Cold War Samurai – The 14th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 1987 – 1991

This site's the panther's roar! Photo of 549 courtesy of Mr. Akira Watanabe of nabe3saviation.web.fc2.com

How the “Other Guys” Organized their Fighter Units

Leave a comment

As a unit, the 432TFW had about 50 F-16’s between the two fighter squadrons, including the family models. In comparison to a USAF wing, the Soviets fielded a regiment. We’ll examine one of the nearby Soviet regiments to understand how the opposition organized their team.
Off the northeast coast of Hokkaido, Japan, lie the Kurile Islands and the related Northern Territories, the four southernmost Kurile’s which Japan still claims from World War II, when the Soviet Union entered against the war against Japan in August of 1945 and had occupied them ever since.
On the largest island of the group, which the Japanese call Etorofu, and the Russsians call Iturup, was the home of a MiG-23ML FLOGGER G unit when the 14TFS arrived in Japan in 1987, the 41st Fighter Aviation Regiment of Aviation of Air Defense (APVO), commanded by a colonel.

Soviet MiG-23 ML FLOGGER G pilot of the 41st Fighter Aviation Regiment stands next to his aircraft at Burevestnik Airfield during the Cold War.  (Courtesy liveinternet.ru)

Soviet MiG-23 ML FLOGGER G pilot of the 41st Fighter Aviation Regiment stands next to his aircraft at Burevestnik Airfield during the Cold War. (Courtesy liveinternet.ru)

Based at Burevestnik Airfield, the 41st FAR was typical in organization of Soviet air regiments, and composed of three flying squadrons. There was a headquarters element for the unit to which the flying squadrons were assigned.
Google Earth view of Burevestnik Airfield at:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/44%C2%B055%2712.0%22N+147%C2%B037%2718.0%22E/@44.919993,147.6217244,1078m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0?hl=en

A sample organizational chart of a Soviet Fighter Regiment neatly sums up the unit:

Typical Soviet Fighter Regiment organization during the Cold War (Courtesy Alternatewars.com)

Typical Soviet Fighter Regiment organization during the Cold War (Courtesy Alternatewars.com)

Each squadron was commanded by a senior lieutenant and equipped with a dozen MiG-23 fighters, with three flights of four aircraft each.

A Soviet MiG-23ML FLOGGER G equipped for intercept operations.  Note the external fuel tank, the AA-7/APEX air-to-air missile under the wing, and the smaller AA_8/APHID heat seeking missiles under the fuselage. (Courtesy Soviet Military Power 1985, via FAS)

A Soviet MiG-23ML FLOGGER G equipped for intercept operations. Note the external fuel tanks, under the wing and the belly, the R-23R/AA-7 APEX radar guided air-to-air missile under the wing, and the smaller R-60/AA-8 APHID infrared guided missile under the fuselage. (Courtesy Soviet Military Power 1985, via FAS)

It is unclear to the writer of this web log whether operational training in a regiment was conducted by one squadron, or in each squadron, as sources seem to vary. In one organizational scheme, one of the three fighter squadrons was given operational training responsibility for the unit, and was composed of two flights with a total of eight FLOGGER fighters and one flight of four MiG-23U FLOGGER C operational trainers. In the other organizational scheme, each squadron had a pair of FLOGGER C.

A MiG-23U FLOGGER C being prepared for a flight (Courtesy welw/military.pl)

A MiG-23U FLOGGER C being prepared for a flight (Courtesy welw/military.pl)

Depending on which organizational chart one views, the regiment also had, or had not, a communications flight composed of one Aero-45 light utility aircraft,

Civilian Aero-45 (Courtesy Airliners.net)

Civilian Aero-45 (Courtesy Airliners.net)

and also one Mi-4 HOUND transport helicopter.

Mi-4 HOUND transport helicopter seen by the Kremlin (Courtesy Aviastar.org)

Mi-4 HOUND transport helicopter seen by the Kremlin (Courtesy Aviastar.org)

As for the 41st Fighter Aviation Regiment today, it isn’t. In 1990 the unit upgraded to the MiG-23MLD FLOGGER K. It operated the aircraft into 1993, apparently, but by May of 1994 the unit was disbanded. Anyway, during the Cold War, they were organized as described above, and as such were the nearest nemesis of the 14TFS.

MiG-23MLD FLOGGER K of the 41st Fighter Aviation Regiment at Burevestnik Airfield rests on alert vigil, late in the Cold War or shortly afterward (Courtesy Skyhopelivejournal.com)

MiG-23MLD FLOGGER K of the 41st Fighter Aviation Regiment at Burevestnik Airfield rests on night alert vigil, late in the Cold War or shortly afterward (Courtesy Skyhopelivejournal.com)

References
“41st Fighter Aviation Regiment PVO,” accessed at: http://www.ww2.dk/new/air%20force/regiment/iap/41iap.htm
Soviet/Russian Air Force Organization (Updated 25 March 2014), regimental organization diagram, accessed at: http://www.alternatewars.com/BBOW/Organization/Soviet_AF_Organization.htm
Fighter Interceptor Aviation Regiment organization chart, on Federation of American Scientists website, at: http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/agency/pvo.htm
Statistics and Organization of the Soviet Air Force (1960-1978), accessed at: http://www.russianwarrior.com/STMMain.htm?1969AirForcestats.htm&1
MiG-23ML FLOGGER G and Pilot picture at: http://www.liveinternet.ru/tags/%E2%EE%E9%F1%EA%E0+%EF%E2%EE/
Burevestnik Airfield image at Wikipedia entry for Burevestnik Airport, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burevestnik_Airport

MiG-23ML FLOGGER G image from Soviet Military Power 1985, on Federation of American Scientists website, at: http://www.fas.org/irp/dia/product/smp_85_ch3.htm
MiG-23U FLOGGER C image at: http://web.bg.uw.edu.pl/welw/military.pl/samoloty/mig-23_flogger/index.html
Aero-45 image at Airliners.net, accessed at: http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?front=yes&s=1&keywords=Aero+Ae+45
Mi-4 image at: http://www.aviastar.org/helicopters_eng/mi-4.php
MiG-23MLD FLOGGER K on alert at Burevestnik, at: http://sky-hope.livejournal.com/359274.html

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s