Created: 2/1/1979

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Soviet Air Defense

aining and Operations

Soviet Air Defense Aviation: ] Training and Operations


Pilot training in Soviel Air Defense Aviation is conducted at three levels. Basic undergraduate flight training it conducted at two PVO higher avulkMostgraduate training and ground (mining for pilots from units about lo undergo conversion to new aircraft are conducted at Murom/Savostkylca airfield.f combat training in each type of interceptor aircraft is conducted only after pilots arrive at their assigned operational regiments. ^

At the higher aviation schools, students follow acurriculum leading to an engineering degree andrating. All activity at the training regimentstoward preparing APVO pilots totargets.

maneuvers and theory are Ctacuisod in the claiuoorn

itiiiwrarduibittyOtoionr Ami Ion ol Air Defenw f"

t>ut arc never practiced. Instructor pilols areteach strictly by the book and may nol deviatemaneuvers bid out in the training syllabus forAll training intercepts are performedcontrol.'

Except for those pilots chosen to fly the most modern APVO interceptorsoxbat andew graduates of APVO higher aviation schooh are normally assigned directly to operational regiments They then begin the combat training course, consistingumber of missions toIhem with Ihe aircraft, ihe airfield and ils flying zones, various navigational aids, radio commands, and radar and data-link indicators. Pilots neat practice intercepts of non maneuvering targets. In recent years, pilots in the latter stages of the combat training course for some modern interceptors have alsointercepts against targets employing electronic countermcasures (ECM)|

The training procedures

unimaginative and stultifying by US standards.calls by high-ranking PVO officers in theor more realistic combai training, andtraining against very low altitudePVO training in theemained, in general, rigid and unrealistic. Pilots arc still closely wedded lo ground control at all times, and there ts nothing[" hat would lead usTo

believe that the APVO,made any significant gains in its ability toagainst targets flyingeters.

Opt'i lioiu

The basic administrative and combat unit in the APVO ii the interceptor regiment, normally composedeadquarters dement, threeaintenanceully manned andegiment would haveombat aircraft andated pilots. There arc currentlyperational regiments in Ihc nationwide force, but few of them arc fully manned and equipped. |^


area, altitude, or time separation.

Threat assessment and battle management arcat the air defense zoneVO division or corpsair defense rones also haveractive controlto speed up the passing of tracking datanet of radar stations to surface to ur missileinterceptor units Coordination between SAMby

ommander of an interceptor regiment

would be free to defend his sector autonomously only if the air defense zone command post were destroyed.

Soviet interceptors aic under ground control al all times, and Soviet ground-controlled intercept (QCI) sites conduct intercepts only when both tbe interceptor and target aircraft remain is the field ofof the GCI site's localhis isajor problem at medium or high altitude where overlapping GCI coverage is widespread, but it makes Soviet air defenses vulnerable lo hostile aircraft which penetrate and remain at low altitude The Soviets could attempt to reduce this vulnerabdity by remotely vectoring interceptors or conducting intercepts without ground control, but available evidence indicates thai they do not currently practice these procedures.




has improved the equipment and training of its interceptor regiments The decline in the size of the force has been hailed, better interceptors have been added, and many enisling aircrafi have been modified to improve their armnmenl. In the past tsvo years, we

have also noted instances of more realistic low-altitude training and the testing of new tactics. Serious deficiencies in low-altitude defense remain, however, and some recent incidents- in particular the penetra-tksn of Soviet airspaceorean airliner -have raised (urines questions about APVO's operational proficiency. ^

By thehe Soviets can expect toignificantly greater threat than at presentixed force of penetrating bomberjand Urge numbers of long-range cruise missiles. Improved systems which Ihc Soviets are now developing and testing could make bomber penetration considerably more difficult than it would be at present, but we doubt that these new programs would give APVO any significant capability to intercept large numbers of in-flight cruiseighly modified version of theoibat equippedookdown/shootdown intercept system will enter the force in the. Il could be usedlee! of improved airborne warning and control (AWAC) aircraft also under development toow -altitude barrier over water on many penetration routes upm from thecoast Without an AWAC system capable of detecting low-altitude targets over land, however. Ihe Soviets would remain vulnerable to bombers or cruise missiles whichihc barriers or suppressed the point defenses.


< otitrnls


Pilot and Ground-Controlled Intercept Training Selection Process

IJndcrgraduate Pilol Training _PilolAssignnicnl and Conversion Training Cornbai Training inOperaiionalou rsd-ConI rolled Intercept Operator Training"



Maintenance and Ground Support Command and Coniiol

Ground-Contlolled Intercept Opcialionit

Readiness and Alert Procedures Force Status and Prospects






ircraftin APVO Training"4"


Piotectivche Scvcioikis*


ovjelGCI CovcragcaMQO-


w Lock GCI Rada7D

odern Soviet9


1 Soviet Pilot Classification

heoretical Range and Altitude Limits of Soviet GCfRTdar

aviation component of the Soviet strategicforces is the largest interceptor aircraftthe world, withombat aircraftoperational regiments. Together with themissile troops and the radio-technical troops, itfor defending the USSR against anThis paper examines the training andof this interceptor force, " ^

