4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army

The 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army (Russian: 4-я армия ВВС и ПВО) is an army of the Russian Air Force, part of the Southern Military District and headquartered in Rostov-on-Don.

The 4th Air Army (4 Vozdushnaya Armiya) was a Soviet Air Force formation and from 1992 to 2009 was part of the Russian Air Force. From 1998 the army was designated the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army. It was first established on 22 May 1942 from the Air Forces of the Soviet Southern Front, and fought on the Eastern Front until 1945. In 1949 it was redesignated the 37th Air Army.[1] It was reformed on 4 April 1968 in Poland, and was active there with the Northern Group of Forces for over twenty years, shifting to the North Caucasus Military District in August 1992. The arrival of the Sukhoi Su-24 drastically changed its tasking in the 1980s.

It became the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Command in 2009 but was reestablished from the command in 2015.

4th Air Army (1942–1998)
4th Army of Air Forces and Air Defence (1998–2009; reformed 1 August 2015)
  • 1942–1949
  • 1968–2009
  • 2015–present
CountrySoviet Union, Russia
BranchSoviet Air Force, Russian Air Force
SizeWorld War II: several air divisions
2000s: ~ 10–15 air regiments
Garrison/HQRostov on Don
EngagementsBattle of the Caucasus
Kerch-Eltigen Operation
East Prussian Offensive
Battle of Berlin
2008 South Ossetia war
Commanding OfficerLieutenant General Viktor Sevestyanov

Second World War

Upon its establishment in May 1942 it had 208 aircraft and 437 crews and consisted of:[2]

  • 216th Fighter Division or 216th Mixed Aviation Division (commander V. I. Shevchenko)
  • 217th Fighter Aviation Division (commander D.P. Galunov)
  • 229th Fighter Aviation Division (commander P.G. Stepanovich)
  • 230th Assault Aviation Division (commander S.G. Get'man)
  • 219th Bomber Aviation Division (commander I.T. Batygin)
  • 218th Night Bomber Aviation Division (commander D.D. Popov)
  • one training regiment, seven separate mixed aviation regiments, one communication squadron, one long range reconnaissance squadron

In June 1942 one more regiment was added, the 588th Light Night Bomber Regiment (commander Ye.D. Bershanskaya), that became the first women's unit in the Soviet Air Force. In February 1943 it was reorganized into 46th Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment and in October 1943 it became the 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment.[3] In 1943, the Army supported the Kerch-Eltigen Operation and assisted in the battle for air superiority over the Kuban.[4] Two regiments that formed part of the Army, the 57th GIAP and 821st IAP, flew lend-lease Supermarine Spitfires in 1943 for a period.[5] Alexander Pokryshkin was one of its members, and one of the most successful aces of WW2, as well as having the distinction of being awarded the Hero of Soviet Union three times.

On 17 July 1943 the 216 SAD/IAD was redesignated the 9th Guards Fighter Aviation Division. It was commanded by Colonel Alexander Pokryshkin from April 1944 to May 1945.[5]

In summer 1944 the Army covered the Separate Coastal Army during the Battle of the Crimea (1944). It was then reassigned to the 2nd Belorussian Front and participated in Operation Bagration, the East Prussian Offensive, the East Pomeranian Offensive, and the Battle of Berlin. Overall during the war it flew about 300,000 sorties.[4] In July 1945 the army included the 8th Fighter Aviation Corps (Legnica, Poland), the 4th Assault Aviation Corps the 5th Bomber Aviation Corps, the 164th independent Guards Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment (Brzeg, Poland) with Pe-2R, and the 844th Transport Aviation Regiment (Swidnica, Poland) equipped with the Li-2.[6]

Postwar Soviet service

After World War II the 4th Air Army remained in Poland, and appears to have been disbanded in the late 1950s, its units transferred to the 37th Air Army until 1968. On 22 February 1968, in accordance with a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR the 37th Air Army was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. On 4 April 1968 the 37th Air Army was redesignated again into the 4th Air Army which had been the army's designation during the Second World War. However the army was again disbanded at a later stage, and reactivated on 21 August 1984 as the 4th Air Army of Highest Command together with the Higher Command of the Western Strategic Direction, and from 12 October 1989, the 4th Air Army of the Northern Group of Forces.[7]

