Jagdgeschwader 73
Jagdgeschwader 73 "Steinhoff
Johannes Steinhoff
Johannes Steinhoff was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace of World War II, and later a senior West German air force officer and military commander of NATO. Steinhoff was one of very few Luftwaffe pilots who survived to fly operationally through the whole of the war period 1939-45...

" is a fighter wing of the German Luftwaffe
Luftwaffe is a generic German term for an air force. It is also the official name for two of the four historic German air forces, the Wehrmacht air arm founded in 1935 and disbanded in 1946; and the current Bundeswehr air arm founded in 1956....

. The wing is based in north-eastern Germany at Rostock-Laage Airport near Rostock
Rostock -Early history:In the 11th century Polabian Slavs founded a settlement at the Warnow river called Roztoc ; the name Rostock is derived from that designation. The Danish king Valdemar I set the town aflame in 1161.Afterwards the place was settled by German traders...

. Its role includes general Air Defence as well as Training on the Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter Typhoon
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, designed and built by a consortium of three companies: EADS, Alenia Aeronautica and BAE Systems; working through a holding company, Eurofighter GmbH, which was formed in 1986...



On 1 April 1959 JG 73 was formed at the former RAF Ahlhorn
RAF Ahlhorn
The former Royal Air Force Station Ahlhorn, commonly known as RAF Ahlhorn, was a Royal Air Force airbase in Germany situated in the southern suburbs of Ahlhorn, Lower Saxony....

, and Oldenburg
Oldenburg is an independent city in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated in the western part of the state between the cities of Bremen and Groningen, Netherlands, at the Hunte river. It has a population of 160,279 which makes it the fourth biggest city in Lower Saxony after Hanover, Braunschweig...

, using F-86 Sabre
F-86 Sabre
The North American F-86 Sabre was a transonic jet fighter aircraft. Produced by North American Aviation, the Sabre is best known as America's first swept wing fighter which could counter the similarly-winged Soviet MiG-15 in high speed dogfights over the skies of the Korean War...


In 1964 Close Air Support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 was added to the role of tasks with fighter-bomber support for the German Army. Thus a change of aircraft to Fiat G.91 was conducted and the Wing was renamed to Jagdbombergeschwader 42 (Fighter Bomber Wing 42). In 1967 Tactical Reconnaissance became another task of the Wing and a new renaming brought about the Leichtes Kampfgeschwader 42 (Light Combat Wing 42). With the introduction of the RF-4E
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

 to the Luftwaffe in 1971, the Wing's role of reconnaissance became redundant and on 1 April 1975 the Wing was named Jagdbombergeschwader 35 (Fighter Bomber Wing 35).

After the reunification of Germany in 1991, the Wing began to take over MiG-29 aircraft from the Luftstreitkräfte der NVA
Luftstreitkräfte der NVA
The Luftstreitkraefte / Luftverteidigung was the Air Force of East Germany . As with the Landstreitkräfte, the Volksmarine, and the Border troops, it was a military branch of the National People's Army ....

, the former East German air force. In October a test wing with MiG-29s was formed in Preschen and in February 1993 it was decided to merge this test wing with the then Jagdbombergeschwader 35, to be named Jagdgeschwader 73 once more.

In 1994 the first MiGs were stationed at Laage to form an alert flight for Air Policing. The relocation of the F-4 Phantoms was eventually conducted in 1997 which meant the formal decommissioning of air base at Pferdsfeld. In September 1997 the joint operations of MiG-29s and F-4Fs was taken up at Laage. On 18 September 1997 the Jagdgeschwader 73 was then officially commissioned by Minister of Defence Volker Rühe
Volker Rühe
Volker Rühe is a German politician affiliated with the CDU. He served as German Defence minister from April 1, 1992, succeeding Gerhard Stoltenberg during the first government of a reunified Germany in the fourth cabinet of Chancellor Kohl, to the end of the fifth Kohl Cabinet on October 27, 1998...

. At the same time, Rühe awarded the name "Steinhoff
Johannes Steinhoff
Johannes Steinhoff was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace of World War II, and later a senior West German air force officer and military commander of NATO. Steinhoff was one of very few Luftwaffe pilots who survived to fly operationally through the whole of the war period 1939-45...

" to the re-formed wing.

In March 2000 the 2nd Squadron (F-4F Phantom II) was decommissioned and after a short break it was then re-activated as a training squadron for the Eurofighter. JG 73 received its first six (twin-seat) Eurofighter Typhoons on 30 April 2004. Only a few months later, in August 2004, the last remaining MiG-29s in the Luftwaffe were sold to Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 where the majority continue to fly operationally with the 41st Tactical Squadron
41st Tactical Squadron
41st Tactical Squadron is a fighter squadron of Polish Air Force established in 2001 in Malbork, Poland. Squadron is stationed in 22nd Air Base. The squadron operates MiG-29 jet fighters acquired from the German Luftwaffe. Previously these aircraft served with Jagdgeschwader 73 stationed at...

 stationed at the 22nd Air Base
22nd Air Base
The 22nd Air Base is an Air Force Base east of Malbork, Poland, near the village of Królewo Malborskie. It was officially constituted on 1 January 2001, replacing the disbanded 41st Fighter Aviation Regiment...

 in Malbork
Malbork is a town in northern Poland in the Żuławy region , with 38,478 inhabitants . Situated in the Pomeranian Voivodeship since 1999, it was previously assigned to Elbląg Voivodeship...

(as of 2010).


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