The amount of supporting evidence for this paper is uneven from one chapter to the next. I

icture ol some ol the capabilities and limitations of Airii.-i; diirinp the. and uses this data as the basis for assessing the current status of the force and its prospecis into the| |

and Ground-Con (rolled

Young men desirine to become pilots in Soviet Air Defense Aviation arc screened and selected by two PVO higher aviation schools. The successfulundergo four years of undergraduate pilot (raining, followed in some cases by postgraduate conversion training in new lypes of interceptors. They receive combat training in specific aircraft only after they arrive at their assigned operational ]

Prospective ground controllers in (he PVO also receive four years of undergraduate (raining and possibly postgraduaic training on the newest equipmentepaiaie training center. Once assigned to anregiment, they receive specific on-the-job combai training. q

Proem *

Applk jiiiviVO higher aviation school may be made by any healthy male high Khool gtaduate through his local draft board. Applicant* are first screened and given medical examination* by city and oblasl (provincial) boards, each of which has quotas for applicants to all the higher military schools. Applicants are then sent to the specific schools where final selection lakes Q

PVO higher aviation schools

At the higher aviation schools, mosl candidates arc eliminated after failing to pass stringent flight physicals and psychomotor examinationsQl hose who paw Ihe flight physical arc then given competitive examination* in mathematics, physics, and Russian language and literaturerocedure which almost certainly biases pilot selection in favor of ethnicfter all of tbeommission headed b, the chief or deputy chief of the school interviews the remaining applicants and decides which ones to accept.

Applicants rejected by the higher aviation schools may Mill become pilots byraduates of DOSAAF flying schools arein the reserves. Applicants for higher aviation schools who have already received DOSAAF flight training arc usually given preferential treatment. Promising applicants who cannot pass the flight physical examinations but are otherwise qualified may apply to navigator's school or become GCI controllers. [ |

Umdtrtraduaie Pilot TrmimimgU

At the Armavir and Stavropol' Higher Aviation Schools, sludentsour-year curriculumto an engineering degreeilot rating. Academic courses in subjects such as mathemaltcs. physics, theoretical mechanics, andare interspersed with basic flight training. During the first two years, students learn general flight theory and basic flying skills9 two-scat trainer aircraft. At the end of the second year, they are separated Into two groups. f_

Most students fly theidget trainergun-armedresco during the finalthey learn to fly under

adverse weather conditions using instrument flight rules (IFR) during the day but only in clear weather using visual flight rules (VFR) at night. Afterthese students will usually be assigned to operational regiments equipped with APVO solder interceptors. Iheishpot. theirebar, and theiddler. Q

Tbe best students at the StavropoT Haher Aviation School are selected lo fly tbelagon during their final iwo years. Theith its air intercept radar and air-to-air missiles,uch more advanced aircraft lhan tbetongerperiod before students begin flying, andihosc trained on theeceive only day-VFR training and basic intercept training prior lo graduation. Most arc probably assigned directly to operational regiments equipped with the SU* 15

There arc insufficient modem interceptors iatraining rcgimenis for adequatethe

Sal'sk training regiment subordinate to the Stavropol' school had SU-ISs Two training regimentsto the Armavir kchool, however, were equipped with someishbed aircraft. Although APVO

DGSAAF (Vntanuo Society far CcupcititiMi iheorce, and Navy) i. tomewtui analogem in ROTC. bni in.Tol.ei all rkirxntl of Soviel tocitly. not foil'ndriU (U)

Higher Aviation School

viation School

Groin yy Training Regiment



Khladnogorsk Training Rofl.msnt

.Training Regiment

I* assigned to operational units, this aircraft undoubtedly provides more adequate training for advanced students destined for regiments equipped with MIG-2Jsandhan does theinlage aircraft unlike any of the modern interceptors in Ihe force-be Soviets began delivery of MIGf the two training regiments at Armavir.)!

Within each training regiment there are normallyeach havingonstmctoiircraft. Three lo six students are assignedinstructor.hows the location,and equipment or the APVO higher aviation

schools and their subotdinate training regiments |

All activity at the ir lining regiments is directed toward preparing APVO pilots for their primaryintercepting airborne largctsr*-defensive maneuvers and theory areinlassroom but arc never practiced The student is always placed in the role of attacker, and instructors are not permitted lo reverse roles to illustrate, for example, the dangers of overshooting the target Students and instructors always fly ihe same type of aircraft and use tactics ihai are briefed in advance. All training intercepts are performed under groundas they are in the field under operational conditions. Q

aboutercent of ihe

instructor pilots at training regiments have experience in operational units. The remainder are cither recent graduates of the higher aviation school* or career instructor pilots who hayejicver been assigned to operational regiments. J

Instructor pilots are required to teach strictly by Ihe book and may not deviate from tbe maneuvers laid out in the training syllabus for each lesson. After receiving their mission briefings, students arc requited todetailed flight plans, recording every action and maneuver Ihey will perform. They are then required to sit in the cockpit or simulator in the presence of their instructor and practice the entire mission, simulating every' motion they will make during the flight.ihe actual flight, each student is debriefed and critiqued by his instructor.^

