In the late 30s the first student pilots were sent to Austria, Italy and France.
After World War II, student pilot were sent to the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union. The first generation of Albanian pilots was trained and conducted the first flights in 1961, in Kuçova. The Air Force School was officially founded on May 11, 1962.
In 1963, the first reactive training squadron was created. It was the one that trained the first MIG-15 jet pilots. With the advent of new planes, JAK-61 and MIG-19, there were opened the relevant courses for technicians and pilots. JAK-61 was used for the basic training of pilots, whereas MiG-15 was used for pilots’ advance training.
In 1967-1968 the school was restructured, starting the education of maintenance personnel and flight instructors. In 1971 it was named the “Aviation High School” with the decision of the Defence Council. In 1992, it was named the Air Force Academy. In 2005, it was named the Air Force Troop School. In 2008, the Air Force Troop School becomes depended to TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command).
After 1990, the first students were sent to study abroad in Western academies, such as in Italy, Turkey, Greece, USA, Germany, and most recently in France and United Kingdom. In 2004, the first group of pilots was sent to Italy to attend a pilot’s helicopter training course. In 2007, the BO-105 pilots’ group was sent for training at the “Eurocopter" company, in Germany. In April 2008, Farka Air Base was modernized with double engine BO-105 helicopters.
In 2011, a group of pilots was sent to "Eurocopter" company in France, for training in simulators.
In 2012, a group of pilots was sent for training with EC-145 helicopter in "Eurocopter" company, in Germany.
In 2012, a group of pilots and technicians was sent for training in France. They were trained in "Eurocopter" company with COUGAR helicopter.
In 2012, the pilots’ group was sent to the “FB Heliservice" company in UK for training with multifunctional helicopters.
In 2012 began the project for training of system administrator personnel, which will serve in Control and Reporting Centre, (CRC). Their training was conducted in Turkey, as well as in NATO Programming Centre in Belgium.
Meteorology is the science which predicts the evolution of weather and climate on a regional and global scale through the study of factors that regulate the dynamics of the atmosphere and hydrosphere.
The development of economy, life, and of knowledge of the society, has always influenced the advancement of the science of weather forecasting. Generally, there are few human activities that are not related to rainfalls, temperatures, winds, etc. However, the science of meteorology started to have a greater development with the beginning of the air flights. There is a very close link between air flights and meteorological science, as the latter guarantees the normal conditions for national and international flights.
Our country has its own history regarding the development of meteorological science. The first values of meteorological elements have been measured in 1887, in the city of Shkodra. Then, they started to be measured in other cities such as Durrës, Tirana, Korça and Vlora. But, in these places where values were measured, and where foreign people were working such as Jesuit priests, it was not possible to provide Meteorological Services. Until liberation, there was only a hydrographic office at the Ministry of World Affairs and a meteorological office at the Ministry of Agriculture.
A national meteorological network, which would include all the meteorological services in country, was finally established in 1949 by the Institute of Science. For this purpose, there were set up nine measuring places which were equipped with standard equipment of that time, in the cities of Shkodra, Kukës, Peshkopi, Durrës, Tirana, Kuçova, Vlora, Korça and Gjirokastra. Obviously, the measuring places were dispersed across the country, in different regions, with different distances and climatic conditions and operating 24 hours a day.
The meteorological elements observed at each station during the day were: sun rise, sun set, horizontal visibility, cloudiness, wind direction and speed, atmospheric pressure, air temperature and soil, humidity, evaporation and precipitation. Their values were measured partially every hour and completely every three hours. Also, every single day in Tirana Central Station, four terrestrial synoptic maps were worked on and analyzed manually to cover the weather forecast throughout the country. Transmitting and receiving meteorological data both inside and outside the country were done every three hours in Central Station through Morse system via radio waves.
Cooperation with the outside world was realized through the Meteorological Centre in Sofia, Bulgaria and served to ensure a smooth flight over the airspace of Albania and to contribute to international surveillance network.
