Air Force History
The history of world aviation is closely connected with Ukraine. One of the first planes, was created here. Olexandr Mogaiskiy is the designer of one of the first planes, which had flown in the air, Mykola Kybalchych is the founder of the theory of missile construction, Olexandr Zasiadko is the designer of combat missiles, all of them worked in Ukraine. The Kievans' names Ihor Sicorskiy and Dmytro Grygorovych became world famous due to their invention of an aircraft. The Ukrainian brave falcons Kostiantyn Arceulov and Volodymyr Dybovsky managed to suppress the fear of the first world aviators and accomplished spin one of pilots' stunts. Evgraf Kruten - the courageous and talented pilot laid the foundation of tactics of fighter aviation, on which the modern rules of air battle are based. The manufacturer Artur Anatra had built one of the first aircraft plants in Odessa in the Russian Empire.
The history of The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine begins since the origin of Ukrainian National Republic. Zaporozhye air flying squadron that was established at the end of March, 1918, set up aviation units of the Armed forces. It was the part of army corps originated from Zaporozhye division and was deployed in Kharkov. Afterwards new aviation units were formed. They were united in three aviation detachments (inspectorates), and squadron of heavy four-engines bombers of types Illia Murometc. Bombers carried up to 800 kg of bombs and were equipped with 7-8 machine-guns. In December 1918 the first flying unit litunska sotnia had become the part of the Ukrainian Galician Army, that was the paramilitary unit of Western-Ukrainian National Republic, and then flying regiment litunskiy regiment was established, which included 40 plains of different types.
Ukrainian pilots were remarkable for high airmanship and heroism during World War II. They carried out thousands of operational flights, they were the winners of hundreds of air combats against enemy planes. The most remarkable of them -- Ivan Kogedub is the number one ace of the Soviet Air Force, three times the Hero of the Soviet Union (62 air victories) and two times the Hero of the Soviet Union Serhy Grycevec (40 air victories).
Military pilots proved their best skills in Afghanistan. Combat operations, convoy covering, cargo delivery were a quite incomplete list of what military pilots of Ukraine were doing on that war. And in the present time a lot of veterans of that war are on active duty. The Union of combatants (of veterans of Afghanistan war) of The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was created. The Union provides social and legal protection of combatants and family members.
There are military pilots within the Air Force of Ukraine whose skill helped them win the hearts not only of the spectators in Ukrainian and at the international air shows but also of the professional judges. In July 1996, an Air Force delegation, took part in the prestigious international air show AirTatoo '96, held in the UK. The Ukrainian sniper pilot Mykola Koval, flying an SU-27, won the "Superking" challenge prize for aerobatics. In 1998 Col. Koval was invited to participate in the international air show dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Israel Air Force where he also got a memorandum prize.
In 1998 Ukraine Air Force participated in one of the world's largest air display -Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford. Ukrainian aircraft An-72 Coaler-C under Col. Vaneev command won the cup for the best flying demonstration as the non-military aircraft, and the Tu-22 M3 aircrew from Poltava won Concours d'Elegance competition.
Colonel Ivan Chernenko took part in four air show abroad. In 1998 he performed for the first time in the history of the Air Force of Ukraine piloting the Su-27 fighters escorted by IL-76 MD military cargo aircraft the transatlantic flight from Ukraine to the USA and became holder of the crystal mace of the all - Ukrainian "Gold Fortune" competition. In 1999 colonel Chernenko gained prize for his performance at the air show in Gradec-Kralove, Czech Republic. In 2000 the Ukrainian Air Force delegation participated in the air show in Romania, Austria, Great Britain, Czech Republic, the republic of Moldova, where they also gained prizes.
The Air Force of Ukraine is gaining more authority throughout the world. Frequent visits to the AFU by the leading commanders of the other states armed forces and the visits of the Ukrainian AF delegations abroad testify to this fact. In 2000 over 50 events of this kind have been conducted. The AFU representatives participated in the following Partnership for Peace exercises - Co-operative Chance, Co-operative Key, Sea Breeze, Shield of the World etc. The international cooperation contributes to strengthening the relations between the partner countries Air Force top leaders, continuing the contacts between the twin air bases, expanding the cooperation of the experts in various types of support, exchanging the concepts of training the perspective officers as well as supporting the participation of the Air Force of Ukraine in the Partnership for Peace program and gaining the compatibility in the framework of this program.
The professional day of aviators was established according to the Decree of the President of Ukraine # 119/96 of January, 10, 1996, that is celebrated on the last Saturday of August. Nowadays The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is the one of the important guarantors of the integrity and independence of Ukraine. The Air Force firmly secures the air space of Ukraine.
In 1997 the Program of establishment and development of The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine of the period till 2005 was worked out and approved by Minister of Defence of Ukraine.
In 2000 the Program of reforming and development of The Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine of the period till 2005 was worked out and approved by Minister of Defence of Ukraine, according to the Decree of the President of Ukraine #927/2000 dated 28.07.2000.
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