Cutting-edge arms, 500K visitors: Highlights of Army 2016 expo in Russia
Expo in numbers
The exhibition “Army 2016” which kicked off on September 6 has drawn over 500,000 visitors in total, the organizers said. Some 247 military vehicles as well as over 11,000 items were displayed during the expo. Hosted in a military park outside Moscow, along with several other locations, the event covered an impressive 140,000 square meters in total.
More than 1,000 Russian manufacturers, researchers and students from military universities joined in for the annual gathering. There was no shortage of foreign guests either, with 80 delegations from across the world showing up.
For this year’s opening ceremony the organizers decided to spice things up. Following an official kick-off , foreign delegations were shown a battle simulation involving various branches of the Russian military. The so-called “dynamic display” saw tanks, airplanes, fire launchers and airborne troops among other units battling a potential enemy.
During the expo, the leading Russian firearms producer Kalashnikov unveiled one of its latest achievements – the SVK and VSV-383 sniper rifles. The company presented the prototypes set to replace the current models used by the Russian army.
A self-propelled gun with the name “Phlox”was presented for the first time at this year’s expo. The self-propelled gun has a 120mm barrel and is designed to hit targets at a distance ranging between 100 meters and 10 kilometers. The Phlox can therefore be used as long-range artillery, mortar or howitzer.
The T-14 “Armata” tank was also displayed. The warfare capabilities of the next-generation Russian tank were displayed for the first time during “Army 2016”. Among the key advantages of the T-14 is its fully automated and unmanned turret, as well as HD cameras that provide an external view.
The first Russian-made military quad bike, already in service, aims to boost the mobile capabilities of Russian troops. The two-seated quad bike can cover distances of some 200 kilometers. Grenade launchers, rifles or other equipment can be attached to it.
Air force display
While the expo included numerous ground presentations of military hardware, Russian pilots also showed off their flying skills, using Su-27Ps, Su-27UBs as well as Su-30SM aircraft. Spectators saw various air maneuvers by leading Russian aerobatics teams, like the Russian Knights and the Falcons of Russia.
WWII battle recreated
However it’s not only the state-of-the-art military that could be found during the exhibition. On the final day of the event the viewers witnessed the simulation of a historical battle that took place during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union on July 22, 1941. The so-called Elninskaya military operation, launched on August 30 was the first counteroffensive by the Soviet forces after more than two months of retreat.
According to organizers, some 15,000 spectators witnessed the roar of historical tanks and other military hardware simulating the battle.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu praised the organization of the event: “The results strongly suggest that [the event] turned from a debutant among congresses and exhibitions into one of the world's leading exhibition of arms and military equipment.”