It was the first time, only in 1949, when the whole management and staff of this meteorological station were all Albanians. So, the head of the Meteorological Service was the meteorologist Pal Nikolli, meanwhile meteorologists such as Petrit Leka, Nuri Bajko, Nazmi Daja, Seit Berisha were working for the civil sector, while the military sector was represented by meteorologist Hamit Kotoni. These meteorologists, who had studied in Yugoslavia, have made a remarkable work in the history of the National Meteorological Service through their professionalism and dedication.
In the same time, in 1949, was established the Directorate of Meteorological Service, as part of Science Institute.
Meanwhile, the network service personnel have been increasing. We should highlight the hard work of the observers Nimete Zaka, Milla Përbilla, Albert Mërgjoni, Hamdi Shijaku, Zyber Dana etc, as well as the technicians, Marie Kristiqi, Myzejen Sokoli, Vitore Dushi, Fatima Mema, etc.
By the Council of Ministers decision no.411, date 02.11.1955, “On reorganization of the Meteorological Service of Albania”, it was decided that the Central Meteorological Service in Tirana and in its counties to be removed from the administration of the Institute of Science and to be passed to Ministry of Defence. The Military Meteorologist Hamid Kotoni was appointed the chief of Central Meteorological Service. By order of Minister of Defence no.1149, date 26 December 1955, the meteorological service was subordinate to the Aviation Command. And so, began the history of close cooperation between the Aviation Command and National Meteorological Service. This cooperation led to the modernization and improvement of the existing network.
In this period, meteorologists such as Engjell Korça, Servet Minarolli, Minush Karalliu, etc. as well as technicians Rakibete Çuri, Vangjeli Korca, Myzejen Shehri, etc. have done remarkable work.
On September 7, 1956, by decision of Council of Ministers no.377, the Aerology Sector was established as a part of Meteorological Service. The creation of this sector would mainly serve to determine the altitude of clouds, as well as for determining the wind direction and speed, only for military purposes. According to this decision the Central Station (Aerology Sector) had a task to make, at least twice a day, the probe of atmosphere by raising aerosondes or pilot balloons. The data which were taken, served to prepare the meteorological bulletin for Air Force.
In 1957, the network of nine stations of the Aviation Meteorological Service was recorded to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) with latitude and longitude and height above sea level.
This organization was part of the UN and based on conventions established by UN, our state had the obligation to perform meteorological observations, development of meteorological telegrams in network of meteorological stations, the collection of these telegrams in Central Station and sending them through Bulgaria to the European Meteorology Centre as required. These telegrams, which should be delivered every three hours, would serve for processing 24-hour forecast synoptic maps of weather conditions. The Aviation Meteorological Service, via radio waves, also used to take meteorological information by the European Meteorology Centre.
Under the direction of the Air Force Command, the Meteorological Service Network has been continually increasing. Thus, with the establishment of airports in 1960, Rinas Synoptic Station was created, tasked to provide metrological service to military and civil aviation for international airlines. While in 1967, Farka Synoptic Station was established, with the task to provide meteorological service to military helicopters of Farka Helicopter Regiment, to be followed later in 1974 with the creation of the Gjadri Synoptic Station, tasked with providing meteorological service to flights of Aviation Regiment, in Gjadër. Thus, the network of Albanian Meteorological Service under the Aviation Command was completed and operated actively in accordance with the requirements of the time.
Partizan Petroshati, a military, who had studied meteorological-engineering in China, was appointed in charge of the Aviation Meteorological Service during the period of 1975 to 1990.
For the period 1990 to 1992, Minush Karalliu, a military, was appointed in charge of the Meteorological Service.
But, what was the composition of the Albanian Meteorological Service network and how were the requirements met at that time?
The service network consisted of twelve stations, which were divided into stations without meteorologists, in which only observations were made; and stations with meteorologists, which made observations and weather forecasts.
