This report describes the Soviet procedures for planning air
operations at Front level. It is intended as reference material for the
students at the National Defense University who are studying Soviet
front level planning methods. The report describes the role of the air
army in front operations, the duties of the air staff officers and the
procedures for planning air operations at the front level. Schematic
samples of plans are included.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. THE AIR ARMY
COMBAT ORGANIZATION OF THE AIR ARMY
AIRCRAFT AVAILABILITY FOR AIR ARMY OPERATIONS
THE CONTENT OF AIR ARMY MISSIONS
AIR ARMY MISSIONS IN INITIAL NUCLEAR STRIKE
COVERING THE TROOPS AND LOGISTIC INSTALLATIONS
DESTRUCTION OF ENEMY AIR FORCES
SEARCHING FOR AND DESTROYING ENEMY NUCLEAR ROCKETS
AIR SUPPORT OF COMBINED ARMS AND TANK ARMIES
DESTRUCTION AND NEUTRALIZATION OF ENEMY RESERVES
SUPPORT OF AIRBORNE AND NAVAL ASSAULTS
II. DUTIES OF AIR ARMY OFFICERS
AIR ARMY COMMANDER
CHIEF OF STAFF OF AIR ARMY
CHIEF OF OPERATIONS OF AIR ARMY
CHIEF OF RECONNAISSANCE OF AIR ARMY
III. PREPARATION OF FRONT OFFENSIVE
AIR COMPONENTS IN THE PREPARATION OF FRONTAL OPERATIONS
SEQUENCE OF ACTIONS DURING ORGANIZATION AND PLANNING
INSTRUCTIONS OF COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF AIR FORCES
SUGGESTIONS OF AIR ARMY COMMANDER TO FRONT COMMANDER
FRONT COMMANDER'S ASSIGNMENT TO THE AIR ARMY
ORGANIZATION AND PREPARATION OF AIR ARMY'S COMBAT ACTION
ESTIMATE OF SITUATION BY AIR ARMY COMMANDER
CALCULATIONS PERFORMED BY AND IN SUPPORT OF AIR ARMY COMMANDER
DEVELOPING THE PLAN OF THE COMBAT ACTION OF THE AIR ARMY
AIR ARMY IN THE FRONT OFFENSIVE OPERATION
COORDINATION OF OFFENSIVE ACTION
THE MAIN ISSUES OF COORDINATION
PARTICIPATION OF AIR ARMY STAFF IN THE PLANNING OF FRONT OFFENSIVE
PLANNING THE INITIAL NUCLEAR STRIKE
PLANNING THE AIR OPERATION
PARTICIPATING FORCES IN AIR OPERATIONS
PLANNING FOR AIRBORNE ASSAULT OPERATIONS
STRATEGIC - OPERATIONAL AIRBORNE OPERATION
OPERATIONAL- TACTICAL AIRBORNE ASSAULT
TACTICAL AIRBORNE ASSAULT
IV. COMMAND AND CONTROL SYSTEM OF THE AIR ARMY
V. COMBAT READINESS OF THE AIR ARMY
I. THE AIR ARMY
Combat Organization of the Air Army
The air army is part of the Front and its combat composition is not
always the same. It depends on the missions of the Front to be
accomplished in the operation, the availability of Air Force resources, the
condition of the theater of military operations, the composition, capabilities
and likely character of the opposing enemy. The supreme high command determines
the combat composition of each air army.
Given the actual conditions of the western theater of military operations, a
Frontal air army may be composed of the following elements:
- Air Army's command and control organization
- 2-3 fighter aviation divisions
- 1-2 fighter-bomber aviation divisions
- one bomber division
- 2-4 air reconnaissance regiments (1-2 operational and l-2 tactical
- 2-3 pilotless air reconnaissance squadrons
- 1-2 air radio jamming regiments (for radio suppression)
- 2-3 transport and combat helicopter regiments
- other support and supply units and subunits
There may be a total of 600-800 aircraft which can participate in the initial
Aircraft Availability for Air Army Operations
The number of aircraft sorties allocated for the air army in support of the
Front depends on the missions assigned to the Front. Normally up
to l.5 air army sorties (one sortie by each single aircraft of the air army) in
each day of the operation are available to the Front.
The Front commander distributes and allocates the available flight
resources in terms of air regiment sorties to support the operation of combined
arms and tank armies in accordance with the Front's missions in the
Given the actual conditions in the Western theater of military operations, 2/3
of the air resources are allocated to the accomplishment of immediate missions
and l/3 to the subsequent mission. One to two air army sorties are kept in the
commander's reserve throughout the Frontal operation.
Each army operating in the direction of the main attack is allocated an average
of up to 3 regimental sorties per day and the armies operating in other
directions are supported by up to 2 air regimental sorties per day.
The Content of Air Army Missions
The air army conducts the following tasks in a Frontal offensive
- participating in the initial nuclear strike
- covering the troops and logistics installations against the enemy's air
- destroying the enemy's air forces on their airfields, in the air, and in
their base areas
- searching for and destroying the enemy's nuclear rockets
- supporting the action of combined arms and tank armies
- destroying and suppressing the enemy's reserves
- conducting air reconnaissance
- supporting seaborne assault landing operations and cooperating with the
Frontal forces in establishment of coastline defense when the
Frontal operation is conducted in areas containing naval regions. If an
airborne operation is planned, the air army will also provide for the landing
of the airborne units and will support their combat operation.
These tasks have the following details.
The Air Army's Missions in the Initial Nuclear Strike
The initial nuclear strike can be launched according to different and various
pre-prepared plans. It includes the launching of prepared rockets, and the
initial massive flight of Frontal aircraft to inflict losses on
predesignated enemy targets by nuclear and chemical bombs and warheads.
The initial nuclear strike of the Front may be launched simultaneously
with the strike of strategic rocket forces, long range aviation and nuclear
submarines or it can follow the strategic nuclear strike.
The ideal form of launching the Frontal initial nuclear strike is the
method of its simultaneous initiation with the strike of strategic means. This
is possible only when the Frontal nuclear delivery means are brought to
the state of full combat readiness after receiving the signal from the general
staff at the same time that the strategic means are brought to the full combat
readiness status. It should be noted that the preparation of Frontal
nuclear delivery means often lags behind the preparation of strategic forces.
Since delaying the time of launch solely for the Frontal means to catch
up is not feasible, the Frontal initial nuclear strike most of the time follows
the nuclear strike of strategic forces. It is necessary however to reduce the
time gap between the two strikes to a minimum. This is achieved by upgrading
the combat readiness of Frontal rocket and aviation units and timely
action to intensify the technical preparation and support of rockets and an
early deployment of Frontal rocket troops and Frontal air army
formations in starting (FUP) areas.
Because of the increased capabilities of the enemy to detect the launch of a
rocket and flight of aircraft, operational and tactical rockets are required to
be fired simultaneously with the launch of strategic rockets and the
Frontal aircraft are in the air by the time the rockets are launched, or
they should be moved to alternate bases in order to protect them against the
enemy's retaliatory nuclear strike.
Covering the Troops and the Logistic Installations Against the Enemy's
Covering the troops and the logistics installations is a constant mission of
the air army. The air army accomplishes this task in both nuclear and
non-nuclear situations in close cooperation with the air defense means of the
troops, armies and national air defense units and, in naval areas, with naval
forces' air defense formations. This task is accomplished by fighter aircraft.
In execution of this task, the main effort of fighter aviation forces is
focused on covering the main striking group of the Front, SSM
formations, airfields and the most important logistic installations.
The assessments made of the capabilities of NATO air forces in the Western
theater of military operations indicate that a high level of sustainability
will be required of the Frontal fighter aircraft because in that theater
600-800 tactical and naval NATO aircraft can operate in the Front`s
operational area. If the initial strikes of friendly forces are brought against
NATO`s airfields, then NATO's capabilities in theater air power will of course
According to the lessons derived from NATO exercises, the strikes of NATO air
forces will be launched by a large number of aircraft in small groups along a
wide front deployed in different echelons in terms of altitude and depth. Given
this method of action and taking into consideration the capabilities of the
command, control and guidance system of friendly fighter aviation units, the
operation to repel the enemy's air sorties may be conducted in a multi-echelon
formation to include 2-3 echelons in low altitudes and 2 echelons in high
The first echelon fighter aircraft are committed to combat in distant
approaches to the front line. In this area the fighter aircraft independently
conduct search and destroy operations in an unlimited area over the enemy
territory. They conduct this operation to the point where enemy aircraft come
into range of friendly SAM units.
The second echelon fighter aircraft are committed in the area which is in
direct contact with the front line or they are committed over the front line.
They intercept the enemy aircraft while patrolling in the air. In this
situation the fighter aircraft should maintain close cooperation with the
armies and Frontal air defense troops, which can provide superiority in troops
and means in their area of operations.
