopians and Eritreans do not have generic names (surnames). According to the Abyssinian tradition, the full name includes the proper name, standing in the first place, and the next middle name. In rare cases, the name of the paternal grandfather is also indicated as the third component. Abbreviations of type B. Petros for the Ethiopian are unacceptable and offensive.

On the same day, one MB.339CE of the Air Force of Eritrea was shot down during a raid on Mekele. The pilot ejected and was successfully evacuated by a Mi-8 helicopter.
After an appropriate appeal by the embassies of the United States, Britain, Italy and the Netherlands in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian authorities agreed to announce the 13 hourly interruption in their own aviation operations from 17.00 6 June to 6.00 7 June so that citizens of third countries in Eritrea could leave country. In 19.15, an Airbus A 310 Luftwaffe landed at Asmara International Airport, taking Europeans on the first 210 flight and taking them to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was followed by UK-flagged flights (Royal Air Force Hercules C.1 on 1.00 nights; brought the British 40 and 60 to Australians, Canadians and South Africans also to Jeddah), USA (a pair of C-130 Hercules from the 11 Expeditionary Marine Battalion US infantrymen; 172 brought an American to Amman, Jordan), Italy (two civil airliners who flew with evacuees to Djibouti) and the United Nations (a pair of An-24 chartered). By the morning of May 7, 1,5 thousand people were evacuated by air.

At the same time, the frigate UROP of the Netherlands Navy, located in the southern part of the Red Sea, called at the Eritrean port of Massawa, where it took on board 133 people, including citizens of Yemen, West Germany, the United States, Sri Lanka, citizens of the British and Swedish crown, as well as our compatriots .
On the same day, at the end of a pause caused by the evacuation of third-country nationals, the Ethiopian Air Force again bombed the Asmara airbase.
9 June fights all over the Ethiopian-Eritrean border erupted with new force. This time, the intensity of warfare has moved to the Zeliambassa area. Initially, the Ethiopians managed to recapture the city from the Eritreans who captured it, but the very next day, on May 10, as a result of a counterattack by the Eritrean infantry brigade supported by rocket artillery (BM-21 Grad) and aviation (MB.339-e) Zelambass was again lost.
Ethnopian President Nagasso Ghidad 9 said in May: "The problem with the peaceful resolution of the conflict lies in the haste with which the Americans act, in their commitment to quick decisions and assertiveness. It does not work here, it is not in our culture."

Throughout the following week, Ethiopian troops made unsuccessful attempts to recapture Thelambassu. Intensified actions of the parties in the Badme sector. For the first time, military clashes took place in the extreme eastern part of the border in the area of ​​the border crossing point Bure, which is 72 km south-west of the Eritrean port of Assab, on the Assab-Awash-Addis Ababa highway. Eritreans had little success when they crossed the 11 of June into an offensive: they were stopped several kilometers into Ethiopian territory.

On the morning of June 10, the Eritrean “makki” were again engaged in the battles for Erd-Mattios (Badme region, near the Takăze River): the Eritreans offensive in this direction began at 6 in the morning. At the same time, according to the Ethiopians, the local hospital suffered as a result of the air attack, 30 people died.
The highlight of the week was the raid of the Eritrean aviation in the afternoon of June 11 on the town of Adigrat - a large administrative center of the Tigray region, located in 48 km from the border. According to eyewitnesses, at least one aircraft (presumably, MB.339, which carried out reconnaissance and target designation) and a pair of Mi-8 helicopters took part in the air raid. Helicopters dropped four bombs on parachutes. A few hours later, the four MB.339's appeared over the city, made a rocket volley and returned to the base without losses.

The bus station, a pharmaceutical factory and a food depot have become the targets of Eritrean Air Force attacks. During the raid, four people were killed and another three dozen civilians, including children, were injured. Prodsklad burned, which contained 20 thous. Kuntela (Ethiopian measure of bulk solids, approximately equal to centner) of grain and 13,5 thous. Liters of vegetable oil. Eritrean officials claimed that the country's air forces had attacked Adigrat, a large logistical base for the Ethiopian troops operating in the Zeliambass sector, exclusively military targets. It is possible that the airstrike on Adigrat should have preceded the Eritreans on the ground in order to capture the city. But this offensive did not take place because of the aforementioned counter-attack of the Ethiopians under Thelambassa.

In the first decade of June, there was a sharp increase in the flow of refugees from the front-line areas, especially from the cities that became the main aviation objectives of the opposing sides. To the displaced persons, who became such as a result of the deployment of hostilities in the territory of their permanent residence, were added citizens of both states who were sent home in a compulsory manner.

Thousands of Ethiopians were expelled from Eritrea from the Ethiopians, about 27 thousands of Eritreans from Ethiopia. Already 30 June, the Ethiopian Commission for the Prevention of Emergency Situations appealed to international humanitarian organizations for the provision of emergency assistance to more than 10 thousands of refugees and displaced persons who lost their means of livelihood as a result of the armed conflict.

At the 34 session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) member countries, held from 8 to 10 in June in Ouagadougou (Burkina Fasso), the US-Rwandan peace plan received support, and the entire second decade of June It was marked by the resumption of the mediation mission. Now the Special Representative of the European Union, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs Rino Serri has joined the representatives of the United States and Rwanda.

14 May 1998 The official representative of the White House announced that Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed to establish a moratorium on aviation operations in the airspace over the interstate border and surrounding areas. This statement followed immediately after the telephone conversations of US President William J. Clinton with the leaders of both warring states on board of the All-Union Communist Party of the US Air Force One on a flight from Los Angeles to Washington. The moratorium was not limited in time and could be terminated if either of the parties "concludes that any prospect of the peace process is lost" and formally notifies the US government in advance of the resumption of its air forces.

Subsequently, the Ethiopians supported the establishment of a moratorium on air combat and expressed regret that this could not be achieved on the ground. The official communiqué of the Government of Ethiopia stated: "We agreed to an air truce, but if our sovereignty is threatened, we will defend ourselves." The Eritreans also welcomed the agreement on a moratorium on aviation as a “positive first step” towards de-escalating the conflict.

On June 17, in the Bure district, the Ethiopians blocked and destroyed an Eritrean special purpose brigade that had arrived at the rear, deployed to the eastern sector of the front from Khanish islands captured by Eritreans from Yemeni in 1995.

By the end of June, an operational pause came in the actions of the parties. For Ethiopians, the first round cost about 600 human lives - military and civilians. The number of displaced persons on the Ethiopian side of the border has reached 300 thousand.

The "war of words" continued, as did American shuttle diplomacy. (The latter, however, without much success). The parties were actively preparing for future clashes: they bought weapons, searched for allies.

