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Eastern Order of Battle

Bulgarian Air Defence and Air Force’s
Tactical Air Units
in January 1, 1988

The Bulgarian 25th Fighter Bomber Air Regiment used 39 MiG-23BN/UB Flogger-H/C fighter-bomber aircraft at Cheshnegirovo airport

The Bulgarian 25th Fighter Bomber Air Regiment used 39 MiG-23BN/UB Flogger-H/C fighter-bomber aircraft at Cheshnegirovo airport. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection.

The Bulgarian MiG-21UM MongolB and MiG-21bis Fishbed-N at Graf Ignatievo airport in 1991

Between the end of the eighties and early nineties, the MiG-21bis fighter aircraft’s gray paint were replaced with camouflage color. Photo: 19th regiment’s MiG-21UM and MiG-21bis at Graf Ignatievo airport in 1991.

In the second half of the 1980s, the replacement of vintage MiG-17s became inevitable. Between 1984 and 1989, the MiG-17 Fresco model was replaced by seven combat and training squadrons.  This time period was the Bulgarian Air Force’s golden age!

The 19th Fighter Air Regiment received 36 newer MiG-21bis Fishbed-N fighter between 1984 and 1985. The MiG-21M/MF Fishbed-J types were moved to the 21st Fighter Air Regiment at Uzundzhovo airport, they replaced the very old MiG-17F/PF Fresco-C/D types in the in the mid-eighties. The 21st regiment received some MiG-21PF/PFM air defence fighter from the Bulgarian Air Defence too.
 

Bulgarian Su-25K Frogfoot-A

The 44 Mi-24 Hind and 40 Su-25 Frogfoot Bulgarian attack helicopters/aircraft was a huge number close air support machine in the Balkan region in the second half of the eighties. Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

Bulgarian  Air Force Su-22UM3K Fitter

The Soviet Union delivered 18 Su-22M4 Fitter-H and three Su-22UM3K Reconnaissance and fighter-bomber aircraft ti Bulgaria between 1985 and 1988. Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

One of Bulgaria's largest military procurements was the 61 Sukhoi Su-25K/UBK Frogfoot attack and Su-22M4/UM3K Fitter Reconnaissance and fighter-bomber aircraft between 1984 and 1989. The new Sukhoi models replaced the MiG-17 Fresco-A at the 22nd and the 26th regiment's three squadrons

The new Bulgarian Sukhoi types was expected to rival with the local NATO air forces’ type then F-4E Phantom II or A-7H Corsair II in the second half of the eighties.
 

People's Republic of Bulgarian Air Force order of battle in 1988


*
Used some MiG-17 Frsco-A and MiG-15UTI only for training role
** The exact sub-variants (MiG-21PF/PFM) used aren't known

Right: Bulgarian Mi-2 Hoplite courier helicopter

People's Republic of Bulgarian Air Force order of battle map
Bulgarian Mi-2 Hoplite helicopter

 

Bulgarian Su-22M4 Fitter-K Reconnaissance/bomber aircraft in the eighties

 

Bulgarian MiG-25RBT Foxbat-B

26th Reconnaissance Air Regiment's MiG-25RBT Foxbat-B during industrial overhaul the Soviet Union at Zaporozhye airport in 1989. Source: spotters.net.ua

Bulgarian Mi-17 Hip-H helicopter
Bulgarian Mi-8T Hip-C helicopter
Bulgarian MiG-21F-13 Fishbed-C reconnaissance aircraft.

Bulgarian MiG-21F-13 Fishbed-C reconnaissance aircraft. The 26th regiment's pilots used these aircrafts for high speed training. Source: pan.bg Retrospotters

Bulgarian Mi-17 Hip-H helicopter

Above: The Soviet Union delivered two squadron Mi-17 Hip-H cargo helicopters to Bulgaria in the middle of the eighties. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection


Left: At the end of the eighties, the Bulgarian old Mi-8T Hip-C helicopters have reached their half lifespan. The industrial repair was carried out in the Hungarian People's Republic in the eighties. During the repair, the Mi-8T Hip-Cs green paint was replaced to standard Hungarian camouflage. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection

In the second half of the eighties the 44th Transport Helicopter Regiment converted to the Mi-17 Hip-H transport helicopter type. The regiment received for received four very modern Mi-17PP Hip-H electronic jamming helicopter too.

In 1983 the 13th Attack Helicopter Regiment moved to the Plovdiv – Stara Zagora airport with Mi-24D Hind-D and the new Mi-24V Hind-E helicopters.

The fixed and rotary-wing transport regiments began to convert to the turboprop An-26 Curl and Mi-17 Hip-H helicopter, replacing the piston-engined IL-14 Crate and Mi-4 Hound.
 

Bulgarian Antonov An-24 Coke, An-26 Curl, An-30 Clank, Yakovlev Yak-40 Codling, Let L-410 cargi aircraft at Dobroslavtzi airport. The 16th Transport Air Regiment received more Antonov An-26 Curl and Let L-410 UVP/UVP-E/UVP-E3 transport types until 1984. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection

Bulgarian Antonov An-30 Clank, Yakovlev Yak-40 Codling, An-24 Coke, Let L-410, An-26 Curl cargo aircrafts at Dobroslavtzi airport. The 16th Transport Air Regiment received more Antonov An-26 Curl and Let L-410 UVP/UVP-E/UVP-E3 transport types from 1984. Photo: Christian Boisselon collection

The Air Force Higher School had just replaced its obsolete MiG-15UTI Midgets and MiG-17 Frescos, which had been used for advanced flying training since the late 1950s, with the supersonic MiG-21PFM Fishbed-F, MiG-21US/UM Mongol-B and L-39ZA Albatros advanced trainers.

 

Bulgarian advanced pilot training types in the second half of eighties

 

Bulgarian tactical combat air units - Aircraft inventory in 1988:

Bulgarian Air Force - Aircraft inventory in 1988:


* Used some MiG-17 Fresco-A and MiG-15UTI only for training role
** The exact sub-variants (MiG-21PF/PFM) used aren't known

Tags:
Bulgarian Air Force, VVS, Cold War, Warsaw Pact, 10th Composite Air Corps, Plovdiv, 19th Fighter Air Regiment, Graf Ignatievo, MiG-21bis Fishbed-N, 21st Fighter Air Regiment, Uzundzhovo, MiG-21M, MiG-21MF Fishbed-J, MiG-21PF Fishbed-D, MiG-21PFM Fishbed-F, 22nd Fighter Bomber Air Regiment, Bezmer, Su-25K Frogfoot, MiG-17 Fresco-A, 25th Fighter Bomber Air Regiment, Cheshnegirovo, MiG-23BN Flogger-H, 44th Helicopter Air Regiment, Plovdiv, Krumovo, Mi-17 Hip-H, Mi-17PP, Mi-8T Hip-C, Mi-2 Hoplite, 13th Attack Helicopter Regiment, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Mi-24D Hind-D, Mi-24V Hind-E, 16th Transport Air Regiment, Dobroslavtzi, An-24 Coke, An-26 Curl, An-30 Clank, Let L-410, Yak-40 Codling, 26th Reconnaissance Air Regiment, Dobrich, MiG-25RBT Foxbat-B, Su-22M4 Fitter-K, MiG-17 Fresco-A, MiG-21R Fishbed-H, MiG-21F-13 Fishbed-C, 1st Education and Training Air Regiment, Shtruklevo, Dolna Mitropolia, L-29 Delfin, 2nd Combat Training Air Regiment, Kamenetz, MiG-21PFM Fishbed-F, L-39ZA Albatros

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