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37th Air Army
Active 1949–1968, 1980–1988, 1998–2009
Country Soviet Union, Russia Russia
Branch Soviet Air Force, Russian Air Force
Type High Supreme Command
Size World War II: several air divisions
1998-2009: ~ 10 air regiments
Garrison/HQ Moscow
Major General Anatoly Zhiharev (?)
Pyotr Deynekin, later C-in-C Russian Air Force

The 37th Air Army (Russian: 37-я воздушная армия) of the High Supreme Command (Strategic Purpose) was the strategic bomber force of the Russian Air Force from 1998 to 2009. It was equipped with Tupolev Tu-95MS and Tu-160 armed with nuclear cruise missiles, and the intermediate range Tu-22M3 bombers. It was the successor to the Soviet Union's Long Range Aviation,[1] which once had several Air Armies, including the 37th. The 37th Air Army was originally formed in 1949 by redesignating the 4th Air Army in the Northern Group of Forces in Poland. It was active there until 1968. It was reformed by a decree of 13 March 1980, along with the 24th, 30th, and 46th Air Armies, which together replaced the Long Range Aviation headquarters, which was disbanded. It appears the decree may have been put into effect and the headquarters actually reformed on 1 August 1980.[2]

Strategic aviation is the sole Russian Air Force component which was actually increased in the 1990s rather than being cut, as was the case with military services. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, only 22 Tu-95MS bombers remained on Russian territory; at that time the only Tu-160s were in test units or with the manufacturers. However, manufacture of the Tu-160 continued, and between 1992 and 1995, the Engels regiment received six Tu-160s before the production rate slowed down considerably. More aircraft, 43 Tu-95MSes and 8 Tu-160s were exchanged, or bought back from Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The Russian Air Force currently has 64 Tu-95MS and 16 Tu-160 bombers, and these are being upgraded by changing the navigation and fire-control suites and installing new weapons, including non-nuclear cruise missiles, Kh-55 and stand-off guided munitions.

On September 10, 2008 two Tu-160 bombers made flight from a basing place to airdrome Libertador in Venezuela, using as airdrome of jumping up airdrome Olenegorsk in Murmansk area. Onboard were training rockets with which the sortie's task was fulfilled. It is the first case of use in the history of the Russian Federation by Long-Range Aviation aircraft of airdromes located in territory of the foreign state. While in Venezuela the aircraft made training flights over neutral waters in the Atlantic ocean and Caribbean sea. [8]

In 2009 the 37th Air Army of the Supreme Command was disbanded as part of a large scale reorganisation of the Air Force and has been reformed into the Long Range Aviation Command.[3]

Structure 2007[edit | edit source]

Structure 2000[edit | edit source]

  • Headquarters, Moscow[2]
  • ? independent Communications Regiment (Moscow, Moscow Oblast)
  • 43rd Center for combat training and retraining of crews (Ryazan, Ryazan Oblast) with Tu-22M3, Tu-134UBL and An-26
  • 203rd Guards Aviation Regiment of Tanker Aircraft (Dyagilevo, Ryazan Oblast) with Il-78
  • 6212th Aviation Technical Base for discarded aircraft (Engels, Saratov Oblast) with Tu-22
  • 22nd Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Division (Engels, Saratov Oblast)
  • 326th Heavy Bomber Aviation Division (Ukrainka, Amur Oblast)

Structure 1991[edit | edit source]

  • Headquarters, Moscow[6]
  • 364 Separate Mixed Aviation Squadron (Vorkuta, Komi ASSR)(transport aircraft, Mi-8s)
  • 73rd Heavy Bomber Air Division (TBAD) at Ukrainka, Amur Oblast [activated 1957] with:
    • 40th TBAP (Ukrainka) with Tu-95K and Tu-95K-22 [activated 1957 with 3M bombers; early 1980s reequipped with Tu-95K from other units that converted to Tu-95MS]
    • 79th TBAP (Ukrainka) with Tu-95K and Tu-95K-22
  • 79th Heavy Bomber Aviation Division at Dolon, Semipalatinsk area [activated 1957] with:
    • 1023rd TBAP (Dolon) with Tu-95MS [activated 1957 at Uzin, Kiev region, with Tu-95 from the 1006th TBAP; 1983 relocated to Dolon; 1983 reequipped with Tu-95MS as the first unit]
    • 1026th TBAP (Dolon) with Tu-95MS [activated 1957; reequipped with Tu-95 in the early 1970s, later Tu-95K; mid-1980s reequipped with Tu-95MS]

Total aircraft in division (1.1.91): 13 Tu-95MS-16 and 27 Tu-95MS-6

Structure in 1980[edit | edit source]

Source: Holm[2]

Structure 1960 in Poland[edit | edit source]

May 1, 1960:[7]

  • 149th Fighter Aviation Division
    • 3rd Fighter Aviation Regiment
    • 18th Fighter Aviation Regiment
    • 42nd Fighter Aviation Regiment
  • 239th Fighter Aviation Division
    • 159th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment
    • two other Fighter Aviation Regiments
  • 172nd Fighter-Bomber Aviation Division
    • three Guards Fighter-Bomber Aviation Regiments
  • 183rd Bomber Division
    • three Bomber Aviation Regiments
  • Two separate reconnaissance regiments
  • other units for support and communications

Commanders[edit | edit source]

Source: Michael Holm[2] to 2002, other sources for later names

  • Lieutenant-General I. V. Gorbunov, 1980 - 1985
  • Lieutenant-General Pyotr Stepanovich Deynekin, 1985 - 1988 (later Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force)
  • Lieutenant-General Igor Mikhailovich Kalugin, 1988 - 1997
  • Lieutenant-General Mikhail Mikhailovich Oparin, 11.97 - 11.02
  • Lieutenant-General Igor Ivanovich Khvorov, 15.11.02 - (unknown)

Later commanders: Major General Pavel Androsov, and Major General Anatoly Zhiharev, former Chief of Staff of the 37th Air Army.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. http://www.mil.ru/940/1064/details/index.shtml?id=21629 Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, warrior's calendar
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Michael Holm, 37th Air Army VGK SN, accessed September 2011
  3. http://mdb.cast.ru/mdb/2-2010/item5/article1/
  4. Air Forces Monthly, July 2007.
  5. See also Holm, http://www.ww2.dk/new/air%20force/division/bad/326tbad.htm
  6. SSM manuscript, YahooGroups TO&E group
  7. Air International, an issue in the 1990–1994 period, p.17

Sources[edit | edit source]

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