Day of the Russian Air Force
The Air Force Day is celebrated in Russia on August 12, but the reason for which the celebration falls on this date is not known to many.
History of the emergence of military aviation
Despite the fact that the Russian balloonists back in 1904-1905. participated in military operations during the war with Japan, the emergence of military aviation is associated with the creation on August 12, 1912 of the Aeronautical Section of the General Staff under the decree of Nicholas II. After that much attention was paid to the development and technical equipment of military aeronautics. In 1913 there was a complete separation of aviation from aeronautics - thus, the first reorganization of the military air fleet (WWF) in Russia was carried out.
How did it all begin?
Initially, aircraft were used only for reconnaissance and search purposes, but then began to participate in air battles - the First World War began. The aircraft fleet of Russia by that time already had 263 vehicles. Bomber aviation began to be formalized, and by the summer of 1916 - and fighter aircraft - as separate types of military aviation. The appearance of long-range aviation is associated with the creation of a multi-engine aircraft by the designer Sikorsky: "Ilya Muromets" and "Russian Knight". This series beat records on the height and duration of the flight, as well as the carrying capacity. If at the beginning of the war the WWF forces carried out rather an auxiliary function in reconnaissance and communications, by the end of hostilities the air fleet had already formed as an independent type of troops.
In 1918, the USSR Air Force was created on the basis of the disbanded Imperial WWF. They were then called the Workers 'and Peasants' Red Air Fleet. The military pilots of that time wrote many heroic pages into the story. So, in the 1930s it was the military pilots who were the first to receive the title of Heroes of the Soviet Union for the salvation of the Chelyuskinites. At this time, the greatest development of production of military aircraft technology is also taking place. But in the first hours of the Great Patriotic War, 1200 aircraft were destroyed. The air fleet had to be rebuilt under military conditions.
After the war, a qualitative leap occurred in the aircraft industry: the transition from piston aircraft engines to reactive ones, which were first tested in 1946. The Soviet-era air force definitely experienced its heyday, having no equal in the world in terms of the number of military equipment.
After the collapse of the USSR, the Air Force was divided between Russia and the other 14 republics. As a result, Russia got about 65% of the personnel and 40% of the air force's equipment. From this point on, for 10 years, the Russian Air Force continued to degrade: the number of equipment and personnel was rapidly declining. The total process of modernization and overhaul of machinery began only in 2009. At the same time, funding was resumed and developments continued in the field of aircraft construction.
Date of the celebration of the Air Force Day
In the course of the history of such a holiday as the day of the Air Force, the date was postponed repeatedly. At the time of the Imperial WWF, according to the decree of Nicholas II, the pilots' holiday was on August 2, the day of St. Elijah. It is clear that after the October Revolution such a date could not remain the same. In the 1920s, the day of aviation was celebrated in July, usually on July 14 - the day of the capture of the Bastille. In 1933 the celebration was postponed to August 18. It was convenient: in August training and training in the summer camps came to an end.
This went on until 1972, when the date of the celebration, so that it did not fall on a weekday, was postponed to the third Sunday in August, and so it became floating. It is curious that pilots of military aviation did not have their professional holiday for a long time. There was a single day for civil and military aviation - Air Fleet Day. And the Russian Air Force's own day - August 12 - was officially approved by the President's decree in 1997. The same order was amended in 2006, the content of which amounts to the fact that although the Air Force Day remains tied to the same date, the holiday itself and related events are allowed to be organized on the Day of the Air Fleet of Russia, that is again on the third Sunday in August.
Festive events on Air Force Day
For the first time in the USSR, the celebration of the Air Fleet Day was held in Moscow on August 18, 1933. The focus of the festive events was then the Central Air Force. Frunze. A large-scale air parade was conducted with the purpose of displaying novelties of aviation equipment and demonstrating the skill of pilots.
Somewhat later, namely, beginning in 1935, air parades on Air Fleet Day traditionally began at the airfield in Tushino. But not necessarily the day of these events was on August 18. In bad weather conditions, the holiday was postponed or canceled.
The WF Day from 1947 until the mid-1960s continued to organize in Tushino, but usually in July: one air weekend was held there. In the future, air parades and a review of new aircraft were moved to Domodedovo.
Now the Air Force Day is widely celebrated in many Russian cities. At the same time, exhibitions of military equipment and airshow are organized.
The significance of the Air Force holiday for Russia
Once the profession of a pilot, to the same military, was unusually romantic and prestigious, and the competition could only be made up by the profession of an astronaut. It was in the Soviet era, but after the end of the existence of the USSR, when there was a significant weakening of the Air Force, the interest of young people in this profession also significantly weakened. It became unprofitable to be a military man. Since the revival and modernization of the industry since the 2000s, the holiday of the Air Force Day was necessary to increase the prestige of aviation as an important component of the country's defense capability.