History of the Bulgarian Air Force. Part of 3. Postwar period and modernity

After the entry of the Soviet troops into the territory of Bulgaria and the September armed uprising in 1944, the Bulgarian air force began to receive Soviet aircraft. In March, the Bulgarian Air Force 1945, the Bulgarian Air Force received 120 fighters of various modifications Yak-9 (Yak-9D, Yak-9DD, Yak-9М and Yak-9У).

History of the Bulgarian Air Force. Part of 3. Postwar period and modernity

Fighter Yak-9D Bulgarian Air Force

Fighter Yak-9DD Bulgarian Air Force

Fighter Yak-9P in the Museum of the Bulgarian Air Force

In the same year, the Bulgarian Air Force 1945 received X-NUMX attack aircraft Il-120 and 2 training Il-10U. Aircraft were used before the 2 year.

IL-2 attack aircraft in the museum of the Bulgarian Air Force

In April, the Soviet Union transferred the 1945 dive bombers Pe-96 to Bulgaria 2 in April. They arrived there after the war to replace the German type bombers that had been in service with Bulgarian aircraft. In turn, in April-October 1947, the Bulgarians transferred the 59 "pawns" of Yugoslavia to the account of the reparation. The last Pe-2 was retired from the Bulgarian Air Force in 1956.

8 September 1946, 92,72% of voters voted to overthrow the monarchy and proclaim a republic. September 15 The People’s Republic of Bulgaria was proclaimed 1946, the first prime minister of which was Georgi Dimitrov, an old communist, friend of Tito, and a supporter of the creation of a single South Slavic state in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. In this regard, the Bulgarian Air Force receive a new identification mark:

At the same time, deliveries of Soviet aircraft continued. So, Tu-2 bombers and torpedo bombers were set.

Bomber Tu-2 Bulgarian Air Force

Torpedo bomber Tu-2T Bulgarian Air Force

Tu-2 bomber at the Bulgarian Air Force Museum

In 1947, the first Ilyushin ground attack aircraft arrived: IL-10 and IL-10М. In the period 1953-54. in Bulgaria were delivered produced in Czechoslovakia under the Soviet license copies of IL-10-Avia B-33, armed with 4 aircraft cannons NA-23РМ (150 projectiles per barrel). How many cars during this time were transferred is unknown.

Soviet Air Force Il-10 attack aircraft

After World War II, Bulgaria on account of reparations for the occupation of Macedonia passes a resurgent aviation Yugoslavia a large number of aircraft of different designs - 100 fighter Messerschmitt Bf.109G-2, G-6, G-10, training aircraft DAR-9 "Siniger", two divisions of bombers Pe-2, Il-2 attack planes, including the 30 light reconnaissance bomber of its own production of the Fazan design bureau X-11. After repair, "Pheasants" flew in parts of the Yugoslav Air Force until 1956.

Light reconnaissance bomber Bulgarian production KB-11 "Pheasant" Air Force of Yugoslavia

The era of jet aircraft. The first Bulgarian jet aircraft were the Soviet Yak-23. The first 12 Yak-23 arrived at the 1951-th Fighter Aviation Regiment formed in March 19. They were followed by about another hundred Yak-23, in addition, two double Jak-23DC came from Romania. In total, these fighters armed five fighter and fighter-bomber air regiments, the 2 th training bomber aviation regiment and the Georgi Benkovski aviation school. The main task of the Yak-23 in the Bulgarian Air Force was to intercept border violators, mainly from Turkey, Yugoslavia and Greece. The Yak-23 remained in service with the Bulgarian Air Force until the 1958 year, and the last part where they were operated was the 43 fighter regiment.

Yak-23 Bulgarian Air Force

Yak-23 fighter jet in the museum of the Bulgarian Air Force

At the beginning of the 1950's, the Bulgarian Air Force received 12 MiG-15, 24 MiG-15bis and 30 MiG-15UTI. In 1960, 12 MiG-15Рbis fighters arrived in Bulgaria. In the 1955 year, two Bulgarian MiG-15s shot down an Israeli passenger aircraft L-149, which violated the airspace of Bulgaria. The Israeli pilots ignored the warnings and even tried to break away from the patrol, and the Bulgarian government ordered the plane down. A passenger liner exploded near the town of Petrich. As a result, seven crew members and a 51 passenger, including three children, were killed.

Training MiG-15 UTI Bulgarian Air Force

In 1955, the Bulgarian Air Force delivered 14 reconnaissance aircraft based on the Il-28-Il-28Р bomber and one Il-28U bomber. They were in service until the 1974 year.

