Moscow. 05 April 2021. On April 5, 2021, Russian Knights celebrate their 30th anniversary. A unique aerobatics group flying heavy fighters, all these years has adequately represented the Russian Aerospace Forces around the world, demonstrating unsurpassed flying skills and outstanding capabilities of aviation technology. And since 1993, “Russian Knights” have been constant participants in the International Aviation and Space Salons.
Now, 30 years later, the whole world knows them. They personify the highest achievements of the national aerobatic school and are regular participants in the world’s largest air shows and airshows. The group was created in 1991, when Su-27 fighters entered service with the 1st Aviation Squadron of the 234th Guards Proskurovsky Mixed Aviation Regiment, based in Kubinka near Moscow. The pilots began to master the new technique and soon began training flights as part of a pair, three, and then four machines in the “rhombus” formation. The uniqueness of the group was that the “Russian Knights” performed aerobatics on serial models of combat vehicles, regularly confirming the skills of military pilots.
A real sensation was the performance of the “Russian Knights” in the fall of 1991 in Great Britain at the Scampton airbase, after which a series of triumphant performances by the aerobatic team began at aviation holidays and air shows around the world. The “Knights” were applauded by admiring viewers in Great Britain, the USA, France, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Slovakia, Luxembourg, China, the United Arab Emirates, Finland, Bahrain, India, Hungary and other countries.
Throughout its history, “Russian Knights” have mastered group and single aerobatics on multipurpose highly maneuverable fighters Su-27P, Su-27UB and Su-30SM. In November 2019, the air group received the latest Su-35S multipurpose fighters, and in 2020, Vityaz received four more such aircraft. At the moment, the group is fully equipped with modern samples of aviation technology and remains the “calling card” of the Aerospace Forces (VKS) of Russia, continuing the best traditions of the Russian school of aerobatics and constantly improving its skills. In July 2020, in Kubinka, “Russian Knights” conducted unique flights with complex figures of group and single aerobatics on Su-27, Su-30SM and Su-35S aircraft. For the first time, three types of aircraft were in a single formation,
For the first time “Russian Knights” performed at the International Aerospace Salon MAKS in 1993. Even low clouds did not prevent the aces pilots from demonstrating their phenomenal skill, performing aerobatics at extremely low altitudes. Since then, the group’s participation in the MAKS flight program has become one of the iconic traditions of the air show. Gradually, thanks to the increase in the number of participants and the growth of the business component of the salon, improvement of the quality of infrastructure and an increase in the area ofexhibition pavilions, MAKS has rightfully taken a place among the largest air shows in the world. And, of course, this happened, among other things, thanks to the unique program of flight shows, of which the “Russian Knights” are an indispensable participant.
In 2004, a unique element was included in the program of demonstration shows – a joint flight of the aerobatic teams “Russian Knights” and “Swifts” consisting of nine aircraft (five Su-27 and four MiG-29) in the “diamond” formation with the implementation of a full complex of supreme figures. aerobatics. In the same year, the group successfully demonstrated it at the International Festival of Aerobatic Teams in Zhukovsky. MAKS-2007 became a significant event in the history of the aerobatic team, when for the first time in the history of world aviation a horizontal “barrel” was performed at a public display as part of a group of nine combat aircraft, named due to its shape and uniqueness “Cuban Diamond”.
Those who have at least once been fortunate enough to see with their own eyes the performances of “Russian Knights” at MAKS will never forget this exciting moment. This spectacle is truly the culmination of the flight program of the air show. The four “Knights”, appearing in the form of tiny dots on the horizon, in a few seconds with a deafening roar sweeps over the heads of the audience in their trademark white-blue-red “liveries” in the color of the Russian flag, demonstrating the super-maneuverable characteristics of the latest Russian fighters and striking the imagination with a clear formation of formidable winged vehicles even during the most difficult group maneuvers.
And also the “Knights” have a “soloist” who, during the rebuilding of the main group, occupies the attention of the audience with a single performance. An inexperienced person sees a short take-off run, a sharp climb and a whole cascade of stunning aerobatics – a loop, a sharp turn in an arc, a “roll”, braking with the whole body, when the car practically “stands on its tail” and completely loses speed, and, finally, a flat corkscrew, when the fighter loses altitude, swaying in different directions like a leaf in the wind. A sophisticated one will understand: a short takeoff is a takeoff from a “damaged” runway, a rapid climb is a demonstration of a high thrust-to-weight ratio, loops, turns, “barrels” and “cobras” are super-maneuverability, and a “dry leaf in the wind” is handling at all flight modes.
With the “transfer” of “Knights” to the Su-35S, a new stage in the development of tactics for the use of our aerospace forces begins, which will be perfected by the famous aerobatic team. And what the “Russian Knights” demonstrate in the MAKS flight program will subsequently be mastered by combat pilots of the Russian Aerospace Forces. It is possible that the capabilities of the Su-35S will give Vityaz an incentive to work on creating new group elements in performances, and the famous Cuban Diamond will receive a new unique facet, which the group will polish to perfection.
At a meeting of the MAKS-2021 Organizing Committee, a representative of the Russian Aerospace Forces confirmed that four aerobatic aviation groups will take part in the flight program of the salon: Russian Knights, Swifts, Falcons of Russia and Berkuts.
We wish the anniversaries new achievements, flight longevity and loyal fans all over the world!
We are looking forward to seeing you at MAKS-2021!