Romanian Air Force Day Date in the current year: July 20, 2024

Romanian Air Force Day Romanian Air Force Day is celebrated annually on July 20. It is marked by a spectacular aviation parade in the sky over the country’s capital of Bucharest, featuring military aircraft of the Romanian Air Force, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Romanian Intelligence Service, as well as various civilian aircraft.

The history of Romanian military aviation, as well as Romanian aviation in general, dates back to 1909, when the Ministry of War commissioned engineer and inventor Aurel Vlaicu to construct a powered airplane. The first flight of the A. Vlaicu I took place on June 17, 1910; several months later, Vlaicu flew his airplane during a military exercise.

The Romanian Air Force was officially created on April 1, 1913. On the eve of the country’s entry in World War I in August 1916, it comprised ten Bristol T.B.8 biplanes, seven Bristol Coanda Monoplanes, four Farman HF.20 biplanes, four Blériot XI, two Morane-Borel monoplanes, and two A Vlaicu I monoplanes.

During the war, Romania acquired over 300 aircraft from France and Britain. On September 16, 1916, the Romanian Air Force had its first victory: its Farman F.40 downed an Imperial German Air Service plane near the Romanian town of Slobozia. By the end of the war, Romanian pilots flew 750 missions and a total of about 11,000 hours.

When Romania entered World War II in 1941, having allied with Nazi Germany, the Royal Romanian Air Force had over 600 planes. It fought on the Eastern Front alongside Germany until King Michael’s Coup on August 23, 1944. After the coup, Romania joined the Allies.

Following the war, Romania fell into the Soviet sphere of influence, so its air force was reformed based on the Soviet model and its fleet was expanded with Soviet aircraft, such as Ilyushin Il-10, Lavochkin La-9, Polikarpov Po-2, Tupolev Tu-2, Yakovlev Yak-18, and later Yalovlev Yak-17 and Yak-23, as well as MiG-17, MiG-19 and MiG-21. In the 1970s, the Romanian IAR-93 Vultur ground attack aircraft entered service.

The current inventory of the Romanian Air Force includes the combat aircraft MiG-21 and F-16 Fighting Falcon, the reconnaissance aircraft Antonov An-30, the transport aircraft Antonov An-26, C-27J Spartan and C-130 Hercules, the helicopter IAR 330, the trainer aircraft IAR 99, IAR 316 and Yakovlev Yak-52, the RQ-7 Shadow UAV, as well as SAM systems and mobile anti-aircraft.

The structure of the Romanian Air Force includes the headquarters situated in Bucharest, the Air Operations Center, four air bases (71st, 86th, 90th, 95th), the 142nd Reconnaissance Squadron, the 1st SAM Brigade, the 70th Engineering Center, the 85th Air Signals and IT Center, the 91st Logistic Base, as well as the Air Force Academy and other training establishments.

Romanian Air Force Day is celebrated on July 20 because on this day, the Romanian Orthodox Church venerates Prophet Elijah, who is regarded as the patron saint of the Romanian Air Force. This holiday should not be confused with National Aviation Day, celebrated on June 17. The latter commemorates the first flight of the A. Vlaicu I aircraft.

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