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Russian Air Power

Russian Air Power

Organizational structure

Russia’s armed forces were formally created in May 1992. The organizational structure of the Russian military aviation, whose air assets were divided between Air Force (Voyenno-Vozdushniye Sily, VVS), Air Defence (Protivo-Vozdushnaya Oborona, PVO), Navy (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot, VMF) and the Army (Sukhoputnye Voyska, SV) remained unchanged for several years after the collapse of the USSR.

In 1998, the majority of Air Defence components, i.e. surface-to-air missile units, interceptor fighter units and radar airspace observation network, were transferred to the Air Force. The remainder of the Air Defence such as the ballistic missile warning system, Moscow missile defence corps and space control network, were transferred to Strategic Rocket Forces (in 2001 they were once again transferred to the newly established Space Forces, in 2011 transformed into Air and Space Defence Forces and in 2015 were finally merged with the Air Force). The main objective of joining the Air Force and Air Defence in 1998 was reduction of the operational costs; the number of personnel was reduced by 20% and only 70 aviation regiments remained from a previous roster of 100 (and 37 regiments of anti-aircraft missiles).

The Air Force had eight Armies, as well as some direct reporting units (test and evaluation centres, pilot schools, scientific institutes, repair plants and storage bases). Two Air Armies were created according to function: the 37th Army included long-range bombers and tankers, whereas the 61st Army operated strategic transport aircraft. Six Air Force and Air Defence (AF and AD) Armies were created according to territory and joined the tactical air units stationed in appropriate Military Districts. These were the 4th AF and AD Army with HQ in Rostov-on-Don, the 5th Army in Yekaterinburg, 6th Army in St Petersburg, 11th Army in Khabarovsk, 14th Army in Novosibirsk and a Special Operations Command in Moscow (until October 2002: the Moscow AF and AD District) that protected Russia’s capital city. In 2003, helicopters formerly belonging to the Army, were included into the Air Force, the Russian Army having had no air assets since then.


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