The operation and efforts of these fighter aircraft echelons are developed and
expanded by those fighters which are in standby positions on the airfields.
These aircraft are committed in support of the other two echelons.
The command and control of the fighter aircraft is conducted from the combat
control center of the air army's fighter aviation (PBY UABA) which is
co-located with the Frontal air defense command post.
To intercept and repel the enemy's small groups or individual aircraft each
fighter aviation division is assigned sectors (areas) of responsibility and
operation. Destruction of enemy aircraft in such sectors is conducted according
to the decision of the divisional commander by simultaneous flight of not more
than l/3 of all available fighter aircraft.
Given the actual combat capabilities, the fighter aircraft is one of the
principle means to cover the troops, particularly during maneuvers by troops
and during combat operations.
Destruction of Enemy Air Forces on the Airfields, in the Air, and in
Their Bases or During the Conduct of Air Operations
This operation is conducted in order to achieve an air superiority which will
enable the ground, naval and air forces to operate more decisively and to
impose their will over the enemy. Air superiority in a conventional war is
achieved through an air operation entailing a joint action by Frontal air
armies, long range and naval aviation, or it is achieved in a Front area
by the Front air army's action conducted in accordance with the
Front operation plan. Air superiority is achieved through continuous
effort in which not only the enemy's air force but also its air defense troops
are destroyed. In a nuclear war air superiority is achieved through nuclear
strikes of the SSM troops and air force nuclear blows as well as by the fighter
aviation combat operation.
By the time of initiation of combat operations with conventional weapons, those
air force elements which are taking part in the air operation are prepared to
launch their initial massive strike and at the same time to repel the enemy's
surprise air attack, and all units are brought to the state of full combat
readiness. When the enemy gives the "ARM" signal, air reconnaissance
should be conducted continuously and the enemy should be denied a chance for
surprise attack. The friendly forces should send their aircraft in a timely
manner into the air and by then it should be clear where and on which airfields
the enemy's main grouping of aircraft is based.
One of the most important issues is determining the accurate time of the
initial massive strike if surprise is intended to be achieved. For example the
beginning of darkness moves from east to west. If the enemy's aircraft cannot
be caught in surprise on the airfields, fighter aircraft are assigned to
destroy them in the air.
The air army launches air strikes on the airfields in the area of its parent
Front. If the main grouping of the enemy's aircraft is based in the area
of adjacent Front's operation, the air army may also strike there.
During preparation for launching the initial massive strike and destroying the
enemy's aircraft and nuclear weapons, the troops should also be prepared to
repel the enemy's possible surprise attacks. If the enemy does launch a
surprise air attack, the friendly aircraft immediately get into the air, repel
the enemy's attack and find out where (what airfields) the enemy aircraft land
and then launch their attacks on those enemy airfields.
When the enemy's air attack is disclosed, the fighter aircraft intercept the
enemy's aircraft in distant approaches out of the range of friendly SAM units,
while a part of fighter aircraft operate in the 3000-7000 meter altitudes while
other altitudes and areas are covered by SAM units.
Twenty to thirty percent of fighter aircraft accompany bomber and
fighter-bomber aircraft which attack the enemy's airfields and destroy enemy
aircraft on the ground and in the air.
Therefore during the friendly forces' massive strike and repelling the enemy's
massive air attacks intensive air combats ensue. The fighter aircraft in
coordination and cooperation with the air defense means destroy the enemy's
aircraft in the air while the bomber and bomber-fighter aircraft destroy the
enemy's aircraft on the airfields and destroy and mine their runways.
In the interval between massive air strikes and during the air operation the
Front air army conducts continuous air reconnaissance to disclose the
situation of the enemy's air force and continues to destroy the enemy's
aircraft. After the air operation, the air army conducts continuous operations
to retain and support air superiority.
During an air operation the air army destroys the following targets:
- The enemy's aircraft on the ground
- The enemy's aircraft in the air
- The enemy's nuclear delivery means
- The enemy's command posts
- The enemy's air defense means
Searching For and Destroying the Enemy's Nuclear Rockets
Searching for and destroying the enemy's nuclear rockets during the operation
is a process aimed at the destruction of the enemy's rocket units, bases of its
nuclear armed aircraft and its nuclear arsenals (depots).
This task is executed by using the maximum capabilities of units right from the
beginning of the combat operation, regardless of whether the operation is
initiated with or without the use of nuclear weapons.
In accomplishing this task the air army directly cooperates with the
Front rocket troops and artillery, air assault units, naval forces and
reconnaissance and subversion groups. The air army also coordinates its
operation with the strikes launched by strategic rocket forces and long range
aircraft. The Pershing and Lance missile launchers as well as the enemy's
tactical aircraft are the principle nuclear delivery means and they are the
prime targets of the air army's aircraft.
Therefore the Front air army units destroy the enemy's aircraft,
primarily the aircraft with nuclear capability, on the airfields and in the air
and at the same time conduct continuous search and destroy operations to
destroy the enemy's rocket units while they are on move, in waiting, or in
firing positions. They also destroy the enemy's nuclear bases and depots and
the command posts of nuclear delivery means.
To conduct continuous search and destroy operations against the enemy's nuclear
delivery means the fighter bomber aviation divisions may be assigned combat
operation sectors (areas of responsibility). The bomber aircraft conduct the
search and destroy operation across the entire sector of the Front and
normally in the areas out of (beyond) the range of the fighter bomber aircraft.
According to the experience of field exercises concerning operation against the
enemy's nuclear delivery means and its aircraft on the airfields, 50-70% of
fighter bomber and bomber aircraft allocated sorties is exhausted (used) in the
first 2 to 3 days of operations.
The operation to destroy the enemy's aircraft and its nuclear delivery means
should be continued throughout the operation because these weapons always
constitute a potential danger of the use of nuclear weapons.
Air Support of Combined Arms and Tank Armies:
Air support of ground troops is one of the important missions of the air army.
This mission is conducted in accordance with plans of the combined arms and
tank armies based on the allocated air support resources (sorties).
An important task of air support is to destroy and neutralize those enemy
weapons and means which resist and prevent the advance of the armies' first
echelon troops, such as nuclear delivery means, other weapons, points of
resistance, and approaching or deploying reserves, particularly tank troops.
The targets suppressed by the air army as part of the air support of the ground
troops are mostly small and moving targets, most of them are beyond the range
of ground troops supporting weapons. The main effort of the air army is
concentrated in areas 30-40KM from the front line. Sometimes this line can be
up to 70KM from the front line. The allocated air sorties (resources) should be
used economically and should be used against targets out of the range of other
The main effort of the air support is concentrated on the main axis of the
The air force units closely cooperate with the infantry, artillery and rocket
troops until the enemy's defenses are broken through, then the air force units
of the Front shift their actions into the depth of the enemy area. The
fighter bomber aircraft along with the artillery units clear and pave the way
for the advance of attacking troops. Definition of targets and mutual
identification are of significant importance in cooperation between air and
In conducting the air support of ground troops, the aviation formations and
units can conduct combat operations with a high sustainability, amounting to
3-4 sorties per day.
In the course of the air support operation, the character of maneuver of the
air force units is exploited to destroy the targets most likely to affect the
operation of attacking troops in a short time.
Air support is composed of the following three elements:
- air preparation of the attack
- air support of the assault
- air accompanying of attacking troops
Destruction and Neutralization of the Enemy's Reserves:
The air army launches air strikes to prevent the movement of the enemy's
reserves and their arrival at defensive positions. The bomber aircraft are used
against deeper enemy reserves while the immediate or close by reserves are
dealt with by fighter bombers and fighter aircraft. In order to prevent the
movement of large enemy reserves, an air operation may be conducted in which
the long range aircraft also participate. The aim of such an air operation is
to prevent the arrival of large strategic reserves to the theater or to prevent
the movement of strategic reserves from overseas regions to the theater of
military operation. In case of a nuclear war, the naval forces, naval aviation
and nuclear strategic rockets are also used for this purpose.
Air reconnaissance is conducted to locate the important enemy targets. The air
reconnaissance consists of two types: tactical and operational. The tactical
and operational reconnaissance missions are conducted by special operational or
tactical air reconnaissance regiments.
The operational air reconnaissance is conducted by bomber type aircraft in a
depth of up to 800-l000KM.
The tactical air reconnaissance is conducted by fighter type aircraft in a
depth of up to 400-500 KM.
In addition to specialized tactical and operational reconnaissance aviation
regiments, in each bomber and fighter bomber regiment an aviation squadron
(l0-l2 aircraft) is established and used as a reconnaissance squadron.
There are 2-3 tactical reconnaissance squadrons in the Front which are composed
of pilotless aircraft (drones) and they are employed for tactical
When the air army is composed of 5 aviation divisions and 3 reconnaissance
regiments, 287 aircraft and 377 pilots can be employed to conduct
reconnaissance missions. This will include 63 aircraft and 8l pilots for
operational reconnaissance. And if l5% of over strength aircraft flight
resources is allocated to reconnaissance, then 500-700 reconnaissance sorties
can be conducted on the first day of the operations.
