Ukrainian Air Force

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Ukrainian Air Force
Повітряні Сили України
Povitriani Syly Ukrayiny
Emblem of the Ukrainian Air Force.svg
Emblem of Ukrainian Air Force
Country Ukraine
Type Air force
Size 43,100 personnel
247 aircraft1
Headquarters Vinnytsia
Battle honours Ukrainian–Soviet War
Polish–Ukrainian War
2014 Crimean crisis
Commanders
Commander Sergii Ivanovich Onishchenko
Insignia
Air Force flag Ensign of the Ukrainian Air Force.svg
Roundel Roundel of the Ukrainian Air Force.svg
Fin flash Lesser Coat of Arms of Ukraine.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack Su-25, Mi-24
Bomber Su-24M
Fighter Su-27, MiG-29
Reconnaissance An-30, Su-24MR
Trainer L-39, Yak-52
Transport Il-76, An-24, An-26, An-30, Mi-8

The Ukrainian Air Force (Ukrainian: Повітряні Сили України, Povitryani Syly Ukrayiny) is a part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.2 Ukrainian Air Force headquarters is located in the city of Vinnytsia. When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, a large number of aircraft were left on Ukrainian territory. Ever since, the Ukrainian air force has been downsizing and upgrading its forces. In spite of these efforts, the main inventory of the air force consists of Soviet-made aircraft. Currently 43,100 personnel and 247 aircraft are in service in the Ukrainian air force and air defense forces.34Currently approximately only 80 aircraft is airworthy.5All ICBMs and strategic bombers have been taken out of service (some however were given to Russia).6

Mission

Ukrainian Air Corps patch

The primary tasks of the Air Force of Ukraine are: winning operational air superiority, delivering air strikes against enemy units and facilities, covering troops against enemy air strikes, providing air support to the Land Force and the Navy, disrupting enemy military and state management, damaging and destroying enemy communication, and providing support by air in the form of reconnaissance, air drops, troops and cargo transportation.

The major mission of the Air Force is to protect the air space of Ukraine. In peace-time, this is carried out by flying air-space control missions over the entire territory of Ukraine (603,700 square km), and by preventing air space intrusion along the aerial borders (totaling almost 7,000 km, including 5,600 km of land and 1,400 km of sea). Every single day, more than 2,200 service personnel and civilian employees of the Air Force, employing 400 items of weapons and equipment, are summoned to perform defense duties. On average, the Ukrainian radar forces detect and track more than 1,000 targets daily. As a result, in 2006 two illegal crossings of the state border were prevented and 28 violations of Ukrainian air space were prevented. Due to such increased strengthening of air space control, the number of air space violations decreased by 35% compared to the previous year, even though the amount of air traffic increased by 30%.7

History

Collapse of the USSR

Military of Ukraine
Emblem of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.svg
Main branches
Emblem of the Ukrainian Air Force.svg Ukrainian Air Force
Emblem of the Ukrainian Ground Forces.svg Ukrainian Ground Forces
Emblem of the Ukrainian Navy.svg Ukrainian Navy
Other Corps
Ukr marines.jpg Ukrainian Marine Corps
Ukr mechanized.jpg Ukrainian Mechanized Forces
Ukr airborne.jpg Ukrainian Airmobile Forces
Related Services
MoD symbol.jpg Ministry of Defense
General Staff UA.jpg General Staff
MVS of Ukraine.gif Ministry of Internal Affairs
NSAU Logo1.svg National Space Agency
Intelligence
Security Service of Ukraine.gif Security Service of Ukraine
SZRU logo.jpg Foreign Intelligence Service
Gerb gur ukraine.jpg Military Intelligence Service
History of the Ukrainian Military
History of Ukraine
History of Ukraine during WWII
History of Ukraine during WWI

The Ukrainian Air Force was established on March 17, 1992, in accordance with a Directive of the General Staff Chief of the Armed Forces. The headquarters of the 24th Air Army of the Soviet Air Force in Vinnytsia served as the basis to create Air Force headquarters. Also present on Ukrainian soil were units of the former Soviet 5th, 14th, and 17th Air Armies, plus five regiments (185th, 251st, 260th, 341st Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiments and 199th Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment) of the 46th Air Army, Long Range Aviation. In addition, the 161st Maritime Fighter Aviation Regiment, at Limanskoye in Odessa Oblast, came under Ukrainian control.8 It had formerly been part of the 119th Maritime Fighter Aviation Division of the Black Sea Fleet.

