As a part of the organizational reform aimed at increasing efficiency and cutting military personnel, the Air Defense Force was merged with the Air Force in 1998. By the mid-1990s the air defense forces had a total of about 200,000 troops, of whom 60,000 were conscripts, with about 850 combat aircraft, including 100 MiG-23, 425 MiG-31, and 325 Su-27 aircraft.
According to the resolutions of the Security Council meeting of 11 August 2000, the major reform measures of the general purpose forces will be accomplished by 2006. By that time these forces will have over 800,000 servicemen, for a total reduction of 400,000 troops [possibly as soon as 2003]. The air force would lose about 40,000 under this plan.
In 1989 the Air Forces were organized into in three combat arms and one supporting branch [the Aviation Engineering Service], composed of air armies consisting of several air divisions. Each air division had three air regiments with three squadrons of about twelve aircraft each. The air forces are currently organized into four commands under the Air Force High Command. These commands are the Long-Range Aviation Command, the Frontal Aviation Command, the Military Transport Aviation Command, and the Reserve and Cadre Training Command. The usual command configuration includes a division of three regiments, each with three squadrons of aircraft, plus independent regiments.
Frontal Aviation was the Soviet Union's tactical air force assigned to the military districts and the groups of forces. Its mission was to provide air support to Ground Forces units. Frontal Aviation cooperated closely with the Air Defense Aviation arm of the Air Defense Forces. Protected by the latter's fighter interceptors, Frontal Aviation in wartime would deliver conventional, nuclear, or chemical ordnance on the enemy's supply lines and troop concentrations to interdict its combat operations. It would be under the operational control of Ground Forces field commanders. In 1989 Frontal Aviation was divided into sixteen air armies composed of fighter, fighter-bomber, tactical reconnaissance, and electronic warfare aircraft.In 1989 Frontal Aviation operated about 5,000 fixed- and rotary-wing combat and reconnaissance aircraft, which included 270 Su-25, 650 Su-17, and 1,050 MiG-27 ground attack aircraft. It also operated 450 MiG-29 and 350 Su-24 deep interdiction fighterbombers , in addition to the 450 that belonged to the Strategic Air Armies. The Air Forces used the heavily armed Su-25, first deployed in 1979, effectively during the early years of the war in Afghanistan when mujahidin forces lacked modern air defense systems. Military Transport Aviation provided rapid strategic mobility for the armed forces. Its missions were to transport the Airborne Troops for rapid intervention by parachute and to supply and resupply Soviet forces abroad, and deliver arms and military equipment to Soviet allies around the world. In 1989 Military Transport Aviation had five air divisions, including 200 An-12, 55 An-22, 340 Il-76, and 5 An-124 transport aircraft. Having entered service only in 1987, the An-124 was the first Soviet transport that could lift outsized equipment such as main battle tanks. By the mid-1990s the Military Transport Aviation Command was organized into three divisions, each comprising three regiments of thirty aircraft. In addition, there were a few independent aviation transport regiments, including one stationed in Kaliningrad. Overall, the independent training regiments deployed about 350 aircraft of the Il-76 Kandid, An-12, An-22, and An-124 types.