Air Force and Air Defense of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1992-1999)
Parts of the former JNA were reorganized into the Armed Forces of the FRY. Airplanes and helicopters received new identifying marks, immediately mockingly called the Pepsi-Cola pilots.
From June to September 1992, the Air Force and Air Defense were reorganized. Previously, the Air Force and Air Defense included mixed corps, consisting of aviation parts and parts of air defense. Now a separate aviation corps and an air defense corps were formed, which together made up the air force and air defense. Brigades appeared instead of regiments. All fighters were concentrated in the 204th and 83rd Aviation Brigades, but already in 1994 the brigades became regiments again. In the same 1994, four squadrons of fighters were transferred from the air corps to the air defense corps - one armed with the MiG-29, and three on the MiG-21.
However, the new Air Forces were only a pale shadow of the JNA Air Force, so, in 1991, the SFRY Air Force was based on 20 main airfields; by 1999, Serbian aviation had only five bases.
The sanctions and provisions of arms reduction treaties led to 1995, a significant reduction in the fleet. In the middle of the 90-s, the 16 interceptors MiG-21 PFM, four MiG-21МФ fighters, four MiG-21 U fighters, five MiG-21 УС and five reconnaissance MiG-21Ps were deactivated by the Yugoslav Air Force. The Dayton Accords limited the number of 155 Yugoslav air forces to combat aircraft. In order to comply with the restrictions, the Serbs had to remove weapons from a number of Super Galeb G-4 aircraft, after which they received the designation N-62S.
The armament consisted mainly of the outdated equipment of the second generation, and the purchase of a new one was excluded due to the sanctions imposed by the "world community". For example, the "age" of the radar was from 13 to 30 years.
The air defense had the Kvadrat and Neva-M air defense systems.
ZRK C-125 "Neva-M" defense of the FRY
The basis of the fighter aircraft were MiG-21bis aircraft, and the MiG-29 was in service with only one squadron.
In 1996, Russia proposed to put Yugoslavia within the framework of the repayment of the USSR’s debt to the SFRY 20 MiG-29 fighters, as well as the C-300 SAMs. Then Milosevic refused ...
True, the Yugoslavs managed to buy three SA.90L Gazel helicopters for the 342-x in Lebanon at the beginning of the Special Forces squadron (Red Berets), one armed with ATG-15 and two with GIAT-20. 621-1996 for this special squadron in Russia, two Mi-1998 helicopters and two Mi-17В combat helicopters were purchased (according to another version, the helicopters were purchased from Ukrspecexport).
Mi-24 combat helicopters of the Yugoslav special forces
Helicopters were actively used in hostilities en the territory of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, throwing spetsnaz groups and taking out the wounded. Moreover, state security aviation in Bosnia helped not only the Serbs, but also in 1993 — 1995. Muslims who did not recognize the government of Aliya Izetbegovic and who de facto created an independent state in the western part of Bosnia Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia. Helicopters, in order to avoid detection by DRLO aircraft, performed low-altitude flights around the terrain using natural shelters such as ravines. Mi-8 / 17, piloted by experienced pilots, often flew over highways. In this case, AWACS identified the helicopter as a truck. Often, before carrying out combat missions, all markings were washed off from helicopters so that interested persons could not determine the nationality of the aircraft.
Rare shot: Yugoslav Special Forces against the background of the Mi-17 helicopter
Thus, on 24 in March 1999 of the year, that is, at the beginning of the NATO aggression of the Air Force and the FRY air defense, 238 airplanes and 56 helicopters were included:
- no more than 13 MiG-29 fighters; no more than two combat-capable MiG-29UB aircraft (all in 1987-1988 from the USSR, 14 MiG-29 and 2 MiG-29UB were supplied) as part of the Vityaz squadron of the 127 th fighter aircraft. stationed at the air base Batainitsa (north of Belgrade). All MiG-204 were the first export version of the "29-9B" because of the UN sanctions had problems with the operation of radar and other electronic devices. The overhaul period for fighters expired in 12. Only the 1996 MiG-9 was in flightable condition, and the effectiveness of their avionics was about 29%.