Support of Airborne and Naval Assaults
When the employment of air assault or naval assault landings are planned in the
operation, the Front air army will also be charged with the mission of
covering the air and naval assault landing troops in their embarkation areas,
during their flight, and also in their landing areas in order to protect them
against the enemy's air attacks. The air army in close cooperation with rocket
troops, destroys the enemy's air defense along the corridors of the transport
aircraft flight path and provides the security for transport aircraft carrying
the air assault troops to the best of its capabilities.
Moreover, within the range of its operation, Frontal aviation supports the
combat action of air and naval assault troops in their area of combat
operations and covers the operation of transport aircraft involved in supplying
the air and naval assault elements operating on the ground.
II. DUTIES OF AIR ARMY OFFICERS
Duties of the Air Army Commander
The Air Army Commander is the principle regulator of the combat action of the
air army troops, and controls them personally or through the staff. He is
responsible for the following tasks:
--Conducting training and insuring high combat readiness of the troops, special
troops, and services, and command and control of the air army for
accomplishment of likely future missions.
--Insuring the full strength of the air army in terms of flight crews,
professional and technical personnel and organic cadres of the large units,
units, and service installations.
--Insuring full strength of the air army in terms of aircraft, helicopters,
weapons, ammunition, technical equipment, material supplies, and timely repair
of aircraft, helicopters, and technical equipment.
--Raising the experience, skills, and combat capability of troops.
--Personally or jointly with Chief of Staff and Chief of the Political
Department, clarifying the combat mission and issuing instructions to the Chief
of Staff on preparing the troops, special troops, services, staff, and
installations for combat, and giving the time of preparations for attack or
--Instructing the Chief of Staff and the Chief of Reconnaissance on preparing
reconnaissance information required for making the decision and conduct of
combat actions. The air army commander personally estimates the situation or he
may assemble the Chief of Staff directorates and related commanders in an
appropriate place in order to listen to their elaborate suggestions about the
employment of troops or he may listen to suggestions of the Chief of Staff of
air army about the conclusions of the estimate of the situation and decision,
and accordingly he makes his decision.
The Commander personally, or through the Chiefs of Staff directorates or
through written orders and maps, or through communications means, issues combat
missions to subordinates. In addition he:
--Coordinates the actions of air army troops with the actions of combined arms
and tank armies of the Front, and rocket and artillery troops,
Front and national defense troops, long range air forces, transport
aviation, and naval forces (in naval directions) in different phases of the
--Issues necessary instructions for all-round support measures of the air army.
--Supervises the deployment of the air army on permanent airfields and
deployment airfields at appropriate times, issues instructions on technical and
rear service support of air troops, and controls their execution. --Prepares
the rear service orders through the rear service staff and issues the orders to
aviation units and large units.
--Takes actions on organization of repair and evacuation through related
headquarters and organizations.
--Personally, or through his staff and command and control organizations,
controls preparation for the operation and accomplishment of assigned combat
missions by troops, special troops, and services and extends necessary
assistance to the troops.
--Continuously evaluates the situation, predicts likely changes in the
situation, and makes timely situation oriented decisions, and issues combat
missions to subordinates.
He also presents his suggestions to the Front Commander on the
employment of the air army. The air army commander must always be prepared to
report to the Front Commander and Commander-in-Chief of air forces about
the situation, status, and character of the operation of own troops and about
--He briefs the Chief of Staff on his concept and intention and he informs
Chief of Staff on instructions issued to the troops.
--He issues instructions to Chief of Staff on organization of the air army
command posts, within the air army and the command elements of the air army
established at the headquarters of coordinating operational formations and
The air army commander is responsible for the high moral and political status
of officers, subordinates, staff, and troops.
Duties of Chief of Staff of Air Army.
The Chief of Staff is the First Deputy Commander and Director of the Staff.
Only the Chief of Staff has authority to issue instructions and orders in the
name of the Air Army Commander to operational units and combined units, special
troops and services, and other related personnel directly under the Commander
of the Air Army.
The Chief of Staff reports to the commander about all instructions he issues.
The Chief of Staff is responsible for the following:
--Appropriate conduct of all missions and organized operations of the air army
--Briefing deputy commander, chiefs of combat arms, and special troops and
services on received combat mission and issuing instructions on preparation of
preliminary instructions, calendar plan, preparation of calculations for the
commander's decision, and the time of their preparation.
The Chief of Staff is responsible to know constantly the combat situation and
to predict likely changes in the situation, and to be prepared to report to the
commander of the air army and higher headquarters the following matters.
--The situation, status, and characteristics of the operation of friendly air
force and enemy forces.
--Deductions from the estimate of the situation and suggestions about the
decision to be made by the air army commander.
--Measures of organization of command and control, coordination and combat
support measures of air army.
--The issuing of instructions on missions, arms, and elements of reconnaissance
to the Chief of Air Army reconnaissance.
--Coordination of work amongst staff organizations all chiefs of combat arms,
special troops and services, and other command and control organizations.
--Direct supervision and guidance of the planning of the air operation, initial
nuclear strike, and other combat actions conducted by the air army. Chief of
Staff personally prepares and unites certain important documents such as combat
directions and personally participates in preparation and organization of
certain tasks and working out of same important documents, and supervises the
conduct of such tasks. Based on instructions of the Air Army Commander,
organization of command posts with the air army and control elements of the air
army established in the command post of coordinating operational formations and
large units including preparation of Staff Officers and establishment of
continuous communications with them.
--Signing or approving of all directives, orders, instructions, plans, and
important combat documents which are prepared and issued at the army staff.
--Organization in peacetime of training and high combat readiness of large
units, units and staffs in accordance with plans and instructions of Air Army
Duties of the Chief of Operations of the Air Army.
Chief of Operations is one of the important chiefs of staff directorates, and
he is obliged to conduct the tasks pertaining to training, upgrading combat
readiness of air army troops, and preparation of plans and important combat
The Chief of Operations carries out the following tasks:
--Prepares initial instructions, calendar plan.
--Sometimes the Chief of Operations personally writes the directives and
operation order, and prepares other important combat documents.
--Prepares calculations and data as well as necessary suggestions for the
decision of the commander.
--Plans air operations, initial nuclear strike of Front (graphic of initial
nuclear strike of air army), and other combat documents with annexes, tables,
graphs, plans of preparation and occupation of deployment air fields in the
departure area and during the operation, plan of maskirovka, plan of protection
of air forces troops from mass destruction weapons, and plan of employment of
air force assault operations (in conjunction with other related organizations
involved with planning of airborne operation).
--Conveys combat missions to air army large units and units.
--Organizes interaction and prepares instructions for tables of coordination
with coordinating forces.
--Organizes deployment of command posts and their relocation during the
operation insuring continuous, reliable, stable communication, designates
command and control signals and insures security of the air army command posts.
-- Prepares air army troops to accomplish combat missions and controls the
accomplishment of assigned missions by subordinates and extends necessary
assistance to them.
--Prepares combat documents on command and control of troops.
--Collects, evaluates, and analyzes information about the situation during the
preparation for and during the operation and presents suggestions about the
decision to the commander.
-- Insures the timely submission of information about the situation and regular
situation reports to higher headquarters, and information to subordinates
headquarters, headquarters of coordinating troops and adjacents about the
changes in the situations.
The Duties of the Chief of Reconnaissance of the Air Army
The Chief of Reconnaissance is responsible for training, combat readiness, and
reconnaissance operation of air reconnaissance units and their command and
control in peacetime and war.
The Chief of Reconnaissance carries out the following tasks:
--Prepares calculations and necessary data for the Air Army Commander's
--Collects, studies, analyzes, and makes deductions about reconnaissance
information on the enemy and terrain.
--Presents important information to the Chief of Staff, Air Army commander,
higher and subordinate headquarters and adjacents.
--Designates targets and tasks and allocates reconnaissance troops and means
for each reconnaissance target and task.
--Prepares reconnaissance plan, annexes and related documents and presents them
for the signature of the Chief of Staff and approval of Air Army Commander.
--Assigns combat missions to subordinate reconnaissance units.
--Coordinates the reconnaissance action and interaction, and all types of
reconnaissance in terms of mission, objectives, and time.
--Prepares and employs air reconnaissance units and subunits, and provides for
their all-around support.
--Controls execution of assigned instructions and orders, and practically
assists with the organizing of reconnaissance units and subunits, and other
aviation units and subunits that are conditionally and temporarily employed to
carry out reconnaissance missions.
--Organizes continuous communication with reconnaissance units, subunits, and
organizations, and exchanges reconnaissance information with headquarters of
adjacents, higher echelons, subordinates, and coordinating forces.
