The Russian defense ministry is holding its third International Military Technical Forum—named ARMY—around Moscow this week, from August 22-27. It has now grown into an event of international importance, with this year’s exhibition space exceeding the previous one by at least 60 percent. There are rumors that ARMY will replace the MAKS show held at Ramenskoye airfield near the town of Zhukovsky, south of Moscow.
The exhibition halls and demonstration rooms for ARMY are located at the Patriot Park, 60 km west of Moscow. Hundreds of larger items such as helicopters, UAVs, radars and missile systems are on display outside. Meanwhile, 30 fixed-wing aircraft plus more helicopters are displayed at nearby Kubinka air force base, including Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 strategic bombers; an A-50 AWACS; an Il-76 airlifter and an Il-38N maritime patrol aircraft.
Another 30 aircraft are taking part in a daily aerial display over Kubinka, including a pair of Su-30SM naval fighters from the peninsular of Crimea and four Su-35S multirole fighters from Lipetsk AFB. Their crews demonstrate formation flying and emulate dogfights, while also showing some solo performances. Formation and solo flying displays are also performed by the Swifts (Mig-29s), the Russian Knights (Su-30s) and the Berkuts (Mi-28N) air display teams of the Russian Air and Space Force (VKS). Foreign participation this year is limited to a Turkish air force display team, The Turkish Stars flying F-5s.
ARMY also includes simulated mission sorties involving firing at mock targets within the vast territory of the Alabino firing and testing range by Ka-52, Mi-35M and Mi-8AMTSh helicopters. Jets, helicopters, UAVs and armored and special army vehicles take their part in demonstrating offensive and anti-terror operations.
According to the Russian defense ministry, the total ARMY 2017 exhibition space exceeds 600,000 sq m. Most of the bulky equipment—more than 500 pieces—comes from the Russian Armed Forces, and some more are provided by local industry. A few more pieces of bulky equipment has come from seven countries—including China—that have national expositions. The defense industry is represented by 1,200 companies, including 78 entities from 14 countries. They brought a total of 18,000 exhibits. In addition to the exhibition activities, the conference hall at the Patriot Park is used for housing 140 thematic discussions and round tables related to military equipment, its procurement, operation and so on.
The organizers have set up more than 40 specialized expositions, including one on terrorist equipment captured in Syria. ARMY 2017 has attracted more than 100 national delegations, including 20 headed by defense ministers and 15 more by chiefs of staff and other top brass. So-called “demonstrations behind closed doors” take place for selected guests, where pieces of classified equipment are being shown, including large aerial vehicles and missiles.
A principal difference between the MAKS and ARMY shows is that the latter is intended mainly for demonstration of military equipment made locally and, more generally, the capabilities of the Russian nation in the defense area. In that sense, enlarging ARMY at the expense of MAKS is in line with other recent developments in Russia, with a focus on restoration and strengthening of the national defense capabilities, promoting sales to foreign customers and involving interested industrial companies from other countries in a closer interaction with the Russian military-industrial complex.
For more photos from the aerial display, click here.