2016 Event Review

Military parade in Moscow to mark the 71st anniversary of Victory in WWII. May 9, 2016
Location: Red Square, Moscow, Russia
Admission: Free
Parking: Free
Value: Excellent
Rating out of 10: 10+

Flyby over the Red Square and the Kremlin

On May 9, 2016 Russia celebrated the 71st anniversary of Victory in WWII with a large military parade. The parade consisted of a large number of Army, Navy personnel as well as an all female squadron marching proud by the Red Square. In total the best-of-the-best 10,000 Russian service personnel paraded, alongside 135 military vehicles and 71 aircraft. Although this year's parade was somewhat smaller than the 70th anniversary in 2015 which featured more armored vehicles. Nevertheless, one could see their latest anti-ballistic as well as anti-aircraft defensive system such as the Tor2 MU (NATO "SA-15 Gauntlet"), Pantsir S1 "NATO SA-22 Greyhound"), Buk-M2 Telar (NATO "SA-17 Grizzly") and the S-400 Triumph (NATO "SA-21 Growler").

The flyby of different types of aircraft was of course the highlight for those who enjoy aviation. Starting with the rotary wing Mi-26 (NATO reporting name "Halo") transport escorted by four Mi-8AMTS (NATO "Hip") assault helicopters, followed by echelons of Mi-28, (NATO "Havoc") Ka-52 (NATO "Hokum B") and Mi-35M (NATO "Hind E") which were used in Syria. This was followed by the a single IL-76MD90 (NATO "Candid"), seen for the first time in a public display, strategic airlifter the upgraded version of the IL-76MD of which three flew in formation. The AN-124-100 (NATO "Condor") the largest military transport flew over the spectators too. Various bombers followed among them; three Tupolev Tu-95 (NATO reporting name "Bear") four-engine turboprop-powered strategic bomber and missile platform, as well as several Tu-22M3 (NATO "Backfire C" ), the highlight of course of the bombers were the solo flyby of an Ilyushin Il-78 (NATO "Midas") is a four-engined aerial refuelling tanker based on the Il-76 that simulated aerial refuelling with the largest and fastest supersonic, variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber the Tupolev Tu-160 aka White Swan (NATO "Blackjack") in the world. (Looks like the American B-1B but about 25% larger).

The bombers were followed by several echelons of fighters that included the MiG-29 (NATO "Fulcrum") version 9.19 SMT and 9.53 UB but not the MiG-29K/KUB currently in service with the Russian Navy or the export M2 version. They were followed by the MiG-31M (NATO "Foxhound"), as well as the battle tested Su-24M (NATO "Fencer") and Su-34 NATO "Fullback") tactical bombers were the main force of the Syrian operation. Additional echelons included a mixture of several types such as the Su-27MSz (NATO "Flanker") Su-30M (NATO "Flanker-C"), and Su-35 (NATO "Flanker E"). From Kubinka two aerobatic teams, the Swits with their six MiG-29UBs and the Russian Knights four Su-27Ps and two Su-27UBs performed deploying flares over the Red Square for a spectacular sight. The air display ended with flyby of several Su-25 (NATO "Frogfoot") close support aircraft in formation deploying tri-colored smoke in the colors of the Russian Federation.
If you can be in Moscow in May, it is certainly a very worthwhile parade and flyby to see which never disappoints, we highly recommend it.
Photography by István Kelecsényi report co-written by István Kelecsényi and the Editor.

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