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On January 1st 1992 the Air Forces and Air Defense headquarters were established. On August 10th  1993 they were transformed into Main Headquarter. On August 18th 1998 Air Forces and Air Defense Forces were merged in Air Forces. From the spring of 2010 Air Force Command was assigned to the Land Forces Command.

First flight was performed by Izani Tsertsvadze on September 19th 1992. He flew over the “Tbilaviamsheni” airfield on SU-25 combat aircraft. Although, by this time MI-25 combat helicopters were involved in combat operations in Abkhazia region, this day, September 19, was claimed as an Air Forces day.

Georgian Air Forces were actively involved in combat missions in Abkhazia. During this conflict, Georgia lost 6 SU-25 type aircrafts, one Mi-24 attack helicopter and several utility helicopters. As for the combat missions, Georgian aircraft's performed several hundred missions, over 200 were performed by SU-25. They were fulfilling its missions from September 28, 1992 till September 28, 1993.

Georgian SU-25 pilots were: Izani Tsetskhladze, Lareri Nakopia, Slava Jabua, Daqa Kizilashvili, Rezo Narushvili, Tamaz Nadirashvili, Kakha Tvauri, Alan Lakoev, Zviad Beqauri, Vova Shebetov, Lado Avlokhashvili, Malkhaz Tabatadze, Gocha Shingizardalov, Davit Gugulashvili, Vlanimer Balaev, Igor Bedausenko, Zurab Iarjuli.

First  SU-25 was shut down over Eshera on October 11, 1992. Plane fall into the sea, pilot Slava Jabua was killed during this operation.

On February 6, 1993, another SU-25 was shot down over the village Merkula. Pilot, Tamaz Nadirashvili was taken prisoner. Later on he was released for the Russian officer.

On May 1, 1993, SU-25 was shot down over Gumista. Pilot, Rezo Naroushvili was taken prisoner. He was released in 1996.

On July 4th 1993, Kakha Tvauri’s plane was shot down over Sukhumi. He managed to eject.

On July 13th, 1993, Zurab Iarajuli’s plane was shot down. He managed to eject and landed behind enemy lines.  He was surrounded by the outnumbered enemy and was killed in action.

 


On September 24, 1993, Georgian Air Forces lost another SU-25 over Sukhumi. This was the last plane shot down in Abkhazia during the conflict. Plane was hit by the “Osa” or “BUK” anti-aircraft rocket systems, which destroyed Izani Tsertsvadze’s plane in the air.

One SU-25 was damaged during civilian war on December 31, 1993 over Senaki by “Strela” type surface-to-air missile, damaging left engine. One of the best pilots in Georgia, Gocha Shingazrdilov, managed to make it to the base with one engine. He landed in Senaki.  

One SU-25 was hijacked by pilot named Zhitnikov, who was Georgian Air Forces pilot. He landed in Giumri airfield (Armenia).

Georgian aviation, 90th years

October 3, 1992, Gogi Kvesadze’s helicopter was shot down by “Igla” from “Ukraina” sanatorium in 14:00 o’clock. Mi-24 helicopter fell down into the sea. Pilot managed to eject out of aircraft, but nobody knows his fate after. He was a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

December 26, 1992, Jim Maisuradze and Mamuka Gelovani were shot down by “Igla” in Atari’s center, Vladimirovka (Gulripka’s district), their Mi-24 helicopter burnt, pilots were killed.

January 15, 1993, Ibakar Magomedov’s helicopter was shot down, pilot was killed.

October 11, 1992, group of saboteurs destroyed Georgian Mi-8 helicopter by an RPG shot in Babushera airfield. As result of this explosion, woman was killed. People which sat in helicopter survived, but it was impossible to repair.

November, 1992, another Mi-8 was damaged in Tkvarchili’s district. Pilot was able to land helicopter, but one man (major) fell from the helicopter.

March, 1993, Loti Kobalia’s fighters opened fire to Mi-8, but pilot was able to land.

June 7, 1993, 15:40 o’clock, Mi-8 was damaged near “MVO” sanatorium. Helicopter fell down into the sea between Tamish and Kindg.

September, 1993, Mi-8 transferred refugees from Sakeni to Kutaisi. Night it flew back to Chuberi. Was commanded to flew back to Sakeni, but as the result of technical bugs it crashed into the mountain.

Georgian Air Forces engaged in Samachablo (South Ossetia) war. 1991, Mi-8T was shot and it landed in Tskhinvali.

19 Georgian helicopters pilots were killed during the war: Jim Maisuradze, Abaqar Magamedov, Giorgi Kvesadze, Giorgi Nozadze, Giorgi Gelashvili, Giorgi Cheishvili, Bejan Gabrichidze, Vladimer Kerdikov, Igor Bakhtadze, Levan Chagoshvili, Roland Senashvili, Tariel Jalagonia, Iliko Efremidze, Sergey Platovsky and Zaza Kavtaradze.

The fate is unknown: Omar Kartoshidzem Zeburi Bolqvadzem and Vitali Areshin.