- no more than 35 outdated MiG-21bis and 12 MiG-21МФ fighters, which could be used relatively effectively only during daylight hours. The 25 MiG-21bis were part of the 126 th Delta Squadron of the 204 Fighter Aviation Regiment deployed at the Battalynits Air Base. The rest: around 10, the MiG-21bis and all of the MiG-21МФ were part of the 123 th Lions and 124 th Thunder of the squadrons of the 83 th Fighter Aviation Regiment deployed at the Pristina capital of Kosovo.
- 21 fighter-bomber "Orao" as part of the 241 Squadron "Tigers" (Obrva air base) and 252-th "Wolves" (Bataille) 98 fighter-bomber regiment. X-NUMX attack aircraft G-21 Super Galeb, as well as a number of obsolete G-4 Galeb as part of the 2-th air brigade deployed in the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica
- 16 reconnaissance aircraft MiG-21Р and 17 IJ-22 "Orao" as part of the 353 squadron "Hawks" (Bataynitsa).
Western sources, as was the case before the operation “Desert Storm” 1991 of the year, provided dramatically overestimated data on the combat potential of enemy aircraft. The total number of aircraft of the Yugoslav Air Force fleet was estimated by them at 450 military aircraft and helicopters, including the 15 MiG-29 and 83 MiG-21 (probably, all the airplanes on the airfields, including those written off by the MiG-21PF, were summarized and MiG-21M allocated for recycling).
The air force missile units of the Air Force numbered 14 of the Pechora C-125М (60 PU) air defense missile systems with a total of no more than 1000 missiles. Outdated S-75 Dvina. set in the 60s (6 divisions-40 PU) were decommissioned and last used by the Bosnian Serbs in the 1995 year.
The ground forces of Yugoslavia, as part of four anti-aircraft missile regiments, had medium-range SAM systems XNUM of a recon XKNUMX “Kvadrat” (near 2 PU), as well as low-altitude mobile complexes of a short range 12 A 70 Strela-9 (31 launcher of off-personnel manpower systems). "(1 PU).
PU ZRK 2K12 "Square" air defense FRY
ZRK 9K35M "Strela-10" Army of Yugoslavia
ZRK 9K31 "Strela-1" air defense of the FRY in firing position
The Kvadrat SAM system was very effective at the beginning of the 70's, but already extremely obsolete by the end of the 90's. The Strela-1М and Strela-10 SAM systems did not have their own radar, so they could only be used during daylight hours.
True, according to Western media reports, in October 1998 of the year Russia, in violation of the embargo, supplied Yugoslavia with new homing heads, warheads and fuses for 9MZ missile systems Kvadrat, which significantly expanded the combat capabilities of this complex.
Ground forces in relatively large numbers (850 units) had sufficiently modern portable anti-aircraft missile systems (MANPs) 9K32 Strela-2, 9K32M Strela-2M, 9K34 Strela-3 Artists could hit enemy planes only at altitudes up to 9 meters.
Yugoslavian soldier with Strela-2M MANPADS
The ground-based anti-aircraft artillery is reduced to 11 (according to other 15 data) anti-aircraft artillery shelves equipped around 1000 anti-aircraft guns with a caliber from 20 to 57 mm, including 54 with Soviet anti-aircraft self-propelled guns ZSU-57-XNXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxm Prague and several hundred Yugoslav self-propelled anti-aircraft installations BOV-2. Virtually all anti-aircraft guns did not have radar guidance and were able to conduct only non-targeted, ineffective barrage fire. In addition, the main mass of anti-aircraft guns were ineffective triple-barreled 204-mm anti-aircraft guns of Hispano-Suiza M-53А59В3, its single-barreled version M-20, and also ZSU on its base BOV-55.