The new Air Force inherited the 184th Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment (Полтавсько-Берлінський_полк_дальньої_авіації) (201st Heavy Bomber Aviation Division) of Tupolev Tu-160 'Blackjack' which were based at Pryluky.9 Discussions with Russia concerning their return bogged down. The main bone of contention was the price. While Russian experts, who examined the aircraft at Pryluky in 1993 and 1996, assessed their technical condition as good, the price of $3 billion demanded by Ukraine was unacceptable. The negotiations led to nowhere and in April 1998, Ukraine decided to commence scrapping the aircraft under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement. In November, the first Tu-160 was ostentatiously chopped up at Pryluky.10 In April 1999, immediately after NATO began air attacks against Serbia, Russia resumed talks with Ukraine about the strategic bombers. This time they proposed buying back eight Tu-160s and three Tu-95MS models manufactured in 1991 (those in the best technical condition), as well as 575 Kh-55MS missiles. An agreement was finally reached and a contract valued at $285 million was signed. That figure was to be deducted from Ukraine's debt for natural gas. A group of Russian military experts went to Ukraine on 20 October 1999 to prepare the aircraft for the trip to Engels-2 air base. Between November 1999 and February 2001 the aircraft were transferred to Engels.10 One Tu-160 remains on display in Poltava.

Ukraine also had Tupolev Tu-22s, Tupolev Tu-22Ms and Tupolev Tu-95s for a period after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The 106th Heavy Bomber Aviation Division, part of the 37th Air Army operated some of them.11 However, these have all been scrapped, apart from a handful displayed in museums. TU-16 and TU-22M bombers were among the aircraft destroyed under the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty.12 It is reported that Tu-16s based with the 251st Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment at Belaya Tserkov were dismantled in 1993.13 By 1995, the IISS Military Balance 1995/96 listed no Tu-22 Blinders in service, though a listing for one division HQ and two regiments of Tu-22M Backfires remained in the Military Balance from 1995/96 to 2000/01.

From January 24, 1992, after the collapse of the USSR, 28th Air Defense Corps, previously subordinate to 2nd Air Defence Army was transferred under the 8th Air Defence Army of Ukraine.14 Units stationed in Moldova were transferred to the Moldovan Armed Forces (275th Guards Anti-Aircraft Rocket Brigade, battalions and companies from the 14th Radio-Technical Brigade). There were about 67,000 air defense troops in 1992. The headquarters of the Ukrainian Air Defence Force was formed on the basis of HQ 8th Air Defence Army. There were also three air defence corps: the 28th (Lvov), 49th (Odessa), and 60th (Dnepropetrovsk). Holm reports that all three air defence corps were taken over by Ukraine on 1 June 1992. The first issue of the Military Balance after the Soviet collapse, 1992–93, listed one Air Defence army, 270 combat aircraft, and seven regiments of Su-15s (80), MiG-23s (110) and MiG-25s (80).15 By March 1994 Air Forces Monthly reported three air defence regions: the Southern with the 62nd and 737th Fighter Aviation Regiments, the Western with the 92nd (transferred from 14th Air Army and based at Mukachevo), 179th, and 894th Fighter Aviation Regiments (from 28th AD Corps/2nd Air Defence Army), and the Central with the 146th (Vasilkov), 636th (Kramatorsk, seemingly disbanded 1996 and its Su-15s broken up for scrap),1617 and 933rd Fighter Aviation Regiments.18 The Military Balance 95/96 said that six fighter regiments had been disbanded. (p. 71)

On 18 March 1994 the 5th Air Army was redesignated the 5th Air Corps.19 By 1996 there were two air corps: the 14th in the Carpathian MD and the 5th in the Odessa MD, which by that time incorporated the former Kiev MD area.20 The long range bomber division at Poltava was still operational, reporting directly to Air Force headquarters.

