The Yugoslav Air Force in the Battles for Slovenia Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina 1991-1992

Volume 1 - JRViPVO in Yugoslav War, 1991-1992

Aleksandar Radic

During the late 1980s, the former Socialist Federal Republic of Jugoslavia (SFRJ) - a country dominating the Balkans - experienced a period of major crisis. Led by the Communist Party, the nation's leadership failed to understand the depth of political changes all over Eastern Europe, and then split along ethic lines.
Date Published :
September 2020
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Illustration :
120 b/w & 6 color photos, 12 color profiles, 1 color & 4 b/w maps, 7 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781912866359
Pages : 96
Dimensions : 11.75 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : Available


During the late 1980s, the former Socialist Federal Republic of Jugoslavia (SFRJ) – a country dominating the Balkans – experienced a period of major crisis. Led by the Communist Party, the nation’s leadership failed to understand the depth of political changes all over Eastern Europe, and then split along ethic lines. In 1988-1989, ethnic Albanians in the autonomous province of Kosovo began demanding independence: the authorities of the SFRJ reacted by suppressing the resulting demonstrations. In the Federal Republic of Serbia, public opinion slid into nationalism, which the local communist leadership exploited to maintain itself in power. By 1990, nationalistic leaders rose to power in Slovenia and Croatia, and publicly announced their intention to secede these federal republics.

Under the heavy shadow of growing war-mongering, politicians from all three sides met to reach settlements on the division of their and their emerging nation’s interests. The last few influential supporters of the preservation of a federal state were quickly pushed aside, and the powerful military of the SRFJ – the Yugoslav Popular Army (Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija, JNA) – became an instrument of political games.

The Slovenian and Croatian proclamations of independence, in June 1991, proved to be the drop that over spilled the barrel. Already split by deep rifts within their top political and military leaders, the federal authorities launched a rather confused attempt to recover control over the external borders of the SRFJ. The nascent Slovenian military resisted, causing a series of bloody clashes with the JNA.

Tasked with the transport and protection of federal employees, the Yugoslav Air Force and Air Defense (JRViPVO) found itself in the thick of combat from day one of this conflict, when the Slovenes shot down two of its helicopters. In return, the JRViPVO began flying attack sorties, which ended only through a political agreement of 2 July 1991, and the decision for Yugoslav authorities to withdraw from Slovenia.

Hard on the heels of this drama, the conflict between Croats and Serbs in Croatia reached boiling point, in the summer of 1991. Slowly at first, a major war erupted, which caught the JRViPVO in a paradoxical situation as part of it was still undergoing training, while another part had to fly shows of power, and undertake reconnaissance, transport and then the first combat operations. By September 1991, the conflict turned into an ugly slugging match: Croatian forces had blocked numerous military bases and major storage depots while the JNA received orders to lift the sieges of its surrounded units. Amid the following civil war, the JRViPVO often found itself forced to take drastic decisions, like when one of its units was relocated from the Federal Republic of Macedonia to Pula in Croatia, to fly combat sorties over the local battlefields.

For the JRViPVO, the war in Croatia ended through a political settlement and a cease-fire of 3 January 1992. However, only weeks later the force was to see its final action in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it flew combat operations against local separatists. While another political agreement resulted in a withdrawal of all federal forces from this part of the former Yugoslavia on 19 Mary 1992, and the loss (and destruction) of the major air base outside Bihac, this was also the swan song of the once proud Yugoslav air force.

Based on the author’s unique approach to local archives and first-hand sources, and illustrated by over 120 photographs and color profiles, the JRVIPVO in Yugoslav War is the first ever authoritative account of combat operations of the former Yugoslav Air Force in the conflict that shaped the modern-day southern Europe, and an indispensable source of reference on contemporary military history of this part of the World.

About The Author

Aleksandar Radić is a Serbian military analyst and author. His primary focus is on the security topics of the West Balkans, the history of the armed forces, the military technology in that region in the 20th Century, and the conflicts that have followed the break-up of Yugoslavia in the period 1991-2001. He has authored a dozen books and hundreds of magazine articles published in the specialized press. Recently, Radic has frequently appeared as a military commentator for major TV stations in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Republic of Northern Macedonia. This is his second book for Helion's @War series.


"Radi immediately impresses a reader with his detailed knowledge of the Yugoslav military (JNA) and especially the Air Force. His level of familiarity with the subject and personal contact with actual participants during the crises discussed in this monograph provide details otherwise difficult to access."

- Air Power History

"This book will be of great interest to aircraft modelers and aviation historians alike."

- AMPS Indianapolis

"Dozens of rare photos also season the survey. A dozen aircraft color plates by Tom Cooper provide potent project possibilities...Recommended!"

- Cybermodeler

"The author has done an admirable job of scouring archival materials and first hand sources to put together as complete a story as possible on the Yugoslav Air Force during this period. The aircraft used are well documented in text, photographs, and illustrations, and the ancillary illustrations and tables help connect all the various elements into an excellent book on the subject."

- Internet Modeler

"The author does a commendable job of giving us the full background as well as a fairly detailed story of both the political and military aspects of the situation of the time."

- ModelingMadness.Com

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