Kazachstan might have become very well known by the ‘Borat’ movie, but fortunately this comedy is far from reality. Being the 9th largest country on Earth and celebrating the state’s 20th anniversary in 2012, it is amongst the uprising ex-Soviet states and has to offer a lot.
Where? Astana Airport, Kazakhstan
A vast country and large natural resources combined with a long borderline, being still located in an unstable region, the reaching for safety and security is a countries natural behaviour and thus not for nothing the KADEX „International Exhibition of Weapons System and Military Equipment“ has been set up in 2010.
Of course its sole purpose is not only to bring people together in conferences to discuss about defence and security topics, but also to display every sort of defence material, and to provide a proper presentation of the countries strong military.
Many tanks and ground equipment could be seen upon entering the showground, but the main reason for the aviation enthusiast was the rare – and most probably – unique view of some of the flying assets of the Kazakhstan Air and Air Defence Forces.
Colourful and shiny were the gems in the static display: A Su-25, MiG-27, MiG-29 and Su-27 already showed the large diversity of the Air Force:
Also the combination of an Israeli manufactured Litening pod with a Soviet laser-guided bomb was a clear sign to keep the strength of their fleet up-to-date.
A large country ask for long range and thus large aircraft. The mighty MiG-31 is a great aircraft for such a tasking and not for nothing Kazakhstan is apart from Russia the sole operator of this fascinating type. One example has also been displayed on ground, very close to the Mi-26, the world’s largest transport helicopter.
Some more highlights on the ground can be seen on the following photos:
Of course there is also the ambition to introduce new equipment. The MiG Design Bureau tries to sell its MiG-35 which was present on the ground, Airbus Military and Eurocopter were already successful and two Khazak EC145 as well as a C295, of which two are on order, could be seen as well.
Of course aircraft belong into the air, and despite bad weather the flying presentation during the opening ceremony in front of President Nursultan Nasarbajew was stunning.
It did start with a ground show of tanks and other military vehicles in combination with some helicopter flying such as fast-roping or a flag parade.
In parallel two MiG-29 did take off, but when suddenly out of nowhere two smoke-trailing black dots appeared and could be identified as a close formation of MiG-31, all that remained after that sole fly-by followed by a pull-up in full afterburner was sheer excitement!
The following presentations of the countries three display teams
- Sunkar on 6 L-39
- Alatau on 2 MiG-29
- Zhetysu on 4 Su-27
could obviously not be directly compared to other display teams due to the very difficult weather conditions.
But the 4-ship of Su-27 put an excellent final with a flare excessive break.
I will not conclude this report from Astana airport without also showing the diversity of civil aircraft photographed during these few days:
And of course I have hoped for the same weather for the show as during my walk through the countries capital Astana, a sunny walk around the ‘Dubai of Eurasia’, seeing this fast growing place was another sight not to be missed.