Vaiņode (also somewhere written as Vainodo, Vainede, Vaynede, Vaynodo, and Toyvanede) is a former USSR air base in Latvia, located 31 kilometres (19 mi) south of Skrunda. It was abandoned in 1993. It is only 4 kilometres (2 mi) from the border with Lithuania.

During World War I it was a German airship base with two 240 metres (787 ft) long airship hangars. After the war, they were dismantled and parts of them reused as top cover of Riga Central Market's pavilion buildings.[1] They are still in use today.

Vaiņode was home to the 54th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (54 Gv IAP), in 1967 flying some of the first Sukhoi Su-15 aircraft ever fielded. These planes were upgraded to Su-27 aircraft in the 1980s, and there is some evidence that MiG-23 aircraft were flown. The 54th Regiment was withdrawn to Savasleyka in the Moscow Military District after 1990.[2]

The 54th Guards IAP PVO was activated in May 1941 as the 237th Fighter Aviation Regiment (IAP) equipped with the Yak-1.[3] On 3 February 1943 it became the 54th Guards IAP; "Kerch" designation from Apr 1944; 1944 equipped with P-39 Aircobra, as part of the 1st Guards IAD; reequipped with Su-15 in 1967, Su-15TM from the 2nd half of the 1970's, and Su-27 from the 2nd half of the 1980's.

[edit] TodayEdit

The site has been derelict since Latvian independence from the USSR in 1991. The site, like the other former Soviet military installations in Latvia, have been stripped of everything apart from the concrete. Most of the area is a nature reserve.

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