The metrological stations in Shkodre, Kukës, Peshkopi, Durrës and Korça, were stations where only observations were made and had in their composition: the meteorological garden with dimensions 26 by 26 meters included the meteorological cage, thermometers to measure the temperature of the earth, anemometer showing wind speed and direction, as well as pluviometer that measures the amount of rain. The meteorological cage consists of: psychrometer, which consists of dry air and moist air thermometer; minimum and maximum thermometers; hygrometer, which measures specific humidity; thermograph and hygrograph which show daily and weekly progress of temperature and humidity.
The Office of Meteorological Observations owned and had in use, the mercury and aneroid barometers, which serve to measure atmospheric pressure; the barograph, which shows daily and weekly progress of atmospheric pressure; the psychrometric tables, which served for calculation of dew point temperature; and the journals, which served to record the measurements of meteorological elements for the compilation of meteorological telegrams.
While the meteorological stations, where observations and predictions were made, were as following: Central Station of Tirana, Rinas, Farka, Gjadri, Kuçova and Vlora. Besides the garden and meteorological observation offices, these stations included the offices of the technique of weather forecasting.
The technical office used to receive every three hours meteorological data from the European Meteorology Centre via radio-receiver, through Bulgaria. These data were manually marked in the synoptic maps of weather forecasting by technicians, which were earth maps and with altitude of 850mb, 700mb, 500mb, 300mb and 200mb. Then, these maps were passed to the forecast office, where manually were analyzed by the meteorologists, meaning after studied as three-dimensional atmosphere in order to conclude: What is and what will be the weather conditions for the next 24-four hours in our country and in European continent.
The central station in Tirana was collecting all meteorological data coming from the districts, and preparing meteorological bulletin, which initially were passed to the General Staff, Ministry of Defence, and then all state departments, and to the Albanian Television as well. It is noteworthy the representation with professionalism and dignity that meteorologist Petrit Leka has done over the years for Meteorological Service in the Albanian Television until 1990.
Archives were situated in Tirana Central Station, in which are archived all meteorological bulletins, synoptic maps and other scientific works since the establishment of the Meteorological Service.
The Aviation Meteorological Service has had close ties with Hydro-meteorological Institute. Thanks to this cooperation, very serious scientific works in the field of meteorology were realized. Aviation Meteorological Service was one who regularly prepared tables with calculated values of meteorological elements, which, along with other studies of this type, were sent to the Hydro-meteorological Institute, where processed and later, reprinted, thus taking the form of scientific studies.
As a result of the collective scientific work since 1956, the data of Meteorological Aviation Centre assisted in the publication of the Annual Meteorology Bulletin. In this edition of the Meteorological Services included annual data by months, the values of meteorological elements measured in meteorological stations, analysis of synoptic difficult situations, etc. Also, in 1978 the books: "Climate of Albania" and "Climate Atlas of Albania" were published, an edition equipped with 120 maps, diagrams and tables, in which were reflected the distribution of key Albanian climate parameters such as: air temperature, precipitations, air humidity, clouds, sun set - sun rise, atmospheric pressure, wind and temperature diagram of the earth. Cooperation with Hydro-meteorological Institute has continued until 1996.
Given the fact that the addition of meteorological measurement stations helps to accurately forecast weather conditions, by order of the Minister of Defense no. 23, date 12 February 1986, near military installations, meteorological outposts were established. This outpost used to give to Meteorological Central Station relevant data for air temperature, rainfall and snowfall.
The change of socio-political system after 1991 affected the functioning and structure of the network of meteorological service. In this period, there were reductions of meteorological information which come from districts to the Central Station for various reasons such as: reduction of meteorological outposts in military bases, destruction of telephone lines in some districts, lack of financial funds for stations’ maintenance, as well as to provide payrolls for personnel. The latter led to the reduction of personnel across the network and therefore removing the third shift at all network stations. In 1996, the agreement between the Defence Minister and the Minister of Transport, the station of Rinas is disconnected from the network of Air Force Meteorological Service and passes this one under the Ministry of Transport.
The uprisings of 1997 created serious damage to Meteorological Service network except to Central Station. At this station was saved everything and what is most important, archives were protected, and so, the work done with so many years of dedication and professionalism of the employees of this service were protected.