According to Russian sources (B. Kuzyk, N. Novichkov, V. Shvarev, M. Kenzhetaev, A. Simakov. Russia on the world arms market. Analysis and prospects. M, Military Parade, 2001, s.300 - 301) deliveries of aircraft to Eritrea in the period described were as follows:
- from Russia - six MiG-29 fighters (1998 contract for $ 150 million, excluding the cost of training the flight and ground personnel, delivery to 1998 - 1999 via RAC "MiG");
- from Russia - four Mi-17 helicopters (1998 contract, delivery in 1998 - 1999);
- from Georgia - eight Su-25 attack aircraft (1999 contract, delivery in the same year);
- from Moldova - six MiG-21 fighters (1999 contract, delivery in the same year).
Supplies of Ethiopian aviation technology (B. Kuzyk et al., Op. Cit., P. 300 - 301) were:
- from Russia - eight Su-27 airplanes from the stock of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (1998 contract for more than 150 million dollars, delivery to 1998 - 1999. two lots of four cars)
- from Russia - two (out of four ordered) Mi-24d / Mi-25 (Hind D) combat helicopters from the stock of the Russian Ministry of Defense (1998 contract for 30 million, delivered in the same year through FGUP " Promexport ")

Note: According to other data, we are talking about the supply of Mi-24v / Mi-35 (Hind F).

- from Russia - one of eight Mi-8 and Mi-17 (Hip C / Hip H) helicopters from the stock of the Russian Federation through FSUE Promexport (1998 contract worth $ 32 million, delivery in the same year);

Note: The aggregate supply for the two helicopter contracts was supposed to be 12 machines, however, for several reasons, the execution of the contract was delayed and in 2000 was subject to an embargo.

- from Hungary - four Mi-8t (Hip C) helicopters with 10451, 10452, 10453 and 10454 production numbers produced by the Kazan Helicopter Plant, originally intended for Iraq (the shipment of the party to 10 machines was not implemented due to the UN embargo) transferred to the Soviet Tokol airbase in Hungary from December 1990 to May 1991, purchased by the Hungarians and since then kept in long-term factory storage (contract 1998, delivered in November of the same year);
- from Romania - 10 fighters MiG-21 (contract 1998 g., supply in 1998 - 1999 gg .; upgrade to the version of the MiG-21-2000 with the participation of Israelis)
- from the USA - four military transport aircraft C-130B Hercules (contract 1995 g., delivery in 1998 g.)

In addition, in 1999, the FSUE “Promeksport” signed with the Ethiopian side a contract for the delivery of a total of 10 MiG-21 and MiG-23 fighters from the available stock of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. The fate of the delivery is unknown.

In 1999, the Russian side, represented by the Rosvooruzhenie group of companies, was working on the establishment of an enterprise in Ethiopia for the repair of MiG-21, MiG-23 and engines.

According to the Register of Contracts and Supplies of Armaments and Military Equipment of the Russian Federation, the opposing parties were supplied:

- 200 sets of MANPADS 9K38 "Needle" (contract 1999 g., Delivery in the same year);
Note: In 1998 - 1999. Eritrea received a large batch of small arms from Ukraine, multiple rocket launchers worth 50 million from Romania and ammunition from Bulgaria. Italy delivered military helicopters. Most of these transactions, according to Western experts, were funded by Libya and some other Arab countries. Armament and military equipment was delivered to Eritrea on chartered Ukrainian transport aircraft. In February, 1999, the Antwerp Customs, arrested the 91 cargo container, which contained 40 military trucks, as well as spare parts and engines for T-54 / -55 tanks from the funds of the former NNA GDR, acquired by some British company and destined for Eritrea.

- 10 152-mm ACS 2C3 "Acacia" (contract 1999 g .; delivery from the available stock of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation effected in the same year);
- armored vehicles worth $ 200 million (contract 1999 g .; delivery made in the same year).
Note: In 1998, the Ethiopians purchased 140 T-55 tanks in Bulgaria. The first batch of 50 vehicles was delivered the same year, the rest in 1999. In the same 1998, the Ethiopians bought 40 T-55 tanks in Belarus. China supplied Ethiopia system of cannon and rocket artillery, France - communication equipment.

With regard to the alignment of forces in the region, it should be noted that Eritrea, since the declaration of independence, has managed to make territorial claims against all neighboring states - Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Yemen. 19 June 1998 The Sudanese Armed Forces High Command announced that Sudanese troops repulsed an Eritrean attack on seven strongholds located along the Sudan-Eritrean border and responded to the shelling of Eritrea. On October 9 of the same year, the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague decided in favor of Yemen following the consideration of the territorial dispute between Eritrea and Yemen over the ownership of the group of Hanish islands previously captured by Eritreans. Despite this, Eritrean seizure of Yemeni fishing boats in the southern part of the Red Sea continued next year. 18 November 1998 Djibouti recalled its ambassador to Eritrea in connection with the "unfounded accusations" of the latter in support of Djiboutians of Ethiopia. It is not surprising that the border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia in no small measure contributed to the rapprochement of the latter with Djibouti and Sudan. In particular, the freight transshipment complex of the port of Djibouti was modernized with the money of the Ethiopians, through which the main flow of goods went to Ethiopia with the beginning of the conflict.

The first round of war in the air ended in a draw. The outbreak of conflict revealed the unwillingness of aviation on both sides for full-scale hostilities. Ethiopians, despite the numerical (10: 1) and quality (MiG-21 and MiG-23, are certainly more prepared for air combat and ground targets than MB.339), their air force was in short supply trained pilots, technicians and gunsmiths, spare parts and were limited in the choice of home-based airfields with the necessary infrastructure.

Ethiopians, in the summer of 1998, turned to Russia with the representative of the FSUE State Company Rosvooruzheniye in Addis Ababa, Colonel Vladimir Nefedov, in the summer of 76. The Eritreans knew about this very shortly the necessary equipment and the direction of the necessary specialists, including pilots and instructors. and they, through the mouth of their president, Isaias Afeworki, stated that they would shoot at the site of any foreign mercenary pilot whose plane could henceforth be shot down over Eritrea’s territory. However, this did not prevent setting up military-technical cooperation between Ethiopia and Russia. The first IL-80 charter flight delivered XNUMX experts, airborne radar sets, armament, communications equipment and other assets needed for the twenty-first reconditioning to the Ethiopian Air Force's base at Dreb-Zeit. and "twenty third".

At about the same time, MiG-21mf fighters, modernized by specialists from the Israeli company Elbit under the Lancer I (A) program, began to arrive in Ethiopia. Ten of these machines were purchased by the Government of Ethiopia in exchange for the available ones.

