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Eastern Order of Battle

Afghan Air Force in the late seventies
before the Soviet invasion

The Afghan Air Force and Air Defense consisted of four forces. The air force; antiaircraft-artillery, antiaircraft-missile troops, and the radio-technical troops. In Bagram worked the aircraft maintenance plant, which was being specialized in MiG-17 Fresco model.

By the end of the seventies, the Afghan Air Defense consisted of four anti-aircraft missile battalions of SA-75MK Dvina (SA-2 Guideline), three battalions of S-125 Neva (SA-3 Goa).
 

Afghan Air Force crew in the seventies. Photo: Associated Press Afghan Air Force crews in the seventies. Photo: Associated Press

In 1979, the Afghan Tactical Air Force consisted of approximately 200 combat aircraft including Su-7BMK Fitter-A, two air squadrons with MiG-21FL Fishbed- D and MiG-21PFM Fishbed-F fighters, MiG-17 Fresco fighters, IL-28 Beagle light bombers, and some Mi-4 Hound and Mi-8 Hip-C helicopters.

Afghan Air Force Su-7BMK Fitter-A. Photo: Associated Press

355th Fighter Bomber Air Regiment a pair of Su-7BMK Fitter-A take off from Bagram airport. Photo: Associated Press

Afghan Air Force Su-7BMK Fitter-A. Photo: Associated Press

Afghan Air Forcesís camouflage coloured Su-7BMK Fitter-A fighter-bomber in the late seventies. Photo: Associated Press

The most modern type of Afghan Air Force was the Su-7BMK Fitter-A fighter-bomber. The new type served to intimidate Iran and Pakistan in the late sixties. Two squadrons were used by the 355th Fighter Bomber Regiment in Bagram Airport.

 

The history of the Su-7 Fitter in Afghanistan.

 

Afghan Air Force MiG-21FL Fishbed-D

Afghan soldiers with soviet military advisors in front of afghan MiG-21FL Fishbed-D interceptor in the seventies

Afghan Air Force MiG-17 Fresco-A

Two soviet advisers in front of afghan MiG-17 Fresco-A with two color camouflage in 1979

 

MiG-21 Fishbed types of the Afghan Air Force in the first half of the eighties.

 

Afghan Air Force MiG-17 Fresco-A. Photo: Associated Press Afghan Air Force MiG-17 Fresco-A. Photo: Associated Press Afghan Air Force MiG-17 Fresco-A. Photo: Associated Press

In addition to Afghanistan's existing MiG-17F Fresco-C and MiG-17PF Fresco-D fighters, received a large number of former Soviet MiG-17s from the Soviet Union in the early seventies. These were used as fighter-bombers and advanced training aircraft in the seventies at the 335th and 393rd regiments.

MiG-17 Fresco fighter at Afghan Air Force

 

Afghan Air Force order of battle in 1 979
Afghan Air Force order of battle map in1 979

* The exact number of the squadrons is being researched

If you wish to add or clarify something, please send a message to the following address: easternorbat@gmail.com

 

The Afghan Air Force members was low-skilled and not motivated. The rank of soldiers depended on the social rank of their family and not their talents.

The new Afghan L-39C Albatros in 1977

 

Afghan pilot training at Mazar-i-Sharif airport in the late seventies

 

Afghan Air Force MiG-17 Fresco-A. Photo: Associated Press Afghan Air Force crews in the seventies. Photo: Associated Press Afghan Air Force crews in the seventies. Photo: Associated Press
Afghan Air Force MiG-17 Fresco-A Afghan Air Force MiG-17F Fresco-C. Photo: Air International

Soviet and afghan pilots in front of Afghan Air Forceís silver coloured MiG-17 Fresco fighter-bombers.

The veteran of the Afghan Air Force is the tough MiG-17F Fresco-C. Despite itís age and lack of avionics, the MiG-17 Fresco model is still recognised for it's day, low level ground attack capability in the seventies. Photo: Air International

The transport types of the Afghan Air Force were modernized in the second half of the seventies. Beside existing IL-14 Create and Mi-4 Hound piston engines, they received modern An-26 Curl transport aircraft and Mi-8T Hip-C medium cargo helicopters. They also got an aerial reconnaissance, mapped An-30 Clank.

On the territory of Afghanistan traffic network was weak. Not all provincial capitals to ensure the reception of transport aircraft. There were only 7 airfields with runway over 1800 m.

Afghan Air Force An-26 Curl and Mi-4 Hound. Photo: Air International

The Afghan Air Force relies totally on Soviet-supplied equipment. Antonov An-26 Curl are used for tactical transport tasks, including some para-dropping mission. Behind the 373th Mixed Air Regimentís Mi-4 Hound transport helicopter. Photo: Air International

Afghan Air Force Mi-8T Hip-C. Photo: Air International

Afghan guerrillas atop a downed Afghan Mi-8T Hip-C transport helicopter. It was lost in 18.07.1979. Photo: Air International

In April 1978, the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) seized power in Afghanistan in the Saur Revolution. The coup was strategically planned to begin Thursday 27 April, because it was the day before Friday, the Muslim day of worship, and most military commanders and government workers were off duty. With the help of a few airplanes of Afghanistan's military air force, which were mainly Soviet made MiG-21 Fishbed and Su-7BMK Fitter-As. The aerial attacks on the palace intensified about midnight as six Su-7BMK Fitter-As made repeated rocket attacks, lighting up the city.

Under the coup, two aircraft were lost: MiG-21UM Mongol-B was damaged by the antiaircraft fire, after which pilot ejected; Su-7BMK Fitter-A's pilot of which on the takeoff felt bad and ejected. In addition, three MiG-21 Fishbed, four Su-7 Fitter, a Mi-8 Hip, an Il-14 Create, and an An-26 Curl, have been damaged.

Afghan Air Force aircraft types in 1978

* Afghan AF used L-39C Albatros and MiG-15UTI Midget trainer aircrafts too.

Crashed afghan Mi-4 Hound helicopter->

Afghan Air Force Mi-4 Hound helicopter

Within months, opponents of the communist government launched an uprising in eastern Afghanistan that quickly expanded into a civil war waged by guerrilla mujahideen against government forces countrywide. The Afghan Air Force were actively used in the civil war between 1978 and 1979.

Afghan Air Foresís Roundels:

1967 - April 1978

April 1978 - January 1980

January 1980 - April 1992

 image by Frank George Valoczy

 image by Frank George Valoczy

image by Mark Sensen

Source: https://flagspot.net

Source: www.airwar.ru
Photos: Air International, Associated Press