Over the past few weeks we were reporting the preparations for the biggest Russian military holiday, the Victory Day Parade held annually on 9th May. Despite the coronavirus outbreak and strict measures against the pandemic implemented in the country, it seemed that the parade was going to be held, regardless the evolution of epidemic situation in Russia.
Regretfully, even the strict isolation measures on parade participants that were put in place since the beginning of April, proved to be insufficient against the coronavirus. In the middle of April it was announced that more than 50 cadets and instructors, involved in the rehearsal to the Victory Day Parade, were infected. In these circumstances, the Russian authorities had no choice and on 16th April, Vladimir Putin announced the indefinite postponement of the Victory Day parade.
Although the main celebrations were cancelled, the aviation component – usually being the significant part of the parade – continued with preparations. It was decided that the flypasts over main Russian cities would not only be performed as initially planned, but even their scope would be extended.
The Air Parade to celebrate the 75th Victory Day will be followed with fireworks and artillery salute, not only to pay tribute to the World War II soldiers, but also to keep up the morale of Russians. In Moscow, the salvo and firework spectacle are planned for 22:00 hours local time.
In addition, the Russian media announced on 30th April, that four military aerobatic groups would perform an air show in Kubinka air base, certainly without an audience. The air show has to be broadcasted live by all main television stations and was scheduled for 15:30 – 16:30 of Moscow local time. Up until now it was not possible to obtain any official confirmation about this event, nevertheless it seems quite possible.
Obviously, Moscow and St. Petersburg usually were the cities, where the spectators could see the Victory Parades with most impressive participation of aviation units. According to the latest, although not yet officially confirmed, information, the Russian Aerospace Forces would perform over Moscow – the rehearsal of the Air Parade was already confirmed to be organized on 4th May. However, as of today, no decision has been arrived as yet about the flypast in St. Petersburg.
Nevertheless, following the official releases from the last week, it looks that the Air Parade would be organized in several other Russian cities, as the only public celebration of the Victory Day. In many cases, they seems to be no less interesting as the flypasts usually organized in the two biggest Russian cities. Below we present a brief overview of the planned Air Parade events, together with the information about the participating aircraft.
In the Central Military District (Центральный военный округ) the Air Parade will be organized in Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and Samara, together with smaller-scale flypasts over Verkhnyaya Pyshma, Kyzyl, Abakan, Engels, Saratov and Kazan. In total, 84 aircraft will be participating in those parades in the Central Dirstict – 44 aeroplanes and 40 helicopters. The rehearsals are scheduled for 5th and 7th May.
In Samara, Su-34 and Su-24M jet aircraft, transport aeroplanes and Mi-8 helicopters are going to fly over the central part of the city, at an altitude of 400 metres and speed of 200 – 550 kph. The citizens of Novosibirsk will be able to see the flypast of ten aircraft – Mi-8AMTSh and Mi-24 helicopters, followed by MiG-31 supersonic interceptors.
A total of twenty-two aircraft will appear over Yekaterinburg: MiG-31, Su-34 and Su-24MR jets; Mi-8, Mi-24 and Mi-26 helicopters; An-26, An-12 and L-410 transport aircraft. For Su-34, it would be the official debut flight over Yekaterinburg, as those fighter-bombers recently entered service in the nearby-located air base in Chelyabinsk. The flight over Yekaterinburg is planned to be performed at altitudes between 200 and 400 metres, and the speed of 200 – 700 kph.
The Eastern Military District (Восточный военный округ) has planned the flypast in 14 cities, including Vladivostok, Chita, Ussuriysk, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Birobidzhan, Ulan-Ude, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Magadan, Yakutsk, Blagoveshchensk, Belogorsk and Kuril – with more than 100 aircraft involved in the celebrations.
The main Air Parade event in the District will be organized in Khabarovsk, with thirty aircraft performing over the city: Mi-8AMTSh and Ka-52 helicopters; An-26, An-12 and Tu-134 transport aeroplanes and Su-35S and Su-34 jets. The second-biggest will be the celebration in Vladivostok, with 21 aircraft participating in the show.
The Southern Military District (Южный военный округ) already scheduled the Air Parade flights over thirteen cities in southern Russia, with approximately 200 aircraft to participate in those celebrations: helicopters, fighter and bomber jets and a variety of transport and utility aeroplanes. In addition, a flypast performed by the aircraft belonging to the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army will be also organized in Erevan, the capital of Armenia.
On 9th May forty-five military aircraft will appear over Rostov-on-Don at an altitude of 300 metres and flying with the speed between 100 and 600 kph. The mixture of aircraft to be presented over this city is really impressive, as it includes Tu-134, An-26, An-12 and L-410 transport aeroplanes; Su-27SM3, Su-30SM and Su-34 fighters; Su-25SM3 attack aircraft; Mi-8AMTSh ´Terminator, Mi-26, Mi-28N ´Night Hunter´, Mi-35M and Ka-52 ´Alligator´ helicopters.
Novorossiysk is another city where the Air Parade was scheduled, with 10 aircraft in total – Mi-8AMTSh, Mi-28 and Ka-52 helicopters, Su-25SM attack jets and Su-30SM multipurpose fighters. The flypast would be performed not only over the city, but in addition the aircraft would also fly over the ´Small Earth´ memorial.
Further parades are also planned to be organised in Kaspiysk, Volgograd, Vladikavkaz, Grozny, Krasnodar and Astrakhan. In addition, also the naval aviation of the Black Sea Fleet will join the parades in Sevastopol, Kerch and Novorossiysk, with the total number of 56 naval aircraft.
Speaking of naval aviation, the Baltic Fleet and Northern Fleet must be also mentioned. The Baltic Fleet is going to perform the Air Parade over Kaliningrad, with 20 participating aircraft: Su-27 and Su-30SM fighters, Su-24M bombers, Mi-24 and Mi-8 helicopters and Ka-27 and Ka-27PS naval rotorcraft. The altitude range will be between 150 and 300 metres, at the speed of 160 – 550 kph.
The Northern Fleet will perform over Murmansk, flying Ka-27 and Mi-8 helicopters, and a variety of aeroplanes including An-26, An-12, Il-38, Il-20, Tu-142M, Su-24M, Su-25UTG, Su-33, MiG-29K and MiG-31BM. A flight over the famous ´Alyosha Monument´ (the Monument of the Defenders of the Soviet Arctic) at the altitude of 200 metres is considered as the highlight of the Air Parade in Murmansk.
The naval aviation of the Pacific Fleet will participate in the flypasts over Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Magadan. MiG-31 supersonic interceptors and Il-38N anti-submarine aircraft will fly above Petropavlovsk at the altitude of 300 metres, then two Il-38s will continue to Magadan.