Note: The Romanian Air Force fleet renewal program provides for the modernization of 110 fighters of the MiG-21 family. The tender for the $ 300 million contract was won by the Israeli company Elbit, which has formed a joint venture with the Romanian Aerostar. The program stipulates that 75 MiG-21mf and 10 combat training MiG-21um will be converted into attack aircraft (Lancer I (A) and Lancer I (B), respectively). The remaining 25 MiG-21mf will be upgraded as an air superiority fighter (Lancer II (C)). The Israelis also developed and presented at the Farnborough Airshow in 1998 a variant of the modernization of the MiG-21bis (Lancer III) fighter. According to the special supplement of the Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine, Aviation Week's Show News dated September 8, 1998, this option for modernizing the "bis" was offered to Ethiopians for consideration in the same year. In addition, the Israelis plan to modernize the Su-27s delivered to Ethiopia.

By the end of 1998, the Ethiopian Air Force had 18 MiG-23b, a dozen MiG-21 (also upgraded by Romanians and Israelis), six An-12, two DH-6, 24 Mi-24 / -35 and XNXX / -22. The 8 order of the non-upgraded MiG-17 and MiG-30 were undergoing refurbishment. In addition, for the 21 million dollars from the Americans were purchased four C-23B Hercules, delivered from the cash supply of the US Air Force.

Note: According to the staff of the Chief Military Adviser in Ethiopia, by the summer of 1983 (the peak of the military power of the regime Mengistu Haile-Mariam and his successes in the armed confrontation with the insurgent movement in the north of the then united country) the Ethiopian Air Force had MiG-21bis in its structure - 46, MiG-21r - 12, MiG-21um - 9, MiG-23bn - 22, MiG-23ub - 5, MiG-17 - 7, MiG-15uti - 3, An-12 - 8, Mi-24a - 18 , Mi-24 - 2, Mi-8t - 21. All of the above equipment was consolidated into two fighter regiments, a regiment of fighter-bombers, a training regiment, a transport regiment and a combat helicopter regiment. The air defense forces were represented by three anti-aircraft regiments armed with the C-75 Volga / SA-2 Guideline (24 units) and C-125 Pechora / SA-3 Goa (21 units) complexes.

However, this did not seem to be enough, and in order to finally “equip” the neighbors in Russia, six Su-27 and two Su-27ubs were acquired, as well as several Mi-24 / -35 and Mi-8 / -17, ammunition and a set of ground-based navigation equipment. The cost of the transaction amounted to about 150 million. The delivery was made from the cash supply of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation through the intermediary of FSUE Promeskport. All of the above-mentioned property was delivered to the Bol International Airport in Addis Ababa by military transport planes An-22 of the Russian Air Force from 10 to 23 in December 1998. First Su-27 in disassembled form was flown by Krasnodar - Bole 15 in December on board An. -22. In general, it should be noted that the transfer of the "twenty-seventh" was carried out in record short (by the standards of the domestic system of military-technical cooperation) time - a little more than two months from the date of application.

Note: On 1 in January 1999, Ethiopia occupied the 1-place in the list of 20 largest debtors in Russia for earlier deliveries of a specialty with a total debt equal to 114 billion 843 million 720 ths. (the exchange rate as of this date was 23 rubles. 13 cop for 1 US dollars).

The process of restoring and updating the Ethiopian Air Force, according to Eritreans, was led by retired Russian Air Force General Yanakov Yakim (Joakim) Ivanovich, who became the main Russian aviation specialist and advisor to the Air Force and Air Defense Commander of Ethiopia Major General Abeba Tekle-Himanot (removed from 26 in May 2001 g together with the Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant-General Zadkan Gabre-Tensae on the basis of political “clashes” within the ruling party). Given the combat partisan past of the Ethiopian general and his complete absence of any special education, it can be assumed that the actual commander of the Air Force of Ethiopia was Yanakov, and Ababa served as his political commissar. A similar situation has already taken place in stories the Ethiopian Air Force in 40, when, after the liberation of the country from the Italian occupation, the Canadian Air Force pilot instructor was involved in restoring national aviation (and the confidant of the then ruler of Ethiopia, Emperor Haile-Selassie I), Colonel Robert Thompson, who was appointed commander of the imperial air forces.

6 January 1999, during a demonstration flight over the airfield Debre-Zeit in the presence of Ethiopian President Negasso Gidad, when performing the aerobatics “bell” crashed Su-XNUMHub. Pilot instructor Colonel of the Air Force of the Russian Federation Vyacheslav Myzin successfully catapulted, his companion Ethiopian Lieutenant Abbayneh died. In the shortest possible time, Promeksport compensated for the loss by supplying another Su-27 Sparky from the stock of the Russian Air Force.

Eritreans have a different kind of problem. In financial terms, they were inferior to the Ethiopians and could not fight with them in the ensuing arms race, but did not want to give up just like that. In the summer of 1998, Eritreans bought eight MiG-29s and two MiG-29ubs in Russia at prices ranging from 15 to 25 million per car. The delivery was made from the cash stock of RSK MiG, not demanded by the customer (it is possible by the method of re-export through Ukraine). The first "twenty-ninth" with Eritrean identification marks was marked in flight over Asmara 14 December 1998.

Unlike the Ethiopians, the Eritreans relied on military-technical cooperation with Ukraine. In the summer of 1998, the Kiev-Asmara air bridge was organized. One of the Ukrainian transport workers who transported special equipment, IL-76md (UR-UCI registration number) crashed and fell near Asmara on July 17 1998. Not surprisingly, by the end of 1998, the aforementioned Colonel Nefedov changed his place of stay and announced in Asmera. According to some reports, it was he who brokered the deal with the "twenty-ninths", and also organized the delivery of four Mi-17 from the Kazan Helicopter Plant. At the same time, a group of Eritrean pilots underwent an accelerated course of retraining for new equipment in Ukrainian training centers. On the ground, airplanes and helicopters of the Eritrean Air Force served Ukrainian and Bulgarian vehicles. Ukrainians also acted as instructor pilots.

Note: After the fall of Mengistu Haile-Mariama Eritrean rebels airbase Asmara were captured six MIG-21mf / bis (onboard 1058 rooms, 1065, 1082, 1127, 1461 and 1464), a MIG-21um (1012), two Ni-8t (2006, 2008) and nine US-made Lockheed T-33 training aircraft. All of the above aircraft, with the exception of helicopters, by the beginning of hostilities was in the sky-ready state.

Replenishment of the opposing sides in the air force has ripened right up to the beginning of a new round of hostilities in early February 1999. On the eve of a new campaign, the Ethiopian government of 29 in January decided to close all schools and colleges in Mekele, Axum, Adua and other cities in the north of the country. rightly fearing that populated areas will again become targets of enemy aviation.

