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Organization since 1968

Organization of the Armed Forces, 1989.

The Military Council, originally established by the Mongolian-Soviet defense accord of 1921, was responsible in the 1980s to the Council of Ministers for all defense matters (see Major State Organizations). Observers thought that the council was composed of the minister of defense (who was called the minister of people's army affairs until March 1968) and his deputy ministers, the chief political commissar of the army, and top party officials with military experience and orientation. The Military Council worked in close conjunction with the Special Military Department of the party Central Committee, which lent political authority to its directives.

In 1987 the Ministry of Defense was allotted an annual budget of US$249.44 million. It was administered by the minister of defense, Colonel General Jamsrangiyn Yondon, assisted by the chief of the general staff, Lieutenant General C. Purebdorj, and by deputies responsible for various functional directorates, including operations and intelligence, organization and mobilization, military transportation, and signal communications, the main inspectorate, the main directorate of the rear services, and the main political directorate. More than 70 percent of armed forces personnel were members of either the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party or the Mongolian Revolutionary Youth League.

In 1988 the armed forces consisted of 24,500 active-duty personnel (21,000 army and 3,500 air force), augmented by 200,000 army reservists and by various paramilitary forces, including militia (internal security troops and frontier guards attached to the Ministry of Public Security) and military construction troops. The army included approximately 17,000 conscripts. It was organized into four motorized rifle divisions and equipped with Soviet weapons and equipment ranging from relatively modern to obsolete. The air force included 100 pilots and was organized into one fighter regiment, at least two transport squadrons, and a helicopter squadron. The air force was equipped with more than thirty Soviet MiG-21 fighters along with An-2 biplanes, An-24, An-26, and An-32 transports, and Mi-4 and Mi-8 helicopters.

Major Equipment of Mongolian People's Army, 1988

DescriptionCountry of OriginEstimated Inventory
Main battle tanks (T-54, T-55, T-62)Soviet Union650
BRDM-2 reconnaissance vehicles-do-135
BMP-1 mechanized infantry combat vehicles-do-420
BTR-40, BTR-60, and BTR-152 armored personnel carriers-do-450
D-30 122mm, M-46 130mm, and ML-20 152mm towed artillery-do- 650
ZPU-4 14.5mm, M-1939 37mm, and S-60 57mm air defense guns-do- 100
T-12 100mm antitank guns-do-n.a.
120mm and 160mm mortars-do-n.a.
BM-21 122mm, B-13 132mm, BM-16 132mm, BM-14 140mm, BM-16 140mm, and BM-17 140mm multiple rocket launchers-do-120+
Surface-to-air missiles
MiG-21 (Fishbed), including one MiG-21U trainer-do-30
An-2 (Colt)-do-20
An-24 (Coke)-do-19
An-26 (Curl)-do-1
An-32 (Cline)-do-1
Mi-4 (Hound)-do-10
Mi-8 (Hip)-do-n.a.
n.a. - not available.
Source: Based on information from The Military Balance, 1988- 1989, London, 1988, 171.

The Civil Air Transport Administration, responsible for Mongolian Airlines (MIAT), was thought to be affiliated with the air force. All airline pilots had military ranks, and they flew Soviet-built transport aircraft on crop dusting, forest and steppe fire patrol, and air ambulance missions. They also provided mail and passenger service on 38,400 kilometers of domestic routes as well as on international routes to Irkutsk and Beijing, the latter inaugurated in 1986 (see Civil Aviation).

Last Update: 2010-12-07