Soviet Air Force

From Academic Kids

The Soviet Air Force, also known under the abbreviation VVS, transliterated from Russian: ВВС, Военно-воздушные силы (Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily), formed the official designation of the airforce of the Soviet Union.

History

The VVS was founded as the "Workers' and Peasants' Air Fleet" in 1918. After being placed under control of the Red Army, with the official denomination VVS in 1930, its influence on aircraft design became greater.

One of first big tests of the VVS came in 1936 with the Spanish Civil War, where the latest aircraft designs were put to the test by up-to-date German aircraft. Early victories by the I-16 fighter were squandered because of the limited use of that fighter. German Bf-109s arriving later in the war secured air superiority for the Nationalist cause.

In 1939, the VVS used its bombers to attack Finland, but the losses inflicted on them by the relatively small Finnish army showed the shortcomings of these forces, mainly due to the Great Purge in the 30's.

The main reason of the great amount of aircraft lost was the lack of modern tactics, but time to improve them was short, because the German offensive of 1941 (Operation Barbarossa) pushed the airforce into a defensive position, while being confronted with more modern German aircraft.

As with many allied countries in the Second World War the Soviet Union received western aircraft by lend-lease.

During the Cold War the VVS was divided into three segments: Dal'naya Aviatsiya (Strategic Aviation), or DA, focused on long-range bombers; Frontovaya Aviatsiya (Frontal Aviation), or FA, focused on battlefield air defense, close air support, and interdiction; and the Voenno Transportsiya Aviatsiya (Military Transport Aviation)which controlled all transport aircraft. The Voyska protivovozdushnoy oborony (Air Defense Forces), or Voyska PVO, which focused on air defense and interceptor aircraft, was then a separate and distinct service within the Soviet military organization.

The Russian Navy has its own independent air arm as well, the Aviatsiya Voenno Morskogo Flota (Naval Aviation), or AV-MF.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991 the aircraft and personnel of the Soviet VVS were divided among the newly independent states. Russia received the majority of these forces, approximately 40% of the aircraft and 65% of the manpower, with these forming the basis for the new Russian Federation Air Force.

Inventory 1987

VVS

The VVS Aircraft inventory of 1987 comprised:

1210 interceptors 
420 MiG-23 Flogger
305 MiG-25 Foxbat
240 Su-15 Flagon
5 Su-27 Flanker
80 Tu-128 Fiddler
65 Yak-28 Firebar
95 MiG-31 Foxhound
AWACS aircraft 
7 Tu-126 Moss
1 A-50 Mainstay (Il-76 based)

Soviet Air Force

165 strategic bombers, 
150 Tu-95 Bear
15 M-4 Bison
550 medium bombers 
155 Tu-22M Backfire
260 Tupolev Tu-16 Badger
135 Tu-22 Blinder
2780 fighters 
490 MiG-21 Fishbed
1570 MiG-23 Flogger
105 MiG-25 Foxbat
260 Su-15 Flagon
20 Tu-128 Fiddler
20 Yak-28 (Yak-28)Firebar
275 MiG-29 Fulcrum
30 MiG-31 Foxhound
10 Su-27 Flanker
2835 attack aircraft 
130 MiG-21 Fishbed
830 MiG-27 Flogger
895 Su-7/Su-17 Fitter
770 Su-24 Fencer
210 Su-25 Frogfoot
50 tankers 
30 M-4 Bison
20 Tupolev Tu-16 Badger
658 tactical reconnaissance and ECM aircraft 
65 MiG-21 Fishbed
195 MiG-25 Foxbat
165 Su-17 Fitter
65 Su-24 Fencer
195 Yak-28 Brewer
260 strategic reconnaissance and ECM aircraft 
115 Tupolev Tu-16 Badger
15 Tu-22 Blinder
4 Tu-95 Bear
102 Yak-28 Brewer
24 MiG-25 Foxbat

3050 helicopters

1500 trainers and training helicopters

576 transport aircraft 
55 An-22 Cock
210 An-12 Cub
310 Il-76 Candid
2935 civilian and other transport aircraft, usually Aeroflot aircraft which were easily converted
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