--Receives reconnaissance information from aircraft crews, analyzes it, makes
deductions, and disseminates it to related headquarters and persons.
III. PREPARATION OF FRONT OFFENSIVE
Air Components in the Preparation of Front Offensive Operations
The air army commander conducts both his planning and the subsequent air army
combat actions themselves on the basis of instructions issued by the commander
in chief of the air forces and the decision for the offensive operation made by
the Front commander.
Sequence of Actions During the Organization and Planning
The following is the sequence of actions taken by the Front commander
and staff and the air army commander and his staff during the preparation of a
Front offensive operation.
Front Air Army
1. Receive missions from TVD Receive instructions from C-in C of air forces
2. Commander clarify mission Air commander clarify instructions
3. Commander brief air commander on outcome of clarification and issue initial
4. Commander and staff estimate Air staff does 2 things: situation
1. estimate situation of Air commander participates higher headquarters with
2. prepare suggestions to Front on basis of mission and initial instructions
5. Commander makes decision and issues missions
6. Air army commander develops clarification of air mission plus Front
decision to make estimate of situation and then air decision
7. Staff conducts planning Staff participates and contributes
Instructions of the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Forces
The instructions given by the Commander-in-Chief of the air forces normally
include the following points:
- instructions on deployment of the air army forces and means from currently
occupied airfields to new airfields
- instructions on preparing a network of main and alternate airfields and also
- instructions on establishing material reserves in the air army mobile bases
and on the airbases and airfields used by the air army
- instructions on air technical support
- if a strategic air operation is to be conducted in the context of the TVD
strategic operation, instructions on the role and missions of the air army in
this operation- if an airborne assault operation is planned in the TVD,
instructions are included on the missions, role, and participation of the air
- instructions on air combat support measures (during flight) for long range
aircraft and military transport aviation which operate in the area of
operations of the air army and designation of flight corridors for such
- coordination of Front air army operations and long range aircraft
operations during the initial strategic nuclear strike and during the strategic
- coordination of Front air army with military transport aviation and
long range aircraft during the airborne operation
- instructions on supply of nuclear rockets and bombs during the preparation
and conduct of the offensive operation
- other instructions as needed
Suggestions of the Air Army Commander to the Front Commander
When the Front commander receives the mission for the offensive
operation he clarifies it and if time is available during his estimate of the
situation he will listen to the reports of the chiefs of the different
departments and commanders of combat arms and special troops. In this case they
report to the Front commander on the instructions they have received from
higher headquarters, the situation and status of their respective forces, and
present their suggestions on the combat employment of their related arms and
services. In this case the commander of the air army would inform the
Front commander about the instructions received by him from the
commander in chief of the air forces and the coordinating instructions from
higher headquarters and adjacents and other factors based on the operations of
adjacent air forces, long range, transport, and naval aviation which might
affect either positively or negatively the Front's mission. He also
reports about the latest information about the enemy air forces as received by
his means and that of higher air forces. (He also provides this information to
the chief of reconnaissance).
Then he reports the following points during the estimate of the situation:
- situation and status of air army troops, including where they are, what they
are doing, how many airfields and kinds of airfields, etc.
- strength of air army troops in terms of aircraft, helicopters, flight crews,
supplies, technical materials and support
- situation and status of existing airfields and airbases
- deployment of air army forces to new main airfields and the establishment of
alternate airfields as well as the preparation of deceptive airfields
- capabilities of the air army in the initial nuclear strike of the Front to
include the number of nuclear bombs and rockets which can be delivered by the
air army and how many enemy troops and targets can be destroyed
- capability of the air army during the air operation
- capability of the air army in support of an airborne landing of tactical
airborne assault units
- capability of the air army during the preparatory fire, supporting fire and
the course of the Front's ground force armies' offensive
- capability of the air army in reconnaissance, particularly in the
reconnaissance of targets immediately after the initial nuclear strike
- capability of the air army to distribute and allocate sorties in terms of the
Front missions, the army missions and throughout the operation
- capability of the air army to cover the main grouping of Frontal forces and
rear services installations against enemy aircraft
The air army commander then makes his suggestions on the employment of air army
troops in the following situations:
- during the initial nuclear strike
- during the air operation (if such is planned at the Front level)
- during the landing or dropping of tactical air assault troops
- for covering the main Front grouping and rear service installations
from enemy air attack
- the use of air forces to seek and destroy enemy nuclear delivery means
- the distribution of air sorties for support of the first echelon armies
during the operation
- the destruction and suppression of enemy reserves
- air reconnaissance
The Front Commander's Assignment to the Air Army
The Front commander assigns the following tasks to the air army after he
makes his decision:
- missions and targets for the air army during the initial nuclear strike. (The
air army is normally given small and mobile targets and those located in the
deeper areas to be covered in the operation).
- missions and targets for the air army during the air operation, (if such is
planned at Front level.)
- missions for the air army during the artillery preparatory fire (in the
penetration area, enemy nuclear weapons, command posts, artillery, tanks, rear
services); during the assault support fire phase (targets on the direction of
the main attack such as nuclear targets, command posts, artillery, tanks,
aircraft, reserves and other small mobile targets out of range of artillery)
and during the course of the offensive operation
- reconnaissance missions
- distribution of aircraft sorties in terms of Front missions and the
missions of first echelon armies
- missions of covering the main Front grouping and rear service
installations against enemy air strikes
- missions for destruction and suppression of enemy reserves
Organization and Preparation of Combat Action of the Air Army
Organization and preparation of the combat action of an army in an offensive
operation include a series of many tasks and various measures conducted by the
commander and staff of the air army. The most important tasks and measures are
-- making the decision.
-- planning the combat action.
-- establishment of the grouping and deployment of aviation forces and means.
-- preparation of main and reserve airfields network and establishment of
material reserves there.
-- organization of coordination (interaction).
-- organization of various supporting measures.
-- organization of Command and Control.
The commander of the air army makes his decision on the employment of the air
army after he completes his clarification of the mission, studies the Front
Commander's decision for the offensive operation and the air army mission in
support of the Front operations, studies the instructions from the staff
of the main command of air force, and makes a thorough assessment of the
situation (estimate of the situation).
During his clarification of the mission the air army commander clarifies the
volume and number of tasks to be accomplished by the air army during the
operation and determines the most important tasks for the accomplishment of
which the main effort of the air army is to be concentrated. The commander of
the air army, through his chief of staff, briefs the chiefs of the air army
staff directorates on the assigned combat mission and issues preliminary orders
on preparation of the air force troops, command posts, rear services and
airfield service support for the upcoming offensive operation. He also
instructs the chiefs of the staff directorates to prepare the required
calculations needed by the air army commander for making the decision. The
commander then begins the assessment (estimate) of the situation.
Estimate of the Situation by Air Army Commander
The air army commander, with the assistance of the staff, personally makes the
decision. In the meantime, the commander evaluates the following points during
the assessment of the situation:
During the assessment of the enemy:
-- situation, status, character of action and intention of enemy ground forces.
-- situation, status, location and capabilities of enemy air defense forces,
strong and weak points in the enemy's air defense and accordingly his
determination for (designation of) the corridors for the action of the air army
when it launches the initial nuclear strike or conducts the initial air
-- grouping of enemy's air forces:
1. On which airfields the enemy's nuclear capable aircraft are based, the
number and type of such aircraft.
2. Likely strike directions of the enemy's air force, which targets in the
Front area are likely to be hit by enemy air strikes.
3. Likely distribution of the enemy's striking air force grouping in terms of
altitudes, directions, and targets.
4. Location of the command posts of enemy aircraft, primarily the command posts
of nuclear capable aircraft, the command posts of enemy air defense forces, air
force, ground forces, and the most important civil administration centers.
-- location of the enemy's nuclear rocket troops and his nuclear depots.
-- location of the enemy reserves, vital rear services installations and other
important enemy targets.
During the assessment of friendly forces:
-- situation, status, and location of friendly air force troops, availability
and number of aircraft and pilots and their capabilities in conducting maximum
number of flights per day.
-- situation and status of available airfields where the aircraft are based.
-- situation and status of deployment airfields and the situation of their
material and technical support.
-- the level of established strength (strength in accordance with the
authorized establishment) and preparedness of the air force for the
accomplishment of likely future missions.
-- in the conclusion of the assessment of friendly forces, the commander
determines when the air force troops should move to the deployment airfields.
-- during the assessment of air defense troops, rocket and artillery troops and
radio electronic warfare troops, the commander evaluates their situation,
status and capabilities and determines to what extent they can help the air
army in its accomplishment of the mission, particularly in suppressing the
enemy's air defense.
-- during the assessment of terrain, weather, season and other meteorological
factors, the commander evaluates the positive and negative effects of these
factors on the air force troops, air crews, and technical services in support
of air fields. Accordingly, he takes necessary measures and issues immediate
In the conclusion of a thorough and all-around assessment and deep evaluation
of the situation, the air army commander makes his decision, to include the
1. The deductions from the assessment of the enemy
-- the main nuclear groupings
-- the groupings of enemy air, ground, and air defense forces.
