Special Purpose Command

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Moscow District of the Air Force and Air Defence Force
Special Purpose Command
Flag of the Soviet Air Force.svg
Activec. 1945 – present
Special Purpose Command: 2002 – July 1, 2009[1]
CountrySoviet Union Soviet Union
Russia Russia
BranchFlag of the Soviet Air Force.svg Soviet Air Force
Flag of the Russian Air Force.svg Russian Air Force
SizeWorld War II: several air divisions
Today: ~ 10–15 air regiments
Marshal Anatoly Konstantinov (dismissed 1988)

The Special Purpose Command (Komandovaniye Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya) was a formation of the Russian Air Force, the strongest among the tactical aviation and anti-aircraft groupings. Its zone of responsibility amounted to 1.3 million km², taking in 40 million people, as well as the country's capital, Moscow. On July 1, 2009 it was superseded by the Aerospace Defense Operational Strategic Command (ru:Объединённое стратегическое командование воздушно-космической обороны).[1]

As a result of the air force reforms implemented on June 1, 1998, the Moscow Air Defence District of the PVO and the 16th Air Army of the VVS became a single entity, the Moscow District of the Air Force and Air Defense. According to Krasnaya Zvezda of 16 December 2002, the former Moscow District of the VVS and PVO was reorganised as the Special Purpose Command in September 2002.[2] Interfax says the Moscow District was split into the reactivated 16th Air Army, a tactical force, and the Central Air Defence Zone, an air defense force.[3]

Pyotr Butowski, writing in 2004, seems to indicate that the Special Purpose Command (he makes no mention of ‘the Central Air Defence Zone’) is merely essentially a redesignation of the former Moscow District. The rearrangement of the Moscow District of the VVS and PVO into the Special Purpose Command is apparently connected with plans in the long term for the military-space defense of the central industrial region.

The initial commanding officer of the KSpN was General Lieutenant Yuri Solovyov, later promoted to Colonel-General.

Moscow Military District air forces[edit]

In the last days of the Soviet Union there was a considerable Soviet Air Defence Forces presence, and a smaller Air Forces presence, in the Moscow Military District. The Air Forces of the Moscow Military District consisted of a reconnaissance regiment, the 47th Guards Separate Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment at Shatalovo flying Su-24MPs, and the 9th Fighter Aviation Division (9 iad), at Kubinka, with three regiments.[4] The division incorporated the 32nd Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment, also at Shatalovo, with MiG-23MLDs, the 234th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment at Kubinka with MiG-29s, and the 274th Fighter-Bomber Aviation Regiment at Migalovo (274 apib) with Su-17s. Also part of the force was a ground signals regiment, the 131st. There was also a transport squadron, an independent helicopter regiment, and an independent helicopter squadron for electronic warfare.

32nd Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment served in Cuba as part of 'Operation Anadyr' during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1963.[5] The regiment was temporarily renamed 213th Fighter Aviation Regiment while in Cuba. It was disbanded in 1989.

In October 1990 the 1080th Red Banner Training Aviation Center for retraining of personnel im. V.P. Chkalov was activated in Borisoglebsk, Voronezh Oblast, from the 796th Center for Preparation of Officers for Fighter and Fighter-Bomber Aviation, and the Borisoglebsk Higher Military Aviation School of Pilots. It came under the command of the Air Forces of the Moscow Military District. It comprised four instructor aviation regiments, the fourth being the 343rd Fighter Aviation Regiment at Sennoy with MiG-29s.

Joseph Stalin's son Vasily Stalin commanded the Moscow district air forces from June 1948 to August 1952.[6] He was succeeded by General Colonel Stepan Krasovsky (1952–53), Lieutenant General Stepan Rybanov (June 1953 – 1959), and, later, Lieutenant General Igor Dmitriev (ru:Дмитриев, Игорь Михайлович) (1983–1989) and Nikolai Antoshkin (ru:Антошкин, Николай Тимофеевич) (1989–93).[7]

Also part of the Moscow District air forces was the 4th Centre for Combat Employment and Retraining of Personnel at Lipetsk.

2007 structure[edit]

The 16th Air Army was the most important formation of the Special Purpose Command. Initially formed during the Second World War as a part of the Soviet Air Force, it was from c.2002–2009 the tactical air force component of the Moscow Military District, headquartered at Kubinka.

In 2009 the Russian Air Force was extensively reorganised. This structure is not current. Combat Aircraft magazine's June 2010 issue gives some details of the new structure.


  1. ^ a b http://vz.ru/society/2009/7/4/303726.html
  2. ^ Olga Bozhyeva, 'New special command replaces Moscow Air Force and Air Defence District, Krasnaya Zvezda, 16 December 2002.
  3. ^ See also Interfax, 5 January 2002
  4. ^ http://www.ww2.dk/new/air%20force/army/vvsmvo.htm
  5. ^ http://www.airforce.ru/history/cold_war/cuba/index_en.htm, see also ru:32-й гвардейский истребительный авиационный полк (СССР)
  6. ^ Father's little watchman, Time magazine, 1950. Time says Air Defence Forces, but this is incorrect. Exact time period from Holm/Feskov et al 2013 (ref 9).
  7. ^ http://www.ww2.dk/new/air%20force/army/vvsmvo.htm
  8. ^ Structure drawn from Air Forces Monthly, July 2007 issue, p.82.
  9. ^ An earlier report at www8.brinkster.com had said the 9th PVO Division's 606th Guards Air Defence Missile Regiment at Elektrostal had the S-400, though this now has been changed.
  10. ^ Michael Holm, 1st Air Defence Army for Special Use[permanent dead link], accessed December 2012.

External links[edit]

  • Woezik, Rene van, and Lok, Joris Janssen, "Working up to leaving: despite withdrawal, the Soviet Air Force in Germany is being modernised", Jane's Defence Weekly, Vol. 16, No. 10, Sept 7, 1991 p415(2) (ISSN 0265-3818) Jane's Information Group.
  • Soviet ORBAT from last years in Germany (in Russian)
  • https://archive.is/20080110072449/http://www8.brinkster.com/vad777/russia/air/va/16va_mvo.htm (in Russian)
  • www.victory.mil.ru
  • http://oko-planet.su/politik/politikarm/13853-v-rossijskoj-armii-sozdano-komandovanie-vozdushno.html – new Operational-Strategic Command for Air and Space Defence reported. The command will be established by the end of 2010 and located at Balashikha near Moscow, where the previous 1st Air Defence Corps was located.