Aviation News Journal
Spanish Forces’ Parade in Madrid
Text and photography by Erik Bruijns
Each year, on October 12, Spain commemorates Fiesta Nacional de España or Día de la Hispanidad, marking the nation's National Day.
Ala 11 and Ala 14 together brought 12 Typhoons showing the future of the Spanish Air Force fighter force
This tradition, tracing back to 1892, features a grand military parade graced by the presence of the king, the royal family, the president of the government, and other high-ranking officials from all government branches. The parade, held in Madrid, showcases military equipment from every branch of the Spanish armed forces, symbolising the nation's military heritage and prowess.
Five EAV-8B's (including one air spare) were present at Torrejon. These Harriers are still going strong
This date reflects on the significant event of the Discovery of America in 1492, a pivotal moment that initiated contact between America and Europe. This encounter, often referred to as the "meeting of two worlds," profoundly impacted the perceptions and lives of individuals on both continents as it marked the beginning of European colonization in the Americas. However, it's notable that on October 12, 1492, the true identity of America remained concealed. Christopher Columbus, under the belief that he had reached the Indies, remained unaware that he had actually discovered a new continent.
A dual seat EF-18BM from Zaragoza Air Base takes off from Torrejon Air Base
The recognition of this day as a national holiday was formalised on September 23, 1892, when Queen Regent Maria Cristina of Habsburg-Lorraine, upon the recommendation of President Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, issued a Royal Decree in San Sebastián. This decree declared October 12, 1892, a national holiday to honour the Discovery of America, thus laying down the foundation for the annual celebration that continues to this day.
One of two CN235 VIGMA's on strength with the Guardia Civil participated
The 2023 edition of the National Day of Spain's military parade was a grand showcase of military prowess, featuring a total of 58 airplanes and 28 helicopters from various branches including the Spanish Air Force, Navy, Army, Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil), and Spanish police. The parade saw a ground display of 109 vehicles, 33 motorcycles, and 120 horses, with over 4000 personnel participating both on the ground and in the air. The aerial assets operated from four military bases around Madrid, each hosting different units and aircraft.
A mixed formation of EC-135P2s and AS365N3s showed the helicopter assets of the Guardia Civil
At Colmenar Viejo, north of Madrid, army helicopters such as the Boeing CH-47F from Batallón de Helicópteros de Combate V (BHELTRA V) and Eurocopter EC-135T2 from Academia de la Aviación del Ejército de Tierra (ACAVIET) and Batallón de Helicópteros de Emergencias (BHELEME II) operated. Visiting helicopters included Eurocopter Tigre HAD from Batallón de Helicópteros de Ataque I (BHELA I) and NHIndustries NH-90TTH from Batallón de Helicópteros de Maniobra III (BHELMA III).
One of the brand new A330MRTT's participated to show the air-to-air refuelling capabilities of the Spanish Air Force
Cuatro Vientos, south of Madrid, hosted Air Force Eurocopter AS-332B Super Pumas from 402 Escuadrón del Ala 48 and NHIndustries NH-90TTH from 803 Escuadrón del Ala 48. Other aircraft from this base included Eurocopter EC-120B Colibris from Patrulla Aspa del Ala 78, Agusta Bell AB-212ASW from 3ª Escuadrilla de la FLOAN, and a Sikorsky SH-60B from 10ª Escuadrilla FLOAN of the Navy. Spanish police also operated their EC-135P2 from here.
The sole Beech Kingair 350 of the Guardia Civil takes off from Torrejon Air Base, east of Madrid
Light transport planes took off from Getafe, including several Casa C-295s from Ala 35 and Ala 37, a Casa CN-235 from Grupo de Escuelas de Matacán (GRUEMA), and a Cessna 560 Citation from Centro Cartográfico y Fotográfico (CECAF). Additionally, four Pilatus PC-21 from Academia General del Aire y del Espacio (AGA) and Casa C-101s from Patrulla Águila participated.
Three hornets return to base after their formation flight over Madrid
Most fast movers operated from Torrejon Air Base, east of Madrid. Aircraft from Ala 12, featuring McDonnell Douglas EF-18s, were joined by Grupo 45's Falcon 900, Airbus A-310, and A-330MRTT. Also from Torrejon were the Canadair CL-215s and CL-415s from Grupo 43. Other participants included EF-18s from Ala 15, Eurofighter Typhoons from Ala 11 and Ala 14, Northrop SF-5Bs from Ala 23, and McDonnell Douglas EAV-8Bs from 9ª Escuadrilla de la Flotilla de Aeronaves (FLOAN).
Two CL-215s and a single CL-415 flew from Torrejon Airbase.
Lastly, Guardia Civil operated from their hangar at the northern side of Torrejon, showcasing their Casa CN-235, Beechcraft King Air 300, Aerospatiale AS-365N3, and Eurocopter EC-135P2.