Gun camera film and_fluthl iccoitkis arc used tostudents,film and

tapes areeTTinicians aM afe hot shown to either the instructor or the students.rading card listing the results is given to the instrucior. (S)

tudent experiences difficulty in any phase of training, the commander of his flight may require that the student fly up to six additional sorties in that phase. 'I'he decision totudcnl is madeigher authority -presumably the squadron or regimental commander. Most students who fail to graduate withdraw from the program because of apprehension over flying or because they do not like the discipline nd regimentation of military


ing by US standards. They

The training procedures unimaginative and stulti are. nevertheless, methodical and appear well suited to prepare the pilots for the strictly controlled flying environment they will encounter when they areloan operational unii US pilots inpilot training (UPT) receive about the same number of flight hoursne-year course at the Soviet pilots receive in four years of higher aviation school, but the Soviet training alsoniversity-level"

Pilot Assignment and ConrenioaPrior lo finalhe two higher aviation schools send the records of theirgraduates to the Personnel Directorate at PVO Headquarters in Moscow( graduating pilots areto specific PVO armies (air defenseut the Personnel Directorate assigns people on Ihe basis of the requirements it has received from ihe various units.ilot has influential contacts at headquarters, he has very little chance of receiving his choice of assignment

As noicd earlier, pilots who icceivcd their7 are normally assigned toequipped with the AI'VO's older-iirebar.and the

Fiddler. There is noconversion training program for these aircraft, and the new pi tots fly the aircraft for the first time only after ihey arrive at their assigned unit| |

Most pilots who received their training on lliclagon are assigned directly to operational units equipped with that type, currently the mainstay of the interceptorewilots, and probably most of those trained onre assigned to regiments equipped with theoxbat or tbelogger. Before (lying these modernpilots firstwo-month ground school atth Cenicr for Combat Applications (CCA) at Murom/Savosllcyku. As part of this ground training, students learn both the technical characteristics of the new aircraft and the tactics and procedures relevant to tbe particular base to which they will be assigned.

A flight training regiment subordinate lolh CCA and located at Murom/Savostleyka trainspilots drawn from the regimental staff and squadron loaders of operational regiments thai arc about to undergo conversion. New aircraft models aboul to be introduced inlo the APVO would therefore appear first at this training regiment After returning home, these pilots instruct other pilots in their own regiments after each squadron has received its new aircraft.

A second training regiment subordinate loth CCA is located al Klin airfield near Moscow, I

provides flight proficiency iraining

lor instructor pilots from regiments equipped with aircraft no longer in production. Inspection teams responsible for evaluating the combat readiness of

"ipnal regjmeptearc also located there,

tcgimenl also appears lo ha


some responsibility for training pilots from regiments that are in the process of converting to theloggerJ^

Not all new pilots are sent to operational regiments. Some arc chosen insicad to become instructor pilots for the higher aviation school training regiments!

Combat Training in Operational Regimena

New pilots arriving al operational regiments may be assigned as replacements to any of ihc regiment's Ihrec squadrons. They ihen begin the combat training course to qualify them in their unit's aircraft and mission Recent gradualcs of higher aviation schools are not permitted to progress to the final stages of ibe combat training course until they have enough Dying hours to qualify as pilot third class.hows the Soviet pilot qualification system and the requirements and limitations (or each rating.^ |

The combat training course is unique for each type of aircraft in the APVO and may also vary from regiment to rcRinieiil depending on mission and localion[

but its

application is ihe responsibility of the regimental commander and his deputy for combat training. Flight commanders wilhin each squadron aci as inslructor pilots. First- and second-class pilots al regiments converting lo new aircraft follow the same syllabus as newJ-class pilots, but arc not required to fly as many sorties in each phase,

We do not know what the normal mia of rated pilotsAPVO regiments.however,

the Soviets often transfer experienced pilots into regiments about to undergo conversion fromaircraft to modern ones, and assign very few new

hus the Soviets

noi know the criteria used lo select these nilols He pilots to fly their latest


training course lor instructor pilots is offered at Stavropol', and once an inslructor pilot is assignedigher avialion school training regiment, he can expect lo remain there for the balance of his military career.

Table I

Soviet Pikrf


New ptVti



I'ou' years ol service (Include! tin hn aviaion school) and lying tears

'm of wnifUO MO

lSOhownmuWbwmfM mi

mfona corneal opotlMmi al all ahiindei *VFH inodi'.iaaa.

Seven jean of service and S'Oflitm bours-


Not allowedl, al'"'c' witrunwnt flieht rule*roned lo leaser miutons la consbal ualama

Mas aot fty under IFR coaeMican Wandynfb^a. rwat (VH)wt

) as taehi wsvfcf IFK i

Pally Qualified for dayR

meieri coling aad


' Il stioald he nined thaiough nvni oe- pilots have received some iMiriKiioa in ntshl and Iniliiimenl llnij. titty are not pemnlied io ft, under thcvecoadiiiom until ihey have the rcau*>i( aameer ofhours (oraima -Itch moald atilify ifccm




1 SiVa-neimven undti II

iheegiment is in Ihe process of convertingew aircraft, the Soviets do not consider it combat ready, and an adjacent APVO regiment or Frontal Aviation regiment must assume responsibility for its territory. It tiormally lakes about two years for all of Ihc pilotsegiment to complete the combat training course following conversion to new aircrafi. In comparison, US tactical air wings are normally considered fully combat ready six toonths aftei convertingew aircrafi

