Defending Rodinu

Volume 1: Build-Up and Operational History of the Soviet Air Defence Force 1945-1960

Krzysztof Dabrowski

Within a period of just 15 years Soviet air defenses progressed from AA guns and piston engine fighters to SAMs and missile-armed Mach 2 interceptors. This is the story of how this remarkable progress was achieved and how these assets performed in actual combat against foreign aircraft violating Soviet air space.
Date Published :
May 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Illustration :
78 b/w photos, 21 color profiles, 7 maps. 1 diagram
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781915070715
Pages : 80
Dimensions : 11.75 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : Available


When the Second World War ended in 1945 the Soviets had numerous conventional anti-aircraft guns and piston engine fighters in service but with the rapid advances of aviation technology much of this was facing obsolescence. Worse, the war-ravaged country was facing new challenges as the end of the war did not bring a time of universal peace but instead a new rivalry with the West in a Cold War, which could at any time turn hot both figuratively and literally. Western competitors for world domination, primarily the United States, could boast a huge bomber fleet capable of delivering devastating nuclear strikes. Developing and fielding technologically and qualitatively new ground-based defenses and fighter aircraft became a most urgent imperative and in a relatively short time remarkable progress was achieved in these fields. Guided surface-to-air missiles were developed and fielded, and jet powered fighters entered service, their performance ever improving from high-subsonic to supersonic speeds. Similar advances were made in the fields of air-to air armaments and detection and early warning technology.

While nuclear-armed Western bombers never appeared in the skies over the Soviet Union numerous foreign reconnaissance aircraft did. Thus, the Soviet air defense arsenal was tested many times in actual combat against actual and perceived violators of their airspace and other challengers, in which the Soviet air defenses experienced both embarrassing defeats and exhilarating victories. Relegated to dusty files, the story of Soviet air defenses in arguably the hottest period of direct US-Soviet Cold War confrontation.

Volume 1 of Defending Rodinu examines the development of the Soviet air defense forces from the immediate aftermath of the Second World War up until 1960. It looks at the development of dedicated interceptor aircraft, surface-to-air missiles and the radar network needed to support these, along with a detailed history of the attempts, successful and otherwise, to intercept and destroy Western aerial intruders.

About The Author

Krzysztof Dabrowski from Poland has a lifelong interest in the subject of military aviation, and has written dozens of articles on a variety of related subjects for printed magazines and the, AeroHisto and The Boresight websites. His particular area of interest is the air warfare during the Cold War, the aircraft involved, and the experiences of their crews. This is his first instalment for Helion.


"Dabrowski pulls from a wide variety of sources and material that has been declassified and released since the end of the Cold War in 1991. There are a variety of period illustrations, photographs, and maps along with modern color images of the related aircraft types."

- Air & Space Power History

"Helion and Company provides a detailed primer which presents the organization, equipping, and combat history of the early Cold War PVO. Accounts of soviet attempts – and successes – to intercept western aircraft are illuminating. The gallery of photographs and artwork with informative captions enhances the text."

- Aeroscale

"...provides a litany of Western incursions into Soviet airspace and the responses that ranged from bumbling to effective downing of aircraft by Soviet fighters and SAMs."

- Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"​Highly recommended."

- AMPS Indianapolis

"...provides an excellent introduction to the establishment and growth of the Soviet air defense system. "


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