70 for Victory: Armata tanks, nuclear bombers, intl boots in Moscow for V-Day (PHOTOS)
On Saturday Russia is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the victory in World War II. The biggest part is the military parade in Moscow’s Red Square, a grand event involving newest hardware at the army’s disposal.
The parade opened with solemn carrying of two flags, that of Russia and the historic banner that was raised over the Reichstag building back in 1945 to declare that it was taken by the Red Army.
Troops from all arms of the service were lined up on Red Square. Those include young cadets from Suvorov military school and visiting foreign troops from 10 countries. Inspecting the ranks, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin, who is Commander-in-Chief of the Russian armed forces, that the troops are ready for the parade to start.
“Wherever veterans of the WWII live now, they must know that here in Russia we value greatly their courage, resolve and loyalty to the frontline brotherhood,” Putin said in a congratulatory speech. Putin praised the many peoples of Soviet Union, allies from Europe, across the Atlantic and Asia, which fought on one side against the Axis powers during the war.
A minute of mourning followed to commemorate victims of the war: soldiers killed in battles, members of resistance movements, prisoners of deaths camps, civilians who perished to the hardships of sieges and wartime.
Cannon fire and Russia’s national anthem sounded just before the troops started their march across Red Square. A military band was the first unit to start the marching. Soldiers wearing historic uniforms, including cavalry on horseback marched and rode across. Following them were foreign visitors of the event.
Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, India, Mongolia, Serbia and China all sent their soldiers to participate in the Moscow parade.
Officers-in-training from various cadet schools followed. One of the units came from an all-female cadet school, which contributed to a V-Day parade for the first time. Academy officers, the high-ranking military teachers, commanders, senior technicians and defense researchers, came next.
Representatives from the Ground Forces, the Air Forces, the Navy, the Marines, the Strategic Missile Forces, the Air and Space Defense Forces, the Air Defense Forces, the Airborne Troops marched one by one across the Red Square, standing for all regular arms and branches of the Russian armed forces.
Military specialists from troops involved in railroad transportation and biochemical warfare were followed by troops not under Defense Ministry command: Interior troops, Emergencies Ministry troops and Border Service guards marched.
Elite Kremlin cadets were the final troops to march across Red Square, giving way to military hardware.
Just like the march past, historic pieces of armor like legendary T-34 tanks opened the hardware demonstration.
Tigr and Kornet D armored vehicles were the first hardware currently in service rolled out then. Next came infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers.
Advanced BMD 4M and Rakushka vehicles came next. The newest APCs, Kurganets, of the airborne troops were demonstrated for the first time during the parade.
Another novelty, Armata chassis-based heavy APCs, has been making headlines since the beginning of the year.
T90A main battle tanks, one of the newest in the Russian army, came next.
Their successor, Armata-based T-14 tanks, which will become the backbone of the Russian armored forces, rolled through the square.
Then Msta-S self-propelled artillery paraded across Red Square. Following them were the modern Koalitsia pieces.
Now it was the turn of heavy weapons. A unit armed with Iskander-M tactical ballistic missiles demonstrated their weapons followed by launchers and radar stations of the Tor-2U air defense system.
Pantsir-S dual cannon and missile air-defense vehicles rolled onto Red Square.
The S-400 Triumf, Russia’s most-advanced long-range defense system, which has no equal in the world now, came next.
The ‘shield’ part progressed into the ‘sword’ component. Yars nuclear ICBM missile mobile launchers are a crucial component of Russia’s future nuclear deterrence.
Bumerang armored vehicles, another firstcomers in the Russian armed forces were the final part of the ground demonstration.
Tu-160M, the most advanced Russian strategic bomber, zoomed over the heads. Piloting it was the commander of the Russian Air Forces, Gen. Viktor Bondarev.
Strategic bombers Tu-95 followed the plane.
There came Mi-8 transport helicopters, Ansat-U training helicopters, Mi-35M strike helicopters, K-52 Alligator helicopters, Mi-28N Night Hunter helicopters with Berkut aerobatic pilots at helm.
The gargantuan An 124-100 Ruslan transporter was followed shortly by three Il-76 heavy transport planes.
After the transport aircraft came the bombers. Three Tu-95 MS strategic bombers, the legendary nuclear-capable supersonic Bears, flew by.
Three Tu-22M3 long-range supersonic bombers followed.
Two Su-34 and two Su-24 ground attack planes did the trick simultaneously in pairs from two Il-78 ‘flying tankers’. A pair of MiG-31 fighter jets appeared.
Advanced MiG-29SMT fighters and Su-34 fighter-bombers were followed by Su-24M ground attack planes and MiG-31 heavy interceptors. Then flew five Su-25SMs and a wing formation of Su24s, Su-27s and MiG-29s, totaling 10 aircraft.
Pilot groups Vityaz and Strizh demonstrated their famous diamond-shaped formation. They piloted five Su-27s and four MiG-29s flying them in a tight pack and shooting flares.
Next in the air was the number 70 formed of 15 MiG-29s and Su-25s followed by six Yak training planes in a pyramid formation.
A group of six Su-27 colored the sky in white, blue and red smoke of the Russian flag to close the aerial demonstration.
Ending the parade was another live performance by the military band. World leaders attending the event then went to lay flowers to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a war monument in central Moscow. Celebration of the anniversary continued throughout Russia, with spectacular fireworks scheduled for evening.