2. The concept of combat action.
-- the aim of action, its objective, the main tasks on which to concentrate the
main effort of the air forces, the number of flights, the number of nuclear and
chemical bombs, the grouping of the air army,.
-- the method for conducting the initial nuclear strike (targets, calculations,
and distribution of troops to destroy them, operational formation, and method
of penetrating the enemy air defense).
-- the method of accomplishing missions in the air operation (the initial
massive strike and air battle are described in detail)
-- the method of accomplishing missions in covering friendly forces and rear
service installations against enemy air strikes, in cooperation with air
-- support of first echelon combined arms and tank armies.
-- conduct of air reconnaissance.
-- other important tasks.
3. Missions of large aviation units (divisions, etc.) and units (regiments).
-- each division and regiment is assigned missions for one day and an operating
direction for the following day.
4. Instructions on the air army air bases.
5. Instructions on coordination.
6. Instructions on combat support measures.
7. Instructions on command and control, deputies, and signal communications.
After making the decision, the air army commander issues instructions on
planning. The most detailed planning is done for the first day of the operation
and especially for the initial nuclear strike or initial massive air strike.
Calculations Performed by and in Support of the Air Army Commander in
Making Decision and Preparing Plan of Operations
There are many kinds of calculations required for making a scientifically
substantiated decision and for developing a complete plan of air operations.
Some are relatively simple comparisons of sets of data and others require
application of complex formulae. The following are some of the more important
Calculations about the enemy
The enemy aerial assets are determined by totals and for each category of
aircraft, that is tactical, tactical/strategic, and strategic. The time they
can interfere with friendly activities is calculated based on time and distance
factors. In the Western TVD the first group of enemy aircraft is formed by the
two OTAC's (2nd and 4th). The second group is the strategic bombers which are
based deeper in the theater; and the third group is the aircraft coming from
the US as reinforcements. The air staff has to calculate the timing to
determine when, where, how, and how many aircraft can attack the Front.
The general estimate is that NATO will have about 400 aircraft available to
attack each Warsaw Pact Front. From this they then calculate the attrition
these enemy aircraft will inflict on friendly forces in each of the enemy
massive strikes. They also calculate the attrition on the enemy from friendly
air defense, from friendly massive air operations and from friendly nuclear
Enemy command and control
The locations of enemy command and control centers and guidance posts are
determined and the friendly forces and means required to destroy and/or jam
them are calculated.
Enemy air defense system
The capabilities of the enemy air defense system are calculated and used in the
selection of the friendly penetration corridors. Among the factors considered
in this determination are the mission, enemy strength and characteristics,
geography, terrain, and meterological conditions. The width of the penetration
corridor is calculated based on the numbers of bombs and other weapons required
to destroy sufficient air defense systems, the numbers of such munitions and
delivery aircraft available and the requirements for corridors developed in the
plan for the massive strike. The role of electronic warfare also plays a part
in that the capabilities and characteristics of the jamming plan are related to
the creation of the air corridor. The times for creation of the corridor and
for keeping it open are carefully calculated so that enemy forces are
destroyed, suppressed or jammed at the optimum time for the passage of the
strike aircraft (in a manner comparable to the use of artillery suppressive
fire during the attack by tanks and infantry).
Resources of the air army and the distribution of air army assets in relation
to the Front missions, such as the initial nuclear strike, immediate
missions, subsequent mission, etc., and distribution between first and second
The distribution requires a calculation of the correlation of troops and means,
not only in aircraft but also in bombs, rockets, and nuclear weapons across the
entire front line, for the width of the main attack and for other attack
sectors. The correlation is calculated for the beginning of the operation,
after the initial nuclear strike, at the end of the first day, at the end of
the immediate missions of the armies, at the end of the immediate mission of
the Front, and at the end of the entire operation. The calculation
generally uses a coefficient of availability of aircraft of .9 per day, and in
addition factors for various levels of intensity are applied to the amount of
attrition according to norms for nuclear and conventional war. The attrition
calculation also depends on the assessment of the enemy capability to launch
massive air strikes. The basic assumption is that the enemy can launch three
massive air strikes in the first one to two days with 60% of his forces active
in the first air strike. Each strike in turn is divided into three echelons.
The procedure for distributing the Front's air sorties to the armies and
in turn to the divisions is a "top-down" method starting from the
total number of air sorties allocated to the Front by the commander in chief of
the air forces (rather than a bottom up method starting with the number of
sorties that might be required by the Front based on some assessment of
the number of targets). The typical Front having two fighter-bomber
divisions and one bomber division of three regiments each might have a total of
135 regimental sorties of fighter-bombers and 60 regimental sorties of bombers
available for the 15 days of the operation. Of these the commander can't
allocate more than perhaps two thirds or 90 of the fighter-bomber sorties to
the armies for the main attack in the immediate mission of 7 to 9 days (or 15
to 20 per army). The commander would plan to keep in his reserve an average of
9 to 18 regimental sorties throughout the operation for use in daily
contingencies. The commander does not let air sit idle and aims for the maximum
use of air resources each day. Air sorties cannot be "saved" on one
day for use on the next.
On the other hand, the assignment of numbers of attacking aircraft to
individual targets is based on a detailed comparison of the nature and
characteristics of the target to the capabilities and characteristics of the
aircraft and the various weapons systems it carries. There are tables showing
the norms for each type of aircraft and configuration of weapons in various
situations. In addition such intangibles as level of training and relation to
air defense are considered. There are also norms for the various target types,
situations, terrain and levels of required destruction. Units deployed for
combat require more attacking aircraft than units on the march. For instance, a
sortie by a squadron of 9 to 12 fully loaded SU 7B aircraft can damage 10 to
15% of a mechanized battalion on the march and inflict a delay of 30 to 60
minutes. To destroy the battalion would require four to five times the number
Calculation on the establishment of air cover
In this calculation the locations for the lines for interception of enemy
aircraft are calculated based on ranges and flight times from interceptor
airfields. The times for interception and the numbers of aircraft available
when and where are calculated. The numbers of aircraft to be placed on air
patrol and in first and second readiness status are determined. The locations
and times for establishing combat air patrol are based on calculations of the
directions and times of enemy attacks and the numbers and nature of the targets
to be defended. Two of the most important targets are the surface to surface
missile brigades and the rear services installations. All this is coordinated
with the actions of the air defense rockets.
Air cover of the Front is a part of a larger system established in the
theater. The Front calculations are based on the directive of the
commander in chief of the air forces and the instructions of the commander in
chief of national PVO and the general staff (especially when naval air is also
involved). On the other hand many of the details are not worked out by the air
army staff but at a lower level, namely in the command post of fighter
aircraft, which is a part of the air defense command system.
One of the most important and complex requirements involving calculations is
maintaining air cover over the Front as it moves, whether in an
offensive or on the march. The air army fighters will require a number of
intermediate airfields from which to fly. They will be re-based in a
sequential, alternating manner. While some are re-basing they may be
supplemented by aircraft from national PVO or the Warsaw Pact countries. When,
where and how many aircraft are needed must be calculated.
Initial nuclear strike
The number and type of nuclear bombs and rockets to be used in the initial
nuclear strike and the number and types of aircraft to deliver them are
calculated based on the characteristics of the various weapons and platforms
and the numbers available. There are always more targets than there are
available weapons, so the calculation becomes a process of matching targets
with weapons. For instance, if there are more short-range aircraft available
(say, with ranges to 60 km) then more of the rockets will be assigned to deeper
targets; but if there are more long range bombers available then they will take
more deeper targets and the rockets can fire on closer targets.
Aerial reconnaissance capabilities and requirements
Aerial reconnaissance is planned in coordination with the Front
reconnaissance plan. The numbers and types of aircraft are determined. There
are norms based on their operating characteristics such as radius of operation,
loiter time, and the capabilities of sensors. The most important reconnaissance
mission is the post-nuclear strike assessment of target damage and location of
new targets. For this mission about 60% of the Front's total assets are
Command and Control
The numbers, locations and times for movement and establishment for command
posts are all calculated.
The general rule is that each aviation regiment requires two to three airfields
for deployment. Of the total of all airfields in use in the Front about 35% are
permanent, main fields; 35% are deployment fields; and 30% are maneuver or
alternate fields. Alternate airfields are defined as those which are required
for establishing temporary groups of aircraft, for dispersion purposes, etc. In
addition to airfields, wide areas along highways are used. (These are built in
peacetime as part of the preparation of the theater of military operations.)
Deceptive airfields are also required on the basis of the operational
maskirovka plan. In general these will amount to one third to one half the
number of permanent airfields built in peacetime. During the operation each
aviation division has four to six active and two to three alternate airfields.