3 the rigidity and formal nature of

prefiigbl procedures al the higher aviation school training regiments are duplicated in onciaiionalTraining flights at these regiments normally take place every other day. with the inlcrvcning days reserved for planning and preparation. On the day before each mission, pilots receive mission briefings, prepare detailed flight plans listing every maneuver to be performed, and sit in the cockpit or simulator and practice each motion, just as they bad to do as undergraduate pilot tiainees On the following day, they fly the mission and arc then debriefed and evaluated by their instructor pilot. Q

The combat training course syllubus consistsumber of missions to familiarize the pilot with the aircraft, tbe airfield and its flying rones, various navigational aids, radio commands, and radar and data-link indicators. Pilots then practice intercepts of nonmaneuvcring targets. For aircraft armed with semiactive radar-homing missiles, this includes both front- and rear-hemisphere attacks.

In recenl years pilots in the later stages ol Ihc combat training course for some modern interceptors have also practiced intercepts against targets employingounter measures. AH intercepts arc performed under ground control.


.-ilin wl

the concepts of freeniwr escort rjn which interceptors areof responsibility and may aiuck targetswithout wailing lo be vectored byare discussed in theoretical lecturesnot practiced. The only practice interceptscontrolwere made by

nits JuapaWl luwanHudc defense mission in ihe Far Cast. The desirability of practicingwithout ground control has been emphasised in

articles appearing in the open press since thend in some | writing on training, but with one exception, we have no evidence that such training has been earned out

Most uii-to-air missile training utilizes missileswarheads, and some is conducted withoutonboardve air-to-air missileis conducted at missile training facilitiesthe Barents Sea. the Caspian Sea, and the SeaAt these ranges (where an entice regimentdeployedeek) semiactivearc fired at airborne target

ecause of the expense of ihe drones, only

WTaslinlot toissile is allowed to destroy the drone; the others turn off their radar immediately after launch, causing their missiles to fall into tbe sea The pilots also fire infrared homing missiles at flares dropped by parachute. |

Gunnery training is also conducted inequipped wilh aircraft lhal arc armedSince the drones are considered toobe used as targets for the cannon, live gunneryby firingr. raft ailliuucilcs pointedground. ' air-to-ground

gunneryBUUerWpTictscitor strafing missions against ground targets. That role is reserved for Frontal Aviation pilots, i

In both air-to-air missile training and in ' [emphasis is placed on

tbe process leiuing Upn ing and on the maneuver to be performed subsequent to firing, rather than on the results. The instructor pilot's paramount concern is flying safety, andonsequence many combat maneuvers arc prohibited and the pilot's combat potential is siiflcd. The pilot relics on the ground controller to vector himavorable attack position, to tell him when lo shoot and where to break off. and to warn him of any aircrafi attempting to attack him. The onlyilot is permitted to fire on his own initiative tsontroller tells him that an unidentified aircraft is approaching him and the pilot identifies it as an enemy.

Pilots who have completed Ibe combat training course are considered combat ready and may perform any mission assigned to their unit, within ihc weather and visibility limitations of their rating. All pilots continue to fly proficiency training missions and annually mustattery of examinations and flying proficiency checks Pilots also participate in readiness exercises and in dispersal exercises in which an entire regiment, or pari of it, operates from another airfield. Dispersal exercises also involve ground support personjid-and may lastew hours to several weeks.!

In general. Soviet APVO pilots perform toughtynumber of sorties per year as US Air Forcereceive far less specific combat training. Theyconsiderably more time loilolrating than that US counterparts do to reachlevel of proficiency. This is primarilySovicl training sorties last only about halfas US training flights, and US combatto be more concentrated and complex.

OfOunJComtiollei Itiercept Operalor Traiaimg

Men who wish to become ground controllers in the PVO may applyour-ycai school for GCI operators locaied in Stavropol'. In many cases, these are men who have been resected for pilot training because of minor medical problems. The academic curriculum at the GCI school is similar lo that at Ihe pilot training schools and leads to aa engineering degreeating of navigator-controller. We cstinuie thai the Siavrupol* school produces

The practical portion of GCI operator training is conducted al Mikraytovskaya airfield nearchool for flight navigators for APVO's Iwo-seat combat aircraft (theirebar and the TIMiddler) is located The GCI studentutilize the flight activity of the navigator's school for basic radar training During Ihc summer months, the GCI course also makes use of command post facilities at operational regiments to give student contiollers practical 1

o( the school at

Stavropol' arc considered the elite of the GCI force, but vrc are uncertain what percentage of all GCI operators have had this

Very few regiments, however,ull complement of aitciaft at any one lime, and it is doubtful that any



Mainitnanee and Ground Support'

Each interceptor squadronaintenanceby an engineer-officer who normallyrank off the

squadron maintenance section depends on the type of aircraft and the number of major electronic subsystems the aircraftquadron equipped1or instance, would have mi subsections and require two lo three times as many maintenance and support personnelquadron equipped withhe squadron maintenance section performs most of Ihe routine maintenance. (Seeor ihe organizationquadron.)