Major Sherif Ymeri was the head of the Meteorological Service during the period of 1993 to 1998.
In the context of the full modernization of the Armed Forces, on August 27, 1997, the cooperation agreement between the Albanian Ministry of Defence and the Italian Ministry of Defense was signed in Rome. One of the results of this agreement was the beginning of implementation of project no. 403 between the Air Force Command and the Italian Delegation of Experts (DIE) in Tirana, aiming the “organization and modernization of the Air Force Meteorological Service in accordance with the requirements of WMO.”
This goal would be achieved through two parallel lines which were: increasing the professional level of service personnel; modernization of equipment and improvement of working methods in the service network.
The increase of the level of professional service personnel would be done through training courses in Albania and Italy. These courses, which have started in 1997 and which continue today, are of different levels such as, "weather observer", "junior forecast” and "operational meteorologists."
Modernization of the equipment would be carried out; by upgrading existing network with contemporary modern equipment, computerization of compiling meteorological telegrams and meteorological information sharing within and outside the country. Subsequently, from 2000 until today several meteorological stations have been modernized such as, the Central Meteorological Station of Tirana and other stations in Farka, Gjadër, Kuçova, Gjirokastra and Kukës. For the first time in these stations, for weather forecasting were used "Meteosat 7" satellite images (VIS, IR and VW) and math-numerical models that are dynamic expression of the laws of thermodynamics of the atmosphere in the language of mathematical equations.
Colonel Mexhit Taku led the Meteorological Service during the period of 1998 to 2001. While from 2001 and onwards, Aviation Meteorological Service is headed by Colonel Bardhyl Imeraj.
In March 2003, transmitting and receiving of meteorological information started to be provided by Italian Meteorological Center through the "Prometeo" program. In the same year Gjirokastra and Vlora stations returned to automatic stations type MAWS 301, while in Tirana Central Station HF radio was installed for communication with the other stations such as Farka, Vlora and Gjirokastra.
By order of the commander of Air Force no.1993 date 21 October 2003, in Tirana Central Station began the operating with three shifts system.
In the framework of modernization of Meteorological Service network, in September 2004 in Tirana Central Station, program "Nubis” was installed. Through this program, was realized the acquisition of meteorological information via satellite, and also using this program on September 23, 2004 began broadcasting weather information on public television by the Air Force Meteorological Service.
A great achievement for the Air Force Meteorological Service was the approval by the Parliament of law no.9224 date 29 April 2004 and the Regulation on organization and operation of the service, approved by Order of the Minister of Defense no.418 date 28 June 2004, in which were clearly defined purpose, subordination, organization and tasks of military meteorological service.
Since 2008 many private or local television broadcast meteorological data obtained from the Air Force Meteorological Center. It’s also unerway the introduction of meteorological data on the Internet, where people will take 24 to 24 real-time weather forecasts.
The Air Surveillance Centre was established in August, 2010, as a result of the implementation of the new Air Force structure. It is located in Rinas. The Air Surveillance Centre is the successor of the Air Defence Battalion.
As it is known, the legal act of July 1, 1931, “On the organization of the National Army” sanctioned the establishment of the first three antiaircraft batteries in our country in ports of Shëngjin, Durrës and Saranda, which is also the official day of antiaircraft artillery creation.
On November 14, 1947 the first regiment of antiaircraft artillery (AAA) was created in Tirana. It was earlier located in the former Artillery Instruction School in Kavaja, where antiaircraft cannons 29mm, 37mm and 40mm, three batteries 76mm and a battery of 85mm calibre were collected. On May 24, 1948 the regiment was named “Ali Demi”. In the same year, in August, the regiment personnel put down an aircraft type Spitfire.
In 1954-1955 the regiment was equipped with 85mm battery and more sophisticated radio technical tools, whereas in 1957-1958, it was equipped with 57mm and 100mm batteries.
