Russian Warplanes Gathered Over Moscow to Honor World War II Dead
Bad weather canceled the flyover, but the rehearsal was pretty impressive
Silence cloaked Red Square in Moscow on May 9, 2017. You could hear the cold air moving between the ranks of silent soldiers standing at attention. Their tanks, missile launchers and artillery sat motionless.
The quiet continued for 60 seconds. A tribute to the millions of lives the Soviet Union lost in World War II. Then the great Spasskaya Tower clock bell rang-in the hour of victory.
An Il-78 tanker simulates midair refueling with a Tu-160 heavy bomber. Strikhi.ru photo
Moscow’s Victory Day parade was just one of at least 27 major events in cities across Russia on May 9. Bad weather forced parade organizers to cancel a 72-aircraft flyover they had planned for Moscow. But the rehearsal on May 8 represented its own impressive procession of Russian air power.
A combined formation of the Russian Knights in their Su-30s and the Russian Swifts in the their MiG-29s, each with new paint schemes. Strizhi.ru photo
Fighters, heavy bombers and tankers flew in formation over Red Square. Oleg Chernikov gave us permission to share some outstanding photos his colleagues took of the passing planes.
The older tail markings for the Russian Knights’ Su-30s compared to the new, solid-color tail debuted over Moscow. RT photo
One of the biggest surprises was the new livery on the Russian Knights’ Sukhoi SU-30SMs. The aircraft featured a new solid blue vertical stabilizer with a Russian star insignia. The repainted Sukhois flew in a beautiful formation with MiG-29 aircraft of the Russian Swifts aerobatic team, which boasted their own new tail markings.
A formation of MiG-31s. Strizhi.ru photo
Four MiG-31 heavy interceptors overflew the parade venue on rehearsal day — an especially exotic sight, as the type was never exported outside Russia or Kazakhstan.