Apart from the squadron maintenance section, aand two enlisted assistants ate assignedquadron. They are responsible foronly and accompany it when ii undergoesmaintenance inspections. The crew chiefengineer officer and is considered subordinate loassigned to fly his aircraft, even if ibe twothe same rank.r' chiefs

arc treated poorly in me Arvuing narcfor advancement C"

Crew chiefs and (heir enlisted assistants arefor the overall flight readiness of their aircraft. Each flight (asubunitofa squadron consisting of four aircraft and their pilots) alsoechnical officer who Supervises tbe activities of Ihe four crews in Ihe flight. If these personnel discover malfunctions which they arc not capable of repairing, the aircraft is lurried over lo the squadron maintenance section for repair. ^

Aircraft from each APVO combat regiment normally fly every olher day, although some alert and weather reconnaissance flights may be performed ondays. On primary flying days, the flighl-linecrews arc required to generate four to five sorties for each of0ircraft over an eight-hour period. The US Tactical Air Command has foundigh number of llights in one day gives flight-line crews good practice in generating tlie high number of sorties which would be requiredajor attack. This routine also allows sufficient time during the intervening nonflying days to perform necessary maintenance and to prepare the aircraft for ihe next flying day. Each APVO flight averages betweeninutes and one


The regimental technical unit is made up ofspecialty sections paralleling the subsections of the squadron maintenance sections. Il is headed by the deputy commander for aviation engineering,ieutenant colonel. The technical unit is responsible for performing scheduled maintenance inspections on all of the regiment's aircraft, incuding the transports and helicopters permanently based wilh the regiment.

ft also is responsible forquality control over the work of the squadron maintenance sections and for any unscheduled major repairs which can be done without sending the aircraft or some major component back to (be factory. Tbe mechanics in the engineermg specially branches alsoimited capability to repair transient aircraft, although spare parts for these craft are not stocked. (SI

frnaintenance inspectionstor each aircraft after everylightperiod between major overhauls for each typeand engine varies;

irframe was overhauledlight hours. Major overhauls can be performed both at the

factory andepot, and major modificalions, such as Ihe additionmillimctcr cannon pods to thelagons, arc made at lhat lime Combat regiments are authorized lo receive replacementfor those sent back to the facloiy or depot, but such aircraft often arc not

The independent technical services battalioneach airfield is subordinate lo the rearof the military district in which itrather lhan lo the APVO responsible for the supply of fuel,equipment, and medical and financialIl alsouard company, aand an organization responsible forand snow removal.the

OBATO employs many civilians in various menial and janitorial tasks. q

Command and Control

Each APVO combat regiment is subordinate to the deputy commander for interceptor aviationVO division or corps headquarters.'0 The division or corps is responsible for defending all of the airspace within the boundaries of an air defense rone. Two or more air defense zones make up an air defense district, which is commandedVO army hcadquartersj

Threat assessment and battle management are usually performed at an underground bunker at the air defease zone command post Western analysts often refer to this operational clement as the air defense weapons operations center 'ADWOC) Soviet command post doctrine suggests that the battle staff at tbe ADWOC is made up of operations, intelligence, andofficers, the corps or division commander, and the deputy commanders for antiaircrafl-rocket troops, interceptor avialton, and radio-technical troops The ADWOC receives radar tracking data and signal intelligence on airborne urgels, assesses the threat, and decides how io allocate weapon systems under its control.ecision is made to intercept the target, the chief of interceptor avialton sends an order loan interceptor regiment to launch one or more aircraft.

* The parent unit (or loicrcepco'. SAM.and radiotoctmml regime nu and brigades an beVO division or corps, defending on ibe iiie ind importince ot (he lir detenu root.

decisions madeVO corps

or division headquarters may be overruled by Ihe army luaricrs or the PVO headquarters in Moscow. Q

Recently available evidence indicates that since8 six APVO regiments have been rcsubordiruled to ice Frontal Aviation headquarters of ihe Baltic Military District Wc do not yet knowheiher APVO units in other geographic areas will also be rcsubordinated. or whether this changea shift of operational as well as administrative control. In any case, we believe that these units will continue to operate primarily, if nol exclusively, in iheir traditional eolc of homeland defense, j |

Each air defense zone is divided into air surveillance sectors in which one or more SAM or interceptor regiments may be located. Some air defense /ones also have intermediate controlinteractive controlspeed up tbe passing of radar tracking datact of radar sites to the SAM and interceptor units. These cootrol points make it possible to decentralize threat assessment and weapons

hi o

Inalion between SAM andone or sector isby area, altitude, or time separation ForAM regiment might be assignedefend the airspace in one portionector, and an interceptor regiment might be assigned lo defend an adjacent portion.AM regiment and an interceptor regiment might both be responsible for tbe same sector, but be assigned different altitude belts or different times of the day When SAMs are responsibleiven sector, protective corridors for transiting aircraft arc designated. (Secor an example of fighter protective corridors in the Scvcromorsk Air Defensell of these methods of interceptor and SAM coordination have been confirmed by other sources.

interceptor regiment has

i.hil vol 'i theal commander and staff arc located during combat

operations. Hardened command posts have beenmany,e name stari area of thepostarge plexiglass boardaircraft positions arc plotted by hand. Theon this board is much greater lhansector of responsibility!^

J the regimental commander may

ordero increase the readiness of his aircraft and crews, but he is not permitted to launch armed interceptors without permission from the deputy for interceptor aviation at the corps or divisionOnly if the corps or division command post were destroyed would he be free to defend ho sector of responsibility autonomousry|

attolled Intercept Operation!

ground-controlled Laen regimental command post and at one or mote other locations in each air defense zone. (Western signal intelligence analysis call these GCI sites fighter directionround controllersaircraft on radar scopes and direct Ihemeithcr by voice commands or by automatic data link. |

The data link, of which there arc three knowna complex semiautomatcd systemand displays target and interceptorflighl parameters from local radars, solvesequations, and codes andonsole located in the aitcraft cockpil ground controller directing

the interceptontrol stick lo remotely control (he movements of the interceptor and vector itavorable attack position.q

Soviet GCI siies currently conduct intercepts only when both Ihe interceptor and target aircraft remain in ihe field of view of the GCI site's local radars If either the target or ihe interceptor passes out of range or is masked by terrain, control of ihe intercept must be handed off to another GCI site This docs not present major problems at medium to high altitudes, where overlapping coverage is widespread, but ilevere

The diu lint ii knownhe So'ieis as ttiruel Mukham by Western icidligcacc |

ii filled

limitation at low altitudes, where the line of sight is much shorter. The data link is also unreliable at low lineangles, and voice control must be used when attempting km-aliitudc intercepts (Seendor the limits of Soviet low-altitude GCI'""

It is currently possible for aircraft to fly throughthe GCI coverage by remainingwhen they are in range of the GCI site, aircraftlow altitudes would remain in view for only aWith so little available time,rarely be able touccessfulthe target passed from (heir view. Theattempt to fill these gaps in theircoverage by prcposilioning interceptorsthem engage targets without groundIhe years high-ranking Sovicl miliiarycalled for significantly reducing dependenceground conlrolontinuing [rainingevidence

that the Soviets almost never practice intercepts without such control. (Il should be noted that, because theyookdown/shocrtdown capability, current Soviet interceptors would have to rely solely on visual

Table 2

Theoretical Range and Aliiiudc limits of Soviet GCI Radar1

aquisition of low-flying targets if they operated wilh-out ground

Another means of increasing the probability oflow-altitude targets would be ihe internetting of radar stations in real time to permit remote vectoring. The Soviets already provide large! tracking data from their early warning radar network to some GCI controllers through the use of semiaulomated and automated data systems. If these data were available to controllers in real time. Ihey would permit Ihc GCI controller to vector interceptors to targets beyond the range of local radars. The data systems currenlly employed by Ihe Soviets, however, do not appear to provide data that are accurate or timely enough lo permit remote

The Soviets can currentlyimitedtheir GCI coverage beyond their borders overthe use of shipbornc controllers andarning and control aircraft.controllers aie under tlie direction

r .yUifiike hnd-baro!indicates dial shipbornc

controllers also may employ data links lo direct inlcrcepiorsf


to Target (Kilometers)








' Thesepresented as limits lor the

besti iw ihbim. under optimum conditionsedium-sire la reel No definitionedium-tire Israel (ia tern* of radar cross section) is given Teesedaia do nol take into account the effecu of terrain maiaing. which "did further limn thai line ofsiaht.

The Sovietsquadron ofossand control aircrafi based at Siauliai inAir Defense District. These aircraft arcto extend early warning radar coverage overand Baltic Seas as muchthe Soviet coast They also haveused to vectorsddkr andinterceptors against targets at medium toHowever, the total of nine Mossseven of which may now be operationalto Ihc area that musi be defendedinability of the Moss's radar lo track targetsit severely limits Ihc effectiveness of lbcairborne warning and conlrol systempenetration over

Readiness and Alert Procedures APVO combat regiments have the same readiness conditions as the rest of the Soviet armed forces. At constant combatnormal day-to-dayregiments normally keep two Or four aircraft armed and fueled on strip alert.!-

Jinits stationed near the border wonta

ve the highest percentage of personnel on duty and four ready aircraft. The rest of the regiment's aircraft would normally be parked and unarmed or would be flying training missions- Q

At increased combat readiness,

all personnel not on leave would be required to report to their garrison with their individual combatTraining flight activity would probably be curtailed, and the number of ready aircraft would normally be doubled.

nit were ordered to full combat readiness, all duty personnel would report to their combat stations, personnel on leave would be recalled, and families would be evacuated. All of the regiment's aircraft-except for those unflyablc because of maintenancebe armed as swiftly as possible. Pilots would prepare for flight operation* and report to the alert facility ready to fly and await orders. It normally requires one to four hours to bring an entire regiment to full combat readiness, unless the regiment must first deployispersal airfield. If dispersal isegiment could require six toours to amir, full combat readiness.