20-mm anti-aircraft gun "Hispano-Suiza" M-55А4В1
More or less modern Swedish 40-mm anti-aircraft guns "Bofors" L70, with Giraffe radar-guided, equipped with a ballistic computer and an automatic gun control system was just 72.
40-mm anti-aircraft gun "Bofors" L70 of the Yugoslav Army
The radio engineering units integrated into the 126 airborne surveillance, warning and guidance brigade had 18 ground radars: American AN / TPS-4 70, S-605 / 654 and 4 П-18, 4 П 12.
Soviet-made radar П-18
In addition, the Navy of Yugoslavia had on ships 3 PU "Osa-M" (SKR type "Beograd", etc. 1159TR and 2 SKR type "Kotor") and around 100 various artillery installations of 76-20-mm.
Reports on the presence in the Air Force of Yugoslavia of more modern C-200В, С-З00П systems, opt 9K37 M1 "Beech M1", 9K33 "Wasp", 9М330 / 9К331 "Thor / Th-8" 8, 8 of reality.
It cannot be said that Yugoslavia was not preparing to repel aggression. In 1989, 10 of MiG-23ML and 10 MiG-21bis were transferred to Zagreb for overhaul from Iraq. For some unknown reason, these cars stood for two years and in 1991, after the collapse of the country, the cars turned out to be at the repair company Moma Stanoylovich, which was based at the Bataynitsa airfield.
Since the beginning of the war, at least one MiG-23ML and four MiG-21bis were enlisted in the FRY Air Force. Apparently, even such machines were useful in the war against NATO.
Assumed view of the Yugoslav MiG-23ML
Attempts were made to create their own air defense system. The first was "Tsitsiban", created on the chassis of the Yugoslav army truck TAM-150 with two guides for infrared guided P-13 missiles. The created machine entered service with the armies of the Bosnian Serbs and the Serbian Krajina, but there is no information about their combat use.
An even simpler system, known as the Pracka ("Sling"), was a P-60 rocket on an improvised launcher based on a cannon of the Isano-Suiza towed anti-aircraft gun M-55-XXNXX-X4 of 1-mm caliber. The actual combat effectiveness of such a system could be even lower than that of a sling, given such an obvious drawback as the very limited launch range.
Towed by the Prash SAM system with a missile based on air-to-air missiles with an infrared homing head P-60
The self-propelled version of the air defense system was created on the basis of the ZSU M-53 / 59 "Prague" with one and two guides with two-stage missiles RL-2 and RL-4 based on aircraft missiles Р-60 and Р-73, respectively.
Variants of the “Prash” air defense missile system with two-stage missiles based on P-73 and P-60 aircraft missiles
The prototypes of the Prash air defense missile system were used to repel NATO aggression.
NATO had reliable data on the strength of the armed forces of Yugoslavia and the operability of military equipment - the armed forces were not dangerous to NATO. However, the US military attache in Belgrade, Colonel John Pemberton asked 18 March 1999 at a meeting that was held at the request of the American side for the third time, a question to the Yugoslav general: "Do you have a C-300?". The Yugoslavs never had the C-300 air defense system, but someone in NATO seriously feared the existence of such systems in Yugoslavia, although the overall balance of power for Yugoslavia was even more unfavorable than in April 1941.
War in Kosovo
Relations between the Serbs and Albanians living in Kosovo have never been particularly warm.
Albanian kills a Serbian monk in the Devic monastery. Kosovo and Metohija, 1941 year
The collapse of the SFRY at the beginning of the 90-s led the overwhelming majority of the Albanian population (of the order of 1 million 800 thousand people) to speak in favor of secession of the region from Serbia. In the spring of 1998, demonstrations turned into bloody clashes between Serb security forces and Albanian armed groups that formed the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCHK), which on February 28 1998 proclaimed the beginning of an armed struggle against the Serbs. Thanks to the unrest in Albania in 1997, the militants received about 150 thousands of small units weapons.