After the Su-24s started arriving, as part of General Nikolai Ogarkov`s reforms, 4 VA became an independent army with operative designation, subordinate to the HQ of Western Direction. The 24th Air Army of the South-Western Direction shared that status. Those were the only air force armies with Su-27 fighters, tasked with cover of the Fencers. From 1989 until the withdrawal from Poland the Army included the 164th Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment, 245th Mixed Aviation Squadron, 151 EW Regiment (Yak-28), 55th separate Sevastopol helicopter regiment (Mi-24, Mi-8), 19th separate communications and automated direction regiment (Legitza)[8] and other smaller units of direct Army HQ subordination, and the 239th Fighter Baranovichskaya Red Banner Air Division, headquartered at Kluchevo and consisting of the 159th, 582nd, and 871st Fighter Regiments (Kolobrzeg – (Kołobrzeg-Bagicz Airport?)) and the 149th Bomber Aviation Division (HQ Shprotava) with the 3, 42nd Guards, and 89 Bomber Aviation Regiments (Su-24s) as its primary combat formations.[9] Over the border in the Kaliningrad Oblast, but still part of the Army, was the 132 Bomber Sevastopol Red Banner Air Division at Chernyakhovsk.

On the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Poland, the 159th Fighter Regiment moved to Besovets air base and joined the 6th Air Army, and the 871st Fighter Regiment moved to Smolensk and eventually disbanded.[10] The 151st EW Regiment moved back to Shchuchyn in the Belorussian SSR in August 1989 and definitely disbanded in 1992, with its aircraft being broken up at the 558th Aircraft Repair Facility at Baranovichi.[11]

Following withdrawal from Poland from 1992 it became the aviation component of the North Caucasus Military District. On 22 August 1992, the headquarters of the 4th Red Banner VА (VGK) was relocated to the city of Rostov-on-Don and relieved from assignment from the VGK.[12] Headquarters 1st Guards Bomber Aviation Division arrived from Lida in Belarus in 1993 and headquarters 16th Guards Fighter Aviation Division was moved to Millerovo from Damgarten, DDR, on 30 October 1993, and became part of 4th Air Army that day.[13]

4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army

On 16 June 1997 the President of the Russian Federation signed the decree "About prime measures on reforming Armed forces of the Russian Federation and perfection of their structure". According to that decree, on the basis of the 4th Air Army and the 12th Independent Air Defence Corps of the Russian Air Defence Forces the 4th Army of the Air Forces and Air Defence was formed on 1 June 1998.

The 10th Bombardment Aviation Division, headquartered at Yeysk with up to 90 Su-24s in three regiments (296th BAP at Marinovka, 559th BAP and 959th BAP) was part of the army during the 1990s. At some point between January 2001 and September 2005 the division headquarters disbanded. Yeysk airfield, the previous home of a training aviation institute directing around three regiments of L-39s, was turned over to Russian Naval Aviation in September 2009.

In February 2004 regional command staff trainings took place in Kabardino-Balkaria. 02.2006 comd staff exercises jointly with the 58th Army of the North Caucasus Military District. 8 Su-25 took part in Peace Mission 2007 joint Russia-Sino exercises. The commanding officer of the 4th Air Army from February 2007 was Lieutenant General Igor Miroshnichenko. In August 2007 command and staff exercises were held. 11.2007 Caucasus-Rubezh -2007 comd staff exercises. 03.2008 flight tactical training.(Warfare.ru)

In 2009 the Army was disestablished and Russian Air Forces units in the Caucasus grouped under the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Command.

