Official : Russian Air Force is to fly separate teams on Yak-130s, Sukhoi Su-35s and Su-30SMs jets
Latest information is now confirmed by the Russian Air Force Chief of Staff Viktor Bondaref speaking to RIA Novosti. The Russian Knights (Russkie Vityazi) and Swifts (Strizhi) teams will fly on Su-35 and Su-30SM aircraft as part of the Russian Air Force re-equipment program. They will be delievered with new aircraft ahead of other units, and though this point is a huge surprise to read, everyone must be reminded the reality that aerobatic teams in Russia are part of regular operational training and fighter squadrons in the Russian Air Force. Considering this fact, it may be easier for the Ministry of Defence and for the Air Force to deliver top technology fighter aircraft to these combat and demo squadrons, so that these jets will be flown for demonstration missions as part of their duties. This will be the case for the "Proskurovskii" Regiment at Kubinka. This represents surprising news, while in Europe, doubts could be casted over the future of some of the major teams, while it would be nice if governments in the EU could start understanding that military teams are the best embassadors to advertise very latest military aircraft on the market.
A report with latest appearance of the Russian Knights in China last November is to appear soon on http://www.sky-lens.com. While I was visiting Zhuhai airshow, it was reported by some chinese media, that visitors coming for trade activities went out of business chalets to watch the team's preformance, as soon as they heard the Su-27s roar. The formation with AL-31 AF engines sounds and grumble is so unique, that I still have not found anything comparable with that team in the rest in the world, to entertain the crowds in an airshow.
It has not been mentionned yet, how many of these latest Generation Sukhoi combat aircraft will be delivered, and how many airplanes will equip each of these Kubinka teams. While the famous Knights fly Su-27s and Su-27 UBs at present, Strizhi fly their last four MiG-29s that are presently flyable. All we know is that Strizhi are not to fly Yak-130s, though this has been reported by many media in Europe. Sky-Lens'Aviation' has been the only magazine in western Europe to cast doubts over these reports. Luckily, the Commander in Chief stated that the Yak-130 team is to be launched soon as a separate and brand new team.
With many military - and heavy - flying items to see in just a nation, I wish a happy new year to all air enthusiasts who will travel to Russia - and Asia - in the next ten to twenty years..., and of course, a happy future to russian aviation enthusiasts who are promised with a superb airscene. Western Europe aviation specialists may easily understand what I underline.