Defying clouds in the sky and Covid-19 on the ground, Russia’s deadliest bombers, nimblest fighter jets and strongest transport aircraft flew over the capital in celebration of Soviet victory over Nazi Germany 75 years ago.
V-Day is one of the most important national holidays in Russia, and this year was supposed to have seen massive celebrations throughout the country. But Covid-19 and its lockdowns threw a wrench into the plans, forcing the postponement of most festivities.
While only a handful of ceremonial troops marched across Moscow’s center this year for a wreath-laying ceremony, the air over the Russian capital was teeming with military aircraft, which were deployed in record numbers for the occasion. A total of 75 helicopters and planes – one for each year since that legendary day – flew under the cloudy sky. Also on rt.com 27 million reasons why we must remember Victory Day & stand up to attempts at rewriting history
The flyover started with a Mi-26 – the world champion in size and power among mass-produced heavy-transport helicopters. It was accompanied by a quartet of Mi-8s – the workhorse of transport aviation in Russia and many other nations. ©REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
Rotorcraft with more teeth followed closely. Сombat choppers, including Mi-35M armed transport, Ka-52 ‘Alligator’ and Mi-28N ‘Night Hunter’ helicopter gunships were on display. Ka-52 helicopters. ©Sputnik/Yevgeny Biyatov
Next came the turn of some of the biggest planes operated by the Russian military. An A-50 ‘flying radar’ was chased by Il-76 airlifters – the go-to solution if you need some heavy hardware moved fast. An A-50 early warning and control plane. ©Sputnik/Yevgeny Biyatov
Russian nuclear deterrence was showcased by all three types of strategic bombers currently in service: the slower turboprop-powered Tu-95MS ‘Bear’, the Tu-22M3 variable-sweep-wing supersonic jets and their heavier cousins, the Tu-160 ‘White Swan’ bomber. A Tu-160 and Tu-22M3 aircraft. ©REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva
Fighter jets swooped in, with echelons of MiG-29s, Su-24s and MiG-31Ks flying one after another. The final quartet in this part of the show was formed by Su-57s, Russia’s most advanced 5th-generation aircraft currently finding its way into the ranks. Su-57 fighter jets. ©Sputnik/Mikhail Voskresensky
The finale of the air parade showcased the skills of Russian ace pilots flying in tight formation. Some 10 air-superiority fighter jets representing three modern variants of the Su-27 family formed a wedge. A ‘tactical’ wing of Su-30SM, Su-35S and Su-34 aircraft. ©Sputnik/Nina Zotina
Close on their tail was the signature diamond formation performed by the two top Russian aerobatic teams, the Swifts and the Russian Knights, piloting MiG-29s and Su-30SM respectively. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
The show wrapped up with the Su-25, the veteran ground-attack aircraft. Six of them were deployed to paint the colors of the Russian flag in smoke. ©Sputnik/Vladimir Astapkovich
Smaller-scale flyovers took place on Saturday in other Russian cities as well as in countries hosting Russian air forces.