The Military Aviation Force of Macedonia - History

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The Military Aviation Force of Macedonia - History

Postby georgefromskopje » 23 May 2015, 15:07

The Military Aviation Force of Republic of Macedonia was established on 10th of April 1992 with a decree issued by Kiro Gligorov, the first President of the Republic of Macedonia. Thus the first Macedonian Air Force and Air Defense Command with its Aviation Brigade composed of Aviation, Transport and Combat Helicopter Squadrons was established.

The 10th of June is celebrated as the day of the Macedonian Air Force and Air Defence, since it was the date of the first flight of the Macedonian Air Force with UTVA-75 plane.
The Air Force of the Republic of Macedonia developed since its founding:
- Aviation Brigade, formed in 1992;
- Aviation Brigade, 1994;
- Aviation Battalion, under AF and AD Command since 2001;
- Air Force Wing , under AF and AD Command since 2002;
Air Force Wing, under the Joint Operations Command since 01st December 2005 ( AF and AD Command was disbanded on 30th September 2005);
- Aviation Brigade, under the Joint Operations Command since 2012.

- On 10th April 1992 the first President of the Republic of Macedonia, Kiro Gligorov, signed decree number 60 establishing the founding of the Air Force and Air Defence Command.
- Macedonian Air Force and Air Defence consisted of: Air Force and Air Defence Command, Aviation Brigade, AD Light Artillery Regiment, ARIRG air Regiment and an air base.
- In accordance with the appropriate flight plan for 09th June 1992, the first Macedonian crew, Major Dane Ilijevski and Captain Aleksandar Manev, performed the first flight with UTVA-75 plane in the flight area Drachevo. The flight was conducted from 10.15 to 10.35. In honour of this historic event Macedonian Air Force celebrates 10th of June as the day of the unit.

- The Aviation Brigade (ABde) was composed of: Command, two Aviation Squadrons (AS), and Anti -Armour Helicopter Squadron (AAHS), Transport Helicopter Squadron (THS) and Reconnaissance and Signals unit.

- On 28th June 1994 at 09.32, AF and AD units received the first Mi-17 helicopter. Later three more Mi- 17 helicopters were acquired and thus Republic of Macedonia equipped its Air Force with four new, civilian, Mi-17 transport helicopters.

- Radar NARM -61 was acquired and put into service.

- Trainer aircraft Zlin-242 were acquired from the Czech Republic at the beginning of the year. The trainer aircraft Zlin -242L with a serial number VAM-102, Z3-DCN was the first out of the three acquired aircraft.

- The aims of the units were defined during this year. The Aviation Squadron of the Aviation Brigade had to finish the ongoing training for Zlin 242L or all pilots. Transport Helicopter Squadron worked on maintaining the level of training in order to conduct tasks for basic and additional use of the helicopter Mi-17 exploiting all possible uses.

- During the year a part of the service personnel gained experience by participating in the following multinational exercises: Cooperative Zenith –USA, Strong Resolve – Italy, Cooperative Determination – Bulgaria, Olympia – Greece, Cooperative Best Endeavour - Bulgaria and Cooperative Key - Turkey.

- The Air Force participated in humanitarian missions deliviering water, food and medical help for the camps with refugees from Kosovo.
- The flying and technical service personnel had an air base drill and camped at the airport Sushevo in Shtip.

- Part of the Aviation Brigade service personnel participated in NATO and PfP exercise Cooperative Key in Constanta, Romania from 04the to 14th September, with two MI-17 helicopters.

- The contribution of the Macedonian Air force during the 2001 crisis is without a doubt of great significance. During the crisis the Air Force was represented by an Aviation Brigade under the command of AF and ADF.
- The Aviation Brigade consisted of three Aviation Squadrons: 101st Aviation Squadron equipped with three Zlin-242L and four Su 25, 201st Combat Helicopter Squadron equipped with twelve MI-24 helicopters, and 301st Transport Helicopter Squadron with two UH-1X helicopters, three Mi- 17 and four Mi-8MT helicopters.

- The Aviation Battalion from 17th March to 04th September received four Mi-8 helicopters for the Transport Helicopter Unit, ten Mi-24 helicopters for the Combat Helicopter Company, two UH-1H helicopters and four SY-25 for the Aviation Combat Company. The records show that in a period of three months four different types of aircraft were acquired.

- The Aviation Battalion was transformed into Aviation Wing
- The units finished with their preparation for the exercise Cooperative Key 02. The exercise took place in Saint- Dizier in France and it lasted from from 20th September to 08th December. The unit participated with 42 servicemen and two Mi-17 helicopters.

