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Eastern Order of Battle

Bulgarian Air Defence and Air Force’s
Tactical Air Units
in January 1, 1973

In 1970, the Bulgarian Air Defence and Air Force air regiments organization were redesigned. Previously the regiment consisted of three squadrons, each with 12 combat aircraft. From 1970 onwards, the fighter and fighter-bomber squadrons consisted of two regiments. Each squadron used an average of 18 combat aircraft.
 

People's Republic of Bulgarian Air Force order of battle map
People's Republic of Bulgarian Air Force order of battle in 1973
People's Republic of Bulgarian Air Force's MiG-21M Fished-J Source: pan.bg Retrospotters
People's Republic of Bulgarian Air Force order of battle in 1973

 

The 10th Composite Air Corps bought two new variants of MiG-21s in the late sixties. The 19th Fighter Air Regiment got 15 pieces of MiG-21M Fishbed-J and the 26th Air Reconnaissance Regiment got six MiG-21R Fishbed-H variant.

The Bulgarian Air Force’s tactical fighter units in the early seventies.

 

Bulgarian Air Force’s 22nd Fighter Bomber Aviation Regiment MiG-17 Fresco at Bezmer

People's Republic of Bulgarian Air Force's MiG-21R Fished-H Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

 In addition to the old, slow MiG-15 and IL-28 reconnaissance aircraft a new more modern type was required. Therefore in 1969 six MiG-21R model arrived from the Soviet Union. For recce missions, the MiG-21R could carry a Type D daylight PHOTINT pod, a Type N nighttime PHOTINT pod, a Type R general-purpose ELINT pod or a Type T pod housing a TV system, making the MiG-21R one of the first Soviet recce aircraft to make use of ELINT equipment.
 In addition to the small number of MiG-21R Fishbed-H, they received additional MiG-21F-13 Fishbed-C type from Graf Ignatievo. These early MiG-21s were used as a training machines equipped with AFA-39 reconnaissance camera.

 

People's Republic of Bulgarian Air Force's IL-28 Beagle Source: pan.bg Retrospotters People's Republic of Bulgarian Air Force's Mig-15bisR Fagot-B Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

The transport helicopter flying forces were reinforced with ten Mi-8T Hip-C and two Mi-8P Hip-C medium transport helicopter starting from 1969.

They also received Mi-2 Hoplite type for educational purposes. The old Mi-4 Hound were merged into two squadrons. In addition to the green colored Mi-8 Hip, new Mi-2 Hoplite trainer aircraft arrived from Poland.
 

People's Republic of Bulgarian Air Force's Mi-8T Hip-C Source: pan.bg Retrospotters People's Republic of Bulgarian Air Force's Mi-8T Hip-C Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

Photos: pan.bg Retrospotters