Air Base Kuçove

History of the Regiment “23 PEZA”

The Military Unit no.3362 Kuçovë bore the name “23 PEZA 23”. It was established as the first major combat formation of the Air Force for defence of the Republic of Albania airspace.

The first group of this regiment was created by a special decision, defining the measures for the training of the pilots and technical personnel with the new reactive techniques, which the unit would be equipped with. Alongside these steps, measures were taken to prepare the facilities for the reception of the personnel and equipments.

After completion of the training of the pilots and technical engineering personnel, the regiment was completed and it was ready to fulfill its duties.

May 15, 1955 is the date of creation of the regiment. 

By special decision of the National Assembly no.81, on 11.06.1956, the Battle Flag was handed to Regiment with the inscription, “23rd Regiment of the Fighter Aviation PEZA” (published in the Official Gazette, 1956, page 494).

In January 1956, the regiment began the combat preparations organized on the basis of a regular planning. In May of the same year, by order of the Minister of Defence, the aviation maintenance sub-unit was created under the command of Daut Gurabardhi, while some pilots started studying for helicopters.

In July 1957, JI-28 jet bomber became part of our combat aviation and landed for the first time in this aerodrome. In December, a British transportation plane, Skymaster, landed in Kuçova. By decision of the National Assembly, the pilots Kosta Dede, Mahmut Hysa and Shyqyri Balla were decorated for the successful completion of this task.

In September 1959, the regiment took part in the training of army troops in the Erseka region. In November the regiment took part in the military parade on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the liberation of the country.

In April 1961, for the first time started the experimentation of the Albanian fuel produced by the petroleum laboratory workers, led by engineer Stefan Kagjini, began experimenting with Albanian fuel. Regiment commander, pilot Niko Hoxha made the first test in the air with the aircraft no.332.

In 1964, two new subordinate battalions were created, Aerodrome Service Battalion and Lights-Radio Group.

In 1965, the third reactive training squadron was created to train pilots, new technicians, under the command of the pilot Sali Dibra.

In early 1966 began the construction of the Aircraft Repair Plant, while in April the unit was equipped with MiG-17 squadron.

In August 1975 the regiment conducted the first experiment for night shooting with missiles, while in 1977 was conducted the first experiment for bombing during horizontal flight, at low altitude.

In 1979, Harilla Rebi was appointed the commander of the regiment and Viktor Vangjeli was appointed commissar. That same year, the War Time Post Command was established for combat leadership of the regiment.

9 aircrafts of the unit took part in the air parade on the occasion of 35th anniversary of the liberation of the country.

In March 1981, with the help of technical personnel and pilots of the unit, Film Studio “Shqipëria e re” shot the film “Gjurmë në kaltërsi”, dedicated to Aviation. Pilots Harilla Rebi, Viktor Vangjeli, Agim Balili, Gjergji Spaho, etc, provided concrete help carrying out a large amount of flights in the film, as well as organizing and assisting in other works. 

In 1984 the regiment was given the name “23rd Regiment of Fighter-Bomber Aviation”, while in 1985 it was awarded the order “For outstanding services in the field of defence.”

In 1995, the Air Defence Base, Kuçove was created as Military Unit no.4030 (former no.1875).

Year 1999 is the year of the return to normality, while in 2001, by order of the Minister of Defence, based on the new organizational structure of the Air Force, this unit becomes a subordinate unit to the Air Force Academy, including the theoretical-teaching Faculty in Vlora.

In 2003, the Turkish partners continued working in Kuçove aerodrome, which ended on time.

In the coming years, the main task has been upgrading the infrastructure to meet the standards and conditions of Kuçove aerodrome, as Host Nation Support. Air Base commander is Colonel Balil Hyseni.

The people who commanded Kuçove Base in years: Niko Hoxha, Fahri Bubësi, Bardhyl Taçi, Harilla Rebi, Agim Balili, Colonel Fatmir Meçe, Lieutenant Colonel Agim Matraku, Gëzim Ismaili, Andon Todri, Tomorr Dyrmo, Flamur Hoxha and Syrja Gjoka.

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