The long awaited Russian Knights aerobatic demonstration team finally arrived at Air Force Station Yelahanka, on the outskirts of Bangalore, at around 12:30pm today, the third day, of Aero India 2013.
The arrival of the Knights was delayed after a three-day delay that a member of the Russian delegation confirmed was caused “by delay in internal security clearance” at the Indian home ministry.
The usual bureaucratic tap-dance back and forth between the home ministry, defence ministry and Indian Air Force was going on for the last three days, forcing Russian ambassador Alexander M. Kadakin to request India’s national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon to intervene.
After their landing, a spokesperson for the Russian Knights team confirmed the situation, saying
“We were held up in Delhi for legal issues raised by the government of India and we could come here only because of diplomatic intervention.”
The Knights flew four passes over the runway before landing. The first pass was along with their IL-76 support aircraft, after which the five Su-27 fighters of the team flew three passes more passes.
Some pictures of their arrival at the show.