Russian History


Air Defense Forces

The air defense forces, charged with defense against enemy air attack, have a total of about 200,000 troops, of whom 60,000 are conscripts. The air defense forces include missile, air force, and radio-technical units and an air defense army. There also are two independent air defense corps (see fig. 18). The missile forces are equipped with approximately 2,500 launchers deployed in about 250 different sites around the country. Air defense forces have particular responsibility for defending administrative and industrial centers; for instance, they surround Moscow with about 100 missile launchers. The air force troop contingent consists of about 850 combat aircraft, including 100 MiG-23, 425 MiG-31, and 325 Su-27 aircraft.

The air defense forces also operate twenty Il-76 aircraft configured for airborne early warning and command and control. The air force troops operate their own training program from one training center that includes four regiments equipped with more than 380 MiG-23 and L-39 aircraft.

The missile troops are equipped with about 150 SA-2 Guideline, 100 SA-3 Goa, 500 SA-5 Gammon, and 1,750 SA-10 Grumble missile launchers. A program to replace all of the older systems with the SA-10, well under way by 1996, has been considered by experts to be one of the most successful reequipment programs of the post-Soviet armed forces. Seven of the military districts have at least one aviation air defense regiment each; two districts, Moscow and the Far Eastern, have specially designated air defense districts.

The borders of the Moscow Air Defense District are the same as those of the Moscow Military District. The Far Eastern Air Defense District combines the territory of the Far Eastern Military District and the Transbaikal Military District. Presumably, the boundaries of the other military districts are the same for air defense as for other defense designations.