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 Fulcrums.