In 1959-1969, in the armament were included the guided missiles, 37mm AAA, and 57mm and 100mm cannons with automatic direction, 14.5mm machine guns with four barrels, whereas the ADA (air defence artillery) were also equipped with long, medium, short range detection radars. After the completion with military technicians, a great number of leading officers were annually selected not only from this unit, but also from other new units, which were spread across the country.
In the 70s, there were 22 regiments, 18 battalions of machine gunner of AAA, offered 6 barrels per km in the front line. The AAA directed missile regiment that was considered the pride of force, was created on December 6, 1968, after it the demonstration of this technique made in the military parade in 1964.
There are prominent military figures who have commanded the Artillery Regiment such as: Muharrem Shabani, Simo Dhamo, Atif Ruçi, Raqi Iftica, Siri Strazimiri, Savo Kavaja, Kiço Janku, Naum Gjinikasi, Maqo Zoto, Bejto Isufi, Pasho Zupa, Qendro Mustafaraj, Alush Bisha, Namik Shehu, Ferhat Turhani, Pëllumb Gjondedaj, Metan Ismaili, Vangel Mati, Xhevdet Ramçaj, Hikmet Zyberi, Rustem Lami, Arqile Kokëdhima, Mehmet Mehmetaj and Tomor Mukaj.
In July 1956, pilots and technicians were sent to the former Soviet Union to be trained in the use of helicopters.
In June 1957, it was established the Military Transportation Unit no.5818 and its organizational structure included a MI-4, three MI-1, a few JAK-11 planes, JAK-18 and PO-2. The unit commander was appointed Peço Polena, commander of the first trio of MI-4 was appointed Petrit Malindi; Mersin Minxha was appointed the commander of the second trio of MI-1 and Refit Jazo was the commander of JAK-18 aircrafts.
On September 4, 1957, thousands of people in Tirana saw flying a helicopter in the sky for the first time in our country. The helicopter piloted by Peço Polena flew over the route Tirana-Shkodra-Tirana. In June 1958, one of MI-1 helicopters clashed and it was put out of use. Flights with MI-4 helicopters continued by fulfilling special tasks, particularly in the winter situations in the years 1958, '59, '60, under very difficult weather conditions.
In 1967, about 30 new MI-4 helicopters manufactured in the People’s Republic of China were included in this unit. This unit was named “1st Helicopter Regiment” on December 6, 1967 and its commander was appointed Lulo Musaj. The regiment included three squadron of MI-4 helicopters, one machine-shop to repair helicopters, the runway for heliport allowing simultaneous take off and landing of several helicopters, barracks and normal conditions for the personnel, guards and the entire necessary infrastructure to fulfil their tasks.
Farka Air Base has made a remarkable contribution in accomplishing various military trainings of that time, but also to help the population in civil emergencies, especially in cases of flooding, blocked mountain areas by the snow, earthquakes or even in times of crisis.
This base has also participated in several exercises, either Air Force exercises, or joint exercises with forces of other units of the Armed Forces, showing high quality and level of flight training.
To carry out its mission, the personnel of this base are intensively trained to keep in constant readiness the air technique, to accomplish tasks such as, transportation of troops, search and rescue operations (SAR), food aid distribution, or transportation of patients in civil emergencies.
In the recent years the base infrastructure has been significantly improved mainly due to the assistance provided by the Italian Army. The new heliport is built with all its respective equipment for day and night landings and take offs. The barracks were reconstructed, as well as the machine-shop for helicopters maintenance; the direction and flight tower is equipped with modern tools.
The personnel of Farka Air Base has been qualified to meet the standards and its mission. This base is a symbol of cooperation with our allies in joint exercises, where there participants have shown dignity and professionalism coordinating actions in order to accomplish the mission.
Every year, it carries over 500 flights in humanitarian operations to help people in need, to transportation the sick people, against fires, transportation of humanitarian aid, in support of the community during floods, etc. The real and tangible indicator of the entire Albanian people was the contribution made in the last years during the floods in Shkodra, where despite the unsuitable weather conditions, the pilots helped the people. The pilots of the air base have been trained to be able to carry out air operations in different weather conditions and interact with other NATO allied armies.
