Keila Joa: Air Base / Missile Site

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CoordinatesN592431 E0242010 (WGS84) Google Maps
Map with location of Keila Joa Air Base / Missile Site
The history of the Cold War airfields: Keila Joa
by Bert Kondruss

During the Cold War

Usage

Keila Joa initially served as a Soviet air base in Estonia. In the 1960s, the field was converted to one of the first or the first base at all for anti-aircraft missiles SA-5 Gammon (S-200 Angara/Wega/Dubna).
The CIA first noticed the site under construction on satellite images in 1964. First of all, there is uncertainty as to whether it is a system of air defence or missile defence. Comparisons are therefore made with the missile defence test facility in Saryshagan (Kazakhstan). In addition, a similar site to Keila Joa is found at Cherepovez (N560334 E0380956), which is also under construction.
In August 1967, the CIA has already discovered 41 of these missile complexes in the Soviet Union and expects a total of 100 complexes to be built by 1971. The first seven complexes such as Keila Joa each have 5 launch positions, while the following 32 complexes each have only 3 launch positions. Due to the identified characteristics of the missile, the radar and the geographical distribution of the complexes, the CIA estimates that it is not a missile defence system, but rather an air defence system for long distances.

Units

  • 1953 - March 1960: HQ Fighter Division of the Baltic Fleet, from 01 February 1957 subordinated to Air Defense
  • 1953 - March 1960: Fighter Regiment of the Baltic Fleet (MiG-15), from 1957 subordinated to Air Defense
Source: "Unter dem Radar"

In the 1950s

History

  • October 1957
    US agencies count at the airfield approx. 33 fighter aircraft, possibly MiG-15
    Source: /CIA/

In the 1960s

Overview

Map of Keila Joa SA-5 Gammon missile site, Estonia
Map of the site from 1964 - The remains of the airfield are marked. (Source: CIA)
Former Keila Joa airfield, Estonia, on a US satellite image from June 1966
Former Keila Joa airfield on a US satellite image from June 1966 (Source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Soviet anti-aircraft missiles
Only the northeastern grape seems to have further installations. (Source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Soviet anti-aicraft missile site base at Keila Joa, Estonia
Base (Source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Southern part of the Keila Joa base, Estonia
Southern part of the base (Source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Empty anti-aircraft missile grapes in Keila Joa for S-200 Wega
More empty grapes (Source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Structures of the former air base
On the right-hand side, the structures of the former air base can be seen (Source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Keila Joa, Estonia, radar site
Radar site (?) with 5 units on the eastern side (Source: U.S. Geological Survey)
Old runways in Keila Joa, Estonia
Remains of the old runways in the south-east (Source: U.S. Geological Survey)

Today

Usage

Closed.

Sources

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