With the dawn of 2, February Eritrean artillery bombarded Ethiopian positions in the Zeljambass area. On the morning of February 4, the Eritreans began artillery preparation on the Badme-Sheraro front. In 10.45, 5 February - in violation of the previously established moratorium on aviation operations - a pair of Eritrean MB.339-s struck at a large fuel depot in Adigate. A day later, February 7, the Macs repeated the raid on Adigrat: seven people were injured of varying degrees of severity.

In the morning of February 6, Eritrean troops launched a general offensive in the Badme sector. The Ethiopians repelled the enemy’s attack and, during a counterattack, captured the Eritreans ’reinforced position in the Gaza-Gerlas area, which was a key element of the entire enemy’s operational construction. For the next day, the Eritreans tried unsuccessfully to return Gaza-Gerlas.

7 February, during the counter-battery struggle, the Ethiopian gunners destroyed the Eritrean radar station located on the mountain, 5 km from the city of Adi-Kuala: a significant breach in the enemy’s radar field.

On February 8, Ethiopians attacked the Badme-Sheraro and Tsorona sectors and captured two Eritrean fortified positions in the Konin and Conito areas and successfully repelled all Eritrean counterattacks to restore the situation. Aviation played a decisive role in the success of the Ethiopians. The fighting continued until February 10, after which there was a pause in the actions of the parties. The regrouping of troops and forces began.

On the morning of February 23, after a massive artillery and air preparation began in 6.00, the Ethiopian troops launched a counter-offensive on all three sectors of the front — Operation Zakat began. By noon on the same day, the Eritrean defense in the Badme-Sheraro sector (100 km of trenches with numerous long-term firing points) was broken. The Ethiopians hammered three armor wedges, which split the enemy group into parts and proceeded to systematically destroy them. During the four days of fighting in this sector of the front, Eritreans lost tens of thousands of people killed, wounded and captured and were thrown back to the positions that 6 occupied before 1998 in May. Ethiopians destroyed and captured a large number of tanks, armored fighting vehicles, artillery systems as trophies and other military equipment. In the course of the offensive operation, prepared and carried out according to the classical canons of tactics and operational art, the Mi-24 / -35 helicopters directly supported the actions of the Ethiopian infantry and mechanized units.

Russian experts helped the Ethiopians to prepare the An-12 transporters for use as night bombers in conditions of limited capabilities (due to the above reasons) for using specialized MiG-23b attack aircraft. At least twice during the period described, the Ethiopian “twelfth” bombed Eritrean positions in the Badme area.

The attack on the front of Coron, Zelambasse, Aliten had very limited success and, in the end, was reduced to an intensive exchange of artillery and air strikes. Ethiopians again massively used combat helicopters. In response, the Eritreans began to increase the density of military air defense in tactical depths along the entire front. On the morning of February 14, they managed to “overwhelm” one of the two “twenty-fourths” in the Bure region. Both crew members died. Ethiopians have confirmed the loss of the helicopter. February 24 Eritreans again recorded at their own expense "twenty-fourth", but the Ethiopians did not confirm the loss of the car. Nevertheless, the Ethiopian “fires” operating in the eastern sector of the front managed to break through the Eritrean air defenses and seriously damage the runways of the airport in Assab.

On February 23, Ethiopian MiGs bombed the Eritrean forces logistics center in Harsel (20 km from Assab). 26 February, one after the other two pairs of MiG-23bn Ethiopian Air Force again attacked the logistics center in Harsel. At the same time, the Ethiopians bombed the airfield and the water desalination plant in Assab. The same facilities were subjected to repeated blows by Ethiopian aviation 21 and 23 in February - at a time when the next round of negotiations on the peaceful settlement of the conflict brokered by the OAU and the European Union in the capitals of both countries.
The increased activity of the Ethiopians in the air required a commensurate response from the Eritreans. The war in the air was nearing the climax. 25 February has arrived ...

In the morning of this day, a pair of Ethiopian Su-27 air forces patrolling in airspace above Badame met with the four MiG-29. The "dry", in view of the numerical advantage of the enemy, tried to evade the battle, but suddenly discovered the launch of the Р-27 rocket by the Eritrean "MiGs". Ethiopians managed to thwart the capture of the GOS rocket. Several more missile launches followed from the Eritrean MiG-29 - also unsuccessful. After that, the leader of the twenty-seventh pair launched a volley of P-27 missiles at the closest twenty-ninth pair. Visually, not a single hit was recorded, but this was enough to force the MiGs to leave the battlefield and begin the pursuit. Having caught up with Eritrean airplanes, the Ethiopian “dryers” started a close maneuvering battle with them, in which they shot down one “instant”, apparently with a P-73 rocket with a thermal seeker. The fate of the pilot of the downed MiG-29 (according to rumors, he was piloted by the commander of the Air Force Eritrea, Major General Habte-Zion Khadgu) is not known or commented on by any of the parties.

A day later, the "dry" and "MiGi" met again in the sky over Badim. The battle began in the middle distance with the exchange of P-27 starts. This time, the Eritreans were more successful and were able to evade the Ethiopian missiles. However, the limited (compared to the Su-27) fuel supply of the MiG-29 forced the Eritreans to withdraw from the battle and take a course to the base. The "dry" again used their advantage in speed and, overtaking the "migi", shot down one of them with cannon fire (according to other data, with the P-73 rocket).

Interestingly, none of the P-27 missiles launched by the Ethiopians and Eritreans found their target. In principle, this is not surprising: even the American AIM-7 Sparrow missiles of the E and F modifications when used against the previous, third-generation MiG-21 and MiG-23 aircraft had an efficiency of no more than 30%.

At the same time, on the ground (the Badme sector), the Ethiopians, massively using artillery and tanks, for four days broke through the Eritrean defenses in the center of operational construction throughout its depth and forced the enemy to withdraw to the rear line of defense. After that, the intensity of hostilities decreased to the level of local fights. Active and efficient helicopter pilots greatly contributed to the success of the attackers.
However, it was here, in the Badme area, that the Eritreans finally achieved their first major success: 18 March 1999 by fire from the ground they managed to damage one of the two Ethiopian Mi-35. The helicopter (onboard number 2108) sat down on the forced behind the front line, in the rear of the Eritreans and was captured by them practically in good condition. The machine was repaired by Ukrainian specialists and incorporated into the Air Force of Eritrea.

March 20 was recorded another battle of the "twenty-seventh" and "twenty-nine", ending in vain. Two months later, on May 21, the Eritreans announced they had shot down the Ethiopian MiG-23 over Badyme that day. Ethiopians have not confirmed the loss of the aircraft.