Developments and reforms

Sukhoi Su-27 in July 2011.

In 2011 International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates that Ukraine's Air Force includes one Sukhoi Su-24M regiment, 5 regiments with Mikoyan MiG-29s and Sukhoi Su-27, one regiment with Sukhoi Su-25, two squadrons with Sukhoi Su-24MR, three transport regiments, some support helicopter squadrons, one helicopter training regiment, and some air training squadrons with L-39 Albatros.21 They are grouped into the 5th and 14th Aviation Corps, the 35th Aviation Group, which is a multi-role rapid reaction formation, and a training aviation command. The IISS assesses the overall force size as 817 aircraft of all types and 43,100 personnel. Russian sources disagree and list three aviation groups (West, South, and Center).22broken citation

In 2006, a large number of aging weapons and equipment were decommissioned from combat service by the Air Force. This presented an opportunity to use the released funds to the modernization of various items of aviation and anti-aircraft artillery weapons and equipment, radio communication equipment, and flight maintenance equipment, as well as an improvement of Air Force personnel training.

The automated systems of collection, processing and transmission of radio information have been adopted as a component part of the Automated Command and Control System for aviation and air defense. Operational service testing of the circular surveillance radar station has also been completed. Prototypes of high-precision weapons systems, electronic warfare devices, and navigation equipment have been created and developed for state testing.

The An-24 and An-26 aircraft, as well as the anti-aircraft artillery systems S-300 and "Buk M1", have been continually modernized, and their service life has been extended. An organizational basis and technological means for modernizing MiG-29, Su-24, Su-25, Su-27, L-39 has been produced. Given sufficient funding from the Verkhovna Rada, the Defense Industrial Complex of Ukraine, in cooperation with foreign companies and manufacturers, is capable of fully renewing the aircraft arsenal of the Ukrainian armed forces.

The structural reorganization of the Air Force had set as goals for itself the sufficiently reducing the total number of command and control levels, and increasing the efficiency of command and control processes. The reorganization of command and control elements of the air force is still underway. The first step of this organization was to transition from the existing air commands to the Command and Control and warning center systems. This will not only help eliminate duplications at the command and control levels, but will also contribute to an increased centralization of the command and control system, the multi-functionality of the command and control elements, and effectiveness of response to the change of air conditions. 2006 saw the definition of the functions and tasks, organization and work of the C2 and Warning Center as well as the mechanism of interaction with the establishment of the Air Operations Center and Joint Operational Command. During the command and staff exercise one of the Air Force Commands has in effect performed control of "C2 and Warning Center – formation (unit)" level.

Plans

In 2005, the UAF was planning to restructure in an effort to improve efficiency. Moreover, Ukraine is planning to put more advanced jet aircraft into service in upcoming years. Possibly buying newer SU-27s and MiG-29s from Russia. This means that from approximately 2012, Ukraine will have to either take bold steps to create a new combat aircraft or purchase a large number of existing combat aircraft. Due to the lack of funding however, technical modernization was continually postponed. The Ukrainian air-force continued to use armament and military equipment which functioned mainly thanks to so-called ‘cannibalization’ (obtaining spare parts from other units), thus gradually depleting their total capabilities. Faced with the threat of losing military capability, initiating the process of technical modernization became a necessity.23

Training

Ukrainian MiG-29
Ukrainian Su-25UB

Training activities have taken on a qualitatively new character due to their complexity, including the simultaneous employment of all branches of the Air Force aviation, anti-aircraft artillery and radar troops in close teamwork with units of other armed services of the Armed Forces. Operational and combat training has included the following activities:

