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Eastern Order of Battle

Order of Battle of the Soviet Tactical Air Force during the Afghan invasion in 1979. Part One.

There has been a civil war in Afghanistan since 1978. The Soviet Union wanted to avoid Afghanistan from escaping its sphere of influence. The Soviet leadership feared that either the Iranian revolution that broke out in 1978 would spread to Afghanistan or - due to the Pastu tribal affiliation - Pakistan would intervene and because of this Afghanistan would come under the influence of China or the United States. For this reason the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

Four Soviet Tactical Air Army took part in the occupation. Two squadrons of Su-17M2 Fitter-D bombers were placed near the Iran border. (806th Fighter Bomber Air Regiment at Kzyl-Arvat airport from 14th Air Army and 168th Guard Fighter Bomber Air Regiment at Mary-2 airport from 34th Tactical Air Army) Both squadrons had first class pilots. These squadrons were suitable to nuclear offense. These two squadrons were stationed here in order to keep the Iranian forces at bay.

The local Soviet Turkestan Military Districtís 49th Tactical Air Armyís combat air regiments moved to Afghanistan. The local forces were aided by the neighboring Central Asian Military District's 73rd Tactical Air Armyís regiments.
 

Soviet Air Forces Order of Battle at Afghanista in 1979 map
Soviet Air Forces Order of Battle at Afghanista in 1979
Soviet Air Forces Order of Battle at Afghanista in 1979

  * The exact sub-variants used aren't known
** The 136th regiment received the MiG-21SM Fishbed-J type in 1980.

 

Afghan Air Force in the late seventies during the Soviet invasion

 

Soviet tactical fighters force:


The Soviet Tactical Air Force Command was anticipated a civil war in Afghanistan, so there was only four high speed combat air squadron in the region. One air squadron of the Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment flew over to Afghanistan Bagram airport from Kokayty on December 27, 1979. They were the first Soviet high-speed combat air unit in Afghanistan. At first, they escorted the reconnaissance and bombers.

Then, since there was no need for fighter jets, they were used for bombing. They found that MiG-21bis Fishbed-L/N was more suitable for tradition bombing missions than the older MiG-21PFM Fishbed-F and Yak-28I Brewer-C nuclear bomber types at Afghanistan in 1979.


Soviet 115th regiment crew at Bagram airport Afghanistan in 1980:
 

Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis
Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis
Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis
Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis
Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis
Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis
Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis
Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis Soviet 115th Fighter Air Regiment at Afghanistan in 1980 with MiG-21bis

 

Soviet 115th Guard Fighter Air Regimentís life at Kandahar airport, Afghanistan in 1980

 

Source: Leonid Prokazin collectionv