In addition to the three force readinessabove, there are numerical readinessfor individualin readiness condition one is fully armedandilot in the cockpit monitoringAircraft in this condition are required lo behe airborne within three toeight minutes,ihe type of]

Readiness conditioo two refersully armed and fueled aircraft with the pilot standing by in the alert facility. Aircraft in this condition are required to be able to be airborne in six toinutes. The twolo four aircraft routinely on strip alert arc maintained at readiness condition two. fj^j

Readiness condition three1

J those pilo flay-to-day

refers to an aircraft fully fueled and wilh armament ready to be loaded. The pilot would be on duty at the airfield, but not necessarily at the alert facility. Aircraft in this condition could probably be launched in aboutinutes, i

those pilots selected to stand operations arc chosen

from among the first- and second-class pilots of the three interceptor squadrons. Third-class and new pilots do not perform alert duly unless full combat readiness is declared. If an APVO regiment is declared not combat ready for some reason, such asunway under repair or having been recquipped with new aircraft, none of its aircraft ire maintained on strip alert, and an adjacent APVO or Frontal Aviation regiment assumes responsibility for its sector|

Aircraft on strip alert during peacetime arebunched in reaction to reconnaissance flightsaircraft near Soviet borders, or toaircraft which stray into an airthe /one headquarters will

order an interceptor launched, weather permitting, any time an unidentified aircraftilometers from Ihe Soviet border (overf the intruder penetrates Soviethe interceptor will force it lo landoviet airfield, or, if tbe intruder is clearly identifiedoreign military aircraft, the interceptor may be ordered lo destroy il without warning. Interceptors reacting to suchare under ground control at all limes and ate never permitted to fire wiihout permission of ategimental commander During tbe penetration of Soviet airspaceorean airliner inoviet interceptors were not scrambled when tbe aircraft crossedilometer line becausetbe airliner was apparently misidentificd. Other* wise, however, the proccdurtC appeared to be

" Underhii would mendsulicil mileiccxtt over <paUi.leporttd Ibe JBlcrCepi imelo

beilOBicicn (liS UvtlCIl nrsBflrom the com. Ij

Force Status and Prospects The force6

|cvaluaii*ng Soviet intercepior pilot in iv/l.

training inoncluded that, while the training was probably adequate at medium and high altitudes, it was seriously deficient at low altitudes, where US bombers were intended to fly.ftThe report also concluded that Soviet intercept procedures were too rigidly dependent on close ground control which could be disrupted by electronic countermeasurcs andeffects. It cited articles by Soviet military writers published in Ihchich recognized these problems and urged improvements in training to overcome them. The report noted that despite an expansion of Ihe APVO training establishment and the introduction of modern aircraft into tbe force, no discernible progress had been noted in improving low-altitude training or lessenini the dependence on dose ground control.

(raining and urged further improvements, especially in complicated phases of training. One general slated:

Primary altenlion mull be given to ihe creationomplex air situation during training, particularly during development of tactical assignments and exercises, cotio the believed nature of operations of ihe probable enemy and the capabilities of his mill lory equipment

Another general, then the commander of the IAir Defense District, warned againstlion and lack of imagination inand demanded that exercise situationsto make impossible the use of previouslyMe further urged that problems called forcombat training courses "be performedstress: with operations at low andaltitudes, with radio |

given lil all Opportunity to update that evaluation. It indicates that6 the force was less capable than wc bad nidged it to be1 and in subsequent estimates II appears that no significant improvements in training were made in the five years16 and that APVO training remained, in general, rigid and unrealistic Pilots were still closely directed by ground control at all times, and there is nothing in the inforraatsonfl '1 ** ' ' that would lead us to believe lhat the ' " " ad made any significant gains in its ability to operate effective^ al alUtwfclr-

In thend, high-ranking APVO officers described accomplishments in Soviet aviation

Figure o


S aa



As for traininiT


all other evidence indicate, enVcver. thatmall portion of training missions arc flowneters, and the number flowneters is negligible. It would appear, therefore, that at least through the, the APVO has placed virtually no emphasis on training in the combat regime posing the most significant threat. "|

were required lo practice one inlciccpt at lowdefinedeters by thesix mofiihi US plans, however,call for bombers lo penetrate Soviet defenseseters and below. Since none of the current Soviet interceptors except3 Floggcr have radars capable of tracking targets flying below the interceptor in even limned ground clutter. APVO pilots would either have io depend on ground controllers io find targets and vector them within visual contact range, or fly much lower so thai their radars could look ap at the target. GCI coverage is severely limited at low altitudes, however, and proficient flying at altitudes beloweters requires extensive practice, especially in single-seal interceptors where tbe pilot must operate Ihe weapons control system and fly ihe aircraft

Improvements Since


APVO nas maoe progress in improving the equipment and training of its interceptor regiments. The decline in the size of the force has been hailed, better interceptors have been added, ami many aircraft have been modified to improve their armament. In the past two years, we have also noted instances of more realistic low-altitude training and the testing of new tactics. Serious deficiencies remain in Soviet low-altitude capabilities, however, ami some recent incidents have raised further questions about APVO's operational proficiency. |

Sincehe APVO has received motenterceptors as replacements for the obsolescentndircraft The Floggcr has good speed, range, and armamentwith other Soviet interceptors Its air-intciccpt radar is the only oneurrently deployed Soviet aircraft thai hasimited capability to track targets obscured by clutter. The addition of large numbers of Flofgcrt to the APVO has increased the fotcc's flexibility and givenimited low-altitude capability.,