The plan also establishes the airfields to be occupied during the move forward
and whether these will be seized or built. The plan also indicates the
limitation set by higher headquarters in that it will reserve some fields for
its own use.
Movement of aircraft from permanent to deployment fields.
This calculation is based on readiness times, movement times, distances, and
preparation times at the new fields. The results of the calculations are shown
in tables. One column lists the air divisions and regiments, the next column
shows their present,(peacetime) locations, the next column shows their new
airfield locations. The time to move from one field to the other, the earliest
time to reach the new field, and the new readiness time are all shown in
The availability and time for delivery of aerial bombs and munitions
The information is shown in a table depicting the quantity of each munition on
hand at the beginning of the operation, how much is delivered each day during
the operation, how much is to be used at each stage, and the supply at the end
of the operation. the expenditure is calculated in terms of unit of fire
"boevoy komplect". A unit of fire for aerial munitions is the
quantity of the munition carried in one aircraft load. The expenditure rates
are established in the instructions given by the commander in chief of the air
Developing the Plan of the Combat Action of the Air Army in the
Front Offensive Operation
During the organization of the combat action of the air army, the air army
commander, after clarifying the mission and the decision of the Front
commander, and instructions from higher headquarters; making a thorough
assessment of the situation; and making his decision on the combat employment
of the air army, instructs the staff to plan the action of the air army.
On the basis of the air army commander's decision, the air army staff, led by
the chief of staff, plans the air army operation on the map and prepares other
required documents with instructions, documents, tables, diagrams, and required
text. The plan is worked out in more detail and more elaboration for the first
day of the operation, particularly for the initial nuclear strike and the
initial massive strike on the enemy.
In the graphic part of the plan the following elements are shown on the map.
-- the situation and the character of operations of the enemy ground forces and
main air grouping.
-- the enemy's air force grouping (airfields, number and type of aircraft,
possible flight directions for enemy operations, likely actions of enemy
against Front forces and installations
-- distribution of enemy air forces against the targets, main targets of enemy
strikes and their likely classification in terms of different altitudes, most
likely direction of flight of air mobile forces).
-- the location of nuclear rocket forces, nuclear depots, command posts and
also enemy air defense troops.
-- operational disposition of Front forces and their missions, boundary
lines with adjacents and between armies.
-- command posts of Front armies and divisions in their departure areas
and during the operation.
-- grouping of air defense forces of Front, armies and adjacent armies.
-- grouping of Front air army troops in the departure area, that is, the
deployment of fighter, fighter bomber, bomber, reconnaissance and transport
aviation and helicopters on airfields at the beginning, and during the
-- areas of fighter aircraft on combat air patrol, lines of intercepting enemy
aircraft from these areas. Lines of intercepting enemy aircraft from positions
where standby combat aircraft are on alert on their airfields.
-- the air army command post and the combat command and control system of the
air army at the beginning and during the operation.
-- areas of friendly forces' radars and air defense rocket and artillery
-- areas for dropping airborne troops, direction of flight of airborne forces;
and method of support during embarkation, during flight, during the drop, and
during the landing operation.
In addition to these, the following documents are also prepared:
-- graphic of the initial nuclear strike pertaining to the employment of the
air army to include targets, and elements to destroy them, and the operational
formation for passage through the air defence, etc.
-- method of conduct of air operations - that is graphic of the initial massive
strike and air battles, to include targets - number of aircraft for each
target. Operational formation, penetration through the air defense.
-- covering of troops against enemy air strikes in cooperation with air defense
-- support of combined arms and tank armies during the operation.
-- conduct of air reconnaissance.
The written instructions of the plan include the following details:
-- assessment of enemy air and air defense forces.
-- distribution of flights in support of combined arms and tank armies, and
support of airborne, etc.
-- allocation of a number of nuclear and chemical bombs and their distribution
between the initial nuclear strike, the immediate and subsequent missions of
the Front and armies and reserves.
-- combat composition of the air army.
-- concept and tasks in the initial nuclear strike and air operation.
-- other details.
The working documents reflect the following items:
-- calculation of the time required for bringing the air force troops to the
state of full combat readiness and combat alert.
-- measures of protection of troops and means from the impact of nuclear
-- diagrams of warning - tables of coordination, tables of signal
-- in addition to this, other tables, diagrams, and graphics required for the
operation are prepared.
The plan is signed by the air army commander and chief of staff and
Front chief of staff and approved by the Front commander.
Coordination of Offensive Action
Coordination is organized on the basis of the instructions of the Front
Commander in order to coordinate in the most appropriate manner the efforts of
the air army with the combined arms and tank armies in terms of missions,
times, and space in the offensive operation, and to organize the most effective
interaction between them. The coordination regulates and harmonizes the actions
of different elements during launching air strikes and provides for the mutual
identification. Coordination (interaction) is organized by the commander and
staff of the air army, combined arms, and tank armies throughout the entire
depth of the operation and during the accomplishment of important missions,
-- breakthrough of enemy defenses,
-- initial nuclear strike
-- commitment of second echelon forces
-- repelling the enemy counter blow
-- river crossing operation on wide rivers.
-- launching of the airborne and seaborne assault forces and other.
In addition to this, the coordination of the air army is established with units
and large units of rocket and artillery forces, air defense, radio electronic
jamming units, and others.
The important issues of coordination of the air army are specified in the
decision of the air army commander and these issues are also reflected in the
plans of combat actions of the air army.
The Main Issues of Coordination
During the establishment of coordination or interaction between the air army
and combined arms and tank armies the following issues are harmonized
- distribution of nuclear rounds allocated to the air army to the different
- distribution of specified air sorties of the air army among combined arms and
- air reconnaissance tasks and methods for sending reconnaissance information
to the headquarters of combined arms and tank armies
- the method of calling for aircraft support by ground forces
- tasks on dropping or landing airborne troops and support of their combat
- method for seizure of enemy airfields by infantry and tank troops and support
of the movement of airfield engineer units to those airfields and provision of
assistance to them in restoring the seized airfields for own use and provision
of support for their defense
- support of the movement of air armies' rear service units in the wake of
- cooperation and interaction during the accomplishment of important tasks such
as penetration of enemy defenses, repelling counterblows, commitment of second
echelon troops, and other important missions
- mutual identification, target definition, and signals
The establishment of coordination between air army and rocket and artillery
troops includes the following point:
- targets and the time for launching attacks against them by nuclear delivery
- suppression and destruction of enemy air defense targets in support of the
flight of the air army aircraft
- conduct of air reconnaissance in support of rocket and artillery troops
- providing flight security for aircraft in the firing zone of rocket and
- mutual identification and definition of targets to one another
The main issues of coordination of air army with air defense troops include the
- method of warning on the air situation
- combat action areas of air defense rocket troops, air defense artillery units
and fighter aircraft of the air army
- area of combat air patrol of fighter aircraft and the lines of intercepting
- method of joint actions by fighter aircraft and air defense rocket and
artillery units in one area.
- joint deployment and method of relocation and movement of guidance and target
identification points in command posts of air defense rocket units
- providing flight security for friendly aircraft in firing zones of air
defense rocket and artillery units
- coordination signals, mutual identification, and target definition
The main issues of coordination of air army with radio- electronic jamming
- designation of enemy targets to be jammed by radio and electronic suppression
means of Front, combined arms and tank, and air armies
- coordination of the time of employment of radio electronic suppression means
of combined arms, tank and air armies
- coordination of measures on preventing own command and control means from
being jammed by one another (mutual interference)
Participation of the air army staff in the planning of Front
Planning of Front offensive operations is conducted after the
commander's decision has been made. It is a crucial phase of the preparation of
an operation. In planning the offensive operation the following plans are
- plan of offensive operation of Front with annexes and instructions
- initial nuclear strike
- airborne assault action
- air operation (if needed)
- employment of the air army in the Front offensive
- employment of rocket and artillery troops
- Front air defense
- combat support measures (such as reconnaissance, deception, engineer,
protection of troops against mass destruction weapons, rear services etc.)
- organization of command and control and signals
- political affairs
- other plans
The air army commander and staff play a vital role in working out most of these
tasks. Here are some of the details:
- Planning of the initial nuclear strike
The air army actively participates in planning of the initial nuclear strike.
During the initial nuclear strike the destruction of small and mobile targets
is normally allocated to the air army and details are worked out in this plan.
During planning of the initial nuclear strike the methods of destruction of
known (located) enemy nuclear delivery means, air force troops, air defense
means, command posts and other targets located in the Front's area are
specified. The initial nuclear strike is launched against targets located in
the Front area up to the boundary of the strategic nuclear strike, which
was 250 km from the front line. ( This distance is determined by the range of
the operational rockets available in the Front. Therefore if the
Front now has organic rockets with the capability of hitting deeper
targets then the depth of this boundary line will be greater.)