-During this year AF and AD was composed of: AF and AD Command, Aviation Wing, 3rd AD Battalion, ARR Battalion, Security and Logistic Support Battalion and Parachute Diversion Detachment.
- On 8th July the Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with aeroclub Done Bozinov from Kumanovo and the Wing received an An-2 aircraft.
- The Wing service personnel participated in the exercise Cooperative Key-2003, as a part of the NATO and Partnership for Peace program. The exercise took place from 1st to 13th September at the military airfield, Graf Ignatievo near Plovdiv in Bulgaria. There were 45 Wing servicemen, two combat helicopters Mi-24 and one Transport Helicopter Mi-17.

- At the beginning of the year Training Squadron of the Wing received two more Zlin-242L aircraft and one four -seater Zlin -143L. The Civil Aviation Agency (CAA) lent the aircraft to the Wing, and with these additions it had a total of seven trainer aircraft.
- In the meantime the declared units of the Helicopter Detachment began with their preparation for possible future participation in international peace missions . The units` aircrew and the technical personnel worked with two Mi-8/17.
- The project for modernization of the unit’s aircraft with night flight systems started. The project manager was major Dragan Nedelkovski .

- At the end of November, with the new transformation, the Wing was moved from AD and AFD Command and was now under the Joint Operations Command (JOC) in Kumanovo.
- The second important international activity was the participation in the exercise Eagle SAR 05 with helicopters and service personnel, at the airfield Farka in the vicinity of Tirana in Albania.
- High ranking officials of the Macedonian Ministry of Defence, ARM General Staff and representatives from the Israeli company Elbit Ltd. attended the official presentation of the first ARM pilot- instructors operating the night flight system (ANVIS/HUD-24). The systems were built into the helicopters Mi-24 and Mi-17 not long before the event.

- On 22th May 2006, the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia adopted the resolution for sending ARM units in the European Union peacekeeping mission EUFOR ALHTEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Helicopter Detachment was composed of two Mi-8/17 helicopters and Aviation Wing service personnel.

- The first mandate of the Macedonian Helicopter Detachment ended in January 2007 and the service personnel were replaced with the second rotation.
- On the 9th January at the barracks Strasho Pindjur in Petrovec there was ceremonial send off for the second Macedonian contingent.

- This was a tragic year for the Republic of Macedonia, the Air Force and the families of the victims. On 12th January 2008 in vicinity of Blace, Katlanovo the helicopter Mi-17 with construction number VAM-304 crashed. All eleven servicemen from the Helicopter Wing lost their lives in the crash.
- There was a NATO evaluation level 1 of the declared helicopter detachment during the exercise Macedonian Flash 04, from 21st to 02 November.

- On 26th Novemebr at the airport Aleksandar Veliki and the Military Training Area Krivolak there was a presentation and live firing exercise, which was yet another proof of the dedication of the Air Force service personnel.

During the exercise Balkan Flash 2010, self--evaluation level 2 of the declared Helicopter detachment was conducted.
Also two Mi-8/17 helicopters and two Mi-24 helicopters with 35 service personnel participated in the the Live Ex multinational exercise Logical Decision 2010 in Papa, Republic of Hungary.

- As a result of an Agreement for Cooperation between the Republic of Macedonia and Republic of Montenegro, Wing service personnel attended the Air force Academy of Republic of Montenegro. Three Lieutenants attended the pilot training for Gazelle helicopter and the results they achieved confirmed the high quality of their training and the skills they have acquired in the Training Squadron.
- The Air Defence Battalion and Aviation Wing service personnel together with the service personnel of the Air Force Brigade of the Armed Forces of Republic of Slovenia- participated in a bilateral military exercise Challenge 2011.

- In February the heavy snowfall and the bad weather conditions, like frequent precipitation and low temperatures, resulted in immobilization of many villages and towns in the Republic of Macedonia. The Wing delivered food, water, medicine and basic toiletries for those places that were isolated by the snow. The military helicopters were used to evacuate people with serious health problems from these areas. The helicopters also transported ETSOM and EVN teams to specific locations in order to check and repair the electric installations and networks.
- The main goals of the the second visit of the Deputy minister Emil Dimitriev and the Chief of the General Staff, Major General Gorancho Koteski of the Aviation Briagade in Petrovec, were the implementation of the new structure of the Wing following the transformation into Aviation Brigade, as well as the new candidates selection for the Pilot Training Center.

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