In 6.20 16 in May, the MiG-23 Air Force of Ethiopia bombed the port complex in Massawa, destroying a warehouse in the port. On the same day, the Ethiopian MiGs bombarded the Saua Training Center (western Eritrea, near the Sudanese border) - the main source of replenishment of the Eritrean army, as well as Eritrean military facilities near the cities of Mandafar and Adi-Qayih (central Eritrea).

24 - 25 in May Eritrean troops with up to four infantry brigades with reinforcement units attacked Ethiopian positions on the western front, along the left bank of the r. Mareb, but had no success. Following two days of fighting, Eritreans lost up to 400 people killed and about 1,5 thousand wounded, but they didn’t give up trying to break through the defenses of the Ethiopians. Fierce fighting continued until mid-June.

The 9 - 13 period of June was the climax of the battle: the Ethiopian Air Force successfully hit the Eritrean forces that were being transferred from the central sector of the front along the Mendefair-Ares-Barentu route to the battle area of ​​the r. Mareb. The Eritrean heavy artillery positions and a large logistics and weapons and ammunition depot in Das (south of Barentu) were subjected to rocket-bombing strikes. Losses of Eritreans, according to the Ethiopians, for these four days of June amounted to over 12,7 thousand people killed, wounded and captured, but only since the beginning of the fighting at the r. Mareb Eritreans lost to 21 thousand people. Eritreans stated that, according to their data, the enemy had lost killed, wounded and captured to 18 thousand people.

The last outbreak of fighting in the western sector of the front occurred on 25 - 27 of June: having lost about 6 thousand people, the Eritreans refused to further attempts to break through the defenses of the Ethiopians. In the same period, Ethiopian air forces twice successfully bombed the port complex and Assab airport. In general, it should be noted that in the 1999 campaign of the Ethiopian Air Force, they systematically attacked the two main ports of Eritrea, Assab and Massawa, and in the end were able to largely disrupt Eritrea’s foreign trade.

Obviously, with such a high intensity of the fighting and aviation activity, there were losses: May 24 and June 11, Eritreans claimed two Mi-35s (one vehicle per day) were downed by them, and two MiG-13s recorded on their account on June 12 . The Ethiopian side did not comment on these statements.

In the spring of 1999, the Ethiopian Air Force undertook a large-scale and intensive combat training course. Training flights were carried out initially from the airfields of Makekle and Bahr Dar, subsequently moved to Gambellla. During one of the training flights, 20 April crashed the MiG-21: the plane flying at extremely low altitude collided with a pillar of the power line (!) And fell into 17 km north of Arba Minch. Eight were killed under the rubble of the "mig" and 14 people of local residents were injured.

The combat losses of the Ethiopian Air Force by this time (according to unofficial data) amounted to eight fighters and three helicopters. All of them were shot down by Eritrean troop defense.

With the beginning of the season of big rains, the fighting subsided, and the sides began to recover losses, preparing for new battles. On May 12, total mobilization was declared in Eritrea and all men under the age of 45 were put under the gun.

Trying to make up for the loss of the “twenty ninths,” Colonel Nefedov headed for Moscow, where he managed to “break through” the delivery of four Mi-17 helicopters. After that, he tried to find surplus aircraft in Georgia and Moldova. There, Nefedov managed to conclude deals on the purchase of eight Su-25 attack aircraft and six MiG-21.

Ethiopians, in turn, managed to get Moscow to supply eight Su-25 attack aircraft. According to the Military Agency News dated April 3, 2000, the transfer of the first batch of four vehicles (two Su-25tk and two Su-25ubk) was carried out in March 2000.

In the second half of 1999, negotiations continued through the mediation of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. However, diplomatic maneuvering could not deceive any of the parties: everyone understood - the decisive battle ahead.

During this period, an incident took place, which - despite the regrettable circumstances of its occurrence - confirmed, nevertheless, the increased level of combat readiness of the Air Force and Air Defense of Ethiopia. 29 August 1999. The Learjet-35A, owned by Execujet and flying the Naples-Djibouti-Johannesburg flight, disappeared from radar screens. As it was established later, the plane entered the prohibited area for aviation in the front-line zone and was shot down by a P-73 rocket fired from the Ethiopian Su-27 on duty there. Both pilots of civilian aircraft died.

The 2000 victory campaign of the year began with a knockout "left hook" of the Ethiopians in the Badme region, on the left flank of the front. The beginning of the offensive of the Ethiopian army was preceded by another disastrous round of talks in Algeria, which took place from April 29 to May 4. At the talks, the Eritreans began to put forward new conditions one after the other and, in fact, thwarted the signing of the cease-fire agreement.

12 May - the second anniversary of the aggression - the Ethiopian army delivered the first blow on the western front in the area of ​​Badme. This was unexpected for Eritreans, who were awaiting the main blow of the Ethiopians in the Corona-Zeljambass sector (at the shortest distance to Asmara), where the Eritrean command concentrated most of the forces.

At the tactical level, the Ethiopians also managed to outplay the Eritreans: unlike the 1999 campaign, when the Ethiopian offensive in Badim began with massive artillery and aviation training, and then four dozen tanks literally ironed the enemy’s trenches, this time the attack was made on the flanks, covertly, without the use of heavy weapons. The success of the Ethiopian army was predetermined by the actions of the bypassing troops, which on the night before the offensive advanced into the defensive position of the Eritreans, using hundreds of pack animals to transport group systems of weapons and ammunition. In the morning, with a combined strike from the front, flanks and rear, the Ethiopians isolated the first-echelon divisions of the Eritreans and destroyed them in parts over the next two days.

The Eritreans began to retreat randomly in three directions: to the west, towards Shilalo, Dukambia; to the northwest, towards Barentu; to the northeast, towards Mai-Dyme, Ares. Ethiopians did not allow the enemy to break away and regroup their forces, pursued the Eritreans literally on their heels, preventing them from gaining a foothold on the intermediate lines, and on May 17 broke into Barentu - a large political and administrative center of the western lowland Eritrea.

After the occupation of Barent, the Ethiopians regrouped and redirected the main forces to the east. Moving along the Barentu-Ares-Mendefar highway (Adi-Ugri), their units occupied Mai-Dyma and created a real threat of seizing another major center - the city of Mendefar in the central part of Eritrea and cutting off the entire enemy force in the central sector of the front. During the six days of fighting, the Ethiopians completely defeated about eight Eritrean divisions and seven more inflicted a heavy defeat, destroying more than 50% of personnel and standard weapons.

The actions of the ground units were supported by Ethiopian aviation, which was almost fully involved in this sector of the front: replacing each other, “twenty-first” and “twenty-third” MiGs, Mi-24 / -NNXX combat helicopters, and for the first time Su-35 attack aircraft noted in the Abyssinian sky. A number of foreign Internet sources indicate that a pair of Ka-25 helicopters took part in the May battles on the western front, allegedly set up on the eve of the beginning of the attack from Russia for combat tests.