Small arms seized from Albanian militants
The Serbs reacted promptly: additional police forces with armored vehicles were deployed to the region, which launched a counter-terrorist struggle. In the hostilities took an active part and aviation.
Yugoslav fighters-bombers "Orao" from Ladevchi and Užice airfields, G-4 Super Galeby from Niš attacked militant positions.
Yugoslav attack aircraft G-4 Super Galeb "strikes NAR
The reconnaissance flights over Kosovo were carried out with photographic equipment of MiG-21Р and IJ-22 Orao aircraft, it is possible that some of the aircraft were equipped with electronic reconnaissance equipment. Yugoslav scouts flew not only over Kosovo. One western TV reporter filmed a pair of IJ-22 above the town of Tropoja in northern Albania.
Yugoslav IJ-22 "Orao" reconnaissance aircraft
In Kosovo, the Mi-8 and Gazel helicopters were very widely used, carrying out 179 combat missions, during which 94 injured and 113 passengers were transported, five tons of cargo. In an operation on Mount Unic, near the border with Albania, where there were fierce battles between border guards, reinforced units of the 63 brigade, and UCH troops, 28 July 1998, one Mi-8 was used to evacuate the dead and wounded. On board the helicopter were fighters of the Yugoslav special forces "Cobra". Difficult terrain complicated approach and its implementation. The crew performed the landing on a steep slope, where there was a real danger to hook the ground with rotor blades. Thanks to the skill and courage of the pilots, the evacuation was successful.
Yugoslav paratroopers from the 63 airborne brigade in Kosovo at the Mi-8 helicopter before the combat exit
Intensively used special forces helicopters. Mi-24 helicopters attacked militant camps located not only in Kosovo, but also in the western part of Albania. In the course of the 1 combat mission in March, 1998 was damaged by a Mi-24 helicopter that made an emergency landing, and later Mi-24 was repaired. The most important combat mission of the Mi-17В and Mi-24В helicopters was 27 June 1998. They took part in the 100 rescue operation of civilians and Serbian policemen who had defended the village Kiyevo for six days. During the operation, one Mi-24 was hit and, due to hydraulic damage, performed an emergency landing.
Gunmen UCHK with 12,7-mm machine gun "Type 59" (Chinese copy DShK)
Next to Mi-24, Mi-17 landed, dropping out Serbian special forces who repulsed an attack by UCH fighters who were trying to capture Mi-24. The special forces remained at the site of a forced landing until Mi-24 was evacuated by the Serbs. The helicopter subsequently underwent a refurbishment. In August, anti-guerrilla J-20 “Kragui” special forces squadron operated in the Pec area.
An-26 transport aircraft flew to Kosovo. Probably, some flights were performed not only for the purpose of transporting people and goods. Western analysts believe that An-26 conducted intelligence.
An-26 transport aircraft of the FRY Air Force
NATO responded to events in Kosovo with the threat of air strikes on Yugoslavia. In June, the Determined Falkon exercise, in which 68 combat aircraft took part, was conducted to demonstrate the strength. In Belgrade, the threats from NATO were taken very seriously, but what could the Serbs have opposed to a qualitatively and quantitatively superior enemy? Relocation of the MiG-29 link from the Batainica to Niš? The success in itself was the redeployment performed secretly: the fighters made a flight in the radar shadow of the An-26 transport.
The anti-aircraft gunners also actively participated in hostilities supporting special forces and police units with fire.
Serb militiamen move to ZOV BOV-3 during counter-terrorism operation in Kosovo
By the beginning of 1999, by joint efforts of the Serbian army and the police, the main Albanian terrorist gangs had been destroyed or driven into Albania. However, unfortunately, the Serbs did not manage to fully control the border with Albania, from where weapons continued to be supplied, and deliveries had already begun by the West.
