Big Shiraki Abandoned Soviet Airfield in Georgia

Updated: 18 January, 2022 seen 352

If you are into military heritage or have some interest in Soviet history - Big Shiraki airfield in the Georgian dessert (steppe) might be an interesting object to visit in Georgia.

I had not a single idea there even exsit such place here in Georgia, but at the astart of June, during a Vashlovani trip, a German friend took us to this place.

Not an expert on Soviet or any other military I was told that during the Soviet Era Sukhoi figher jets were based here. At start it looked bit unrealistic, as the small angars looked capable of storing some smaller aircraft not a figherjet, but latter I learned the Sukhoi airplane could actually be stored here.

Aircraft storage room
Aircraft storage room

Around 1950, the Soviet government constructed a military airbase known as Greater Shiraki (Russian: Большие Шираки, Bol'shiye Shiraki) in the steppe. It was home to the 178th Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (Russian: 168-й гвардейский истребительный авиационный Краснознамённый полк), which took part in the Soviet–Afghan War and returned to Georgia in 1989.

Big Shiraki airfield
Big Shiraki airfield

Nowadays, the airfield is used as a grassland by local farmers

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the remaining 30 Su-24 attack aircraft were relocated to Russia by June 1992 and the Greater Shiraki airfield was transferred to a now independent Georgia by October 1992. The airfield was never systematically used by the Georgian military and its infrastructure went in decay.

Big Shiraki Airfield
Big Shiraki Airfield

By 2006, the territory of the former air base had been privatized. During the Russo-Georgian War, on 11 August 2008, the Russian jets dropped bombs on the abandoned Shiraki airfield

Here is an interesting article I found for further reading.