By the January 1 1994 Georgian Air Forces had 7 SU-25’s, 3 attack helicopters Mi-24’s, 5 Mi-8 utility helicopters, 2 MI-2, 4 Yak-52 type training planes and 6 An-2’s. On December 23, 1996, Yak-52 fell down and crashed near Bolnisi, pilot-tester Oleg Tsatiashvili was killed. On 1997 Georgia bought 10 L-29 type aircraft from Ukraine  in order to prepare young generation of the pilots. One of them crashed during training mission near Marneuli on year of 2001, pilot David Tskhovrebadze was killed. August 27, 1998, helicopter squadron’s Mi-8T fell down from a small height during take-off, nobody was wounded. The same year, Georgia received 10 UH-1H Huey from the United States. Later on, 2 helicopters of the same type have been received from Turkey. 2 Hueys crashed during the period of exploitation. 4 more helicopters were used for spare parts. September 16, 2002, Mi-2 of the border guard’s air unit fell into Kumisi lake. Pilot Nugzar Tskhovrebov was killed (48-years-old, 18 years experience, 2800 hours flight, pilot-tester) and Captain Zurab Bukvaidze (31-years-old). August 13, 2003, over Tavkveti mountains Georgian “Iroquois” was crashed (N25). On 2004 Georgia received 3 Mi-24 attack helicopters and 2 Mi-14 from Ukraine, which have been repaired and returned into exploitation (Those helicopters, which were handed over to Georgia by Russians, but they were so old that exploitation was impossible. The fate of 5 Mi-14 is unknown). May 5, 2004, Mi-24 (N03) crashed around Khulo. On the same year, Aslan Abashidze left 11 Mi-8T. One Mi-35 was bought from Uzbekistan.  On 2005 Georgia bought 7 Mi-24 and 2 Mi-8MTV from Ukraine. On 2006 one Su-25UB returned into exploitation. On September 3, 2006, at 16:00, Ossetian separatist opened fire to Georgian Mi-8 which was flew to Sachkhere. Minister of Defense Irakli Okruashvili, secretary of the Main HQ Col. Zaza Gogava and other persons were in the helicopter. Illegal armed groups were shooting from the area which was under control of the separatists. Pilot had to make emergency landing, because the helicopter was damaged - it was in free-fall mode 15 minutes! On 2007 Georgia replaced old L-29 with L-39, bought in Ukraine. On the same year, Georgian Armed Forces bought 4 Su-25 from “TbilAviaMsheni”. February 12, 2007, Mi-8T (N 43) crashed at the Kutaisi airfield. March 11, 2007, Mi-24 (N 06) fell down around Dusheti region, near Bazaleti Lake. All 3 crew members were killed: Giorgi Londaridze, Gaga Tkemaladze and Sergo Khvaladze.

Georgia bought Israelite “Hermes-450” and “Skylark-2” UAVs. “Hermes” UAVs were accomplishing reconnaissance missions over Abkhazia. 3 “Hermes” were lost during this.

March 18, 2008, first “Hermes” was shot down.

April 20, 2008, second “Hermes” was shot down by Russian Mi-29. This fact was captured by camera. After investigation of UN, Russian Mi-29 was accused in the shot down of the Georgian UAV.

March 13, 2008, third and the last Georgian UAV was destroyed. According to Abkhaz separatist regime, they were shot down 7 UAVs, but this info is not proved.

War of August 2008 didn’t pass without losses  either.3 An-2 type aircrafts were destroyed during the bombardment of Marneuli Air Force base. 

On August 11 Russian airborne troops burned 2 Mi-24 helicopters (aircraft number 05 and 09), and one Mi-14. One Georgian Mi-24(09) crushed during the conflict. No casualties. Aircraft was quickly repaired and returned to duty. 4 SU-24 conducted combat mission, including upgraded version of Su-25-Mimino. Early morning on August 8 Georgian planes dropped 24 150-pound bombs on Russian convoy near Java. The consequences of this operation remained unknown. Georgian Mi-24 attack helicopters conducted 4 combat missions on August 8, 9 and 10. The outcome of this attack is shown on one of the pictures-2 burned enemy trucks.   

 Georgian Mi-24 helicopters attacked the Ossetian-Russian positions

Su-25 “Scorpion” is a remarkable project in the history of Georgian aviation. It was designed by "TAM-Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing" in cooperation with  Elbit Systems Ltd  (Israel). First “Scorpion” was shown in Le Bourget, Paris in 2001. It drew a lot of attention among specialists from around the globe. Later, Turkmenistan bought 4 “Scorpions” from Tbilaviamsheni. New avionics and armament makes “Scorpion” much better that its analog Su-25CM, Russian version of upgraded Su-25. Su-25 was tested in war with Georgia.   

Hopefully, after assigning the Air Forces Command to the Land Forces, the coordination between ground troops and air units will be much better and fruitful. And with that, Georgian Air Force will take it’s part in restoration of territorial integrity of Georgia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 © geo-army.ge

Sources:

UN military register

"Tbilaviamsheni" web-site

Ministry of Foreign Affairs web-site

Ministry of Defend web-site

"Kviris palitra" newspaper

"Profession - the soldier" tv programm

Different internet forums

Private materials