The Expansion of Soviet Air Power
Since the Soviet command somewhat churlishly disappointed an expectant worldwide audience with its failure to mount a major air display on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution (and the 10th anniversary of the previous Domodedovo air show), let us—briefly and out of charity for the frustrated—stage our own Soviet Air Force flypast, faute de mieux. In the van and taking pride of place would be at least 50 TU-26 (Backfire)1 missile-armed supersonic VG bombers, the focus of the controversy in the SALT-2 negotiations over the status of the TU-26 as a strategic or tactical weapons system, with air defence capability demonstrated by a flight of MiG-25 (Foxbat) high-altitude interceptors and armed with the largest air-to-air missile in the world, together with the SU-15 (Flagon) all-weather interceptors (in the D- and Eversions); displaying Soviet long-range tactical attack capability to the full would be one regiment of SU-19 (Fencer) VG aircraft, followed by a whole train of MiG-23/27 (Flogger) 2 variants and the latest model of the MiG-21 (Fishbed), the MiG-21 SMT with improved avionics and supplementary tankage and the semi-VG SU-17/20 (Fitter), modified SU-7s with much needed improved take-off and landing performance.
KeywordsGround Force Cruise Missile Warsaw Pact European Theatre Soviet Troop
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