The Army was reformed on 1 August 2015. In January 2016, Lieutenant General Viktor Sevastyanov became its commander.[14]

Structure 2007

4th Air Army (Russia)
Structure 4th Air Army

In addition to the above forces, Russian aviation forces in Armenia, probably within the ambit of 4th Air Army, comprise 18 MiG-29 fighters of the 426th Fighter Squadron [426 Istrebitel’naya Aviatsionnaya Eskadril’ya (426 IAE)][19] and the 700th Air Traffic Control Center, both at the 3624th Air Base [3624 Aviatsionnaya Baza (3624 AB)] at Erebuni Airport outside Yerevan.[20]

Structure 2016

In July 2016, AirForces Monthly reported, citing open sources, that the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army included the following aviation units:[14]

  • 1st Guards Composite Aviation Division (Krymsk)
    • 3rd Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (Krymsk)
    • 31st Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (Millerovo)
    • 559th Bomber Aviation Regiment (Morozovsk)
    • 11th Composite Aviation Regiment (Marinovka)
    • 368th Assault Aviation Regiment (Budennovsk)
    • 960th Assault Aviation Regiment (Primorsko-Akhtarsk)
  • 27th Composite Aviation Division (Belbek)
    • 37th Composite Aviation Regiment (Gvardeyskoe-Simferopol)
    • 38th Fighter Aviation Regiment (Belbek-Sevastopol)
    • 39th Helicopter Aviation Regiment (Dzhankoy)
  • Directly subordinated to army headquarters
    • 535th Independent Composite Aviation Regiment (Rostov-on-Don with two mixed transport squadrons with An-26RT, An-12BK, Tu-134, L-410UVP-E20)
    • 3624th Air Base (Erebuni with one fighter and one mixed helicopter squadron with MiG-29, MiG-29UB, Mi-24P, Mi-8MTV, Mi-8SMV-2)
  • Army Aviation component
    • 16th Army Aviation Brigade (Zernograd)
    • 55th Independent Helicopter Regiment (Korenovsk)
    • 387th Independent Helicopter Regiment (Budennovsk)

In addition, warfare.be listed the following air defense and support units as part of the army in 2016:[21]

  • 51st Air Defence Division (Rostov-on-Don)
    • 1536th Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment (Rostov-on-Don)
    • 1537th Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment (Novorossiysk)
    • 1721st Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment (Sochi)
    • 339th Radio-Technical Regiment (Tinaki, Astrakhan)
    • 338th Radio-Technical Regiment (Rostov-on-Don)
  • 31st Air Defence Division (Sevastopol)[22]
    • 12th Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment (Sevastopol)
    • 18th Guards Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment (Feodosia)
    • 3rd Radio-Technical Regiment (Lyubimovka, Sevastopol)
  • Support Center (Rostov-on-Don)
    • 1017th Air Defense Command Post (Rostov-on-Don)
    • 214th Headquarters Communications Center (Novocherkassk)


