Warsaw Pact

Warsaw Pact Aircraft

The Warsaw Pact, the enemy from the East. The one advantage the Warsaw Pact forces had over the West (excluding numbers), was that most forces used the same kit, which was predominately Russian in design and build. Therefore compatibility between the combined forces was much better than in NATO.

Towards the end of the Cold War the Soviet Union was starting to catch up with the West. However, as proved in the first Gulf war, Western technology managed to totally overwhelm the Soviet designed air defence system of Iraq. However, I do wonder if the system had been operated and manned by Soviet (Russian) crews, if the outcome would have been different.

The Soviet Union was the main producer of aircraft for the Warsaw Pact forces, Mikoyan Gurevich (Mig), Sukhoi (Su) and Tupolev (Tu) being the main producers. Soviet aircraft may not have had the technology of the West, but they still looked the part and as was proved during many conflicts, could still compete with the West in dog fights.

So many different aircraft spring to mind when I think of the Soviet airforces, Mig-21, Mig-25 one an agile fighter, the other a Mach 3 interceptor. The Mig-15, the icon of early Soviet jets and the first clash of jets between East and West during the Korean war. Following from the Mig-15 came the Mig-17 and Mig-19, small agile fighters that gave the US a run for their money during the Vietnam war.

Soviet bombers were constantly testing the West's reaction times by flying close to NATO territory, the main culprit being the Tu-95 (Bear), designed as a bomber, but used in the surveillance role in its excursions into NATO air space. Other examples of Soviet bombers, again from Tupolev, were the Tu-22 and Tu-160.

Index to featured Warsaw Pact aircraft

Below is the index and links to the aircraft featured on this site. Click on the image to see more details about the particular aircraft.