Parade in honor of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence. Aviation component

Text – by Chief Research Specialist of the SAM Valery Romanenko,Ph.D. photo - Valery Romanenko, Denis Tomenchuk, Embassy of the United Kingdom in Ukraine

Text – by Chief Research Specialist of the SAM Valery Romanenko,Ph.D. photo - Valery Romanenko, Denis Tomenchuk, Embassy of the United Kingdom in Ukraine

The air parade in honor of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's Independence is the first one in which not only domestic planes and helicopters, but also the most modern combat aircraft of NATO countries participated. This clearly demonstrates support of our country by Western partners on our path to the European community. The State Aviation Museum could not ignore such a historic event and prepared a photo report on it. 

The parade was attended by aviation units of the Air Force, Army Aviation, Navy, National Guard, State Border Guard Service, National Police, State Emergency Service, as well as the State Enterprise "Antonov". In total, more than fifty combat, transport and specialized planes and helicopters flew in the sky over Kyiv. Most of them can be seen in the State Aviation Museum named after O.K. Antonov.

A spectacular air show was opened by the Army Aviation helicopters. It is part of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and provides their close support on the battlefield.

A Mi-8MT helicopter from the 11th Army Aviation Brigade (hereinafter AAB) from Kherson carried the yellow-blue flag of Ukraine over the festive Khreshchatyk. 

Four modernized Mi-8MSB-V helicopters from the 11th AAB. These combat aircraft were re-equipped in 2015-2017 at the Ukrainian enterprise Motor Sich. They received upgraded equipment and new defence systems created at Ukrainian enterprises. And most importantly, Motor Sich had started production of a critical component– main rotor blades, which so far had been produced only in Russia. Since May of this year, new blades are being installed on helicopters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. 

Mi-24P and Mi-24PU1 attack helicopters of the 16th AAB from Brody. These armored and well-armed helicopters provide fire support to ground forces on the battlefield. Since 2014, all legacy Soviet Mi-24Ps are being upgraded in Ukraine to the Mi-24PU1 standard.

Mi-14PL naval amphibious helicopters of the 10th Brigade of Naval Aviation of the Naval Forces of Ukraine from Mykolaiv are capable to operate both from ground airfields and from water surface. Their main task is to detect and destroy hostile submarines.

The National Police is to receive the last two H145 light helicopters from Airbus Helicopters by the end of August and will have a total of eight such aircraft. Interestingly, the basic model was initially produced by MBB firm - Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm GmbH, founded by the same Willy Messerschmitt… Photo by Denis Tomenchuk.

Two ES 225 LP (H-225) helicopters of the National Guard of Ukraine from the Guards Aviation Base in Olexandriya. The National Guard began receiving European-produced aircraft in 2018.

ES 225LP helicopters of the Special Aviation Detachment of the Civil Protection Rescue Service of the State Emergency Services of Ukraine (Nizhyn). SESU was the first in Ukraine to start operating helicopters manufactured by the European concern Airbus Helicopters.

DA-42NG "Diamond" patrol aircraft of the 24th Separate Aviation Squadron of the State Border Patrol Service of Ukraine (Odessa). Using the special FLIR equipment they are able to continuously monitor the state border for many hours day and night and carry out photo and video recording of border violations. 

Two An-26 light military transport aircraft of the 456th Transport Aviation Brigade ((hereinafter TrAB) named after Dmitry Mayboroda (Vinnytsia). The whole series of these planes was built in Ukraine, and currently are the main transport aircraft of the military and paramilitary agencies of Ukraine. 

The An-26 Vita special MEDEVAC aircraft from the 456th TrAB (Vinnytsia). More than 4,000 wounded soldiers were evacuated to hospitals on its board during the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The An-32P ”Firekiller” firefighting aircraft of the Special Aviation Detachment of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (Nizhyn) has large conformal tanks on boards. It is capable of precision dropping 8,000 liters of water from low altitudes onto flames. These aircraft have just been involved in fighting forest fires in Turkey and Greece. Photo by Denis Tomenchuk. 

Two An-72 light military transport aircraft from the aviation squadron of the National Guard of Ukraine (Kyiv). They have short take-off and landing capability, and able to operate from short airstrips or partially damaged runways. Until now, An-72 and its modified version An-74 are in service with the air forces of ten countries. Production of An-74 is planned to continue in Kharkiv.

Heavy military transport aircraft IL-76MD of the 25th TrAB from Melitopil escorted by two Su-27 fighters of the 39th Tactical Aviation Brigade (hereinafter TAB) from Zhytomyr. Currently, the IL-76MD of the 25th TrAB is evacuating Ukrainian citizens, foreigners, and refugees from Afghanistan.

