A Show of Force by Bulgaria to Mark Anniversary of the Entry into Service of Three Aircraft

20 Eylül 2019
1

You can read the special coverage published in the August 2019 Issue of MSI Turkish Defence Review here:

 

Onur KURÇ / onur@removebeforephotos.com

Tayfun YAŞAR / tayfun@removebeforephotos.com

 

The Bulgarian Air Force organised an air display to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Mi-24, the 30th anniversary of the MiG-29 and the 20th anniversary of the BELL-206 JetRanger entering into service. Many scenarios, including search and rescue, attack and air interdiction missions were successfully conducted in a demonstration held at the Graf Ignatievo Air Base on June 29.

The event, which was followed on-site by MSI TDR as the only media outlet from Turkey, is of great importance for the country, which became a member of NATO in 2004, in showing its air capabilities. Having such state-of-the-art aircraft in its inventory as the C-27J SPARTAN, aside from many aircraft from the period of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), the Bulgarian Air Force left the audience with a lasting impression of its capabilities and strength at the event.

Various aircraft, weapons and equipment from the inventory of the Bulgarian Air Force were showcased at the event, which was open to the public. The Bulgarian Air Force also welcomed some 50 spotters, mostly from European countries, to observe the event on-site.

Mi-17

Mi-17

 

The air show started with the flight of a Mi-17 helicopter (NATO code name: Hip), which saluted the participants with a Bulgarian flag, and continued with a rescue activity carried out by the Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) teams of the Bulgarian Air Force. Under the scenario, a soldier jumping from an AS532 COUGAR helicopter was safely brought to the ground through an operation successfully carried out by CSAR teams.

The event was followed by Bulgarian President Rumen Radev.

The event was followed by Bulgarian President Rumen Radev.

 

Su-25

Su-25

 

Su-25 Takes Stage with Attack Show

One of the highlights of the event was the attack demonstration by two Su-25s (NATO code name: Frogfoot) making aerobatic manoeuvres and flying at low altitude over the runway, to the great enjoyment of the audience. Developed as a close air support aircraft, and having served in such operation theatres as Afghanistan and Iraq, the Su-25 stands out with its armoured cockpit, two independent engines and fire-resistant fuel tanks. The Su-25’s equivalent in the US Air Force is the A-10, and the HÜRKUŞ-C developed by Turkey will be capable of carrying out similar missions to those performed by these aircraft.

The BELL-206 JetRanger light reconnaissance helicopter, which entered into service in the United States in 1967, and which is still in the inventories of more than 60 countries including Turkey, also took part in the air show. Having completed its 20th year of service in the Bulgarian Air Force, the BELL-206 JetRanger performed a low-altitude flight over the runway as part of a reconnaissance mission.

Mi-24

Mi-24

 

The demonstration by the Mi-24 attack helicopter (NATO code name: Hind) was certainly worth-watching. The Mi-24, which joined the Bulgarian Air Force in 1979 and is thus celebrating its 40th anniversary in the country, is still in active service in nearly 50 countries. One of the most important features of the Mi-24, which was among the most influential aircraft of the Cold War period having entered into service in the USSR in 1972, is its robust armour. Featuring a 12.7-millimetre gun, guided antitank missiles and 57-millimetre rockets, the helicopter can carry, inside the hull, eight fully-equipped soldiers, four stretchers and various loads up to 2,400 kilograms.

MiG-29

MiG-29

 

C-27J SPARTAN and MiG-29 flying together.

C-27J SPARTAN and MiG-29 flying together.

 

C-27J SPARTAN and MiG-29 on the Same Frame

In the next portion of the air show, a MiG-29 (NATO code name: Fulcrum), which has been serving in the Bulgarian Air Force for 30 years, and a C-27J SPARTAN were seen together. In the assumed scenario, a C-27J SPARTAN took on the role of a fugitive aircraft, demonstrating its superior manoeuvrability and low-altitude flight performance against MiG-29s, and thrilling the audience. As part of the air interdiction mission, MiG-29s forced the C-27J SPARTAN to land on the runway.

C-27J SPARTAN

C-27J SPARTAN

 

C-27J SPARTAN’s Aerobatic Ability

Designed and manufactured by Leonardo, the Italian defence giant, the C-27J SPARTAN can be deployed for such missions as personnel and paratrooper supply, cargo transport, evacuation from the combat area, VIP transport, humanitarian aid, disaster relief and firefighting. This aircraft is capable of taking off from and landing on short runways, and can carry out its missions under the harshest of weather conditions. Despite its considerable weight, the C-27J SPARTAN amazes those who watch its demonstrations at the Reparto Sperimentale Volo, the aerobatic fleet of the Italian Air Force. As of today, there are 85 C-27J SPARTANs in the inventories of 15 different users around the world.

MiG-29s, which have undergone modernization in accordance with NATO standards, remain as the backbone of Bulgaria’s air attack force. Bulgaria is planning to replace MiG-29s, which are coming close to the end of their service life, with F-16V fighter aircraft.

BELL-206 JetRanger

BELL-206 JetRanger

In the air show, the PC-9M PILATUS and L-39ZA ALBATROS trainer aircraft also performed flights. The event concluded with low flyovers by a MiG-29, a Mi-24 and a BELL-206 JetRanger, marking the end of the rare occasions where components of the Bulgarian Air Force are showcased, giving unforgettable moments to aviation enthusiasts.

L-39ZA ALBATROS

L-39ZA ALBATROS

 

AS532 COUGAR

AS532 COUGAR

201 total views, 4 views today