The Podgorica Airbase (also known as: Golubovci Airbase) is an active airbase in Montenegro. The airbase facilities are shared with Montenegro's main international airport, Podgorica Airport. It was the home to the 172nd Aviation Brigade of Yugoslav Air Force and its main flying training base for primary and basic pilot training.
Podgorica Airbase shares the main runway with nearby Podgorica Airport, and has a large ramp attached to the taxiway, used exclusively for military aircraft. There are some buildings and taxiways. Golubovci Airbase is next door to it and has a set of underground tunnels near by at the Sipčanik underground aircraft shelter. The Šipčanik Tunnel Complex consisted of an underground aircraft shelter tunneled into the eponymous hill.
Podgorica Airport is a public international airport, but shares the main runway with Podgorica's military airbase. Military facilities include an 80-hectare (200-acre) airbase area adjacent to the main runway, as well as the Šipčanik complex.
Cold War serviceEdit
Podgorica Airbase shares the main runway with nearby Podgorica Airport, and has a large ramp attached to the taxiway, used exclusively for military aircraft. Part of the military complex was also 08/26 runway, which was not used by civilian planes. It is connected to the main 18/36 runway by 3 km long taxiway, and is located adjacent to Šipčanik Hill, near the town of Tuzi. The hill doubled as an underground aircraft shelter.
The Šipčanik complex consisted of an underground aircraft shelter tunneled into the eponymous hill, and adjacent narrow 08/26 runway, which could be used to scramble the jets stored in the shelter. This runway is connected to the main airport complex via a 3-kilometre-long (9,800 ft) taxiway cut through the vineyards.
Yugoslav Civil WarEdit
Airbase facilities were frequent target of 1999 NATO bombing. Fuel tanks and the aircraft ramps were extensively targeted, as well as parked aircraft. All of the Leteće zvezde Yugoslav aerobatic team G-4 Super Galebs were destroyed on the airbase premises during the strikes. 26 Galeb/Super Galeb were destroyed in the tunnel complex, during 1999, including 7 even Super Galeb of the Serbia-Montenegro national aerobatic team "The Flying Stars". Šipčanik underground shelter was also targeted on several occasions. The complex was seriously damaged during the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and was since unused as an aircraft shelter. It was subsequently converted into a wine cave by the Plantaže company.
In early December 1999 the airport was briefly seized by the Army of Yugoslavia in a standoff between the central government and the Montenegrin authorities after Montenegro tried to control the airport independently from Belgrade.
It has been converted into a wine cave by the Plantaže company. The entire Šipčanik compound, tightly guarded by the JNA during Yugoslav era, is now of civilian use, and even first 800m of 08/26 runway adjacent to the Šipčanik hill is accessible by car. With Montenegro's independence on June 3, 2006, the newly formed Military of Montenegro announced that it will not maintain a combat air force. Currently, 17 G-4 Super Galebs, 4 Lola Utva 75s, 17 Aérospatiale Gazelles and 5 Mil Mi-8s have Podgorica Airbase as their home base. The helicopters were incorporated in the newly formed air arm of the Military of Montenegro, while the fate of the jets and trainers is yet to be decided. The Podgorica Airbase is designated to become a regional helicopter pilots training facility.
When Montenegro became independent on June 3, 2006, the newly formed Military of Montenegro announced that it would not maintain a combat air force. 9 Soko G-4 Super Galeb are currently sitting unused at the base.