In Ihe past several years, ihe Soviets have also taken steps to improve Ihe capabilities of the aircraft already in the inventory. Cannon pods and additional rails for mountinghorl-ranee infrared'homing missiles have been installed on many SU-IS Flagon aircraft. These not only increase the Flagon's standardof twoir-tc-air missiles, but givereater capability to engage targe! aircraft employing ECM.fT

There is evidence that in the past two years some APVO regiments have been receiving training in close air-to-air combat against maneuvering targets. Even though close combai isormal APVO mission, interceptors in peripheral areas might be faced wilh attacks by forward-based aircraft and tactical strike aircraft from carriers. The introduction of theith its mixture of medium- and short-range missiles, cannon, and internal ECM. has finally given the APVO an aircraft with good dogfight capabilities.

Prior lo delivery of the Floggcr. the amount of APVO training conductedeters and below was very small.urvey of selected APVO regiments' trainingor example, Foxbat regiments conductedercent of their practice interceptseters or less and Flagon regimentslessercent al these altitudes. Nearly all of these practice intercepts were conductedeters rather lhan at lower altitudes."I

Since most of the APVO regiments equipped with Floggers are not yet fully operational, we have little information on their training, but aboutcrceni of the practice intercepts conducted by Frontal Aviation counter-air units equipped with the6mctcrsorlcss.|" "' |

Of this typo probably will become prevalent in the APVO as Floggcr regiments reach (lie advanced stages of the combai training course (

The Floggci, however, is not the answer to the Soviets' low-altitude deficiencies because the lookdown capability of its radar is very limited, llogger pilots have been able to achieve radar lockons from above and behind tlie target only at ranges of aboulilometers. Became of this short engagement range. Floggcr pilots remain dependent on precise guidance from the GCI system to find targets and vector the interceptoravorable attack position

Reeeat Imeiitmii

Two recent incidenis have raised questions abouturrent operational proficiency. Ina Korean civil airliner strayed deep into Soviet airspace over the Kola Peninsula, one of the most sensitive miliary areas of the Soviet periphery, and one in which the most modern air surveillance and control equipment is located. During this incident. Soviet air defense forces performed their mission poorly. They reacied slowly, intercepted and identified the intruder Inte, mistakenly reported lhat they had shot down ihe aircrafl, and lost contact wilh ii for nearly an hour after the attack.ew weeks later an American light aircraft flying fiom Japan to Alaska violated Soviet airspace near the Kuril Islands. Four APVOailed to force ihe intruder to landoviet airbasc, and one of them crashed while returning to base, ij

The significance of these incidents should not be overdrawn in evaluating the capability of Soviet air dcfemes to perform their wartime mission In both cases, Ihe Soviets detected the border violators and brought weapons to bear on them These incidents do illustrate, however, that APVO'i actual performance in combat may fall short of the potential effectiveness that we have attributed to ihe force.


By ihe, the Soviets can expect toignificantly greater threat than at presentixed force of penetrating bombers and long-range

anile missiles. These systems, particularly large numbers of lo* -iltnudc cruise missiles, will seriously burden ihe Soviets' ground-based air defenses, aad it will be necessary for APVO toreatci role in low-altitude defense. Improved systems which the Soviets are now developing and lesting for APVO could, by the, make low-altitude bomber penelralion considerably more difficult than it would be at present. Wc doubt, however, thai these new programs would give APVO any significantto intercept large numbers of in-flight cruise missiles. q

Since5 the Soviets have beenewighly modified version of the. tut. which could be ready for deployment0his aircraft willwo-manong-range Icokdown/shootdown air intercept radarapability to track multiple targets simuluneousiy. and improved enginesignificantly greater combat radius.' t also has cannon armar

air intakes lo permit operation from unimproved runways,

The modified Foxbaf couldubstantial threatattempting to penetrate at low. modified Foxbnts will replaceFirebar and theiddlerprimarily on the Sovietleet of imptoved orerwaterthey couldow-aliitudc barrierpenetration routes upilomeicrsSovietowcver. otlici factors, suchsuppression, ECM. and operationalSoviets might have in integrating interceptoroperations, could considerably degrade

Further improvements in APVO low-altitude defense will be dependent on progress ihc Soviets make in internetting ground based GCI and early warning radar sites, training their pitas lo operate at low altitudes without ground control, and developing an AWAC system with an overland lookdown capability. Without these improvements, APVO in iheay be capable of establishing tow-altitude barriers and point defenses, but would remainto bombers or cruise missiles which managed to penetrate the haulers or suppress the point defenses. For effective area coverage. APVO inteiceptors musi be capable of attacking airborne penclrators en route lo their targets.

The Soviets have been internetting early warning radar sites and passing the airborne tracking data to GCI sites since at least the, but we have yet to detect any indication of remote vectoring of iolcrccp-tors. Soviet air defense officers have also been writing

publications since

ihebout (he necessity of practicing low-altttude intercepts without ground conlrol.I

lfinslly. while there is strong evidenceoviet program toew AWAC system based on theirframe,ave no evidence or its capabililies to delect and track low-flying airborne targets over land. Wc doubt that the Soviets couldystem comparable to the USAFefore the mid-to late 11

Original document.

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