|Belaya (ICAO: UIIB) is a significant strategic air base in Irkutsk Oblast, Russia located 18 km northwest of Usolye-Sibirskoye and 85 km northwest of Irkutsk. It features significant tarmac space and 38 bomber revetments. |
In 1954 Belaya was used as a staging base for Tupolev Tu-4 aircraft sent to China to observe American fusion bomb tests in the Pacific, but the runway was unpaved at this time. Sometime around the late 1950s the airfield was upgraded and its received the nuclear bomber mission. The Tupolev Tu-128 (Fiddler) served here starting during the late 1960s.
Though Belaya was not a part of the Tu-95 forces positioned against North America, its Tu-16, Tu-22, and Tu-22M fleet had a considerable role in Asian strategy. The base was especially important in projecting power against the People's Republic of China following the Sino-Soviet split.
Units stationed at Belaya include:
* 303 TBAP (303rd Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment) flying Tupolev Tu-22M2.
* 1225 TBAP (1225th Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment) flying Tupolev Tu-4 aircraft in 1956-1958 and upgrading to Tupolev Tu-16 in 1958 and Tupolev Tu-16K in 1961. It began flying the Tupolev Tu-22M2 starting in 1982 and retained this aircraft through at least the 1990s.
* 1229 TBAP (1229th Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment) flying the same aircraft and receiving the same upgrades at the same times as 1225 TBAP.
* 1339 TBAP (1339th Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment) flying Tupolev Tu-16 bombers. (Source of information may not be reliable).
* 350 IAP (350th Interceptor Aviation Regiment) flying Tupolev Tu-128 long-range interceptors starting in the late 1960s. This unit moved to Bratsk Airport in 1984.