  • aviation units have performed more than 6,000 tasks in combat scenarios (including more than 1,500 air battles and interceptions, 629 firing at land-based targets, 530 bombings, 21 launches of air missiles, 454 tasks in aerial surveillance, 454 airborne landings, 740 airlifts, 575 flight shifts for a total of 10,553 flying hours);
  • five tactical flying missions in a squadron, 14 in a pair and 5 in a flight organization have been carried out to perform the assigned combat tasks, and 54 pilots have been trained to perform specific tasks in difficult meteorological conditions;
  • the number of flight crews being trained to defend the air space of the country and counter-terrorism air operations has almost doubled from 46 in 2005 to 90 in 2006; the units of anti-aircraft artillery and radar troops carried out 50 maneuvers involving redeployment, with each operator tracking 70 and 140 real and simulated targets, respectively.

In early September 2007, the Ukrainian Air Force conducted the most large-scale training of its aircraft to date. As the Defense Minister of Ukraine, Anatoliy Hrytsenko stated, "The most large-scale, during the whole 16 years of the Ukrainian independence, training of fighting aircraft, which defends our air space, was carried out during September 4–5". According to him, they fulfilled 45 battle launches of “air-air” missiles, out of them 22 during the day and 23- at night. 35 pilots confirmed their high skills during the training. Hrytsenko stressed that 100% of air targets were hit. 24

The combined training of the Air Force of Ukraine and the Russian Air Force in the practical control of their air defense Stand-by Forces has become more systematic. Moreover, interoperability has been achieved between the forces of Ukraine and the command and control elements of the Air defense of the Russian Federation during the detecting, tracking, and neutralizing of air targets during simulated terrorist attacks.

Air Defense Forces

The Air Defense Force is a relatively new service within the Armed Forces, established in 2004–2005, through the merging of the Air Force and the Air Defense Force. It allowed the Armed Forces of Ukraine to adopt the tri-service structure, common to most modern armies.

The Air Defense of Ukraine performs key tasks in the protection of Ukraine's sovereignty and the inviolability of its borders and air space. It has clearly defined functions in both peacetime and wartime, is intended to prevent any enemy air and missile strikes, to defend the most important administrative, political and industrial centers, to aid in the concentration of Army and Navy units, to intercept enemy aircraft and other military objects, and to protect against enemy air and cruise missile strikes.

