16th Transport Air Base
During September 2022 one of MAR’s members had the opportunity to visit Vrazhdebna Air Base, also known as the 16th Transport Air Base, located near the village of Vrazhdebna, 10 kilometers northwest of Sofia, Bulgaria. As a military airfield, Vrazhdebna is home to the Bulgarian Air Force’s 16th Transport Air Base, which operates a variety of transport aircraft.
The air base has a long and storied history, dating back to the 1930s when it was first established as a civilian airport. In the years following World War II, it was transformed into a military facility and has played a key role in the defense of Bulgaria. In its early years, Vrazhdebna Air Base was equipped with a variety of aircraft, including fighters, bombers, and transport planes. In the 1960s, it was equipped with Soviet-made MiG-15, MiG-17, and MiG-19 fighters, as well as Il-28 bombers. In the 1970s and 1980s, the base was modernized and equipped with more advanced aircraft, including MiG-21 fighters and An-12 transport planes.
Nowadays, the 16th Transport Air Base operates a more modern aircraft inventory which is used for a variety of missions, including the transport of troops and equipment, medical evacuation, search and rescue, and humanitarian aid.
Current Operational Aircraft
The L-410UVP-E3 aircraft, is a twin-engine, short-range transport aircraft equipped with General Electric H80-200 turboprop engines. These aircraft are used for a variety of roles, including passenger and cargo transport, regional airline service, and military training and transport. The L-410UVP-E3 is known for its reliability, fuel efficiency, and versatility.
The C-27J Spartan aircraft is a military transport planes designed and built by Leonardo (formerly Alenia Aermacchi). The C-27J is a twin-engine, medium-sized transport plane that is used for a variety of roles, including the transport of troops, equipment, and supplies, as well as medical evacuation, search and rescue, and humanitarian aid missions. It is equipped with modern avionics and navigation systems, as well as a variety of communication and self-defense systems. The C-27J is known for its reliability, versatility, and performance, making it an important asset to the Bulgarian Air Force.
The Antonov An-2 aircraft, which is a single-engine, biplane utility aircraft that was designed and developed in the Soviet Union in the 1940s. The An-2 is a versatile aircraft that is used for a variety of roles, including passenger and cargo transport, agricultural work, and search and rescue. It is equipped with a single piston engine and has a large, sturdy airframe that can operate from rough or unprepared runways. Despite its age, the An-2 is still in service with several military and civilian operators around the world, including the Bulgarian Air Force, where it is used for the aforementioned missions.
The Pilatus PC-12 is a single-engine turboprop aircraft that is used for a variety of roles, including passenger and cargo transport, corporate aviation, and air ambulance duties. It is known for its versatility, performance, and efficiency, and is widely used by military and civilian operators around the world.
During the visit on the base, it was noted that there were several operational aircraft as well as other aircraft such as the L-410UVP-E and AN-26 aircraft that are currently stored on the ramp.
Aircraft Observed on Base:
3x C-27J Spartan
- 071 (C/N 4127)
- 072 (C/N 4140)
- 073 (C/N 4145)
1x Pilatus PC-12M
- 020 (C/N 518)
1x Antonov An-2
- 027 (C/N 1G15702)
1x Antonov An-26 (Stored)
- 070 (C/N 13708)
2x Let L-410UVP-E (Stored)
- 066 (C/N 892337)
- 067 (C/N 892338)
2x Let L-410UVP-E3
- 068 (C/N 902522)
- 069 (C/N 902523)
1x AL532AL (Visitor from 24.VAB based in Plovdiv-Krumovo)
- 711 (C/N 2713)
Despite its many years of service, Vrazhdebna Air Base remains an important and vital part of the Bulgarian Air Force. It continues to play a crucial role in the defense of the country and in supporting the military’s various operations around the world.
Overall, this visit to Vrazhdebna Air Base was a memorable and educational experience. It was fascinating to see the behind-the-scenes operations of a military air base and to learn more about the important role it plays in the defense of Bulgaria. During this visit one could see and appreciate the hard work and dedication of the personnel at Vrazhdebna Air Base and their role in protecting Bulgaria.