Friday, 15 August 2014

Polish Armed Forces Day - Flypast

The flypast began today's celebration of Armed Forces Day in Warsaw. Lasting less than 10 minutes, the aerial parade was a demonstration of the main types of aircraft in use by the Polish Air Force. Trainers, transports and fighters streamed overhead, along Al. Ujazdowskie.

Below: first up were the PZL TS-11 Iskra trainers in the colours of the Biało-Czerwone Iskry aerobatic team, trailing white and red smoke. The Iskra prototype first flew in 1960, and the type has been in service with the Polish Air Force for over half a century (!).

Next up came the helicopters. First to appear on the horizon was a sextet of PZL SW-4 Puszczyk ('tawny owl') light multipurpose helicopters (below). Designed and built in Poland, the SW-4 is used for training, border patrol and light transportation duties.

Below: perhaps the most menacing-looking ground-attack helicopter ever built, the Soviet Mil Mi-24 Hind saw extensive action in Afghanistan in the 1980s. In service with the Polish Army (rather than Air Force).

Now it's time for the transport aircraft. Starting with the smallest ones, below, the PZL M28 Bryza ('sea breeze'). The PZL aircraft is a development of the Soviet Antonov An-28.

Next up, a trio of CASA C-295s, below. These Spanish-built tactical transport aircraft have replaced Soviet-era Antonov An-26s.

The crowds are overflown by two (of five) ex-USAF Lockheed C-130E Hercules medium transport aircraft, flanked by two more CASA C-295s.

Below: one of the Hercs, passing directly overhead. A ubiquitous design that celebrates 60 years since its first flight in eight days' time.

Below: six PZL-130 TC II Orlik ('eaglet') trainers trailing smoke. These are based in Radom, and took part in last year's air show (click here for photos from that event).

Below: Soviet-era fast jets - a pair of Su-22 Fitters (variable geometry ground-attack fighters) fore and aft flanked appropriately by a pair of MiG-29 Flankers (multi-role fighters).

Below: one-twelfth of Poland's fleet of F-16 multi-role fighters. The presence of these aircraft plus visiting NATO fighters should hopefully act as a strong deterrent to those Russians believing that their country should regain its former empire by force.

Although there were no air-show style aerobatic displays, the sight of 48 (in total) aircraft - around a tenth of all the planes and helicopters used by the Polish Air Force, Army and Navy.


Chris said...

SU17 Fitter, I believe.

Chris said...

I'm wrong, the Polish airforce has the export version, the SU22