Planning for inflicting losses on the enemy targets is not limited to the
initial strike, but is conducted during the operation as well. During planning
of the initial nuclear strike the calculation of the use of nuclear weapons is
conducted for each target earmarked to be hit by the air army. In this case the
following points are specified:
- which unit and large unit will launch strikes against which targets
- the center for each explosion
- the number and yield of nuclear rounds and bombs for each target
- the altitude of airbursts
- the safety distance for friendly forces from the center of the nuclear
During the use of nuclear weapons and the conduct of the Front initial
nuclear strike the main missions for the air army are determined and the
nuclear rounds and bombs are allocated and distributed in terms of Front
missions and the missions of the operational formations. The plan for the
initial strike is worked out jointly by the Front operations directorate in
conjunction with the participation of the rocket and artillery staff and the
air army staff under the direct control of the Front chief of staff. The
plan is prepared graphically on a map of 1:500,000 or 1:200,000 scale with an
annex of written instructions and also with graphics of the initial nuclear
strike. The air army staff prepares the graphic of the initial nuclear strike
for the operation of the air army during this phase of planning. This shows the
targets, elements used against each target, and the operational formations to
be used during the penetration of the enemy air defense area. The air army
staff also prepares the documents showing the distribution and allocation of
nuclear and chemical bombs in terms of initial nuclear strike, immediate and
subsequent missions of Front and armies and the number of nuclear
weapons to be kept in reserve.
Planning the Air Operation
The air operation is normally conducted at the strategic level in the TVD, but
sometimes it can be conducted at the Front level. The aim of the air
operation includes the following objectives:
- destruction of enemy aircraft and flight personnel on the airfields
- destruction of enemy aircraft and flight personnel in aerial combat (battles
- destruction of enemy striking naval aircraft in areas of combat maneuver and
on their bases
- destruction of enemy aircraft command, control and guidance system
- destruction of nuclear bomb depots, POL depots, and ammunition and technical
- destruction and mining of runways, landing strips, and other installations on
Participating forces in air operations
When air operations are conducted at the strategic level in the Western TVD the
following forces may participate:
- 3-4 Front air armies
- 1-2 long range air corps
- several long range aviation divisions
- naval air forces
- Warsaw Pact national air forces
- air defense forces of the Fronts
- national operational formations and large units of air defense
Such operations are conducted on the basis of the supreme high command decision
and under the supervision of the general staff. Command and control,
coordination and planning of the operation are conducted by the commander in
chief of the air forces. The commanders of Front air armies participate
in planning of this strategic operation.
When the air operation is conducted at the level of a single Front the
following troops participate:
- air army troops
- Front and army artillery and rocket troops
- Front and army air defense troops
- radio-electronic warfare units
Such operations are conducted on the basis of the Front commander's
decision. They are planned by the operations directorate of the Front
with the participation of the chiefs and commanders of rocket and artillery
troops, air defense troops, radio electronic warfare service as well as the
staff of the air army. Command and control and coordination of the operation
are conducted by the air army. Planning is worked out on a map of 1:200,000 or
1:500,000 scale with annexes containing written instructions.
The air army staff plans the method of conduct of the air operation on the
basis of the Front plan and prepares the graphic for the initial massive
strike and the aerial combat to include the targets, number of aircraft for
each, operational formation and passage over enemy air defenses.
Planning for an airborne assault operation
Airborne assault operations are classified in terms of scale as strategic,
operational, operational-tactical, tactical and special operations. In terms of
forms they can be parachute assault, landing assault or combined.
The parachute airborne assault operations are launched by transport aircraft by
dropping forces by parachute to conduct combat actions in the enemy rear and
also to seize his airfields in order to provide for later landing of airborne
assault units. The landing form of airborne assault is conducted by aircraft,
helicopter and gliders on airfields and helicopter landing zones in the enemy
rear. The strategic operation and operational airborne assault operation are
mostly conducted by airborne large units and units, while tactical air assault
operations are mostly launched by motorized rifle units and subunits.
Strategic - operational airborne operation
Such operations are conducted by one or several airborne divisions supported by
motorized rifle troops landed by aircraft in the objective area. Such
operations are planned by the general staff with the participation of the
commander in chief of the air force, and the airborne forces command. This is
named a desant operation. The forces participating in such operations include
several transport aviation divisions, LRA, up to one MRD, national air defense
forces, naval forces, Front air armies and Front rocket and
artillery and air defense units.
The missions of such operations are the following:
- seizure of political and administrative centers
- destruction of state control systems
- destruction of bases and grouping of enemy nuclear forces, which are hit by
heavy nuclear strikes
- seizure of vital economic areas, large islands and archipelagos
- support of resistance forces operating inside enemy territory by opening an
- assisting attacking Frontal forces in accomplishing their missions
- preventing the movement of enemy reserves
- opening new fronts in new directions
The depth of the landing in a strategic - operational airborne operation is 500
- 600 km or more.
Operational airborne assault landing
Operational airborne assault operations can be conducted by an airborne
division and the depth of its landing in conventional war is 150- 300 km and in
nuclear war the depth may be 300 - 400 km. The planning and conduct of such
operations is done by the Front commander and staff with the
participation and coordination of military transport aviation staffs and other
services of the armed forces as well as the commanders and chiefs of
Front combat and combat support arms. The missions of operational level
airborne assault operations are as follows:
- destruction of enemy mass destruction weapons
- seizure and destruction of nuclear rocket bases and nuclear depots and
- support for a high speed of attack for Front ground forces
- cooperation in the envelopment and destruction of enemy groupings which are
hit by nuclear strikes
- prevention of enemy retreat and also prevention of the movement of enemy
- destruction of command and control systems
- destruction of enemy rear services
- seizure of crossing sites and assistance to Front forces in crossing
major water obstacles on the march
The airborne assault units are dropped in a limited area. The division landing
area can be 30 x 40 km. In order to drop an airborne division three to four
military transport aviation divisions are required. Each transport aviation
division has up to 130 aircraft. The airborne division can defend and conduct
combat missions for as duration of six to seven days.
Operational - tactical airborne assault
The operational - tactical airborne assault is conducted by one airborne
regiment or an airborne assault brigade. The depth of landing in conventional
war is 100 - 150 km and in nuclear war can be 250 - 300 km. Its missions are
- destruction of enemy nuclear weapons and nuclear and chemical weapons bases
- seizure of enemy airfields and airbases
- seizure of command and control organs
- destruction of enemy air defense means
- seizure of bridges and bridgeheads on major rivers
- seizure of mountain passes and critical terrain features
- seizure of other important targets
- seizure and maintenance of important lines and areas in the enemy rear (if
the airborne assault is launched by an airborne assault brigade)
- cover for open flanks of army groupings
- combat with enemy reserves, airmobile troops and enemy naval and airborne
The high maneuverability of airborne assault brigades require that they conduct
their combat action in the air and on the ground in cooperation with the
attacking forces and other elements of the Front and army and launch
their strikes by surprise. The employment of such brigades is normally
conducted in the wake of nuclear strikes. Planning of operational - tactical
airborne operations is conducted by Front and army staffs with the
participation of combat and combat support arms.
Tactical Airborne Assault
The tactical airborne assault is conducted by forces composed of a reenforced
company and up to a motorized rifle regiment. They are mostly launched on the
first day of the operation. The depth for a company or battalion is 15 - 20 km.
For a regiment the depth may be 50 - 100 km. Its missions are the following:
- destruction of enemy nuclear weapons and depots
- destruction and seizure of command posts
- destruction of small surviving enemy groups
- prevention of maneuvers by those enemy forces and means which have maintained
their combat capability
- assistance for first echelon forces in the seizure of road junctions and
river crossing sites.
- assisting in the passage through radioactive contaminated areas and
obstacles, primarily obstacles established by nuclear mines.
Planning of such operations is conducted by army or division staff, with
participation by the chiefs and commanders of combat and combat support arms,
particularly the air army staff.
The airborne assault units are given the following in the instructions of the
Front, army and division commanders:
- composition of airborne assault forces
- areas and times and means of dropping or landing
- combat missions during operations in the enemy rear
- method for launching nuclear and air strikes on targets and landing areas and
in support of subsequent combat actions
- method of interaction with air forces, air defense troops and forces
attacking from the front
- departure areas, time for their occupation, time of preparation for airborne
- command and control
The commander and staff of the air army, during their participation in the
organization phase of the airborne assault operation, conduct the necessary
planning and work out the air cover and air support for the airborne assault
forces. Their involvement in this process depends on the mission,
responsibility and volume of the air army's participation in the given airborne
operation. If the landing of airborne assault forces is conducted on a smaller
scale by the air army transport, the planning is conducted by the Front
army or division staff responsible for the landing area. In this case the
representatives of the air army staff work with those of the units and large
units that take part in the interaction during the operation. The necessary
documents such as the decision of the transport aircraft commander, table of
landing, calculation of flights for landing, etc. are prepared jointly. The
plan for the operation is prepared in written form with a map annex or it is
prepared on the map with annexes of written instructions.