Most of the technical and pilot personnel has been qualified in Western schools and units such as in Italy, USA, Turkey, Greece, Germany, France and United Kingdom.
The following are those who commanded Farka Base in years: Lulo Musai, Refat Kasimati, Hetem Mehmeti, Sinan Çela, Enver Taho, Beqir Barxha, Raqi Qarri, Syrja Gjoka and Frederik Beltoja.
History of the Regiment “23 PEZA”
The Military Unit no.3362 Kuçovë bore the name “23 PEZA 23”. It was established as the first major combat formation of the Air Force for defence of the Republic of Albania airspace.
The first group of this regiment was created by a special decision, defining the measures for the training of the pilots and technical personnel with the new reactive techniques, which the unit would be equipped with. Alongside these steps, measures were taken to prepare the facilities for the reception of the personnel and equipments.
After completion of the training of the pilots and technical engineering personnel, the regiment was completed and it was ready to fulfill its duties.
May 15, 1955 is the date of creation of the regiment.
By special decision of the National Assembly no.81, on 11.06.1956, the Battle Flag was handed to Regiment with the inscription, “23rd Regiment of the Fighter Aviation PEZA” (published in the Official Gazette, 1956, page 494).
In January 1956, the regiment began the combat preparations organized on the basis of a regular planning. In May of the same year, by order of the Minister of Defence, the aviation maintenance sub-unit was created under the command of Daut Gurabardhi, while some pilots started studying for helicopters.
In July 1957, JI-28 jet bomber became part of our combat aviation and landed for the first time in this aerodrome. In December, a British transportation plane, Skymaster, landed in Kuçova. By decision of the National Assembly, the pilots Kosta Dede, Mahmut Hysa and Shyqyri Balla were decorated for the successful completion of this task.
In September 1959, the regiment took part in the training of army troops in the Erseka region. In November the regiment took part in the military parade on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the liberation of the country.
In April 1961, for the first time started the experimentation of the Albanian fuel produced by the petroleum laboratory workers, led by engineer Stefan Kagjini, began experimenting with Albanian fuel. Regiment commander, pilot Niko Hoxha made the first test in the air with the aircraft no.332.
In 1964, two new subordinate battalions were created, Aerodrome Service Battalion and Lights-Radio Group.
In 1965, the third reactive training squadron was created to train pilots, new technicians, under the command of the pilot Sali Dibra.
In early 1966 began the construction of the Aircraft Repair Plant, while in April the unit was equipped with MiG-17 squadron.
In August 1975 the regiment conducted the first experiment for night shooting with missiles, while in 1977 was conducted the first experiment for bombing during horizontal flight, at low altitude.
In 1979, Harilla Rebi was appointed the commander of the regiment and Viktor Vangjeli was appointed commissar. That same year, the War Time Post Command was established for combat leadership of the regiment.
9 aircrafts of the unit took part in the air parade on the occasion of 35th anniversary of the liberation of the country.
In March 1981, with the help of technical personnel and pilots of the unit, Film Studio “Shqipëria e re” shot the film “Gjurmë në kaltërsi”, dedicated to Aviation. Pilots Harilla Rebi, Viktor Vangjeli, Agim Balili, Gjergji Spaho, etc, provided concrete help carrying out a large amount of flights in the film, as well as organizing and assisting in other works.
In 1984 the regiment was given the name “23rd Regiment of Fighter-Bomber Aviation”, while in 1985 it was awarded the order “For outstanding services in the field of defence.”
In 1995, the Air Defence Base, Kuçove was created as Military Unit no.4030 (former no.1875).
Year 1999 is the year of the return to normality, while in 2001, by order of the Minister of Defence, based on the new organizational structure of the Air Force, this unit becomes a subordinate unit to the Air Force Academy, including the theoretical-teaching Faculty in Vlora.
In 2003, the Turkish partners continued working in Kuçove aerodrome, which ended on time.
