Throughout the years, Radom Airshow has established itself as one of the most highly anticipated airshows in Europe which is held every 2 years. The 2015 edition attracted over 200 aircraft from 22 nations with obviously the Polish Forces forming the vast majority of the line up with one of almost every type in their inventory. MAR attended the event which was held between the 21st and the 23rd of August 2015.
Friday 21st saw most of the flying participants and display teams carry out their practice demos such as the Italian Reparto Sperimentale di Volo Typhoon, Close Air Support Demonstration from the Polish Air Force, Slovakian MIG-29, Hellenic ZEUS F-16 Demo and our personal highlight, the Romanian MIG-21.
On Saturday the gates opened at 08:30 for the public, and flying activity started at around 09:00. The first half of each air show day is normally dedicated to civilian air planes with the main flying display starting at 12:30.
The static display had a wide variety of aircraft on show but without a doubt the highlight was an Israeli Air Force KC-130H Karnaf serial ‘436’. Devoid of any markings, ‘436’ is part of 103 Squadron also known as the Yellow Bird Squadron based at Nevatim Air Base.
The static display also included another very interesting aircraft, a Royal Norwegian Air Force Dassault Falcon 20ECM. Part of 717 Squadron and stationed at Gardermoen Air Base, it is one of only 2 in their inventory used for Electronic Warfare missions. On the same apron, the Lithuanian Air Force exhibited 2 types, a C-27J Spartan and a Let L-410UVP which is not so commonly seen. Apart from the Lithuanian Spartan, both Italy and Romania participated with their own C-27J. Parked next to the Spartans was a Belgian ERJ-145 and the workhorses of the Polish Air Force Transport capabilities i.e. the Airbus C-295M and a Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
On the grass alongside the apron, where some rotorcraft including the Patrulla ASPA helicopter aerobatic team, neighbouring Czech Republic with a Solo Mi-24V and a Turkish Aircraft Industries (TAI) T-129 ATAK which is developed from the Agusta A-129 Mangusta. The helicopter is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments and rough terrain in both day and night conditions and was present at a number of Polish airshows in an attempt to sell the helicopter to the Polish Land Forces to replace their aging Mi-24V Hinds.
On another apron of the airfield were a number of other aircraft on static display including a single RAF Hawk T1 from 100 squadron, an EF2000 and Tornado from the German Air Force and also an Austrian Pilatus PC-7 with another in the flying display. Two very interesting Eastern examples came in the form of a Slovakian Twin seat MIG-29UB and a Romanian MIG-21, with Slovakia performing a display with a single seat MIG-29AS and the latter performing a display with another MIG-21. Slovakia also showcased a L-39CM Albatros with a special tail celebrating Squadron Leader Otto Smik, a Czechoslovak pilot who became a fighter ace in the Royal Air Force.
The flying display included an additional number of solo displays including the French Rafale Solo, Belgian F-16 and Czech L-159. Apart from the solos, the flying display was adorned with 9 different display teams which were the Polish Team Iskry and Orlik Aerobatic Team, the Royal Danish Air Force Baby Blue T-17 team, the Baltic Bees, the Frecce Tricolori, the Patrouille Suisse, the Royal Jordanian Falcons and both Spanish Air Force Display teams; the Patrulla Aguila and the Patrulla ASPA already mentioned above.
Last but not least, the Polish forces being the home team, presented almost every type in their inventory both on static and flying display. On static, the Air Force showcased a camouflaged M-28B Bryza, a PZL Swidnik SW-4 in static and one in flying, a white Mi-8S used for VIP transport duties, a PZL-130 Orlik, a F-16D Block 52+, a MIG-29UB Fulcrum and a striking all black Su-22UM-3K nicknamed the “Black Boar”.
The Polish Army displayed a number of helicopters including an Mi-24 on static and a duo in the flying display, a Mil Mi-17 AE Hip with the distinctive angry looking eyes on the engine intakes, one W3W Sokol with another three in the flying display, a very rare Mil Mi-2 PSz Hoplite which is the Army’s training and light transport helicopter and the PZL-Swidnik W3PL Gluszec gunship helicopter. The Polish Navy also showed up with a beautiful blue camouflaged Mi-14PL Haze and a SH-2G Super Seasprite, one of only four in their inventory.
Each afternoon’s flying display kicked off with a flypast of no less than 65 different rotary and fixed wing aircraft from the Polish Forces of all types within its inventory. Lead by Team Iskry, the flypast saw a number of formations formed by 6x SW-4, 4x Mi-2 Hoplites, 4x W3W Sokol, 4x Mi-8T, 4x Mi-24, 4x M-28, 3x C-295, 2x C-130 and 2x C-295, 6x Su-22, 6x MIG-29, 6x F-16 finally closed off with the Orlik Aerobatic team. The Polish Air Force also performed a Close Air Support demonstration with two F-16s and two Su-22s, completed with flares and pyrotechnics to make it more dramatic. Apart from the flypast and CAS Demo, the Polish Su-22 Duo Demo were present simulating strafing runs and airfield attacks followed by a MIG-29 Solo.
All in all, Radom 2015 was another success as usual, offering a number of rare aircraft and an outstanding varied line-up both in the static and flying displays. We will definitely keep an eye out on future Radom Airshows!