Russian Knights

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Russian Knights
237 TsPAT
(237-th Aviation Technology Demonstration Center of the RF's AF)
Russian Knights.JPG
4 Sukhoi Su-27P's of the Knights in formation at Aero India 2013. The SU-27P has since been replaced with eight Su-30SM
Active April 5, 1991 - present
Country Flag of Russia.svg Russia
Branch Russian Air Forces flag.png Russian Air Force
Garrison/HQ Kubinka (air base)
Moscow Oblast, Russia
Colors Red, White and Blue
Russian Knights logo.png
Aircraft flown
Fighter 8 - Sukhoi Su-30SM

The Russian Knights (Russian: Русские Витязи, Russkiye Vityazi) is an aerobatic demonstration team of the Russian Air Force. Originally formed on April 5, 1991 at the Kubinka Air Base as a team of six Sukhoi Su-27s, the team was the first to perform outside the Soviet Union in September 1991 when they toured the United Kingdom. On December 12, 1995, disaster struck as three team jets flew in-formation into a mountainside near Cam Ranh, Vietnam during approach while en route to home from a Malaysian airshow during adverse weather conditions. The team now performs with eight Su-30SM with numbers "30", "31", "32", "33", "34", "35", "36" and "37".


Russian Knights at Igor Tkachenko tribute flight

The Kubinka air force base located 60 km west of Moscow is well known both in Russia and abroad. For years, it has been known as the Air Force installation used for demonstrating advanced combat aircraft to national and foreign leaders. Nowadays, Kubinka AFB is known as the best aerobatics school where the Russian Knights and Swifts aerobatics teams are stationed. Meanwhile, Kubinka is a major base of the Russian Air Force in the Moscow region.[citation needed]

Team tragedies[edit]

On December 12, 1995, when approaching the Cam Ranh airfield (Vietnam) in adverse weather for refueling, two Su-27s and an Su-27UB of the Russian Knights team flew into a nearby mountain while in-formation, killing four pilots. The cause of the crash is attributed to a misinterpretation of approach-pattern instructions, and in particular the leading Il-76 that was acting as a reconnaissance aircraft.[1][2]

On August 16, 2009, two Su-27s rehearsing acrobatic maneuvers collided near Moscow, killing one pilot and sending the jets crashing into nearby vacation homes. The dead pilot was identified as the Russian Knights' commander, Guards Colonel Igor Tkachenko, a decorated air force officer.[3]

On June 9, 2016, one Su-27 pilot was killed near Moscow as he failed to eject, trying to save homes. [4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sidorov, Pavel. "Катастрофа "Русских Витязей" (in Russian)". RU.AVIATION по материалам «ВЕСТHИК ВОЗДУШHОГО ФЛОТА 1-2 1996 года». Retrieved 2007-04-24. 
  2. ^ Pronina, Lyuba (14 August 2001). "Knights and Swifts Aim to Conquer New Heights". The Nation. Thailand. Retrieved 27 May 2015 – via HighBeam Research. (Subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ "Pilot dies as Russia jets collide". BBC News. August 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Fighter jet crash: SU-27 pilot killed near Moscow, failed to eject trying to avoid homes". RT News. June 9, 2016. 

External links[edit]