In the coming years, the main task has been upgrading the infrastructure to meet the standards and conditions of Kuçove aerodrome, as Host Nation Support. Air Base commander is Colonel Balil Hyseni.
The people who commanded Kuçove Base in years: Niko Hoxha, Fahri Bubësi, Bardhyl Taçi, Harilla Rebi, Agim Balili, Colonel Fatmir Meçe, Lieutenant Colonel Agim Matraku, Gëzim Ismaili, Andon Todri, Tomorr Dyrmo, Flamur Hoxha and Syrja Gjoka.
I. Attempts to create the Aviation Force should be looked back in the Aviation history. Before World War II, the governments, despite of their efforts, didn’t achieve such a thing, due to economic reasons.
The first step to establish a Military Aviation in Albania was laid in 1914, when the Albanian government ordered the purchase of three “Lohner Daimler” aircrafts from Austria in order to establish the Albanian Air Corps. The order was cancelled as a result of the First World War and during 1920-1930 Albania didn’t possess the necessary resources to restart the development of the Air Force. The first attempts to buy aircrafts and to establish an Air Force resumed again in the late 30s, at that time the pilot cadets were sent to study in Austria, Italy and France.
Albanian Military Aviation was established after World War II and the official date of its foundation is April 24, 1951. The Airspace Surveillance was also institutionalized after the war. On February 14, 1947 it was created VAIN Company for aerospace surveillance and information on detected objects.
The first group of fighter jets was created in Tirana in 1951, where the planes type JAK-18 and PO-2 were part of. The first installation of Jet Aviation was established in Kuçova in 1955 and it comprised MIG-15 aircrafts.
In 1957, it was established the Military Transportation Unit in Tirana, which was composed of I-2 and JAK-18 planes ,as well as MI-1 and IL-4 helicopters.
In 1962 it was created the Aviation Regiment in Rinas, which was composed of a squadron of MIG-19 aircrafts and a squadron of MIG-17 aircrafts. In the same year, it was established the Aviation School.
In 1967, it was created the Helicopter Regiment, including over 30 new MI-4 helicopters.
In 1974, it was established Gjadri Regiment, which was equipped with MIG-21 and MIG-19 aircrafts, in addition to some training MIG-17 and MIG-15 aircrafts for training purposes.
In the ‘70s, the Military Aviation had fully efficient with over 70 MIG-19 and 12 MIG-21 aircrafts, a combat squadron of MIG-17 fighter jets and many combat-training MIG-15 aircrafts. Parts of the military aircraft fleet were four transport IL-14 aircrafts, which served as transport aircrafts for governmental transport or geographical military studies.
There were also deployed 12 light transport AN-2 aircrafts in Lapraka, Tirana, which were used to transport troops and to support the local economy. In the Aviation School in Vlora, besides the reactive MIG-15 jets, there were also deployed two squadrons of JAK-81 aircrafts with propellers, which served for the training of the pilots in the first year of their education as pilots. In Rinas Regiment there was deployed a light bomber type IL-28.
In the 70s-80s, the level of flight programming was intensive and the quantity of flights for each plane and pilot met the highest standards and requirements.
After 2000, the Air Force started to include the Western flying techniques. In April 2001 arrived the first AB-206 helicopters, while on November 26, 2003 a whole squad of such helicopters was completed.
On April 24, 2004 arrived the first AB-205 helicopter.
On February 1, 2007 arrived a A-109 helicopter for VIP transport.
On June 18, 2007 arrived the first BO-105 helicopters.
On July 28, 2012 arrived the EC-145 helicopters, VIP version.
On December 3, 2012 arrived the first multirole COUGAR helicopter.
II. The Antiaircraft Defence and Aviation are "joint and spilt up" several times by organizational structures, but they have always had a strong cooperation between them. In the beginning of its establishment, the Aviation Service was part of Antiaircraft Defence Command and continued to be a component of this command until 1974. It rejoined the Air Defence Force in 1995. The first Aviation commander was Mr. Edip Ohri, who led this Force until 1974. From 1975 to 1995, there were several Aviation commanders such as Bardhyl Taçi, Klement Aliko and Perlat Binaj.
