Abkhazian Air Force
Coat of arms of Abkhazia.svg
Abkhazian Coat of arms
Founded1992; 30 years ago (1992)
Country Abkhazia
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Size250 personnel (2001) [1]
15+ aircraft (2011)[citation needed]
Part ofAbkhazian Armed Forces
Anniversaries27 August (Aviation Day)
Engagements
Aircraft flown
AttackL-39
HelicopterMi-8
Attack helicopterMi-24
TrainerYak-52, L-39
TransportAn-2

The Abkhazian Air Force is a small air force, which is a part of the Abkhazian Armed Forces, operating from Abkhazia.

History

Few details are available on its formation, but it is reported to have been established by Viyacheslav Eshba based upon several Yak-52 trainer aircraft armed with machine guns.[2] Its first combat mission was conducted on 27 August 1992, which has come to be celebrated in Abkhazia as "Aviation Day." The Abkhaz Air Force claims to have made 400 operational flights during the 1992-1993 Abkhaz-Georgian war.[2] Abkhaz combat losses during the civil war are uncertain, but include a Yak-52 on a reconnaissance mission near Sukhumi on 4 July 1993.[3]


In the autumn of 2001, Abkhazia's air force was reported to comprise 250 personnel, 1 Su-25, 2 L-39, 1 Yak-52, and 2 Mi-8.[1] The display of three L-39s at a parade in 2004 suggests a possible recent acquisition.[4] In February 2007 a Russian website reported that Abkhazia has 2 Su-27 fighters, 1 Yak-52, 2 Su-25 attack aircraft, 2 L-39 combat trainers, 1 An-2 light transport, 7 Mi-8 helicopters and 3 Mi-24 helicopters.[5] However, an undated 2007 Abkhaz source gave the inventory for the Abkhazian Air Force as 16 MiG-21, 46 Su-25, 2 L-39, 1 Yak-52, and 2 Mi-8.[6] In March 2008, a military aviation enthusiast website repeated this inventory but added 9 Mi-24/35 attack helicopters.[7] In 2021, President Aslan Bzhania announced intentions to modernize the air force.[8]

Equipment

An accounting of exact types, quantities, and service dates for aircraft serving in the Abkhazian Air Force is difficult to accurately provide due to a number of factors including Abkhazia's disputed status, a lack of official available information, multiple conflicts over the course of its existence, and the regular involvement of Russian aircraft and pilots in the conflicts and region. In general, the air force has relied on aircraft inherited from the former Soviet forces based in Abkhazia with possible reinforcement in recent years by Russia with second-hand aircraft. No traditional contracts for aircraft purchases by Abkhazia have been reported.

Aircraft

Mi-8 helicopter flying the Abkhazian flag
Mi-8 helicopter flying the Abkhazian flag
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Aero L-39 Czechoslovakia light attack / trainer 3[4][1][5][9] Four flew at 2018 Independence Day parade. 2 out of 5 parked with non operational aircraft as of September 2020.
Transport
An-2 Soviet Union transport 2[5][9]
Helicopters
Mil Mi-24 Soviet Union attack 1[10]
Mil Mi-8 Soviet Union utility 2[10]
Mil Mi-2 Poland utility 2 Operated for Abkhazian Ministry of Emergency Situations
Trainer
Yakovlev Yak-52 Soviet Union trainer 1[2][4][1][5]

Aircraft markings

Several different markings have been reported.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d Slavic & East European Collections at UC Berkeley (September–October 2001). [1]. Army & Society in Georgia: Military Chronicle – Armed forces of Abkhazia. Drawn from an entry published in "Kviris Palitra" No. 44, October 29-November 4, 2001, p.9. Retrieved 17 January 2007.
  2. ^ a b c Slavic & East European Collections at UC Berkeley (June 1998). [2]. Army & Society in Georgia: Military Chronicle – Miscellany. Drawn from an entry published in 7 Dge, No. 72, June 22–23, p.3 (reprinted from "Abkhazia" No. 5, a periodical issued in Russia). Retrieved 17 January 2007.
  3. ^ Cooper, Tom. (September 29, 2003). Georgia and Abkhazia, 1992-1993: the War of Datchas Archived 2008-03-03 at the Wayback Machine. Air Combat Information Group (ACIG). Retrieved 17 January 2007.
  4. ^ a b c "World Air Forces". Abkhazian Air Force. Archived from the original on 15 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-16.
  5. ^ a b c d Почему Грузия проиграет будущую войну (in Russian). Sedognia.ru. 2007-02-27. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
  6. ^ Abkhaz.org. (Undated; 2007 copyright). Abkhazian Army Archived December 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 19 November 2007.
  7. ^ MilAvia Press. Order of Battle - Abkhazia Archived 2018-10-05 at the Wayback Machine (as updated March 2008). Retrieved 12 April 2008.
  8. ^ "Abkhazia expects help from Russia to modernize its air force". TASS. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  9. ^ a b "Babushera UGSS Airport". December 13, 2009 – via Flickr.
  10. ^ a b "World Air Forces 2021". Flightglobal Insight. 2021. Retrieved 2 August 2021.