Futuristic jets & battle-hardened planes: Highlights of Russia’s MAKS 2017 airshow (VIDEOS)
The airshow show turned out to be a landmark business event, surpassing the previous MAKS 2015 spectacle with regard to business activity and deals signed.
Some 800 airspace companies took part in the event, signing contracts and memorandums worth a staggering 394 billion rubles (roughly $6.6 billion). Potential business deals exceeded 600 billion rubles (over $10 billion), according to an official statement issued following the event’s conclusion.
More than 450,000 people attended the event, with the overwhelming majority coming not for business, but to be entertained – to catch a glimpse or perhaps to get up-close and personal with cutting-edge futuristic aircraft and battle-hardened veterans of the airspace industry.
One of the most anticipated attractions was the demonstration flight of Russia’s fifth-generation multipurpose fighter aircraft, the Sukhoi PAK-FA T-50 (Perspective Air Complex of Frontline Aviation). Two futuristic aircraft, fitted with new engines and other enhancements, performed breathtaking, physics-defying maneuvers much to the delight of onlookers.
Having performed its maiden flight in 2010, the PAK-FA was built to replace the Sukhoi Su-27 in frontline tactical aviation. The Russian Air Force is expected to receive the pre-serial batch of 12 T-50s by 2019.
Another show stopper was the veteran ground attack airplane, the legendary Ilyushin Il-2, dubbed the “flying tank.”
The plane was discovered in a lake in the Murmansk region in 2011. The aircraft performed an emergency landing on the frozen waters after being shot down in WWII. It was recovered and brought to Novosibirsk for restoration four years later. The Il-2, one of the few surviving craft of that era, arrived on a trailer but took majestically to the skies Friday.
A successor to another flying legend – the soviet made biplane An-2– the TVS-2DTS experimental plane, made entirely of composite materials, was also presented during MAKS 2017.
An-2, the largest mass-produced single motor prop plane, which first took to the skies in 1946, still remains in active service but mainly for agricultural and recreational paradropping needs. Russia’s famous aerobatic teams also performed a range of spectacular stunts at MAKS 2017.
RT together with Arthur Sargsyan, installed a panoramic camera on the exterior and interior of the SU-30SM fighter jets of the ‘Russian Knights’ team, allowing people to experience the breathtaking maneuvers – from the cockpit and from the perspective of a load on an underwing pylon.
But it was not only planes which got hearts racing. Helicopters proved popular too, such as the revamped meaner and tougher version of the combat transport Mi-8 helicopter.
Manufactured by the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, the Mi-171Sh carries an unusual amount of weaponry, while retaining all the capabilities of a combat transport aircraft.
During an event dubbed the “Festival of Speed,” sports cars challenged airplanes to determine which are fastest. The competition, however, resulted in a 6-6 tie. What’s not in dispute, however, is that MAKS 2017 was an overwhelming success.