This Ukrainian Air Force AN-26 was the first aircraft to land at the reopened Kirovograd Airbase, image taken on 30 August 2014 (Image © Ukrainian Ministry of Defence)

Ukraine Air Force reopens strategic airbase

This Ukrainian Air Force AN-26 was the first aircraft to land at the reopened Kirovograd Airbase, image taken on 30 August 2014 (Image © Ukrainian Ministry of Defence)
This Ukrainian Air Force AN-26 was the first aircraft to land at the reopened Kirovograd Airbase, image taken on 30 August 2014 (Image © Ukrainian Ministry of Defence)

After 10 years of being mostly a parking lot for decommissioned military transport aircraft only, the Ukraine Air Force reopened Kirovograd Airbase in the on 30 August 2014. It is a direct result of the relocation of the military units after Russia took control of the Crimean peninsula in February and March this year, shutting down many of the Ukrainian military facilities there.

Kirovograd Airbase is strategically located in the centre part of the Eastern European country. According to an official statement Kirovograd (Kirovohradshchyny) is the new home to forces that have been relocated from Djankoi (Dzhankoy) on the Crimea (Krim). The Ukrainian national flag was raised again on Kirovograd on 16 June, with work on the runways, airport buildings and other objects have been done in the past two and a half months to bring the airbase back to operational status.

AN-26
The first aircraft to land on the restored military facility was a Ukrainian Air Force Antonov AN-26 tactical airlifter, but no further word on exactly which units and how many aircraft will be operating from Kirovograd. Djankoi was a typical Air Force military transport base, but earlier satellite imagery shows a handful of Ukrainian Army Mil Mi-8s at Djankoi too. It is not certain if these helicopters have been or will be relocating to Kirovograd as well.

Pilot school
Although not in use as an airbase for an airbase, the local pilot school did still use the facility every now and then – as well as some other aircraft on a irregular basis. Main runway 34/16 was therefore kept in a fairly okay condition.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

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