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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Dolon AB / Chagan Aerodrome, Semipalatinsk
5033'N 7912'E

The strategic bomber base of Dolon is nearby Semipalatinsk. Dolon airfield, which was a major Soviet long-range aviation facility, is located in what is now the Republic of Kazakhstan. The main runway is 13,200 feet long. It is now known as Chagan air base.

The first Tu-95 weapon ["lvan"] was a 3 MT nuclear bomb (Product 6SD). Improved 20 MT nuclear bombs appeared by the early 1960s, but they were very large and created some difficulties when they were mounted under the Tu-95 bomber. One Tu-95MA dropped a bomb with a yield of 20 Mt in Sary-Shagan test range in the spring of 1960.

One early KH-4A Corona image showed nearly the entire Soviet long-range aviation fleet wingtip-to-wingtip at Dolon air base. The image showed two regiments of Tupolev Tu-95 Bear bombers.

When in 1979 the first satellite imagery of the Tu-160 was ssen in the west, it turned out that the Soviet Union had developed a new trump in the international arms race. In the middle of 1988 was set up the first operational readiness relay from twelve Tu-160 in Dolon in central Soviet Union. The originally planned procurement volume of at least 100 copies could be reduced in the course of political developments.

At the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union, Dolon was home to the 79th Heavy Bomber Division of the 30th Irkutsk Air Army, comprising 1223rd and 1226th aviation regiments of Tu-95MS (27 Tu-95MS6 and 13 Tu-95MS16). The 40 Tu-95M strategic bombers comprised half of all the bombers of this type in Soviet long-range aviation inventory in 1990.

The US Cooperative Threat Reduction program provided equipment and services to eliminate seven Bear G heavy strategic bombers. Equipment included: cranes, cut-off saws, cutting torches, trucks for transportation of salvage, medical, office, communications equipment, and other tools Services included one year of logistics support; Kazakhstan responsible for elimination Procurement contracts were awarded first quarter fiscal year 1997, and equipment was delivered third - fourth quarters fiscal year 1997. The seven heavy bombers were eliminated second quarter fiscal year 1998.

By 2004 Russian Tu-95 and TU-95MS aircraft were deployed at two air bases. A total of nineteen TU-95MS16 and two TU-MS6, operating in the 121st heavy bomber air regiment, which forms part of the 22nd Air Division that is headquarteed in Engels Air Base in the Moscow region. At the Ukrainka airbase (73th Heavy Bomber Air Division) at Svobodny, there are 16 TU-95MS16 and 26 TU-95MS6 bombers that were redeployed from the Dolon airbase at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan.

U-2 Imagery, date??

CORONA imagery, 20 Aug 66

CORONA Imagery, 20 Aug 66

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:47:33 ZULU