A flight of Su-25M1K and Su-25UBM1K attack aircraft of the 299th TAB named after Vasyl Nikiforov (based in Mykolayiv). Aircraft intended for close air support of ground troops were upgraded in 2012-2020 at MiGremont State Enterprise in Zaporizhia. 

A flight of Su-24M front bombers from the 7th TAB named after Petro Franko (Starokostiantyniv). These aircraft are capable of suppressing enemy air defences and launch missile and bomb strikes in the depths of their lines. 

Su-27PM1 and Su-27UBM1 of the 831st TAB (Myrhorod) are the most powerful fighter aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force. Su-27 heavy air-superiority fighters have been upgraded to the Su-27PM1 standard in Ukraine at MiGremont (Zaporizhzhya) since 2014.  

The An-70 next generation military transport aircraft, created at the Antonov State Enterprise, took to the air for the first time in 1994. The aircraft has unique performance, and even was promoted to NATO by several German companies in the early 2000s. However, cooperation with Russia in the design process of the aircraft almost became fatal for the project...

An-225 "Mriya" - the largest and most powerful transport aircraft in the world - is an aviation symbol of Ukraine. It is capable of transporting cargoes weighing up to 250 tons. More than 240 world records, unique operations on hauling oversized and heavy cargo - this is the landmark Ukrainian "Mriya", created at the State Enterprise "Antonov".

After the passage of combat ground vehicles, NATO planes and helicopters performed a fly-by.  It was opened by two UH-60M "Blackhawk" tactical multi-role helicopters of the Slovak Air Force from the Helicopter Regiment "Lieutenant General Jan Ambrush" (air base Presov). UH-60 helicopter was created by Sikorsky Aircraft, founded by our outstanding compatriot Igor Sikorsky. This helicopter is one of the most widely used in the world and is well known from the "Black Hawk Down" movie. UH-60M is one of the latest models of this type.

The photo shows one of the crew members greeting Kievites from the helicopter window.

The C-27J "Spartan" military transport aircraft of the Slovak Air Force of the Transport Air Wing "General Milan Rastislav Stefanik" arrived from the Malatsky Air Base. This is a modern aircraft, which is in service with the air force of 15 countries, and is capable of carrying cargo weighing up to 11.5 tons  or 60 soldiers.

Polish F-16 fighters of the 10th Tactical Squadron arrived from Lask Air Base. Light multi-role F-16 fighters are able to strike both air and ground targets equally effectively. These are the most popular combat aircraft in service of 24 countries. In 2002-2020 the Polish Air Force received 48 latest models F-16C and F-16D block 52+ aircraft with increased range and an expanded assortment of high-precision weapons. Poland is now expecting the latest 5th generation F-35 fighters.

Three MiG-29 front-line fighters from the 204th TAB (based in Lutsk) performed a spectacular "divergence" and "holiday salute" maneuver over Khreshchatyk, firing flares that protect aircraft from missile strikes. MiG-29 and MiG-29UB are the most numerous combat aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force. In terms of flight characteristics, they are not inferior to the F-16, but cannot hit ground targets with guided weapons, and do not have such advanced electronic equipment. Photo by Denis Tomenchuk.

The final chord of the air show was the joint flight of MiG-29MU1 fighters from the 40th TAB (Vasylkiv) and British Typhoon fighters. MiGs "painted" the flag of Ukraine in the sky by color smokes.

The MiG-29MU1 aircraft were piloted by young pilots, recent graduates of the Kharkiv University of the Air Force named after Ivan Kozhedub.

Typhoon FGR.4 fighters of the RAF arrived from Mikhail Kogalnicanu Air Base in Romania (near Constanta), where they are participating in Operation BILOXI - patrolling the airspace in the region. The British pilots, Squadron Leader Spencer-Jones and Flight Lieutenant Tagg, showed great professionalism: after a long flight and without prior training, they formed precise joint group and marched in a joint formation over the capital. Photo provided by the British Embassy in Ukraine. 

The Typhoons joined four Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 aircraft in a formation flypast with the Ukrainian jets trailing yellow and blue smoke to represent the Ukrainian flag.  

The Typhoons that took part in the flypast are from RAF Lossiemouth based IX (B) Squadron and flew from their temporary base in Romania to conduct the flypast before returning to Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base on the Romanian Black Sea coast near Constanta. RAF, Photo provided by the British Embassy in Ukraine 

Unfortunately, the U.S. Air Force Boeing KC-135T "Stratotanker" refueling aircraft assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing (Mildenhall Air Base) was late for the parade. For unknown reasons, it lost its time code and flew five minutes after the main air show . Photo by Denis Tomenchuk.