Many of these military officers, who have led and served over the years, are the most prominent figures of our Army, such as Rrahman Parllaku, Gjin Marku, Hito Çako, Todi Naço, Sotir Filto, Arif Hasko, Edip Ohri, Niko Hoxha, Babaçe Faiku, Bardhyl Taçi, Klement Aliko, Haki Jupasi, Perlat Binaj, Salih Dibra, Haki Jupasi, Stefan Kagjini, Lulo Musai, Perikli Teta, Foto Lako, Harilla Rebi, Perlat Sula, Brigadier General Astrit Jaupi, etc, who are well-known throughout the Army for their commitment in accomplishing their duties.
III. The Antiaircraft Defence, Military Aviation and Airspace Surveillance units have always been closely cooperative and collaborative among them, despite different organizational structures over the years. Besides that, they have had different structural dependence with each-other in years.
Albania’s Antiaircraft Defence celebrates its foundation day on the 1st of July 1931, the date on which was adopted the legal act “On the organization of the National Army”, and it was sanctioned the establishment of the first three antiaircraft batteries in our country in the ports of Shëngjin, Durres and Saranda. The Antiaircraft Defence had a major development in 60-70s. In 1954-1955 it was equipped with 85mm AA batteries and more sophisticated radio-technical equipments, whereas in 1957-1958 it was equipped with 57 and 100mm batteries. In 1959-1969, the guided missiles became part of Aviation ammunition, 37mm cannons, 57mm and 100mm cannons with automatic direction, four-barrels 14.5mm machine guns, and long, short and medium range distance radars. The Antiaircraft Guided Missile Regiment, which was considered as the pride of this service, was established on December 6, 1968. In the 70s there were 22 AKA regiments, 18 AKA machine guns battalions, which accounted about 6 barrels per each kilometre of the front.
IV. The Air Force was established as a new structure on August 18, 2000 under the organizational structure of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Albania stated by the Constitution. Air Force was comprised of: Helicopter Regiment, Air Brigade, Air detachment, Air Support Bases, Air Observation Battalion, Logistics Battalion, Meteorological Service Centre, Aircraft Maintenance Centre, Air Force Troops School and complementary subunits.
All these units have been part of Antiaircraft Defence and Military Aviation over the years.
V. Under the new structure and its implementation in 2007, the Air Force undertook several changes in order to increase the professionalism and to meet the standards required for NATO membership.
As a result of the new structure from 2007 to 2009, the Air Force was restructured at Air Brigade level and its units were: Farka Helicopter Regiment, Marikaj Air Defence Battalion, Meteorological Service, Rinas Air Base, Kuçova Air Base, whereas Air Force Troops School Corps was subordinated to the Training and Doctrine Command.
VI. Because of the changes in TOP (Table of Organization and Personnel), in early 2010 the Air Force was restructured again at Air Force level.
Under the new restructuring the Helicopter Regiment was changed into the Air Base. Rinas Air Base became VIP Detachment, ASOC (Air Sovereignty Operation Centre) in CRCn (Control and Reporting Centre), Marikaj Provisional Detachment was deployed in Rinas and it was named Air Observation Centre.
By decree of the President of the Republic no. 6416 and no. 6420, date 16.02.2010, and by order of the Minister of Defence no. 237, date 19.02.2010, Brigadier General Dhori Spirollari was appointed Air Force Commander.
VII. 37 militaries of the Aviation Service lost their lives for the country and were declared “Martyrs of the Nation”. By decision of the Albanian Government, since April 24, 2003, they rest in the National Martyrs’ Cemetery in Tirana and in other cities.
In 1997, four militaries of Antiaircraft Defence lost their lives for the country defending the army units from destruction; they were Muhammad Hasmuja, Arben Hoxha, Albert Lela and Bardhyl Këlliçi. They were declared “Martyrs of the Nation”.