Aircraft Inventory

Aircraft Image Origin Type Versions Numbers25 Comments
Trainer Aircraft
Aero L-39 Albatros L-39 Albatros 2008 G1.jpg  CSK Training L-39/L-39M1 3826 3 L-39M1 Ukrainian upgrade (1 in 2011, 2 in June 2012). In 2012 12 additional aircraft were repaired.27
Yakovlev Yak-52 ЯК-52 Майское Днепропетровск 15.08.2009.JPG  USSR Training Yak-52M 20 Total 80. Around 20 active.
Fighter Aircraft
Sukhoi Su-27 Sukhoi Su-27UB Belyakov.jpg  USSR Air Superiority Fighter Su-27
Su-27S
Su-27C
Su-27P
Su-27UB
14 Total 55. Only 14 active. One in test flights.2827
Mikoyan MiG-29 MiG-29-2008-Vasylkiv.jpg  USSR Multirole Aircraft MiG-29
MiG-29S
MiG-29A
MiG-29M
MiG-29UB
MiG-29MU1
24 Total 80. Only 24 active. Between 35-45 MiG-29s aircraft are under the control of the Russian Armed Forces on Belbek Air Base.293031 Five MiG-29MU1 Ukrainian upgrade (1 in 2011). Additional two were renovated in 2012. Initially mothballed, the fleet of MiG-29s have since been restored to active service as a result of the unrest in Ukraine.32
Bomber Aircraft
Sukhoi Su-24 Sukhoi Su-24 2007 G3.jpg  USSR Tactical Bomber Su-24M 2326 Total 120. Only 23 active. One crashed on 22.03.2014. 33
Reconnaissance
Sukhoi Su-24 Sukhoi Su-24 2007 G3.jpg  USSR Reconnaissance Su-24MR 1226 Total 23. Only 12 active.
Antonov An-30  USSR Reconnaissance/aerial cartography An-30B 2
Ground Attack
Sukhoi Su-25 Ukrainian Air Force Su-25UB with two MiG-29s (9-13) in background.jpg  USSR Close air support Su-25
Su-25UB
Su-25K
Su-25UTG
Su-25M1
Su-25UBM1
2426 Total 46. Only 24 active. Four Su-25M1 and 1 Su-25UBM1 Ukrainian upgrade (received in 2010-2011).34
Transport Aircraft
Ilyushin Il-76 Ukrainian Air Force IL-76.jpg  USSR Transport Il-76MD 226 Total 20. Only 2 active.
Antonov An-70 Antonov An-70 in 2008.jpg  UKR Transport An-70 2
Antonov An-2 АН-2 Майское Днепропетровск 27.08.2011.JPG  USSR Transport An-2 3
Antonov An-24 Polet Antonov An-24 Pichugin-1.jpg  USSR Transport An-24 3
Antonov An-26 An-26 6863.JPG  USSR Transport An-26 21 Several upgraded as An-26 "Vita" flying hospitals.
Tupolev TU-134  USSR VIP Transport 2
Helicopters
Mil Mi-8/17 Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter, Sea Breeze 2011 cropped.jpg  USSR Transport helicopter Mi-17
Mi-8MT
28 Total ~100. Around 30 active.
Mi-8MSB1 Ukrainian Mi-8 helicopter, Sea Breeze 2011 cropped.jpg  USSR
 UKR
Transport helicopter Mi-8MT Ordered Modernized by the Ukrainian Air Force, will enter the serial modernization/production in late 2011.35
Mil Mi-24 Mi24ukraine.JPG  USSR Attack/Transport helicopter Mi-24P
Mi-24V
Mi-24PM
48
Mi-2MSB2 Helicopter Mi-2 2008 G2.jpg  POL
 UKR
Light Transport helicopter Mi-2 Ordered Modernized by the Ukrainian Air Force, will enter the serial modernization/production in late 2011.35

Former Aircraft

Former Ukrainian Tu-22M
A Tu-22M being scrapped as a result of defence cuts in the Ukrainian military
Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service36
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25  Soviet Union Interceptor MiG-25 Former
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21  Soviet Union fighter MiG-21 Former
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23  Soviet Union Fighter MiG-23 Former
Mikoyan MiG-27  Soviet Union Attack MiG-27 Former
Sukhoi Su-17  Soviet Union Fighter-bomber Su-17 Former
Sukhoi Su-15  Soviet Union Interceptor Su-15 Former
Yakovlev Yak-28  Soviet Union Medium bomber Yak-28 Former
Tupolev Tu-160  Soviet Union Strategic bomber Tu-160 Former
Tupolev Tu-95  Soviet Union Strategic bomber Tu-95 Former
Tupolev Tu-22M3  Soviet Union Strategic bomber Tu-22M3 Former
Tupolev Tu-22  Soviet Union Medium bomber Tu-22 Former
Tupolev Tu-16  Soviet Union Bomber Tu-16 Former
Tupolev Tu-154  Soviet Union VIP transport Tu-154 Former

Structure

Ukrainian Air Commands:
   Air Command West
   Air Command Center
   Air Command South

An incomplete structure of the Ukrainian air force.

  • Task Force of Crimea peninsula is under the control of the Russian Armed Forces.
    • Separate radio team (Liubymovka near Sevastopol)
    • 204th Tactical Aviation Brigade (Belbek, near Sevastopol). Former 62nd Fighter Aviation Regiment PVO.38 From March 01, 2014 Belbek Air Base and its 45 MiG-29s and 4 L-39s are under the control of the Russian Armed Forces.citation needed
    • 174th Anti-Aircraft Artillery regiment (Derhachi near Sevastopol. S-300)
    • 50th Anti-Aircraft Artillery regiment (Feodosiya. S-300, S-200)
    • 55th Anti-Aircraft Artillery regiment (Yevpatoriya. Buk-M1)39

