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A Century of aviation in Serbia

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In May 1942, the Peoples’ Liberation Army of Yugoslavia got “partisan aviation”, the Supreme Command Aviation Squad. In 1943, the First Aviation Base was set up, gathering personnel and sending them for training abroad. By the end of 1944, at the liberated territory of Yugoslavia, there were more than 50 airports and 140 fields for the reception of the allied aviation. Out of the Yugoslav airmen in RAF at the Middle East and from the units of the Peoples’ Liberation Army of Yugoslavia, on April 22, 1944, 352nd (Yugoslav) squadron or the First Squadron of the Peoples’ Liberation Army of Yugoslavia was formed, and on July 1 of the same year, 351st (Yugoslav) squadron or the Second Squadron of the Peoples’ Liberation Army of Yugoslavia performed 591 combat task – 2,201 aviation sorties. On October 29, 1944, in liberated Belgrade, the Air Force Command of the Peoples’ Liberation Army of Yugoslavia was formed. In the late 1944, assault and fighter air force division with the related logistic structures were formed, as well as about 5,500 men and 250 planes of type Il-2 and Jak (three fighter and three assault aviation regiments, six airport service battalions and supporting aeronautical and technical units; they performed 1,445 combat sorties). In the spring of 1945, the Yugoslav Air Force comprised: the headquarters in Zemun; four air divisions; transport air regiment; four air force regional commands with 16 airport commands, logistic units, installations, air force military schools, Air Force Test Center. The reconstruction of aeronautical industry and infrastructure started.

The Yugoslav Air Force was established in 1947, and in 1949, it comprised: six air force divisions and a few aviation regiments. Meteorological and air traffic control services were developed. Production of domestic combat piston planes began. Piston and jet combat planes from USA and Great Britain were obtained. In 1955, the Yugoslav Air Force had two air force corps, six air force divisions, 19 combat and support combat aviation regiments, and four training regiments. Reorganization of the military education was carried out. On July 27, 1959, the Air Force commands and units were integrated with the territorial air defense into one armed service – Air Force and Air Defense.

In the middle 1960s, the Air Force and Air Defense comprised 20 air force regiments - 67 squadrons. In operational and training aviation units, there were about 700 planes and about 1,000 pilots. In the early 70s, there were about 600 planes, 320 jet planes, and 1,018 pilots. In the late 70s, there were 39 squadrons, 770 planes and 1,048 pilots. From 1975 to 1985, the number of men reduced, technical modernization related to organization and formation was carried out and developed. By reorganization of the military education in 1985, the air force schools and institutions were grouped according to their functions.

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