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Zeljava Airbase from Cold War

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  • Zeljava Airbase from Cold War

    This airbase was built in the former Yugoslavia between 1960 and 1970 at a cost of 6 billion US dollars which must have been a huge burden to the country.

    An an entire airbase was hidden inside a mountain, completely impervious to conventional attack and highly resistant to nuclear attacks. Long tunnels were filled with planes, living quarters and maintenance facilities, sort of like the aviation version of the Maginot Line.

    Of course the planes had to taxi out of the tunnel to take off and the enemy could crater the runways but the Yugos probably figured that as long as the base itself was intact, runways could be re-paved quickly.

    There was heavy fighting in the area during the Yugoslavia civil war and the base is now in shambles and also heavily mined with antipersonnel mines although various people have been on tours of the base and described it as something out of a James Bond movie.

    Looks like a pretty cool base; my only concern is if they ever had a serious accident with some Yugo pilot pulling a John McCain and squeezing off a live rocket in the tunnel (always a real possibility wherever you have a combat regiment) controlling the fires, smoke and explosions would have been a real challenge in such a narrow tunnel.

    The very last video shows the destroyed base today.

    Last edited by MonsterZero; 24 May 10, 00:08.

    "Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a ugly brawl."
    --Frederick II, King of Prussia

  • #2
    Final nail in the coffin of this airbase is that it is situated on border of former Yugoslav republics - Croatia and Bosnia. Actually, border goes across landing strips.

    Considering that Bosnia decided to disband it's jet aviation (few old yugoslav built subsonic jets), and that Croatia is not in much better shape, it seems very unlikely that it could be repaired for use.


    • #3
      Wow, that's really good stuff. What a monument to the Cold War! Here's another :
      You might like this one from this side of the Curtain.


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