  1. ^ Hans Nijhuis and Robert Senkowski, 'Farewell Poland!,' Air International, January 1993, p.15
  2. ^ Russian Ministry of Defence, 4th Air Army History Archived 27 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine, accessed May 2008
  3. ^ (in Russian) 65-летие 4-ой Армии ВВС и ПВО
  4. ^ a b Keith E Bonn, (ed.), Slaughterhouse: The Handbook of the Eastern Front, Aberjona Press, 2005, p.336
  5. ^ a b Igor Zlobin ©, Translation by James F. Gebhardt ©, Spitfires over the Kuban, accessed September 2011
  6. ^ Michael Holm, 4th Red Banner Air Army VGK ON, accessed September 2011
  7. ^ Katspersky, Combat establishment of the 4th Air Army on 1 January 1989 (Russian), Forum-Avia.ru,
  8. ^ Forum-Avia.ru, Combat establishment of the 4th Air Army on 1 January 1989 (Russian), Katspersky,[1]
  9. ^ Archived 13 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine – Order of Battle 1992 (removed from site), but see also Feskov et al. 2013.
  10. ^ Feskov et al. 2004, p.140, Jane's World Air Forces, Issue 0, March 1996, and International Air Power Review, Vol. 13, Summer 2004, p.88
  11. ^ "151 полк РЭБ" [151st Electronic Warfare Regiment]. scucin-avia.narod.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  12. ^ ru:4-я воздушная армия (СССР), accessed on 14 May 2008
  13. ^ Michael Holm, 16th Guards Fighter Aviation Division Archived 1 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine, accessed August 2011.
  14. ^ a b Mladenov, Alexander (September 2016). "Force Report: Russia's Southern Military District". AirForces Monthly. pp. 86–87.
  15. ^ Holm, Michael. "1st Guards Stalingradskaya order of Lenin twice Red Banner orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov Bomber Aviation Division". ww2.dk. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  16. ^ See further http://www.ww2.dk/new/air%20force/regiment/shap/368oshap.htm
  17. ^ Michael Holm, 31st Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment
  18. ^ http://www.ww2.dk/new/air%20force/regiment/ovp/487ovp.htm
  19. ^ Warfare.ru (Undated). MIG-29/MIG-35 Fulcrum Counter-Air Fighter. Retrieved 16 February 2008.
  20. ^ Anon. (22 May 2007). “Russian Military Bases Archived 20 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine”. Kommersant Vlast. Retrieved 29 December 2007.
  21. ^ "Воздушно-Космические Силы" [Aerospace Forces]. warfare.be (in Russian). Archived from the original on 13 May 2016. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  22. ^ "«Триумф» в Крыму". Газета.Ru. Retrieved 1 December 2017.


  • Kommersant-Vlast, 2005

Further reading

External links

1st Guards Composite Aviation Division

The 1st Guards Stalingrad Bomber Aviation Division (Russian: 1-я гвардейская бомбардировочная Сталинградская ордена Ленина дважды Краснознаменная орденов Суворова и Кутузова авиационная дивизия) was an Aviation Division of the Soviet Air Force. It was formed as the 226th Assault Aviation Division in May 1942 and became the 1st Guards Stalingrad Assault Aviation Division for its performance in the Battle of Stalingrad. The division fought in the Melitopol Offensive, Crimean Offensive, East Prussian Offensive and the Battle of Königsberg. By the end of the war, the division had been awarded the Order of the Red Banner twice, the Order of Lenin and the Orders of Kutuzov and Suvorov 2nd class. Postwar, the division relocated to Belarus. In April 1956, it became a bomber division but was converted to a fighter-bomber unit in 1957. In 1989, it became an bomber unit again and moved to Krasnodar in 1993. At Krasnodar it became an assault unit. The division moved to Yeysk in 2002 and disbanded in 2009.

209th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment

The 209th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment was a regiment of the Russian Air Force from 1992 to 2001.

The regiment was formed on 21 October 1941 from personnel of the Chelyabinsk School of Gunners and Bombardiers as the 688th Night Light Bomber Aviation Regiment. Less than a month later, just after completing training, the regiment left for the front. In December and January 1942 it fought in the destruction of the Rzhev enemy group, and in the summer in the Battle of Stalingrad. For its actions at Stalingrad, the regiment became the 59th Guards Assault Aviation Regiment on 8 February 1943. On 2 September 1943 received the Order of the Red Banner. Fought in Orel-Kursk operation [Battle of Kursk], battles for liberation of Belarus, and Warsaw offensive [likely Warsaw-Poznan Offensive in Jan 1945, but could also be the Lublin-Brest Offensive in summer 1944]. For actions in liberating Baranovichi it received the Baranovichi honorific 27 June 1944, awarded Order of Suvorov 3rd class for actions in Berlin Offensive 16 April 1945.

From 1949 to 1956 the regiment was the 725th Guards Assault Aviation Regiment, flying from Altes-Lager, Dallgow, Dessau, Brandis, and Finsterwalde in Germany.In August 1956, relocated to Astrakhan, became part of PVO, and renamed 393rd GvIAP. December 1992 became 209th GvIAP, part of 12th Air Defence Corps, Russian Air Defence Forces. 12th Air Defence Corps became 51st Air Defence Corps in 1998, and soon afterwards became part of the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army.