See also

Notes

  1. ^ White book, UA: Military 
  2. ^ Military Balance in Europe 2011, TANDF online, March 7, 2011 
  3. ^ Trendafilovski, Vladimir (March 2006). "Ukrainian Reforms". Air Forces Monthly (216): 32–39. 
  4. ^ Air Forces Monthly, December 2007 issue, p. 64.
  5. ^ http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20140404/189043839/Ukraine-Puts-Mothballed-Mig-29-Fighter-Jets-Back-in-Service.html
  6. ^ The conventional imbalance & debate on Russian non strategic nuclear weapons, The European leadership network 
  7. ^ The White Book (PDF), NDU, 2011 
  8. ^ Holm, Michael, 161st Fighter Aviation Regiment, DK: WW2, retrieved December 2012 
  9. ^ Holm, Michael, 184th Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment, DK: WW2, retrieved November 2011 
  10. ^ a b Butowski, Piotr. "Russia's Strategic Bomber Force". Combat Aircraft 4 (6): 552–65. 
  11. ^ "106th Heavy Bomber Aviation Division". Ww2.dk. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  12. ^ FBIS-SOV-95-141, 21 July 1995, via BICC, 'Defence Conversion in Ukraine.'
  13. ^ Дальняя авиация Украины Ukrainian Long Range Aviation (wiki) (article) (in Russian) 
  14. ^ Structure, SU: 8o APVO, 1992 
  15. ^ MilBal 1992–93, 87.
  16. ^ "Ukrainian air bases", Ukrwiki (article) 
  17. ^ DN, UA]] 
  18. ^ Jackson, Paul (March 1994), "Ukraine Unveiled", Air Forces Monthly: 21 
  19. ^ Шестидесятилетний юбилей отметил 5-й авиационный корпус Diamond Jubilee noted 5th Air Corps (in Russian), UA: Space, retrieved November 2012 
  20. ^ Duncan, Andrew (April 1997), "Ukraine's forces find that change is good", Jane's Intelligence Review: 164  (air corps existence only).
  21. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies, Military Balance 2011
  22. ^ [1]dead link
  23. ^ Ukraine will finally invest in modernising its army, PL: WAW, 2012-02-01 
  24. ^ UNIAN - Ukrainian Air Force carried out the most large-scale training of fighting aircraft
  25. ^ "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal.com, December 11, 2012.
  26. ^ a b c d e The Military Balance, International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2011 
  27. ^ a b Arms trade, 2012-04-06 
  28. ^ http://forums.airforce.ru/attachments/matchast/53291d1396696773-27-.jpg/
  29. ^ Published time: March 03, 2014 13:21 (2014-03-03). "Crimean air base pledges allegiance to local authorities — RT News". Rt.com. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  30. ^ http://rt.com/news/self-defense-belbek-crimea-795/
  31. ^ Simon Shuster (2014-03-04). "The Standoff at Belbek: Inside the First Clash of the Second Crimean War - TIME". World.time.com. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  32. ^ Ukraine Puts Mothballed Mig-29 Fighter Jets Back in Service, RIA Novosti, 4 Apr 2014, retrieved 16 Apr 2014 
  33. ^ http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_22/Ukrainian-Air-Force-bomber-Su-24-crashes-during-approach-for-landing-4837
  34. ^ Sdelanounals, UA 
  35. ^ a b "Which helicopters will be built in Ukraine: Mi-8 or old Mi-2?", Economics (in Ukrainian) (Unian) 
  36. ^ "World Military Aircraft Inventory", Aerospace Source Book 2007, Aviation Week & Space Technology, January 15, 2007.
  37. ^ http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_04_04/Ukraine-puts-mothballed-Mig-29-fighter-jets-back-in-service-9521/
  38. ^ http://www.ww2.dk/new/air%20force/regiment/iap/62iap.htm
  39. ^ http://www.unian.info/politics/898357-russian-occupants-seize-base-of-military-metrologists-and-aircraft-repair-plant-in-yevpatoria.html

References

External links








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