In the second largest city of Bulgaria, is the country’s pride, which happens to be its primary defense system. Graf Ignatievo Air Base is situated in Garf Ignatievo, a village in Plovdiv. It is a military type airport, located at the elevation of 58 meters, having runways a long as 3000 meters long. Graf Ignatievo is the only fighter air base remaining in Bulgaria. Still, it has many units and sections under it which may be merged with other airfields in future to transform the air base into an even bigger protective force than it already is.
The Third Reich engineers helped extensively in building the air base and for this reason, its popular name in the German aviation society is the German airfield. In 1940, the air base was made ready in all aspects and given to Bulgarian King’s air troops. As we go over its initial days, it is important to mention that the first operation unit in the Graf Ignatievo Air Base was a 2nd Army Aviation Regiment that had four squadrons. One of these squadrons was a Fighter Yato called “Dogan” and was a type of Czechoslovak biplane created before the Second World War.
Another squadron was the Czechoslovakan single engine aircraft for two persons. This is also called the Vrana reconnaissance aircraft. Chaika was a Polish yato at the air base and in addition to these there were more training machines. This machinery and the four squadrons have been the distinctive feature of the Graf Ignatievo Air Base, making it well-known throughout the region.
There was a conversion to Soviet Ilyushin in 1945. The Graf Ignatievo Air Base has gone through a number of stages of dense evolution. It has been given different names for different reasons, and the environment and work conditions along with the facilities and the rules have been changing throughout its history were it has seen the jet age, and then the modern aircrafts. After a series of transformation, the Graf Ignatievo Air Base has achieved its present status and is serving as the primary defense of Bulgaria. It is well equipped and taken care of with the most recent technology available to the country. Apart from that, the life around the Graf Ignatievo Air Base is full of comfort and facilities for the personnel. For example, there are proper medical facilities, adequate living conditions and recreational activities made available to the staff. Since it is the only national defense base, virtually all kinds of exercises and military training occurs here under great supervision d with utmost care.
Today, the air base houses the only fighter squadron and hence is a major defense base of the country. Because it is the only one, it is greatly used by NATO forces and American troops. There is a plan to merge it with another base in order to consolidate American operations. There are relevant recommendations to merge it with the Bezmer airfield and make a larger, more powerful air base to ensure further protection.