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Combat Organization of the Air Army

The air army is part of the Front and its combat composition varies. Its size and structure depends on the missions the Front must accomplish in the operation, the availability of Air Force resources, the condition of the theater of military operations, and 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 (TVD), a Frontal air army may be composed of the following elements:
----- - Air Army's command and control organization
----- - 2-3 fighter aviation divisions (240 - 360 aircraft)
----- - 1-2 fighter-bomber aviation divisions (120 - 240 aircraft)
----- - one bomber division (100 aircraft)
----- - 2-4 air reconnaissance regiments (1-2 operational level and l-2 tactical level reconnaissance regiments) (70 - 140 aircraft)
----- - 2-3 pilotless air reconnaissance squadrons (20 - 60 aircraft)
----- - 1-2 air radio jamming regiments (for radio suppression) (25 - 50 aircraft)
----- - 2-3 transport and combat helicopter regiments (50 - 100 aircraft)
----- - other support and supply units and subunits

There may be a total of 600-800 aircraft in the Front and of these 400 to 500 are nuclear capable. About 150 to 200 can participate in the initial nuclear strike. For a conventional air campaign initial strategic strike in lieu of the nuclear strike a total of 500 to 600 Front aircraft may participate.


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 in each day of the operation there are up to l.5 air army sorties (one sortie by each single aircraft of the air army) 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 operation.

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. The commander keeps one to two air army sorties in 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

If the Soviets conduct a strategic air operation at the theater (TVD) level, the air army participates as a separate mission.

The air army conducts the following tasks in a Frontal offensive operation:
----- - participating in the initial nuclear strike
----- - covering the troops and logistics installations against the enemy's air attacks
----- - 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 in areas containing naval regions.
----- -if there is an airborne operation, 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 Front brings the nuclear delivery means 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. 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. Increasing 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 will reduce the time gap to a minimum.

Because of the increased capabilities of the enemy to detect the launch of a rocket and flight of aircraft, operational and tactical rockets should be fired simultaneously with the launch of strategic rockets and the Frontal aircraft should be in the air by the time the rockets are launched. If this is not possible the aircraft should be moved to alternate bases to protect them against the enemy's retaliatory nuclear strike.


Covering the Troops and the Logistic Installations Against the Enemy's Air Attacks

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. Fighter aircraft accomplish this task.

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 the Frontal fighter aircraft require a high level of sustainability 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 attack NATO`s airfields, then NATO's capabilities in theater air power will of course decline.

According to the lessons derived from NATO exercises, NATO air forces will launch initial strikes with many 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 Soviet air army's 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 altitude.

The first echelon fighter aircraft are committed to combat in distant approaches to the frontline. 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 (Soviet) surface to air missile (SAM) units.

The second echelon fighter aircraft are committed either in the area which is in direct contact with the frontline or over the frontline. 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 combat control center of the air army's fighter aviation command post (PBY IAVA), which is colocated with the Frontal air defense command post, conducts the command and control of the fighter aircraft.

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 principal means to cover the troops, particularly during maneuvers by troops and during combat operations.

(Commentary: "covering" is a multifaceted term in Soviet usage, it includes several Western Air Defense - area defense concepts)


Destruction of Enemy Air Forces on the Airfields, in the Air, and in Their Bases or During the Conduct of Air Operations

The air army conducts this operation 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. It achieves air superiority in a conventional war through an air operation entailing a joint action by Frontal air armies and long range and naval aviation. Or the air army achieves air superiority in a Front area by its actions conducted in accordance with the Frontal operation plan. It achieves air superiority through continuous effort in which it destroys not only the enemy's air force but also his air defense troops. In a nuclear war nuclear strikes of the surface to surface missile (SSM) troops and air force nuclear blows as well as the fighter aviation combat operation achieve air superiority.

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 the Soviet command intends to achieve surprise. For example the beginning of darkness moves from east to west. If the attack cannot catch the enemy's aircraft by 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 enemy bases his main grouping of aircraft in the area of the adjacent Front's operation, the air army may also strike there.

During preparation for launching the initial massive conventional air strike and destroying the enemy's aircraft and nuclear weapons, the troops should also prepare 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 or at different altitudes from those of friendly SAM units. Part of the fighter aircraft operate in the 3000-7000 meter altitudes , while the SAM units cover other altitudes and areas.

