On July 30 (August 12), 1912 the special body of military control of aviation and aeronautics was established in the Russian Armed Forces. This day is officially designated in the Russian Federation as the Day of the Air Force.
By the beginning of World War I, Russia had 39 detachments, armed with 263 aircraft intended for military use. During the war years the aerial defence started structurally taking shape for covering the most important centres of the country. The aerial defence of the capital of Russia – Petrograd – and its environs was created on December 8, 1914 as one of the first. Organizationally, it included batteries of antiaircraft artillery, aircraft crews, a network of air observation posts. The names of creators of the «Russian school of air combat» P.N. Nesterov, Ye.N. Kruten’, A.A. Kozakov, K.K. Artseulov, N.A. Yatsuk were inscribed in the history of the First World War. By the end of World War I aviation became an independent Arm of the Land Force.
The development of military aviation was accompanied by institutionalization of the Forces of Aerial Defence (from 1928 – the Forces of Air Defence (Russian abb. AD). For aerial defence some anti-aircraft artillery divisions were created, from 1924 – anti-aircraft artillery regiments.
In 1932, the Air Force acquires the status of an independent Arm. The Air Force of the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army (WPRA) was organizationally divided into the Military, the Army and the Front Aviation. In 1933, the Heavy Bombardment Aviation (as a means of the Main Command) was structurally organized.
On May 10, 1932 the Administration of Air Defence of the Red Army was created. Some brigades, divisions, corps of air defence were formed. On November 9, 1941 the Force of Air Defence of the country acquired the status of an independent Arm. In January 1942, in their composition the Aviation of the Air Defence was organizationally formalized. Besides the Fighter Aviation (Russian abb. FA), the Arms of the Air Defence were the Anti-Aircraft Artillery (Russian abb. AAA) and the Troops of Aerial Surveillance, Warning and Signal Communications (Russian abb. TASWSC).
During the Great Patriotic War the Air Force and the Air Defence Force had operational-strategic formations: Air Armies, Fronts and Air Defence Armies. During the war the Air Force and the Air Defence Force destroyed more than 64 thousand enemy aircraft during air combat, by anti-aircraft fire and on the ground. More than 280,000 airmen and warriors of the Air Defence were awarded orders and medals, and 2,513 people were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, 65 pilots were twice awarded this title, and two – A.I. Pokryshkin and I.N. Kozhedub – thrice.
In the postwar years the Air Force implemented transition from piston to jet supersonic aviation, and the Air Defence Force got all-weather fighter-interceptors, antiaircraft missiles and radar systems.
And now the Air Force and the Air Defence Force, combined since January 1, 1999 into one Service of the Armed Forces – the Air Force, defend the cause of peace sky of our country.