Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Soviet Naval Aviation
The first naval airborne units in Russia were formed in 1912-1914 as a part of the Baltic Fleet and the Black Sea Fleet . During World War I, the hydroplane units were used in the Black Sea for conducting aircraft reconnaissance, bombing and firing at coastal and port installations and enemy ships, and destroying submarines and enemy aircraft on the airfields.
The regular Soviet naval airborne units were created in 1918. They participated in the Russian Civil War, cooperating with the ships and the army during the combats at Petrograd, on the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Volga, the Kama River, Northern Dvina and on the Lake Onega. The newborn Soviet Naval Air Force consisted of only 76 obsolete hydroplanes. Scanty and technically imperfect, it was mostly used for resupplying the ships and the army.
In the second half of the 1920s, the fighting strength of Naval Aviation began to grow. It received new reconnaissance hydroplanes, bombers, and fighters. In the mid-1930s, the Soviets created the Naval Air Force in the Baltic Fleet, the Black Sea Fleet and the Pacific Fleet. The importance of naval aviation had grown significantly by 1938-1940, to become one of the main components of the Soviet Navy. By this time, the Soviets had created formations and units of the torpedo and bomb aviation. At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, all of the fleets (except for the Pacific Fleet) comprised 1,445 aircraft altogether.
During the war, Naval Aviation delivered an immense blow to the enemy in terms of sunken ships and crews -- two and a half times more than any other unit of the Soviet Naval Forces. Seventeen naval aviation units were honored with the title of the Soviet Guards, while 241 men were awarded with the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union (including five pilots –- even twice).
Because the Soviet Navy never constructed a large aircraft carrier fleet during the Cold War, as the U.S. Navy possessed, the Soviet Navy was unique in deploying large numbers of strategic bombers in a maritime role for use by Naval Aviation. Aircraft such as the Tupolev Tu-16 'Badger' and Tu-22M 'Backfire' were deployed with high-speed anti-shipping missiles. The primary role of these aircraft were to intercept NATO supply convoys, acting as part of Operation REFORGER, en route to Europe from North America.
- 340 medium- and long-range bombers (primarily used in anti-shipping roles):
120 Tupolev Tu-22M 'Backfire'
190 Tupolev Tu-16 'Badger A'
30 Tupolev Tu-22 'Blinder B'
- 145 fighter-bombers:
75 Sukhoi Su-17 'Fitter', land-based
70 Yakovlev Yak-38 'Forger', carrier-based
- 70 aerial tankers
70 Tupolev Tu-16 'Badger A'
- 200 reconnaissance and electronic countermeasures aircraft
Tupolev Tu-16 'Badger H'
Tupolev Tu-95 'Bear D'
Tupolev Tu-22 'Blinder C'
Antonov An-12 'Cub'
- 480 anti-submarine/maritime patrol aircraft
60 Tupolev Tu-142 'Bear F'
100 Mil Mi-14 'Haze A'
60 Ka-27 'Helix'
115 Ka-25 'Hormone A'
95 Be-12 'Mail'
50 Il-38 'May'
- 465 transports and trainers
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