Next-gen airliners, retro planes, VIP choppers: Highlights of Russia’s MAKS-2019 airshow (PHOTOS)
The 2019 event kicked off at Zhukovsky airfield near Moscow last Tuesday, with as many as 600,000 people attending the exhibition. On Friday, MAKS finally opened its doors to the public, much to the delight of aviation geeks, plane spotters, and airshow lovers. Countless fighter jets, civilian airliners, helicopters, drones and airspace equipment was put on display on the airfield and in several hangars.
As in previous years, a number of aircraft made spectacular debuts and stole the limelight at MAKS.
One of the most anticipated attractions was the MC-21, Russia’s two-engine, narrow-body passenger plane, which is set to compete with the newest models of the Airbus A321 and Boeing 737 MAX family.
Irkut, the aircraft manufacturer, has just rolled out the latest trial version of the plane, which is fitted with a single-aisle cabin, a modern, digitized ‘glass cockpit,’ as well as Pratt & Whitney engines. The engineers say the MC-21 will burn less fuel, provide more comfort for passengers and crew, and will be built using ultra-light composite materials.
While the MC-21 will serve short- and medium-haul destinations, there is a joint Russian-Chinese effort to design and build a long-haul aircraft, now known as the CR-929. Its full-size layout also appeared at MAKS, allowing visitors to get a glimpse of its flight deck and passenger cabin.
Another attraction was the futuristic Su-57 fifth-generation fighter. Russia had shown off the stealthy jet at a previous exhibition, but this time, it opted to exhibit its export variant, the Su-57E.
Exporting the Su-57 – a rival to the US F-22 and F-35, and Chinese J-20 – is a top priority for Russia. Turkey, recently sidelined from the F-35 project by Washington, may become the first foreign operator of the jet. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was among those viewing the aircraft this week, hinted that he was in talks with Moscow to purchase the Su-57.Also on rt.com Russia’s Su-57 fighter jet screams into the sky at MAKS Air Show (VIDEO)
Retro planes were among other show stoppers, among them the legendary Ilyushin Il-2, the super-reliable WWII close air support aircraft dubbed the "flying tank" by the Soviets and the "black death" by the Germans.
MiG-15, the Cold War-era fighter, has also performed some spectacular stunts during the show. Aside from these planes, the organizers showed off the Tu-144, the only supersonic passenger jet except for the Franco-British Concorde.
MAKS serves as a sales platform for the Russian aviation industry, so, naturally, there was room for luxury items. Russian Helicopters – a conglomerate of companies making rotor-wing aircraft – unveiled its Ansat chopper. Created for corporate and VIP transportation, it is able to carry up to seven passengers.
The corporation also presented two other medium-sized civilian helicopters, the multi-purpose Kamov Ka-62 and the Mil Mi-38.
This year’s MAKS finished up on Sunday. More than 800 companies from all over the world took part in the airshow, which featured more than 200 aircraft