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9 May, 2008 03:19

Military parade on Red Square - watch the full version!

Thousands of Russians have turned out for the highlight of the Victory Day celebrations – the annual military parade through Moscow’s Red Square. It’s 63 years since the end of World War II, known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War.

In line with tradition, the military parade began when the clock on the Spassky Tower at the Kremlin struck 10 a.m.

A command was given to carry out the State Flag of the Russian Federation and the Banner of Victory.

The Standard Bearers Group is made up of the best servicemen from the Guards of Honour Battalion of the 154th Commandant's Regiment.

First, was the State Flag of the Russian Federation. Next came the Banner of Victory.

The Russian Defence Minister – Anatoly Serdyukov, who came out on his limousine from the Gate of the Spassky Tower took the salute at the Victory Parade.

The commander of troops of the Moscow Military District – General of the Army Vladimir Bakin – was commanding the Parade.

Defence Minister Anatoly and General of the Army Vladmir Bakin made their inspection tour before the troops began marching across Red Square.

After inspecting the troops, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov reported to President Dmitry Medvedev – the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Russian Armed Forces.

President Medvedev responded.

Then the commander of the Parade – General of the Army Vladimir Bakin – gave the order to begin the parade and the linesmen took up their positions on the perimeter of Red Square.

Following the limousine of General of the Army Vladimir Bakin, according to tradition, the drummers of the Suvorov Military Music School marched briskly along the cobblestones of Red Square. The youngest drummer was 14-years-old.

Military parade: step-by-step

The first armoured vehicle to enter Red Square is ‘Tigr’ – it’s a light armoured vehicle that can carry up to 9 people and is bullet and bomb proof. It’s meant for special operations and is ideal for cross-country work.

The Taman division enters the square on armoured personnel carrier BTR 80. It’s followed by the BMP-3 infantry support vehicle that has 3 crew and can carry up to 7 more troopers, and it has unprecedented fire power in its class.

The airborne division 106 brings forward the BMD 4 armoured personnel carrier of the fourth generation. After them, self-propelled artillery systems ‘Sprut 137’ roll into Red Square – they are a significant part of a landing force used for fire support of troops.

Next comes the main battle tanks, T-90, armed with the newest equipment capable of destroying targets, both on land and in air.

The artillery is often called ‘the God of War’. The Simferopol regiment of Taman division presents MSTA-S artillery systems used to destroy objects in the 25 km range. Artillery complex ‘Tunguska’ and ‘Tor’ armoured vehicles follow.

Next in the parade is ‘Buk’ self-propelled anti-aircraft complex. It switches from travel to battle mode in less than 5 minutes and can be recharged in less than 20 seconds.

The only long-range multiple launch rocket system in the world known as ‘Smerch’ enters Red Square. It is capable of high-precision targeting as far as 90 km away.

The anti-aircraft rocket system C-300 ‘Favorit’ is considered the best in the world – it can follow 100 targets and hit up to 12 spots simultaneously.

The tactical missile complex ‘Iskander-M’ rolls on to the cubes of Red Square. Its missiles use the ‘stealth’ technology and are virtually invisible to any foe and its capable of destroying targets 280 km away with a minor deviation not exceeding 2 metres.

One unique piece of equipment follows the other – ‘Topol’, the missile complex known across the world, is also taking part in the parade.

It’s classified SS-25 ‘Sickle’ by NATO and is capable of destroying any existing anti-missile system. Its range is an unimaginable 10 thousand km!

The air show is traditionally opened by the famous Russian MI-8 helicopters. They are followed by AN-124 ‘Ruslan’ – the largest cargo plane in the world. It’s escorted by two SU-27 fighter jets.

The supersonic strategic bomber TU-160 is seen in the sky above the heart of Moscow – it’s the biggest supersonic jet in the history of aviation that can carry up to 40 tonnes of arms, including several types of controlled missiles, bombs and even nuclear-charged warheads.

It’s escorted by MiG-31 long-range interceptors.

Next in the sky are the re-fueler plane IL-78 and TU-95MS strategic bomber followed by MiG-29. SU-34 and SU-24, the production of world-famous Sukhoi, appear next. SU-34 is the newest generation of fighter jets that will eventually substitute the older SU-24 model.

They have a practically unlimited flying range – of course, when refueled in flight.

Three supersonic long-range bombers with variable wing geometry TU-22M3 enter the airspace above Red Square. They are followed by four SU-25 attack planes flying in battle formation.

And the grand finale – a breathtaking air show by aerobatic teams ‘Russian Knights’ and ‘Strizhi’ (‘Swifts’) on SU-27 and MiG-29 planes.

By tradition the Victory Parade finished with the composite military orchestra unfolding and marching down Red Square.