According to the same sources, the Kamov helicopters were piloted by Russian specialists and used only NARs and cannon armament in battle. At least once, they allegedly successfully used guided missile weapons on a convoy of trucks bringing supplies of material, directly behind the line of military contact between the parties. The main operating base of the Ethiopian Air Force in the 2000 campaign of the year was Mekele airfield.

According to a number of foreign sources (Analisi Difesa, 2000, Nr 6), 18 Russian military advisers and senior command personnel, including three from the Air Force, participated in the planning of the May offensive of Ethiopians (in addition to the already mentioned Yanakov, this is Major-General Efimenko Dmitry Mikhailovich; before arriving in Ethiopia, he served as commander of a bomber aviation division; in Ethiopia — adviser to the commander of the Air Force, Major-General Frolov Ivan Pavlovich; before Ethiopia — commander of a fighter aviation division; in Ethiopia, advisor to the chief of staff BC) and one from the Air Defense (Colonel Eugene P. Butts, the previous post - the chief of the operations department 16-th VA Air Force and Air Defense Forces, Kubinka, Ethiopia -sovetnik commander of air defense).

Note: These and a number of other names were first heard in the statement of the Eritrean Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Russian Federation Neizgi Kaflu Bout of 26 in May of 2000 in the Russian Federation. The possibility of participation of military specialists from the CIS countries, including Russia, in the Eritrean-Ethiopian conflict as individuals cannot be excluded. In any case, for Ethiopia, the likelihood of this is very high, since by the beginning of the hostilities the country practically did not have trained personnel for the flight crew. After the current regime came to power in 1991, most of the Air Force personnel (of those who could not leave the country at the time of the fall of the government to Mengistu Haile-Mariam) were detained in filtration camps, where they were slightly “retained”. It is known that part of them with the beginning of the conflict was offered a deal: release in exchange for returning to military service. Specialists who studied in military schools of the USSR and other countries of the Warsaw Pact Organization considered it a blessing not to return to their homeland. According to foreign experts, the Russian specialists who piloted the Su-27 and Mi-24 (if such actually existed) could receive a cash reward of up to 30 thousand dollars a month.

The Eritreans attempted to slow the pace of advance of the Ethiopian troops with air strikes. On May 16, a pair of Eritrean MiG-29 appeared in the airspace above Barent, but was intercepted by Ethiopians on duty there Su-27. As a result of the transient battle, one “instant” was shot down; the second during the pursuit received damage from the hit of the missile P-27, but managed to make an emergency landing at Asmara airport and, according to some data, was subsequently written off.

19 in May, Ethiopian MiG-23 bombed Saua Training Center (western part of Eritrea, near the border with Sudan) - the main source of replenishment of the Eritrean army - and the airfield located near it. Despite the strong air defense of this object (according to unconfirmed data, the Kvadrat anti-aircraft missile systems were deployed here), the Ethiopians were able to break through to it, strike and safely return to the base.

The next day, the airplanes of the Ethiopian Air Force - again, according to unconfirmed data - destroyed one self-propelled launcher ZNK 2K12 "Kvadrat" at a position near the city of Mendefar (Adi-Ugri).

On May 22, Ethiopian units launched an offensive from Humera in the direction of Um-Hadjer and then on Guludj and Tessen.

23 May, the Ethiopians transferred their main efforts to the central sector of the front, to the Corona-Zeljambass-Aliten sector. The same picture repeated here: on the night before the offensive, three units of Ethiopian commandos, on foot, made the transition through the mountains (average height from 2,5 to 3 thousand meters above sea level) and cut communications in the rear of the Eritrean group defending Zelambassa. Then, with a blow from the front and rear, the combat formations of the defenders were cut into separate groups and destroyed them in pieces.

In operational and strategic terms, the Ethiopians once again succeeded in misleading the enemy regarding the direction of the main attack: Eritreans were expecting an offensive from May-Dym towards Mandafaru. Here reserves have been put forward. The blow followed directly from the opposite direction.

A notable element of the offensive operation in the central sector of the front - the use of military cunning at the tactical level - was the firing of a false parachute assault by the Ethiopian An-12 in the rear of the Eritreans in the Forto area in order to divert their reserves to the fight against two hundred sandbags.

On the night of 24 on 25, May Eritreans left Zelambasseu. On May 26, the advance units of the Ethiopians entered the city of Adi-Kayih, which is 50 km south of Asmara. By May 28, in the central sector of the front, Ethiopian troops reached the line of the Ksad-Ik pass, south of the city of Adi-Kuala-Corona - 25 km south of the city of Sanafe.
Pressed along the whole front, Eritreans 24 on May announced that they had shot down two Ethiopian fighters in the Adi-Kayih area, and they had shot down four MiG-23s, two Su-25s and one Mi-24s since the beginning of the Ethiopian offensive.

By this time, after breaking through the Eritrean defense to the full depth of its construction, the Air Force of Ethiopia switched to the task of isolating the combat area and destroying enemy infrastructure.

28 in May, a pair of Ethiopian MiG-23 struck a newly built power plant in Hirgigo, near Massawa (the station was raised with funds allocated by the Italian government and a number of Middle Eastern states - Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, etc.) and for 20 seconds they brought it down. The commissioning of the power station was scheduled in a week. Ethiopians stated that it is an element of the military infrastructure of the opposing state and, moreover, on it, according to Ethiopians, a warehouse of military property was located.

29 on May, the day of the start of the next round of peace talks in Algeria, the Air Force of Ethiopia - apparently with the aim of strengthening the position of its delegation - attacked the cities of Asmara, Massawa and Mendefair. The strike on the main base of the Eritrean Air Force received the code name "Operation Ayder" - the name of the school, which 5 of June 1998 was bombed by Eritrean "Makki".

On this day, towards noon, two pairs of Ethiopian MiG-23s suddenly appeared in the airspace above the air base and the international airport in Asmara - for the first time in the last two years. The first rocket salvo, they struck the tower of the KDP, which was wrapped in smoke (and later completely burned out). After completing the reversal, the MiGs were divided into pairs: the first attacked the parking of military aircraft and helicopters (at that time there were at least one MiG-29 and one Mi-35. However, the concrete capons protected the aircraft from splinters, despite the fact that the tapes lay down pretty close. The second pair of "twenty third" dropped bombs on the air base building complex.

As a result of the raid, the aviation fuel storage completely burned down, the flames engulfed part of the aircraft and helicopter parks. Damage received runway and power supply system. Eritreans picked up two “twenty-ninths” (according to eyewitnesses - one), but failed to intercept the Ethiopian aircraft. As the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ethiopia, Lieutenant-General Zadkan Gabre-Tensae, said, the blow was struck in order to "remove the Eritrean Air Force from the game." The latter, however, and so was not particularly noticeable.

