Military Transport Aviation Command (Russian: Кома́ндование вое́нно-тра́нспортной авиа́ции (ВТА) — Komandovaniye voyenno-transportnoy aviatsii (VTA)) was a major component of the former Soviet Air Forces, active from the Cold War period, through the dissolution of the Soviet Union, to 1998–1999. In 1999–2009 it was reduced in status to the 61st Air Army of the Supreme High Command (61 Vozdushnaya Armiya VGK). The 61st Air Army itself was initially formed on 10 January 1949 by renaming the 3rd Air Army. In 2009 the 61st Air Army was renamed the Command of Military Transport Aviation. Its headquarters is located in Moscow.
The VTA traces its history to the formation of the first transport aviation unit in the Leningrad Military District on 1 June 1931. In 1955–56 air transport units were removed from the Soviet Airborne Troops and the VTA itself was created.
In 1988 the VTA included six separate regiments (194th Guards Bryanskiy Red Banner Military-Transport Aviation Regiment im. N.F. Gastello at Fergana, probably associated with the 105th Guards Vienna Airborne Division, 334, 374 OVTAP at Klokovo, 566 VTAP, and unidentified regiments at Ulyanovsk and Kirovakan) and six divisions with a total of 18 military transport aviation regiments. Holm and Feskov et al. disagree on multiple regiments' identity and stationing. The divisions were the 3rd Guards Military Transport Aviation Division (VTAD) at Vitebsk (103rd Guards, 110, 235, 239th Regiments), the 6th Military Transport Aviation Division at Kryvyi Rih (Krivoy Rog) (37th, 338th Regiments), the 7th Division at Melitopol with the 25th Guards, 369th (Dzhankoy), and 708th Regiments, the 8th Division at Chkalovsky, Shchyolkovo, Moscow Oblast, (70th, 353rd, and 354th OSNAZ regiments), the 12th Military Transport Aviation Division at Migalovo, which traced its heritage to the 12th Bomber Aviation Division of the World War II period, and had three regiments, including the 8th, 81st, and a regiment at Klin. The final division was the 18th Guards 'Taganrogskaya Red Banner Orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov' Military Transport Aviation Division at Shaulyai, which traced its history to the wartime 6th Guards Bomber Aviation Division, and had three regiments (117th, 128th Guards, 196th). Regiments of the 18th VTAD, according to Holm included the 128th Guards VTAP at Panevėžys Air Base, and the 600th VTAP at Kėdainiai in the Lithuanian SSR.
The main aircraft the 61st Air Army used was the Il-76 Candid (about 220) and An-22 Cock; or the medium transport An-12 Cub. The Russian Air Force began in 2002 to upgrade its Il-76MD transport aircraft, but this is a slow process, only two aircraft being modernized in 2005. According to the modernisation programme, 12 Il-76 aircraft are due to be modernised before 2010, to the Il-76MD-90 variant.
|Military Transport Aviation (Cold War – 1998/9)|
61st Air Army (1998/9 – 2009)
Military Transport Aviation (2009–)
|Active||1955–1998, 1998–2009, 2009–|
|Country||Soviet Union, Russia|
|Type||military transport aviation|
The '18th Guards Taganrogskaya Red Banner orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov Military-Transport Aviation Division' was Military Unit no. 18380. It was activated in June 1942 from the 4th Reserve Air Group, as the 270th Bomber Aviation Division. On 23.10.43 it was renamed 6th Guards Bomber Aviation Division. At the end of the Second World War it was serving with the 1st Air Army.
Organisation May 1945:
On 10 July 1964 it was renamed 11th Guards Military-Transport Aviation Division. In April 1966 finally it was renamed 18th Guards Military-Transport Aviation Division.