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Eastern Order of Battle

Soviet Air Force of the Group of Soviet Forces
 in Germany in January 1, 1983

In 1980 the 71st and 72nd Fighter Aviation Corps command and the 16th Tactical Air Army command was reorganized. Instead of them the Soviet Air Force of the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany’s Command was formed. Also from the end of the seventies the silver and gray coloured airplanes were gradually repainted to camouflage.

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Tactical Fighter Air Units - Group of Soviet Forces in Germany

33rd Fighter Air Regiment MiG-23MLA Flogger-G in East Germany

The Soviet 16th Tactical Air Army received more than 120 pcs MiG-23MLA ‘Flogger-G’ tactical fighter aircraft between 1979 and 1980. The 33rd regiment’s soldiers with their MiG-23MLA fighter in 1980. Photo: Oleg Zagidullin collection

773rd Fighter Air Regiment MiG-21bis Fishbed-L

The 787th Fighter Air regiment replaced their MiG-23M ‘Flogger-B’ tactical fighter type to MiG-25PD ‘Foxbat-E’ interceptor In the first half of the eighties.


The Soviet 16th Air Army’s MiG-23MLA Flogger-Gs


Between 1974 and 1978 the Soviet Tactical Air Force deployed six regiment (~ 180 pcs) Su-24 ‘Fencer’ to Eastern Europe. In response the USAF deployed four squadron (~ 100 pcs) F-15 Eagle to Western Europe between 1977 and 1980, and later MIM-104 Patriot and MIM-23 MIM-23 Improved Hawk air defense systems.

NATO's strengthened air defense made thing more difficult for the Soviet 16th Tactical Air Army. The fighter forces were reorganized in 1982. Existing MiG-21SM ‘Fishbed-J’, MiG-21bis ‘Fishbed-L’ and MiG-23M ‘Flogger-B’ soviet tactical fighters was unable to compete with the F-15 Eagle. Therefore the Tactical fighter air units were reduced temporarily in the GDR. Only six out of nine soviet tactical fighter regiment remained.

Three out of the six tactical fighter regiment received more maneuverable, more modern type of MiG-23MLA ‘Flogger-G’ between 1979 and 1980. Also they have started to prepare for the new MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’s.

Soviet Air Force of the Western Group of Forces order of battle in 1983 map
Soviet Air Force of the Western Group of Forces order of battle in 1983

   * Possibly they still used MiG-21SMT as well.

  ** Not tactical, but interceptor regiment.


The 787th Tactical Fighter Air Regiment was converted to air defense - interceptor regiment. It gradually received MiG-25PD ‘Foxbat-E’ interceptors. Their task was to check the USA Strategic Air Command's SR-71 Blackbird strategical reconnaissance planes.

The Mig-25 ‘Foxbat’ technologies and personnel came from the Belorussian Military District's 2nd Air Defence Army to GDR. In 1983 only one of the 787th regiment's squadrons used high-speed squadron MiG-25s, but later all three squadrons replaced the old MiG-23s.


MiG-25 Foxbat intercepting the Blackbird
             (External link:

787th Fighter Air Regiment MiG-25PD Foxbat-E in east germany airspace


Fighter Bomber Air Unit - Group of Soviet Forces in Germany

The Soviet 16th Tactical Air Army planned to overcome NATO's strong air defense with quality and the quantity in the early eighties.

USSR MiG-27K FloggerJ2 in Easter-Germany. Source:

In 1982 the 35th Fighter Air Regiment becomes a fighter-bomber role. The later too on used their older MiG-23M ‘Flogger-B’ type, as fighter-bomber aircraft. The photo was taken on August 1981 about the regiment 's MiG-23M ‘Flogger-B’ aircraft. They used the S-5 air to ground missiles against drifting American balloons. Photo: Boris Petrovich Rychilo collection

Soviet MiG-27K Flogger-J2 at the Lärz airport in 1983 East Germany

Between 1980 and 1982 the 16th Tactical Air Army received two squadron very modern Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-27K ‘Flogger-J2’ precision attack bomber version. On the pictures the 19th Guard Fighter Bomber Air Regiment’s 1st air squadron’s new MiG-27K ‘Flogger-J2’ bomber taxiing at the Lärz airport in 1983. Photo: Yuri Rodin collection

Quality: They started the Su-24 supersonic, all-weather attack aircraft's deployment to Germany. In 1981 the 116th regiment received the first Su-24s. The new offensive machines could have defeated the NATO's air defense.

The Su-24 ‘Fencer’ was the USSR's first tactical bomber that was capable of missions day or night in all weathers. It had the ability to fly at supersonic speed and at low altitude for extended periods of time in order to traverse NATO's air defense.

The Su-24 ‘Fencer’ would have been a serious opponent for NATO's air defenses.

Quantity: Two fighter regiment was reorganized to fighter bomber regiment. The 16th Air Army operated eight fighter-bomber regiments from 1982.


USSR MiG-27 Flogger-D row Finsterwalde East Germany

The 559th Fighter Bomber Air Regiment’s basic MiG-27 ‘Flogger-D’ versions in the hangar at Finsterwalde airport in 1980


Soviet Air Force of the Western Group of Forces order of battle in 1983 map
Soviet Air Force of the Western Group of Forces order of battle in 1983


Furthermore they received precision attacking jets between 1980 and 1983. Two squadrons of MiG-27K and two regiments of Su-17M3 and M4 type. These types were the most advanced Soviet variant, with a laser designator and compatibility with TV-guided electro-optical weapons.

USSR Su-17M2 Fitter-D bomber Großenhäin airport East Germany

Technical crew sit in the cabin of the Su-17M2 ‘Fitter-D’ bomber of the 497th Fighter Bomber Air Regiment at the Großenhäin airport. Photo: A. Kosiev

Soviet early MiG-27 Flogger-D bomber at the Lärz airpor East Germany

The Soviet 16th Tactical Air Army received two regiment (19th and 559th) factory fresh MiG-27 (MiG-23BM) ‘Flogger-D’ bomber in the in the mid-seventies. Later received one another regiment (296th) MiG-27 ‘Flogger-D’ aircraft from 4th Tactical Air Army in Poland. Photo Viktor Bazikov collection


Photos of the 730th Fighter Bomber Air Regiment from the eighties


Subordinate Units - Group of Soviet Forces in Germany

The air army's reconnaissance aircraft types have changed little during that time. The 239th Independent Helicopter Regiment with Mi-8 ‘Hip’ and giant ‘Mi-6 Hook’ helicopters was transferred to the Army Aviation. Instead, the Air Force received the 292nd independent Helicopter Squadron for Electronic Warfare with Mi-8PP ECM helicopters.

Subordinate Units - Air Force of the Western Group of Forces Subordinate Units - Air Force of the Western Group of Forces map

   * The exact sub-variants used aren't known    ** Central Command subordination.

USSR Su-17M3 at the Allstedt airport in  East Germany

By 1980 the 294th independent Reconnaissance Air Regiment had replaced their older MiG-21R ‘Fishbed-H’ type to new Su-17M3 ‘Fitter-H’ aircraft in both air squadron. The photo was taken in the early eighties at Allstedt airport.

Soviet MiG-25RB Foxbat at the Werneuchen East Germany

MiG-25 Foxbat row of the 931th independent Guards Reconnaissance Air Regiment at the Werneuchen airport. Photo: Rostislav Kuzmich


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