Militants UCHK in ambush
NATO did not like this state of affairs. It was decided on a military operation. The reason for it was the so-called. 15 "incident in Racak" on January 1999 of the year where a battle took place between the Serbian police and Albanian separatists. All those killed during the battle, both Serbs and terrorists, were declared "civilians shot by the bloodthirsty Serbian military." From that moment, NATO began to prepare for a new military operation ...
Yugoslav defense plan
The General Staff of the FRY together with the command of the Air Force and Air Defense developed a four-point defense plan:
-Air defense operation. It was planned to use 8 airborne inspection and warning units (2 platoon, 6 mouth), 16 medium-range missile units (4 of the Neva C-125 and 12 X-Square and 15 short-range batteries) "Strela-2", 1 air defense artillery batteries, 23 squadrons of MiG-2 fighters (21 aircraft) and 30 MiG-5. The Third Army's air defense forces (Strela-29M and Strela-5M and 2 air defense artillery batteries) also had to support the operation. Two anti-aircraft missile regiments were in Kosovo as part of the 1 army. In early October 8 batteries of the Kvadrat air defense missile system were located in the cities of Pristina, Dyakovitsa and Glogovach. It was later that they bore the brunt of the fight against NATO strike aircraft. The command of the Air Defense Corps from the 3 X operational center of the Karchukak air defense sector near Kraljevo.
-Oborona areas of Belgrade, Novi Sad and the area of Podgorica-Boca. For Belgrade and Novi Sad, 6 air inspection and warning units (2 companies, 4 platoons), 12 medium-range missile divisions (8 S-125 Neva and 4 Square), 15 short-range batteries (Strela- 2M "and" Strela-1M "), 7 artillery air defense batteries, a fighter squadron (15 MiG-21 and 4 MiG-29), as well as the air defense forces of the First Army of the ground forces. Command center - the 20th operational center of the air defense sector "Stari-Banovtsi". To cover the Podgorica-Bok area, 3 airborne inspection and warning units (1 company and 2 platoons), 4 Kvadrat batteries, Strela-2M batteries and 7 artillery batteries, as well as air defense forces of the Second Army and the Naval Army were involved Fleet. Command center - 58th operational center of the air defense sector at the airport of Podgorica.
Fighting helicopter assault. However, due to the absence of such, after a few days, the units that conducted the operation were transferred to other destinations.
Air support of the forces of the Third Army Army. She was supposed to perform the Aviation Corps in cooperation with the headquarters of the Third Army.
Yugoslav aviation was disguised and redeployed into underground shelters.
MiG-21bis fighters of the 126 th Delta Squadron in underground shelters at the Bataynitsa air base
And on the runway and even on the highway were placed carefully executed models of the MiG-29 and MiG-21, the production of which was put on stream.
Destroyed Yugoslav "MiG-29" at Batainits Air Base
They made models of anti-aircraft guns and air defense missile systems, equipped with false firing positions.
The layout of the Yugoslav Ispano-Suiza M-55A4B1 anti-aircraft gun
Ambushes armed with 20-mm anti-aircraft guns and MANPADS were created on the supposed flight routes of the Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Calculation of the Yugoslav ZSU BOV-3
It was decided that only MiG-29 127 th squadron would be in the air to confront NATO aircraft.
Vityazi, while outdated MiG-21 will be used to repel the land invasion. In order to avoid detection by the AWACS system (early detection and guidance system) installed on American aircraft, the MiG-29 will patrol at extremely low altitude and, with the approach of the Alliance group of aircraft, will gain altitude and attack them with rockets with thermal (infrared) GOS P- 60M or P-73, followed by a decrease to the original height. It was also decided to attack the MiGs in pairs from different directions - this would provoke confusion in the ranks of the enemy.
But no one expected a full-scale war. Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic told his generals:
"Hold on for seven days, and then Russia and China will stop NATO." Time has shown how wrong he was ...
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