IL-28 in the Museum of the Bulgarian Air Force

In the 1955-56, the Bulgarian Air Force received 12 jet fighters MiG-17, 60 MiG-17F and 12 MiG-17PF. In addition, in subsequent years, the fighter fleet was replenished with Polish-made Lim-5 aircraft. The 1963 received the 10 MiG-17P reconnaissance aircraft. In 1956, the MiG-17 Bulgarian Air Force shot down several automatic drifting balloons with reconnaissance equipment. All MiG-17 were armed with six squadrons, while at the beginning of the 60-s did not become replaced with the MiG-19. In the 1995, the Air Force still retained the 60 MiG-17, probably not flying.

MiG-17F fighter in the Bulgarian Air Force Museum

Fighter MiG-17PF Bulgarian Air Force

MiG-17 PF with RP-1 "Emerald" in the Museum of the Air Force of Bulgaria

In addition to combat, training fighters Yak-11, transport aircraft Li-2 and Il-14 (supplied by 17 machines) were delivered to Bulgaria from the USSR.

Training fighter Yak-11 in the museum of the Bulgarian Air Force

Li-2 transport aircraft in the museum of the Bulgarian Air Force

Il-14 transport aircraft in the museum of the Bulgarian Air Force

At the same time, the development of our own Bulgarian aircraft did not stop. Since 1948, the Laz-160 training aircraft designed by engineer Ivan Lazarov were produced by 7. Moreover, besides using it as a training machine, Laz-7 was in service in two divisions of light night bombers, created following the example of Soviet units armed with U-2 (Po-2) during World War II 1941-1945. year

Laz-7 of the second division of the light night bombers of the Bulgarian Air Force

Then 150 units of its upgraded version Laz-7M were produced with the Soviet M-11FR engine.

Training aircraft Laz-7M

However, these were the last Bulgarian aircraft. The following models Laz-8, Laz-9 and Laz-12, as well as reactive Laz-14, remained on paper.

So should look like a jet plane Laz-14

Given the mountainous nature of Bulgaria, helicopters play a large role in transportation. Therefore, Soviet MI-1 lungs (served up to 1971 of the year) and transport Mi-4s (served to 1985 of the year) were delivered to Bulgaria.

Mi-1 light helicopter at the Bulgarian Air Force Museum

Mi-4 transport helicopter at the Bulgarian Air Force Museum

It should be noted that among the countries of the Warsaw Pact, Bulgaria was considered the most reliable ally of the USSR. On its territory there were no Soviet troops, and the Bulgarian People’s Army was the only army that was to be used independently: to seize the European part of Turkey and go to the straits and act against Greece, and if necessary, against Yugoslavia.

At the beginning of 1958, Bulgaria received 24 supersonic MiG-19С fighter aircraft, which were distributed between the 19-IAP at Graf Ignatiev Air Base (used before 1965) and the air force at Uzundievo airfield (before 1963). Later, part of the aircraft was brought to a separate squadron in Uzundievo, where they were operated until 1978. In 1966, Bulgaria received its former MiG-19P and MiG-19М from Poland. At Dobroslavtsy air base, they were used until the 1975 year.