30 May Acting State Department spokesman Philip T. Ricoeur called on Ethiopians to continue to refrain from air strikes, such as those that took place on 28 and 29 in May, including at the airport, since Eritrea receives the main flow of humanitarian aid.

At the end of May, the Ethiopians again transferred the direction of the main attack, this time to the extreme right flank of the front, to the Bad-Bure sector. 22 May was reconnaissance in force by the forces of one brigade. The Eritreans did not wait for the repetition of the events of 12 and 23 in May and 28 in May began to withdraw their parts from the positions that were occupied from 1998 in 20 km deep into Eritrea. The newly occupied line of defense was well prepared in terms of engineering and included three lanes, separated by 5 km from each other.

1 and 2 Jun. Ethiopian MiGs bombed the Eritrean port of Assab. Their goal was oil storage, airfield and other infrastructure.
Eritrean defensive positions were “processed” by Mi-24 / -35 helicopters.

Note: At the end of the 2000 campaign, the Ethiopians recognized the loss of only one helicopter.

On 3.30 the nights of June 3, the Ethiopians launched an offensive by two divisions. The attack continued until 10 hours of the morning, but was not successful. After regrouping in the second half of the day, the Ethiopian troops again attempted an offensive and again without much success.

After regrouping again, the Ethiopians of 5 - 6 of June conducted extended reconnaissance in 22.30 and 8 of June attacked Eritreans with forces of three divisions with reinforcement units. The offensive lasted two days and was stopped by midnight 10 - 11 June. The Ethiopians managed to break through the first Eritrean defense line and fight for mastering the second line of defense. Until Assab - the true goal of the entire campaign - 37 km remained:
At the same time, Western countries, the UN and the OAU increased political pressure on the warring parties to force them to return to the negotiating table. Under pressure from 18’s world community of June, Ethiopian foreign ministers Seyum Masfyn and Eritrea Haile Wolde-Tensae signed an armistice agreement in Algeria, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Malas Zenawi and Eritrean President Isayas Afauorki signed X-NUMX December of the same year, and they set their signatures on their number of members of the Eritrean Federation of Eritrea, Algeria and Eritrea Isajus Afayorki.

By this time, the irretrievable losses of the parties only (following the results of the 2000 campaign) amounted to 22 thousand from the side of the Ethiopians and 25 thousand from the side of the Eritreans. The total number of fatalities on both sides exceeded 120 thousand people. About a thousand Ethiopian and 2,5 thousand Eritrean soldiers were taken prisoner. More than 1,5 million civilians in both countries were forced to leave their homes and seek refuge in refugee camps. Eritrea and Ethiopia’s total defense expenditures amounted to more than 1 billion. It is noteworthy that the territorial claims of both parties (overt and hidden) remained unsatisfied: the Eritreans did not receive a fertile irrigated area in the Takeze and Mereba / Gasha rivers, the Ethiopians did not get the port of Assab (to revise the status of which they wanted to force the Eritrean leadership).

Be that as it may, Ethiopians are rightly proud of their air force - by the way, the first in time to create in all "black" Africa - and the basis of their combat power is the Su-27 fighter jets, who for the first time demonstrated their fighting qualities in a real war. It is said that after the first triumph of “dried”, the bar of the same name opened in Makela, and the airport’s security service offers everyone a key ring in the form of shapeless pieces of metal - according to rumors, from those Eritrean “twenty-ninths” who “overwhelmed the” Ethiopian ”twenty-sevenths .

Air Force Eritrea Organizational structure and basing

SquadronweaponryBoard numbersAirfield home base
LA typenumber
AerMacchi MB-339CE

ERAF-407, ERAF-408, ERAF-409,Asmara
transportHarbin Y-12-II 
Dormer Do 228 
IAI-1 1 25 Astra


educationalValmetL-90TPRedigo6202 (formerly the Finnish OH-VXP), 
203 (formerly Finnish OH-VXO),
Aircraft supplies

AircraftQuantityA country-
A typeclasscontractingdelivery
MiG-29 (Fulcrum A / B)light frontline fighter6 (1]Russia19981998-1999
AerMacchi MB-339CEjet trainer / light attack aircraft6, incl. 5 for the Air ForceItaly19961996-1997
Valmet L-90TP Redigopiston training aircraft8, incl. 6 for the Air ForceFinland1992,19981994-1999
IAI-1 125 Astratransport aircraft with VIP cabin1Israel19971998
Dornier Do228transport plane1  
Harbin Y-12-IItransport plane4China19951996
Mi-24 (Hind)combat helicopter4Russia19951996
Mi-35 (Hind F)combat helicopter1taken as a trophy in 1 999
Mi-17 (Hip H)transport and combat helicopter4Russia19951996
Mi-17 (Hip H)transport and combat helicopter4Russia19981996
MiG-21 (Fishbed)front fighter6Moldova19991999
Su- 2 5 (Frogfoot)attack plane8Georgia19991999
Ethiopian Air Force Organizational structure and base

WingSquadronweaponryBoard numbersAirfield home base

5 Débre Zait
21MiG-21-200010 Drebre-zyt
22MiG-21 mf / bis 
81103,1106, ... [2]Drebre-zyt
31MiG-23bn121260, ... [3]Drebre-zyt
Ан24 th 
Ан32 th 
C-130In hercules 

1511,1513, ... [4]

1551 1562.1563 ....


UAEМи-24 / -25 / -35 
Mi-8/ 17 
a- 50
Aircraft supplies

AircraftCount-inA country-
A typeclasscontractingimplementation
Su-27SKheavy air superiority fighter6Russia19981998-1999
Su-xnumxcombat training aircraft2
MiG-21 mf / bis  
light frontline fighter combat training aircraft18the USSRthe end of the 70-x - the beginning of the 80-x.
MIG-23bn/ y6fighter bomber10the USSRthe end of the 70-x - the beginning of the 80-x.
Su-25tkattack plane2Russia19992000
Su-25 Cupcombat training aircraft2
C-130In herculesmilitary transport aircraft4USA19961998
Aн12 thbnmilitary transport aircraft5the USSRthe end of the 70-x - the beginning of the 80-x.
Ан<p>2019<p>military transport aircraft1the USSRthe end of the 70-x - the beginning of the 80-x.
An-32military transport aircraft1the USSRend of 70-x- beginning of 80-s.
Yak-40transport aircraft с VIP Lounge1the USSRend of 70-x- beginning of 80-s.
SIAIi S-208Mconnected aircraft1Italy 
SIAI  SF.260TPtraining aircraft8Italy 
L-39C Albatrostraining aircraft7 [5]Czechoslovakiamid 80's
Ka-50combat helicopter2Russia19992000
Mi-xnumxcombat helicopter11the USSR19771978
Mi-25combat helicopterthe USSRsecond half of 80's
Mi-35combat helicopter4Russiasecond half of 90's
Mi-8 / Mi-8ttransport and combat helicopter10USSR / Russia1977-1978 and later
Mi-17transport and combat helicopter4Russia19951996
SA.330H Pumatransportыth helicopter1Romania 
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  1. pensioner
    pensioner 13 July 2013 07: 36
    Interesting article. Thanks to the author! I reminded ... There was a legendary man in YEVAKU - Major Yashkov. I was in Ethiopia in the 80s. I talked so much that enough for a small book. He scored well there. He arrived in the new rank as a captain. He was leaving as a major. Promising. Then he did not rise above the major ...
  2. avt
    avt 13 July 2013 10: 50
    Good article good And the syllable is good, in general only +.
    1. svp67
      svp67 14 July 2013 15: 52
      Quote: avt
      generally only +.