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 the repelling of 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. At the same time the bomber and fighter- bomber 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 Frontal 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:
----- - aircraft on the ground
----- - aircraft in the air
----- - nuclear delivery means
----- - command posts
----- - air defense means


Searching For and Destroying the Enemy's Nuclear Rockets

Searching for and destroying the enemy's nuclear rockets during the Front operation is a process aimed at destroying the enemy's rocket units, bases of its nuclear armed aircraft and its nuclear arsenals (depots).

The maximum capabilities of units from the beginning of the combat operation are used regardless of whether the operation begins with or without the use of nuclear weapons.

In accomplishing this task the air army directly cooperates with the Frontal 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 and the enemy's tactical aircraft are the principle nuclear delivery means. They are the prime targets of the air army's aircraft.

Therefore, the Frontal air army units destroy the enemy's aircraft, primarily the aircraft with nuclear capability, on the airfields and in the air. At the same time they 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 are 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 Soviet 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 Front 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. The air army conducts this mission 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 air army concentrates its main effort in areas 30-40 km. from the frontline. Sometimes this line can be up to 70 km. from the frontline. The allocated air sorties (resources) should be used economically and should be used against targets out of the range of other weapons.

The air army concentrates the main effort of air support on the main axis of the operation.

The air force units closely cooperate with the infantry, artillery and rocket troops until they break through the enemy's defenses, 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 of friendly forces are of significant importance in cooperation between air and ground elements.

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 air force units exploit their ability to maneuver to destroy the enemy forces most likely to affect the operation of attacking troops in the near future.

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 aty defensive positions. It uses bomber aircraft against deeper enemy reserves while using fighter-bombers and fighters against the immediate or close by reserves. 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

The air army conducts reconnaissance to locate important enemy targets. There are two types of air reconnaissance: tactical and operational. The tactical and operational reconnaissance missions are conducted by special operational or tactical air reconnaissance regiments.

Bomber aircraft conduct operational air reconnaissance to a depth of up to 800-l000KM.

Fighter aircraft conduct tactical air reconnaissance to 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 of 10 to 12 aircraft each in the Front, which contain pilotless aircraft (drones) employed for tactical reconnaissance, especially in expected high threat areas.

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 Front plans the employment of air assault or naval assault landings, the Frontal air army will also have 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. It also covers the operation of transport aircraft involved in supplying the air and naval assault elements operating on the ground.




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. *This concept is most similar to a regulator in a cybernetic system. 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.
----- --Ensuring 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.
----- --Ensuring 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 combat actions.
----- --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 the air army about the conclusions of the estimate of the situation and decision, and accordingly he makes his decision.

The Commander issues combat missions to subordinates personally, through the Chiefs of Staff directorates, through written orders and maps, or through communications means. In addition he:
----- --Coordinates the actions of air army troops with the actions of combined arms and tank armies of the Front, 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 operation.
----- --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 damage 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 his decision.
----- --He briefs the Chief of Staff on his concept and intention and informs the 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 large units.

The air army commander is responsible for the high moral and political status of officers, subordinates, staff, and troops.


Duties of the Chief of Staff of the 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 staff.
----- --Briefing the 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 prepare himself 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 forces 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 the air army.
----- --The issuing of instructions on missions, arms, and elements of reconnaissance to the Chief of Air Army reconnaissance.
----- --Coordination of work among 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. The Chief of Staff personally prepares and writes certain important documents such as combat directions and participates in the preparation and organization of certain tasks and the working out of the same important documents. He also supervises the conduct of such tasks. Based on instructions of the Air Army Commander, he organizes 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 the army staff prepares and issues.
----- --Organization in peacetime of training and high combat readiness of large units, units and staffs in accordance with plans and instructions of Air Army Commander.


Duties of the Chief of Operations of the Air Army

The 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 documents.

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.
----- -- Ensures 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 Chief of Reconnaissance of 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 decision.
----- --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 the 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 the 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.




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.


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 instructions

Air staff does 2 things: 1. estimate situation of air higher headquarters
- 2. prepare suggestions to Front on basis of mission and initial instructions

4. Commander and staff estimate situation

Air commander participates with his suggestions to make estimate of situation

5. Commander makes decision and issues missions



Air army commander develops clarification of air mission then air decision


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 deceptive airfields
----- - 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 (to include air traffic control, meterological support, airfield maintenance and other similar activities)
----- - 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 army
----- - 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 aircraft
----- - coordination of Front air army operations and long range aircraft operations during the initial strategic nuclear strike and during the strategic air operation
----- - coordination of the 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 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,and the army missions 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 the following:
----- -- 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 the 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 the air army must accomplish 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. He also 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 operation.
----- -- 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 the enemy is likely to hit
----- 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 meterological 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 instructions.