MiG-19S 19-th iap of the Bulgarian Air Force

MiG-19PM fighter at the Bulgarian Air Force Museum

At the start of the 60, the era of the MiG-21 began. From 1963 to 1990, the Bulgarians received 226 11 aircraft of various modifications (F-13, M, MF, PF, PFM, U, UM, P, bis). In September, the 1963 of the 19 th Fighter Regiment received the 12 MiG-21F-13, later some of these aircraft were converted into reconnaissance version of the MiG-21F-13Р and transferred to the 26 reconnaissance regiment. Decommissioned in the 1988 year. In January, the 1965 of the second squadron of the 18 air regiment received the 12 MiG-21PF, as in the case of the F-13, some of these aircraft were converted into the reconnaissance version of the MiG-21PFR and transferred to the 26-th reconnaissance air regiment. Decommissioned in 1991 year. In addition to the MiG-21PF, in the 1965, the Bulgarian Air Force received the 12 MiG-21PFM. In the 1977-1978, they were followed by another 36 used Soviet MiG-21PFM and two such fighters in the 1984 year. All MiG-21PFMs were in service with the 15 th regiment until the 1992 year. In the 1962 year, the 26 th rap received six reconnaissance MiG-21Р. In 1969-1970 19 MiG-15М arrived at 21, these aircraft ended their service in 1990 year of 21 IAP. In 1974-1975, Bulgaria received twenty MiG-21МФ, some of which were later converted into the reconnaissance version of the MiG-21МФР and transferred to the 26-th reconnaissance aviation regiment. These aircraft were decommissioned in the 2000 year. From 1983 to 1990, the Bulgarian Air Force received an 72 MiG-21bis. Half of them were in the version of ACS (30 new, 6 used), these fighters received the 19-th air regiment, and the second half with the system “Azure”. In addition to fighting the MiG-21, Bulgarian Air Force received 39 sparok in variants of the MiG-21U (1 to 1966 year), MiG-21US (5 to 1969-1970 years) and MiG-21UM (27 new in 1974-1980 years and 6 used Soviet in 1990 year). The last training MiG-21 were decommissioned in the 2000 year, and before that, in the 1994 year, ten MiG-21UM were sold to India. For the entire time of operation, the fighters were defeated; 38; MNG; 3; 21; 13; 4; -21US and 7 MiG-21UM. Of these, only 5 MiG-21bis are now maintained in the flying state, including two Sparky. The remaining MiG-6bis fly without modernization due to lack of money.

MiG-21PFM Bulgarian Air Force

MiG-21bis Bulgarian Air Force in flight

MiG-21MFR Scout at the Bulgarian Air Force Museum

As training in the period 1963-1974. The Bulgarians were supplied 102 by Czechoslovak Aero L-29 Delfin, who served until the 2002 year.
L-29 Delfin in the Bulgarian Air Force Museum

The 70s were the heyday of Bulgarian aviation. In 1976, the MiG-23 began to enter service. Total Bulgarian received 90 MIGs this modification, in embodiments MOF, BN, UB, LAM, MLD (33 MiG-23BN, 12 MiG-23MF, 1 MiG-23ML, 8 MiG-23MLA, 21 MiG-23MLD, 5 of which Air Bulgaria win from Russia to 1991 in exchange for the 3 MiG-25RBT and 15 MiG-23UB). In the Bulgarian Air Force, the MiG-23 served up to the 2004 year.

MiG-23BN 25-th bap of the Bulgarian Air Force

MiG-XNUMHUB in the Bulgarian Air Force Museum

Also, the Bulgarian Air Force received 18 Su-22M4 and 5 Su-22UM, also flying up to the 2004 year.

Su-22М4 at the Bulgarian Air Force Museum

For training purposes, around 30 of Czechoslovak Aero L-39 Albatros were delivered, 12 of which, according to some sources, continue to be used until now, according to others - they have already been taken out of service.

L-39 Albatros Bulgarian Air Force

At the end of the 1970-ies began arming the Air Force NRB assault helicopters. In 1979, the newly formed fire support squadron as part of the 44 helicopter regiment received the first 4 Mi-24D. In 1980, the regiment was redeployed from Plovdiv to the Krumovo airfield, and the squadron of fire support in Stara Zagora, where it became the basis of the 13 battle helicopter regiment. In total, by the year 1985, the regiment received 38 Mi-24D and 6 Mi-24В. In October, 2000, the helicopters were relocated to Krumovo, where they became part of the 2 squadron of the 24 helicopter base. Currently, Mi-24 retired.

A pair of Bulgarian Mi-24 in flight

In 1979-1980, Bulgaria received 6 anti-submarine Mi-14PL helicopters from the USSR, one of which crashed in January 1986. In 1990, the 3 of the used Mi-14PL was also acquired. In 1983, a separate helicopter squadron received an 2 helicopter, a minesweeper Mi-14BT, one of which was decommissioned in 1985, the second equipment was removed, and the helicopter was used as a transport one. By the 2001 year, four Mi-14PLs remained suitable for flights, two of which were repaired in the 2000 year, in order to extend the resource to 2007-2008. In 2013, the Mi-14PL was replaced with AS.565MB Panther.

Anti-submarine helicopter Mi-14PL in the Bulgarian Air Force Museum

In 1982, Bulgaria, the only European allies of the USSR, received 4 reconnaissance bomber MiG-25РБ (3 MiG-25РБ and 1 MiG-25RU). The aircraft entered the 12 th reconnaissance regiment. 12 April 1984, one of them (b / n 736) was lost in a plane crash. However, the speed of the MiG-25РБ in the conditions of Bulgaria turned out to be of little use for the plane, it simply did not have enough territory to accelerate, and therefore in May 1991, the Bulgarians returned them to the USSR, exchanging MiG-5LD fighters for 23.

