The Vozdvizhenka air base is located close the village of Vozdvizhenka in the Ussuriysk urban district of Primorsky Krai, a strategically important region in the Russian Far East because of its borders with China and North Korea and proximity to the Pacific.
The air base consists of an airfield and its infrastructure, as well as a training and technical base. Close by is a small town, where the 322nd aircraft repair plant is located and still operating. Here from 1953 to 2009, the 444th Aviation Regiment was based.
Well, that is its short name. The full title of the regiment is the 444th Berlin Orders of Kutuzov of the 3rd degree and Alexander Nevsky Bomber Aviation Regiment.
The regiment was part of the 326th Bomber Aviation Division of the 37th Air Army.
The aircraft stationed at the base were turbojet long-range heavy strategic bombers Tupolev Tu-16 and supersonic long-range strategic and maritime strike bombers Tu-22M3.
The 444th Aviation Regiment started to form in 1941 in Khabarovsk and in 1943 the regiment entered active military service.
The regiment supplied 10 crews to fight in WWII on the Eastern Front and in August 1945 the regiment took part in aerial bombardment of Japanese positions after the USSR broke its neutrality pact with Japan. After that the regiment was relocated into Amur Oblast, and then to North Korea.
Eventually in 1953 the regiment was deployed to Vozdvizhenka. As Cold War was escalating and a nuclear war seemed likely, the regiment was to receive special training.
In August 1956, the regiment’s personnel started theoretical study of the Tupolev Tu-16 aircraft, the country’s first turbojet long-range bomber with a 35 degrees swept wing. Training proceeded. 19 crews mastered the execution of Tu-16 “special missions” – the delivery of a nuclear strike.
This airbase is noteworthy not only for its significance should a nuclear war break out. In fact, it played a role in diplomatic talks between the USSR and the USA.
In November 1974, a Boeing with US President Gerald Ford on board and a Soviet airliner with the Secretary General of the CPSU Central Committee Leonid Brezhnev landed at Vozdvizhenka. The two heads of state came here to participate in negotiations in Vladivostok.
The regiment continued to be stationed here until 2009, when it was disbanded. Vozdvizhenka air base was closed down. All operational aircraft were transferred to other air bases. The remaining aircraft were stripped of all equipment and necessary spare parts. Square holes were cut in the fuselages to render the aircraft shells useless. At the moment there are eighteen Tu-22M3 “corpses” on the airfield, waiting to be recycled.
Scroll down to see some incredible images of the abandoned aircraft, hangars, the control tower, barracks and bunkers.
A big thank you KFSS, an urban exploration group, for the information and amazing photos! You can see more of their work here: KFSS
Aircraft on airfield:
Hangars and runways:
Rest of the infrastructure, barracks and working quarters: