In the run-up to the Victory Day celebrations on 9th May, the Russian Air Force made two practice flypasts over Moscow’s Red Square on 3rd May and during the dress rehearsal of the V-Day parade on 7th May.
This year the flypast involves 68 aircraft to symbolise the 68th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War; therefore this time the traditional “flag team” leading the flypast (several Mi-8MT helicopters carrying the Russian national flag and the flags of the armed services) is omitted, as there would be too many aircraft. The spectators were treated to the sight of a Mi-26 transport helicopter escorted by four Mi-8MTV-5-1s, next a quartet of Mi-28N attack helicopters and a quartet of Ka-52 attack helicopters. These were followed by An-22 and An-124 heavy transports, an A-50M AWACS and a trio of IL-76MD transports. Next came the tactical jets – MiG-29s, MiG-31BMs, Su-24Ms and Su-34s, all in groups of four. The “heavies” were represented by a trio of Tu-22M3 bombers, an Il-78M and a Tu-160 in simulated refueling formation, a trio of Tu-95MSs. The show was concluded by more fighters and strike aircraft – a mixed group of Su-27SM3s, Su-30s, Su-34s and MiG-29SMTs from Lipetsk, a mixed “diamond nine” of the Strizhi and Russkiye Vityazi display teams, and six Su-25s trailing coloured smoke.