Concept

Soviet Naval Aviation

Summary
Soviet Naval Aviation (AV-MF, for Авиация военно-морского флота in Russian, or Aviatsiya voyenno-morskogo flota, literally "aviation of the military maritime fleet") was the naval aviation arm of the Soviet Navy. The first naval aviation units in Russia were formed in 1912–1914 as a part of the Baltic Fleet and the Black Sea Fleet. During World War I, the hydroplane units were used in the Black Sea for conducting aircraft reconnaissance, bombing and firing at coastal and port installations and enemy ships, and destroying submarines and enemy aircraft on the airfields. The regular Soviet naval aviation units were created in 1918. They participated in the Russian Civil War, cooperating with the ships and the army during the combats at Petrograd, on the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the Volga, the Kama River, Northern Dvina and on the Lake Onega. The newborn Soviet Naval Air Force consisted of only 76 obsolete hydroplanes. Scanty and technically imperfect, it was mostly used for resupplying the ships and the army. In the second half of the 1920s, the Naval Aviation order of battle began to grow. It received new reconnaissance hydroplanes, bombers, and fighters. In the mid-1930s, the Soviets created the Naval Air Force in the Baltic Fleet, the Black Sea Fleet and the Soviet Pacific Fleet. The importance of naval aviation had grown significantly by 1938–1940, to become one of the main components of the Soviet Navy. By this time, the Soviets had created formations and units of the torpedo and bomb aviation. At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, all of the fleets (except for the Pacific Fleet) had a total of 1,445 aircraft. The Morskaya Aviatsiya (Naval Aviation) was the Soviet Navy's air service during World War II. Such air units provided air support to the Voyenno-Morskoy Flot SSSR (Soviet Navy) in the theaters of operations in the Barents, Baltic and Black Seas and also to the Soviet Naval Detachment in the Sea of Okhotsk. Russian Navy Aviation managed all land, shore and vessel-based (tender seaplanes and catapult vessels) hydroplanes and aircraft, as well as flying boats.
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