The Mongolian Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the Mongolian Armed Forces.
On May 25, 1925 a Junkers F.13 entered service as the first aircraft in Mongolian civil and military aviation. By 1935 Soviet aircraft were based in the country. In May 1937 the air force was renamed the Mongolian People's Republic Air Corps. During 1939–1945 the Soviets delivered Polikarpov I-15s, Polikarpov I-16s, Yak-9s and Ilyushin Il-2s. By 1966 the first SA-2 SAM units entered service, and the air force was renamed the Air Force of the Mongolian People's Republic. The MiG-15UTI and MiG-17 the first combat jet aircraft in the Mongolian inventory, entered service in 1970 and by the mid-1970s was joined by MiG-21s, Mi-8s and Ka-26s.
Zhugderdemidiyn Gurragcha, the first Mongolian to fly into space, was born on 05 December 1947, in the Gurvan-Bulak settlement of Bulgan Province, into the family of a cattle-breeder. He graduated from a military school of aircraft technicians in the Soviet Union. In 1972 he was enrolled at the Zhukovsky Air Force Academy. After graduating from the Academy, he worked as an aircraft equipment engineer in an air squadron of the Mongolian People's Army. In 1978, Jugderdemidiyn Gurragchaa started training at Gagarin cosmonauts' training center and completed a course of training under the Intercosmos program. His flight with Vladimir Dzhanibekov on Soyuz 39 as a Research Cosmonaut, launched 22 March 1981, lasted 7 days, 20 hours, 42 minutes, 3 seconds. He was later Deputy Chief of central board of defense, Chief of a scientific institute in Ulan Bator; and eventually Mongolian Sectretary of Defence.
The Civil Air Transport Administration, responsible for Mongolian Airlines (MIAT), was thought to be affiliated with the air force. All airline pilots had military ranks, and they flew Soviet-built transport aircraft on crop dusting, forest and steppe fire patrol, and air ambulance missions. They also provided mail and passenger service on 38,400 kilometers of domestic routes as well as on international routes to Irkutsk and Beijing, the latter inaugurated in 1986.
After the end of the Cold War and the advent of the Democratic Revolution, the air force was effectively grounded due to a lack of fuel and spare parts. However, the government has been trying to revive the air force since 2001. The current Armed Forces maintains an Air Forces Defense Command (Агаарын довтолгооноос хамгаалах цэргийн командлал), under the command of the General Staff. The country has the goal of developing a full air force in the future.
Due to a complete lack of resources, as of 2006 Mongolia did not anticipate being able to reform its flying Air Force in the foreseeable future. However, as air defense is part of the Air Force, the US was pursuing specific training line items in this field as well as air-related fields that may support peacekeeping deployments and operations (For example, slots to the US Army ADA officer basic course, tarmac security, and cargo loadplanning).
Russia's 2008 decision to provide to Mongolia around $120 million worth of conventional weapons and other military equipment, including MI-24 attack helicopters and possibly two MiG-29 fighter jets, has drawn renewed attention to the bilateral relationship. Although the terms of the deal were not initially clear, it would be a combination of grant aid and low-interest loans.
In 2011, the Ministry of Defense announced that they would buy MiG-29s from Russia by the end of the year. From 2007 – 2011 the fleet of MiG-21s was reduced.
In October 2012 the Ministry of Defense returned an Airbus A310-300 to MIAT Mongolian Airlines. In 2013 the Air Force looked at buying three C-130J transport airplanes, manufactured by Lockheed Martin.
The Mongolian Air Force's marking is yellow bordered red 5 point star bearing a yellow soyonbo. The top of the soyonbo in the Air Force marking is not a flame, but a yellow 5-pointed star and two eyes and center line are not yellow but black.
Soviet strategic defense was the responsibility of the PVO Strany (Anti-air Defense of the Country). In addition to the forces directly assigned to it, during the Cold War the Soviet PVO Strany could call on the services of the air defense elements of the Soviet general purpose forces. Moreover, each of the Eastern European countries of the Warsaw Pact had a separate national system equipped almost exclusively with Soviet materiel and organized in much the same manner as an Air Defense District [ADD]. For all practical purposes these systems constituted an extension of the Soviet system. During the mid-1960s the USSR assisted the People’s Republic of Mongolia in setting up an air defense system, which also was closely coordinated with the PVO.
Today, in time of peace and war, the air defense forces are to safeguard the inviolability of air the frontiers of the country and to defend its economic and administrative centers and other vitally important regions from enemy attack.