Belaya (air base)

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For other uses, see Bely (disambiguation).
Belaya Air Base
Russian Air Force roundel.svg
Airport type Military
Owner Ministry of Defence
Operator Long Range Aviation, Russian Air Force
Location Usolye-Sibirskoye, Russia
Elevation AMSL 1,503 ft / 458 m
Coordinates 52°54′54″N 103°34′30″E / 52.91500°N 103.57500°E / 52.91500; 103.57500Coordinates: 52°54′54″N 103°34′30″E / 52.91500°N 103.57500°E / 52.91500; 103.57500
Belaya Air Base is located in Irkutsk Oblast
Belaya Air Base
Belaya Air Base
Location in Irkutsk Oblast
Direction Length Surface
ft m
15/33 13,123 4,000 Concrete

Belaya (ICAO: UIIB) is a significant Long Range Aviation base in Usolsky District, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia located 18 kilometres (11 mi) north of Usolye-Sibirskoye and 85 kilometres (53 mi) northwest of Irkutsk. From 2009 it has sometimes been known as Srednii. It has significant tarmac space and 38 bomber revetments.

Station history[edit]

In 1954 Belaya was used as a staging base for Tupolev Tu-4 aircraft sent to China to observe American fusion bomb tests in the Pacific, but the runway was unpaved at this time.[1] Sometime around the late 1950s the airfield was upgraded and its received the nuclear bomber mission. The served here starting during the late 1960s.

350th Fighter Aviation Regiment PVO (Military Unit: 65319) arrived at Belaya in 1946 or 1950, and was equipped with the MiG-17, 1955-1962, the Su-9, 1961-1967, and the Tupolev Tu-128 (Fiddler) from 1967. In 1984 the regiment moved to Bratsk Airport.[2] It was in succession part of the 26th Air Defence Division, the 39th Air Defence Corps, and the 54th Air Defence Corps.

The base's Tu-16, Tu-22, and Tu-22M fleet had a considerable role in Asian strategy. The base was especially important in projecting power against the People's Republic of China following the Sino-Soviet split.

Units stationed at Belaya 1945-1994 included:

  • 1225 TBAP (1225th Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment) flying Tupolev Tu-4 aircraft in 1956-1958 and upgrading to Tupolev Tu-16 in 1958 and Tupolev Tu-16K in 1961. It began flying the Tupolev Tu-22M2 starting in 1982 and retained this aircraft through at least the 1990s.[3][4] Disbanded 1994.[5]
  • 1229 TBAP (1229th Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment) flying the same aircraft and receiving the same upgrades at the same times as 1225 TBAP. Disbanded 1994.[6]

U.S. national agencies may also have listed the 1339th Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment (1339th TBAP) flying Tupolev Tu-16 bombers at the base during the Cold War. No Russian sources appear to list this regiment.

As the 1225 and 1229 TBAPs were disbanding in 1994, the 200th Guards Brestskiy Red Banner order of Suvorov Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment appears to have been arriving from Bobruisk, Mogilev Oblast, by that time part of Belarus. The 200th Guard TBAP had been at Bobruisk since May 1946.[7] Once it arrived at Belaya, it came under the control of the 326th Heavy Bomber Aviation Division. As of 2006, Google Earth imagery showed a total of 26 Tupolev Tu-22M medium-range bombers visible in revetments.

On 1 December 2009, the 200th Guards TBAP was reorganised as the 6953rd Guards Airbase, which later, in December 2010 reformed as an Air Group of the 6952nd Guards Air Base (Ukrainka).