IV. COMMAND AND CONTROL SYSTEM OF THE AIR ARMY
The command and control system of the air army is obliged to
accomplish the following missions.
- command and control of air army troops in the air and on the ground
- providing for coordination between Front air army troops and ground forces
including the issue of mutual identification
- command and control of movement, operation, flights, and providing flight
security of all flying means in the areas of responsibility of the air army
In the combat command and control system of the air army the following command
and control posts are established:
- air army command post (KPBA) is established 10 to 15 km from the Front
- forward command post of the air army (PKPVA) is established in the area of
the Front forward command post
- rear command post of the air army (TPUVA) is established 10 - 15 km from the
air army command post
- airborne command post of the air army (VKPVA) is established over the
helicopter base near the closest airfield
- combat command and control center of the air army's fighter aircraft
(TSBUIAVA) is established at the Front air defense command post (KPPVO)
and it is designated for the command and control of fighter aircraft during
covering of troops and rear services installations against the enemy air
strikes, particularly during the repelling of mass flights, and for the conduct
of coordination and interaction of fighter aircraft with air defense means
- combat command and control centers of the air army (TSBUVA) The combat
command and control centers of the air army are deployed at the command posts
of first-echelon combined arms and tank armies and depending of the number of
first-echelon armies they may number to 2 to 3. These centers are designated to
conduct coordination of aviation troops with army's troops, command and control
of Front aircraft and command and control of air force actions of all
aviation units and various aircraft in the operational areas of the combined
arms and tank armies.
- guidance and target designation points (PNTS) Two to three of these points
are established in each combat command and control center of the air armies
(TSVUVA). These points are designated to insure the arrival of aircraft on the
ground targets, guidance of fighter aircraft to air targets, providing
coordination with air defense rocket units, insuring mutual identification
between aircraft and ground forces, and providing flight security for the
- combat control group (GBU) combat control groups are established at the
command posts of first-echelon motorized rifle and tank divisions, and in the
combined arms armies they may number six to nine. These groups are designated
for coordination of aviation troops with motorized rifle and tank divisions,
and airborne assault troops, to provide mutual identification between aircraft
and ground forces and guidance of aircraft to ground targets
- target definition posts (PTS) Target identification posts are attached to
combat control groups (GBU) and are deployed to show targets to the aircraft.
These posts are established on helicopters, small aircraft, infantry combat
vehicles (BMP) or armored personnel carriers (APC).
- radio navigation point (RNP) Radio navigation points are assigned to guide
aircraft and to support the flight of aircraft in the area of combined arms and
tank armies and to designate for friendly aircraft the flight corridor from the
front line into the enemy area. There may be 2 to 3 of these.
- air observation posts (PVN) Air observation posts are established in
motorized rifle and tank divisions for the observation and visual
reconnaissance of the air situation and for observation of air targets at low
altitude which cannot be covered by radar.
- command posts (KP) Command posts are established for fighter, fighter-bomber,
and bomber aviation divisions.
- forward command posts (PKP) These are established for fighter,
fighter-bomber, and bomber aviation divisions
- aviation regiment command posts (KP) are established for the different
V. COMBAT READINESS
In the air force troops as in the other services of the armed forces
there are three states of combat readiness.
A - Constant combat readiness
In this state of readiness the personnel conduct their day-to- day training
activities in accordance with the designated programs. The units and sub-units
are supplied up to the norms in terms of personnel, armament, and combat
equipment. The aircraft are ready for combat employment and the units are
prepared for accomplishing combat missions
B - Higher combat readiness
In this state of readiness personnel are brought to the state of permanent
lodging on post, material supplies and ammunition are loaded on vehicles, and
units are ready to deploy to new airfields, combat duty personnel are
increased, and if the time permits personnel continue their training
C - Full combat readiness
In this state of readiness all units, large units, and command posts of
aviation troops are brought to full combat readiness for the accomplishment of
combat missions. This state of combat readiness can be initiated by combat
alarm and will be conducted in the shortest possible time. In this state of
combat readiness the air army's command and control organs occupy areas
designated for them in advance. The forward command posts deploy, deputy air
army commander with operational group moves to the Front air defense command
post for command and control of fighter aircraft.
Aviation regiments of all types of air force troops move to the deployment
airfields or they may remain at previous airfields and they are brought to the
state of readiness number 1 or 1 and 2.
The movement of aviation troops to deployment airfields is not allowed in all
conditions because it will take 30 to 60 minutes to move one squadron from one
airfield to another (including takeoff, flight, landing, and resupply).
Therefore, sometimes it is better to accomplish urgent tasks from the permanent
airfields and then land in deployment fields.
In the state of preparedness number 1 for aircraft all aircrews should not
remain in the aircraft for more than one hour. Half of the aircrew should be in
the aircraft and the other half be stationed close to the aircraft and in
readiness number 2.
Readiness number 1. In this state of readiness the aircrew is seated in the
aircraft and by receiving the signal from the regiment can be airborne in 8 to
Readiness number 2. In this state of readiness the aircrew is near the aircraft
and by receiving the signal from regiment they can be airborne in 20 minutes.
Preparation of the Theater of Military Operations
One of the important aspects of insuring high combat readiness of air forces is
the preparation during peacetime of the network of airbases and airfields in
the theater for use during wartime. If the level of preparation of airfields is
high the air forces can more easily be brought quickly to a high state of
combat readiness and deployed in a dispersed manner. In the theater it is
necessary not only to prepare the airfields and airbases for long range
aviation but also the forward bases for the Front air army. In peacetime
runways and landing strips are also prepared on highways and fields. Shelters
for aircraft, ammunition, POL depots and repair facilities are also prepared. A
complex, unified and automated command system is established. In the Western
TVD the system is created to insure the successive use of airfields in East
Germany and Poland as the peacetime occupants move forward and other units
displace from the USSR. some airfields are earmarked by the supreme high
command for use by higher echelon units when they displace during later phases
of the offensive. Alternate and deceptive airfields are also established.
CHARTS TO ACCOMPANY THE TEXT
CHART 1 AIR ARMY PLAN FOR FRONTAL OFFENSIVE OPERATION
This chart depicts the air plan as it would be drawn on an operations map. It
shows the location of friendly airfields, command posts of air and ground
units, air defense rocket units. surface to surface rocket units and air
navigation and guidance posts. It shows the location of the front line, the
Front boundaries, the line of the Front's immediate and subsequent missions,
and the lines for interception of enemy aircraft. It shows the location of the
initial loading, the air corridors and the drop zones for airborne landing
operations.. It shows the locations for establishment of air cover (combat air
patrols). It also shows the location of enemy airfields, the number and type of
enemy aircraft on them, and enemy headquarters. It shows the location of
expected enemy air attack corridors.
CHART 2 MISSIONS OF THE AIR ARMY IN SUPPORT OF COMBINED ARMS AND TANK ARMIES
DURING THE FRONT OFFENSIVE
This chart illustrates the text to show the grouping of Front air forces,
targets to be hit, airfields, directions of penetration, passage through enemy
air defenses, the combat air formations. This information would be shown on the
map of the air plan. More detailed information giving the times and unit
designations would also be given in tables. The chart shows the Front's
boundaries and missions and the direction of main attack.
CHART 3 MISSIONS OF THE AIR ARMY IN THE INITIAL NUCLEAR STRIKE
This chart shows the air corridors, air groupings and formations, airfields,
reconnaissance sectors, targets, nuclear coordination line, and Front
boundaries and missions. Detailed information about the participation of the
air army in the initial nuclear strike would be shown in tables as a part of
the plan for the strike itself as well as in the air army's own plans.
CHART 4 MISSIONS OF THE AIR ARMY TO COVER GROUND FORCES AND LOGISTIC
This chart shows the grouping of air defense fighters, the air defense
missiles, the defended surface to surface missiles, the air cover locations,
the enemy main attack directions, the interception areas, airfields, Front
missions and boundaries, and axes of ground forces. This information in more
detail would be contained in tables to accompany the air defense plans. It is
provided here to illustrate the text.
CHART 5 DESTRUCTION OF ENEMY AIR FORCES ON THEIR AIRFIELDS AND IN THE AIR OR IN
This chart depicts the air army operation to destroy enemy air. It shows the
air groupings, air corridors, formations, airfields, enemy attack axes, enemy
airfields, and the reconnaissance sectors. It shows the Front boundaries and
missions. This information is contained in great detail in tables to accompany
the map of the air army plan. This symbology would be used to depict the
information on the map.
CHART 6 TRANSPORT AVIATION PLAN FOR CONDUCT OF AIRBORNE OPERATION
This chart illustrates the text to show the formation of transport aviation in
an airborne operation.
CHART 7 FORMATION OF AIR TRANSPORT REGIMENT IN THREE ECHELONS
This chart illustrates the text to show the formation of an air regiment.