      And more "+"
  3. Was mammoth
    Was mammoth 13 July 2013 11: 01
    I read it with interest. A childhood friend served in Ethiopia and was injured there.
  4. creak
    creak 13 July 2013 11: 40
    It is very competently stated and what is very important with the use of a lot of factual material. In this regard, the article compares favorably with some opuses based on inaccurate materials, speculation, or simply the author’s imagination. The article is definitely a plus.
  5. roma-belij
    roma-belij 13 July 2013 11: 53
    An interesting war game, both sides fought with Russian weapons, and Russia only watched and armed both fighters, sheared two sheep at the same time.
    1. Apologet insane
      Apologet insane 13 July 2013 14: 53
      Doesn't it remind any superpower? =)
      1. Avenger711
        Avenger711 14 July 2013 01: 05
        China in the Iran-Iraq war.
  6. Volozhanin
    Volozhanin 13 July 2013 15: 18
    I read this article on the "Corner of the Sky" website 5 years ago. But in general Zhirokhov writes well, fascinatingly, TASTY.
  7. a
    a 13 July 2013 15: 19
    Good article. I was glad that Russia managed to earn money from this conflict. I was glad that I was able to separate domestic SU and MIG aircraft on different sides of the conflict. I think this could provide more food for analysis of combat use. If what is written about the participation of our advisers is true, it pleased that they had not yet forgotten how to correctly plan operations.
    And still interesting, and Eritrea as the instigator of the conflict suffered some kind of punishment?
    It is a pity that they could not take away the port on the Red Sea.
    1. Akim
      Akim 13 July 2013 17: 10
      Quote: uno
      I was glad that Russia managed to earn money from this conflict.

      This is blood money. Do not be so happy. This is wrong.
      1. Greyfox
        13 July 2013 18: 21
        If you read the article carefully, you should have noticed that Ukraine actively participated in "blood profits". I am not writing to stir up srach.
        1. Akim
          Akim 13 July 2013 18: 40
          Quote: Greyfox
          should have noticed that Ukraine actively participated in the "blood profits".

          And who said that I support this decision of the Ukrainian authorities? I, unlike a not happy about that. Hey ... are there at the helm both in Moscow and Kiev. Only we do not need to be like them.
      2. a
        a 13 July 2013 23: 33
        Quote: Akim
        This is blood money. Do not be so happy. This is wrong.

        I agree. blood money is not the cleanest. but if we didn’t put weapons, other countries would put them.
      3. Avenger711
        Avenger711 14 July 2013 01: 05
        And in my opinion it’s right.
    2. Jurkovs
      Jurkovs 13 July 2013 19: 30
      So the drying beat beat. If Su is capable of winning air superiority beyond her tasks better than Migi, then why do we need Mig-35?
      1. Akim
        Akim 13 July 2013 19: 42
        Quote: Jurkovs
        So the drying beat beat.

        MiGs acted on foreign territory. With a shorter range, they naturally initially lost to Su. And at the same time, the advantage in the downed ones is small. Not like in American articles. Soviet-made planes shot down in bundles. That's where the nonsense is.
  8. Fetel
    Fetel 13 July 2013 17: 24
    An interesting article, a good description of that meat grinder. According to the results of the battles, as I understand it, the obvious superiority of the Su-27 over the MiG-29 is shown.
    1. Akim
      Akim 13 July 2013 17: 58
      Quote: FeteL
      According to the results of the battles, as I understand it, the obvious superiority of the Su-27 over the MiG-29 is shown.

      The two-handed sword also has an advantage over the Viking sword. Here the most important thing is skill.
    2. Odysseus
      Odysseus 13 July 2013 18: 33
      Quote: FeteL
      According to the results of the battles, as I understand it, the obvious superiority of the Su-27 over the MiG-29 is shown.

      The Soviet Air Force did not think so. Moreover, the described is far from the only version of those events.
      If you believe what is written, then the main conclusion is the P-27 is a terrible g ... but.
      But fortunately this is not entirely true ...
      1. Avenger711
        Avenger711 14 July 2013 01: 13
        Ameri medium range is also bad with a hit.
  9. Odysseus
    Odysseus 13 July 2013 18: 29
    Oooh, a well-known conflict. The first and last use of the Su-27 in 30 years.
    He spoke with different and equally respected people about this. Opinions range from 4 downed Mig-29s (as in the article) to the lack of any fights with 27 in the air.
    1. Argon
      Argon 14 July 2013 14: 20
      According to rumors at my disposal, the Sukhoi pilots were piloted by former pilots of the Soviet Air Force, while MiGs were national "heroes" of the eras.
  10. sergey72
    sergey72 13 July 2013 19: 03
    Another magazine "History of Aviation" wrote on this topic, it looks like the article from there is only slightly corrected and supplemented with factual material. And the magazine is no longer published ... sorry ..
  11. FC SKIF
    FC SKIF 13 July 2013 21: 02
    Quote: roma-belij
    An interesting war game, both sides fought with Russian weapons, and Russia only watched and armed both fighters, sheared two sheep at the same time.

    I don’t know how much our money earned then, but image losses in such cases are an order of magnitude higher. As if the story with our weapons for both participants in the war in the Caucasus was not repeated.
  12. 123_123
    123_123 14 July 2013 14: 39
    Quote: roma-belij
    snake, and Russia only watched and armed both fighters, sheared two sheep at the same time.

    So you need to act. The main thing is the interests of Russia, the rest is sideways.
  13. xomaNN
    xomaNN 14 July 2013 15: 35
    A classic of the arms trade genre, both sides of the conflict purchased Russian (and Soviet) weapons. At the same time, the aircraft were checked in business.