MiG-25РБ "red 754" of the Bulgarian Air Force.

X-NUMX An-3 transport was delivered to Bulgaria, 26 of which continue to be used until now.

An-26 Bulgarian Air Force

In 1985-1991 Bulgaria received from the Soviet Union a batch of transport helicopters Mi-8 / 17. The 2000 Mi-25 helicopters remained in service with the Bulgarian Air Force in 17, and the 2004 in the 18. In 1989-1990 The Bulgarian Air Force received four EW Mi-17PP helicopters that were first publicly demonstrated only in 1999. In the same 1999, special radio-electronic equipment and antennas were dismantled from three Mi-17P helicopters. The fourth Mi-17PP was "moderated" in 2000. In 2003-2004. One of these helicopters was converted into a fire-fighting one by installing a side for 3 tons of water in the cargo and passenger cabin.

Mi-8 transport helicopter in a museum stories Bulgarian Air Force

Mi-xnumx. Bulgarian Air Force. 17 year.

In October, 1986, Bulgaria received 36 Su-25K and four Su-25CP. The aircraft were operated by 22 ibap, where they replaced the MiG-17 and the MiG-XNUMHUTI. One plane (along with the pilot) was lost in the 15 crash of April 17. After the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the support of aircraft in combat readiness became a headache for the Bulgarian command. The 1989 attack aircraft in the 4 year were sold to Georgia, another 2008 to her in the 10 year. Currently, the Bulgarian Air Force has 2012 Su-14.

Su-25K Bulgarian Air Force in flight

Su-XNUMHUBK Bulgarian Air Force

In the 1990, Bulgaria received the 22 fighter (18 fighter, 4 combat training). One of the planes was lost in the 9.09.1994 crash. The MiG-29 are in service with two fighter regiments (in Ravnets and Yambol). In March, 2006 was signed an agreement with RAC "MiG" on the overhaul and modernization of 16 fighters. By the end of May 2009, the contract was fully completed. Currently, the Bulgarian Air Force 12 MiG-29 and 3 MiG-29UB.

MiG-29 Bulgarian Air Force

In 1989, the Bulgarian Air Force was armed with the order of 300 fighters. However, the Warsaw Pact Organization fell apart, then the USSR, the liberals came to power in Bulgaria, who first of all began to reduce the Armed Forces, the first thing they had to do was the identification mark of the Bulgarian aircraft

The nineties became difficult for the Bulgarian aviation, there was no fuel, the exercises were not conducted, the planes were constantly written off. In April, 2004, Bulgaria joined NATO. In preparation for the entry into the Alliance, a large-scale restructuring was carried out at the Bulgarian Air Force in 2003. The number of airplanes and helicopters from 465 in 1998 has been reduced to 218 in 2003. The de facto Bulgarian Air Force at the turn of the 20th — 21st centuries. in fact, they lost their combat effectiveness, since most of the aircraft on the list of aircraft were unsuitable for flight. Naturally, the new allies demanded that Bulgaria buy Western planes. In 2004, the Bulgarian Air Force bought in Switzerland 6 piston training aircraft Pilatus PC-9M.

Training aircraft Pilatus PC-9M Bulgarian Air Force

In 2004, a contract was signed with Eurocopter for the purchase of the X-NUMX multipurpose Cougar AS-12AL, intended for the Air Force, and six AS-532MB Pantera, for the Navy.

Multi-purpose helicopter AS-532AL "Cougar" Bulgarian Air Force

In 2006, the Italian airline Alenia ordered the 3 light military transport aircraft C-27J Spartan. Initially, the agreement involved the delivery of five aircraft, but in 2010, the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense decided to abandon the latter two. The military department promulgated its decision last August. The reason for the rejection of the aircraft was the military budget deficit. The savings saved on the fourth and fifth Spartan, Bulgaria planned to spend on paying for the third aircraft.

C-27J Spartan Bulgarian Air Force

Bulgaria is currently looking for a replacement for the MiG-29. Given the pro-Western policy of the Bulgarian government, most likely, the replacement will be the American F-16, or decommissioned somewhere in Europe. The Belgians have already offered F-16MLU, decommissioned their Air Force. The Americans responded with a proposal to supply the F-16 fighter unit 52 +, the Swedes traditionally offered the Gripen fighter Saab JAS-39. However, the Bulgarians have no money traditionally. So let's see ...

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