On 1 September 2001 the regiment absorbed the 562nd Fighter Aviation Regiment at Krymsk and became 3rd GvIAP with transfer of battle flag and honorifics of 209th GvIAP and moved to Krymsk. On 24 August 2009 3rd GvIAP and 178th Separate Helicopter-Rescue Detachment became 6972nd Guards Baranovichi Red Banner Order of Suvorov 3rd class Air Base of the 1st category at Krymsk. On 11 November 2013 reformed to 1st Guards Mixed Aviation Division with transfer of the 6972nd's honorifics and flag. Col. Tagir Gadzhiyev was the division commander in 2016.

4th Air and Air Defence Forces Command

The 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Command was a formation of the Russian Air Force. It was formed on 1 December 2009 from the amalgamation of the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army and 5th Air and Air Defence Forces Army. The command's headquarters was in Rostov-on-Don, and it was responsible for the air defence of the North Caucasus Military District and the Volga-Urals Military District. The command became the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army again on 1 August 2015.

5th Air and Air Defence Forces Army

The 5th Army of VVS and PVO (5-я Краснознамённая армия военно-воздушных сил и противовоздушной обороны) was the Russian Air Force's smallest Air Army, with the headquarters located in Yekaterinburg. Its zone of responsibility was the Volga-Ural Military District, on the border between Europe and Asia. The commanding officer of the 5th Air Army was from May 2006, Lieutenant-General Vadim Volkovitskiy.

Antonina Khudyakova

Antonina Fyodorovna Khudyakova (Russian: Антонина Фёдоровна Худякова; 20 June 1917 – 17 December 1998) was a senior lieutenant and deputy squadron commander in the 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, 325th Night Bomber Aviation Division, 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army, 2nd Belorussian Front during World War II. For successfully completing 926 sorties she was declared a Hero of the Soviet Union on 15 May 1946.

Russian Air Force

The Russian Air Force (Russian: Военно-воздушные cилы России, tr. Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily Rossii, literally "military air forces of Russia") is a branch of the Russian Aerospace Forces, the latter being formed on 1 August 2015 with the merger of the Russian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces. The modern Russian Air Force was originally established on 7 May 1992 following Boris Yeltsin's creation of the Ministry of Defence; however, the Russian Federation's air force can trace its lineage and traditions back to the Imperial Russian Air Service (1912–1917) and the Soviet Air Forces (1918–1991).

The Russian Navy has its own independent air arm, the Russian Naval Aviation, which is the former Soviet Aviatsiya Voyenno-morskogo Flota (lit. "Aviation of the military-sea fleet"), or AV-MF.

Southern Military District

The Southern Military District (Russian: Южный военный округ) is a military district of Russia.

It is one of the five military districts of the Russian Armed Forces, with its jurisdiction primarily within the North Caucasus region of the country, and Russian bases in South Caucasian post-Soviet states. The Southern Military District was created as part of the 2008 military reforms, and founded by Presidential Decree №1144 signed on September 20, 2010, to replace the North Caucasus Military District, and absorbing the military commands of the Black Sea Fleet and Caspian Flotilla. The district began operation on October 22, 2010, under the command of Colonel-General Aleksandr Galkin.

The Southern Military District is the smallest military district in Russia by geographic size. The district contains 151 federal subjects of Russia: Adygea, Astrakhan Oblast, Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kalmykia, Karachay-Cherkessia, Krasnodar Krai, North Ossetia-Alania, Rostov Oblast, Stavropol Krai, Volgograd Oblast, and since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Crimea and Sevastopol.The Southern Military District is headquartered in Rostov-on-Don, and its current district commander is Colonel-General Aleksandr Dvornikov, who has held the position since 20 September 2016.

Formations and units
Air Armies 1942–1949
Additional Air Armies formed 1949–1992
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