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Russian Knights aerobatic team marking 25 years since foundation

Russian Knights aerobatic group is the only one in the world doing its public displays on the Sukhoi-27 heavy fighters

MOSCOW, April 5. /TASS/. Tuesday, April 5 marks the 25th anniversary since foundation of the Russkiye Vityazi (Russian Knights) aerobatic group, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a press release.

This is the only aerobatic team in the world doing its public displays on the Sukhoi-27 heavy fighters. It was set up on April 5, 1991, on the basis of a squadron assigned to the Center for Presentation of Aircraft Technologies in Kubinka near Moscow.

As soon as on August 24, 1991, the Russian Knights did their first presentation abroad, at the first-ever Polish airshow in Poznan.

"The commander of the team, Vladimir Bazhenov, performed a solo programme then, thus marking off the start of the process of creating an authentic image for the Knights," the Defense Ministry said.

In the autumn of 1991, the team appeared in the skies over Britain. Six pilots flew in formation on Su-27’s over the residence of the Queen Mother in Scotland, and she was said to appreciate their performance.

This was followed by the team’s participation in RAF Leuchars and Finningley air shows where they made flights together with the Red Arrows squadron of the RAF.

In subsequent years, the Knights represented the Russian Air Force in France, the U.S., China, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Norway, Luxembourg, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Turkmenistan, Finland, and Belarus.

As of 1993, the team is one of the highlights of the MAKS air shows in Russia. They take part in a host of other Russian air shows and defense technology events.

As of 2004, the team’s flight programme includes joint presentations together with the Strizhi (the Swifts) aerobatic team on nine jets - five Su-27’s and four MIG-29’s. This combination has become known as the Kubinka diamond and has sets a world record in the history of aviation.

Since the Swifts turn 25 years old at the beginning of May, both aerobatic teams will mark this anniversary together by an impressive aerobatic presentation.