Hungarian 1st Homeland Air Defense Army order of battle January 1, 1973
The Soviet leadership instructed Hungary to take part in the occupation of Czechoslovakia with a reinforced division in 1968. Unfortunately, Hungary did not have a tactical air force. However, the Soviet Union did not undertake air support for Hungarian troops.
Therefore, the Hungarian Air Defense undertook the close air support. Unfortunately, Hungarian aircraft and pilots were only able to do so to a limited extent. Five squadrons of MiG-21F-13 ‘Fishbed-C’ and four squadrons of MiG-15bis ‘Fagot-B’ were assigned to the task. The MiG-21F-13s were given two UB-16 rocket pods and machine gun ammunition. These were close air support aircraft, while the MiG-15bis were the scouts.
Invasion of Czechoslovakia, Operation Danube: T-54 main battle tank, D-442 FUG amphibious reconnaissance vehicle and a PT-76 light reconnaissance tank of the Hungarian 8th Mechanized Infantry Division at the the Czechoslovakian - Hungarian border in 1968.
Hungarian Csepel military trucks, T-54 main battle tanks and D-442 amphibious reconnaissance vehicle with local protesters at the Érsekújvár town on August 21, 1968. Photo: Gyén János
Four Hungarian tactical air squadron had 44 operational MiG-15bis ‘Fagot-B’ aircraft on on August 20, 1968 at the Szolnok and Kecskemét airport.
Reserve airports have also been put on standby. The alert took place on August 21, 1968. That day, 44 missions were flown by MiG-21s. Every day another Hungarian regiment flew over Czechoslovakia. Unfortunately, there was no radio connection between the mobile ground troops and the patrol aircraft. Air defense hunters were not prepared for this task. Fortunately, there were no clashes.
The Hungarian MiGs air squadrons didn't relocate to Czechoslovakia during the invasion. Before the invasion, one reconnaissance MiG-15bis squadron relocated from Taszar AB to Szolnok AB. But the Hungarian MiGs flew from only their Hungarian airport during the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
Number of the Hungarian air combat sorties during the Invasion of Czechoslovakia:
The number of MiG jets combat mission: 128
The number of Mi-1 currier mission: 1228
The number of Li-2 cargo mission: 132
During the invasion, the rest of MiG-21PF, MiG-19PM, MiG-17PF interceptors, and the SA-75/SA-75M Dvina air defense missile systems defended the Hungarian airspace from the NATO bombers or the Romanian and Yugoslavian Air Forces.
<- Hungarian MiG-21 and MiG15 invasion squadrons in 1968
The Hungarian soldiers did not agree with the occupation. Later, two Hungarian pilots defected west in 1969 and 1970.
In 1968 the Hungarian MiG-21F-13 ‘Fishbed-C’, MiG-15bis ‘Fagot-B’ jets, and Mi-1 ‘Hare’ currier helicopters worn two red invasion bands over Czechoslovakia. Both photos were taken after the invasion.
Hungarian air defence forces MiG-21F-13 ‘Fishbed-C’ intercptor aircrafts and MiG-21U ‘Mongol-A’ trainers in the late sixties. Video: MAFILM - Katonai filmstúdió
In the first half of the seventies, the Hungarian military leaders reorganized the Hungarian Air Defense Command. In 1973 they formed of the Hungarian 1st Homeland Air Defense Army with the 1st and 2nd air defense divisions. At this time subordinated to these divisions were interceptor aircraft, anti-aircraft missile batteries, locator units, and more training and support units.
In the late sixties and the first half of the seventies, the Hungarian Air Defense forces bought new MiG-21MF ‘Fishbed-J’ fighter aircraft type, new air defense early-warning radar systems, as well as they, upgraded several times their SA-75M Dvina ‘SA-2B Guideline’ anti-aircraft systems.
The first fifteen MiG-21MF fighter aircraft arrived in 1971 to Pápa air base. Between 1971 and 1974 the Hungarian 1st Air Defence Division received fifty MiG-21MF ‘Fishbed-J’ fighter and thirteen MiG-21UM ‘Mongol-B’ trainer aircraft.
Meanwhile, the older MiG-17PF and MiG-19PM interceptor types were withdrawn between 1973 and 1974.
Of these, from 1974 the 47th Fighter Air Regiment used 38/9 new MiG-21MF/UM at Pápa airbase
Of these, from 1974 the 31st Fighter Air Regiment used 12/4 new MiG-21MF/UM aircraft at Taszár airbase
The Hungarian military leadership improved the existing SA-75M Dvina ‘SA-2B Guideline’ anti aircraft air defence system's capabilities.
The lower limit of the destruction zone has been reduced from the original 2000 meter to 500 meter and it was able to shoot drifting balloons up to a height of 35 km between 1965 and 1966
The lower limit of the destruction zone was further reduced from the previous 500 meter to 100 meter and the limit for nearby targets minimal distance was reduced from 12 km to 5 km between 1970 and 1972
Later command system were equipped with an optical target tracking system and upgraded the radar system to improve ECM (electronic counter measures) resistance
The command system's indicator screens received a identification friend or foe (IFF) system between 1973 and 1974. This supplement was very important.
From 1974 received the more maneuverable V-750VM (11DM) missile too
In 1971 two missile batteries were eliminated. The older SA-75 Dvina ‘SA-2A Guideline’ high-altitude surface-to-air missile air defense battery was withdrawn, which later became a training battery.
The SA-75M Dvina ‘SA-2F Guideline’ anti aircraft air defence system were fitted with an optical target tracking system too
From 1965, the Hungarian SA-75M ‘Divina’ batteries practiced relocating to a temporary firing position from several hundreds of kilometers from the peace-time site too.
The Hungarian Air Defence forces used the original V-750V (11D) and the greater maneuverability V-750VM (11DM) missile too in the early 1970s