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 following points:

----- 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 defense forces
---------- -- 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 comparisions of sets of data and others require application of complex formulae. The following are some of the more important calculations.

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 interfer 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 reenforcements. 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 in its first echelon (that is, not including aircraft based in the theater rear or strategic reserves coming from the USA) 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 strike.

In non-nuclear war the assumption is that enemy will conduct massive air strikes in accordance with the intensity of the war, his concept of operations and the strength of Warsaw Pact air defenses. In any case NATO would keep the principal part of its strategic aviation forces and one third of other nuclear capable tactical aircraft and aircraft carrier aircraft on nuclear alert, always ready to launch a nuclear strike. Therefore on the first day of the NATO conventional air operation they would allocate the rest of the available aircraft to establish air superiority. The NATO air effort on the first day would have for its main targets Warsaw Pact airbases, airfields, air defense means, (SAM's and fighters), radio-technical forces, command posts, etc. Only after this air superiority effort was completed would the air forces turn to support of ground operations. Then air efforts would be divided into three main categories of effort: support of ground forces 50%, interdiction of the combat action area 25%, and reconnaissance 25%.

From the assessment of the nature of NATO air operations on each day the Soviet planners can proceed to make calculations on the kinds of targets and kinds of aircraft involved. This information in turn is used in the calculations on attrition for each side.

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.

The 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 radio-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 echelon armies.

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 frontline, 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 or nuclear 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 several 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. (Given that there will be 1.5 army air sorties perday on average.) 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 20 to 30 minutes. To destroy the battalion would require four to five times the number of aircraft.


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. The most important targets are the surface to surface missile brigades, the main attack forces, command posts, 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 rebased in a sequential, alternating manner. While some are rebasing 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 used.


Command and Control

The numbers, locations and times for movement and establishment for command posts are all calculated.

Airfield requirements

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 columns.


The following tables are creaed






(And similarily for each air formation and unit)

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 forces.


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 operation.
----- -- 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 positions.
----- -- 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 defense, 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 forces.
----- -- 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 weapons
----- -- diagrams of warning - tables of coordination, tables of signal communication, etc
----- -- 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, such as:
----- -- 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 (coordinated):
----- - distribution of nuclear rounds allocated to the air army to the different tasks
----- - distribution of specified air sorties of the air army among combined arms and tank armies
----- - 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 action
----- - 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 attacking troops
----- - 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 means
----- - 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 fireing zone of rocket and artillery troops
----- - mutual identification and definition of targets to one another

The main issues of coordination of air army with air defense troops include the following:
----- - 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 air targets
----- - 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 fireing 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 units include:
----- - 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 friendly command and control means from being jammed by one another (mutual interference)


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 and engagements)
----- - 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 material depots
----- - destruction and mining of runways, landing strips, and other installations on airfields


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 the 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. It 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 internal front
----- - 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 ammunition
----- - support for a high speed attack of 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 reserves
----- - 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 divsion can defend and conduct combat missions for a 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 the following:
----- - destruction of enemy nuclear weapons and nuclear and chemical weapons bases and depots
----- - 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 assault forces

The high maneuverability of airborne assault brigades require that they conduct their combat action in the air ond 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, primairly 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 assault
----- - 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.




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 (Front area)

In the combat command and control system of the air army the following command and control posts are established:
----- - air army command post (KPVA) is established 10 to 15 km from the Front command post
----- - 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 (VzKPVA) 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 (TSBUVA). 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 aircraft
----- - 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 frontline 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 (PPY) These are established for fighter, fighter-bomber, and bomber aviation divisions
----- - aviation regiment command posts (KP) are established for the different aviation regiments




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 activities.

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 10 minutes.

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.





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.



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.



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 is shown in tables as a part of the plan for the strike itself as well as in the air army's own plans.



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.



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.



This chart illustrates the text to show the formation of transport aviation in an airborne operation.



This chart illustrates the text to show the formation of an air regiment.