Dino van Doorn, Hans van der Wilt and Bas Stubert report for GMAP from Kubinka/Moscow; Russia.

International forum ‘Army 2016’ was held from September 6 till September 11 2016. The event took place on the basis of the brand new “Patriot Congress and Exhibition Centre of the military-patriotic recreation park of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation” near the town of Kubinka, approximately 63km west of Moscow. Situated adjacent to the venue is the Alabino Range which was used to entertain the spectators with dynamic shows. At the same time, Kubinka airbase was the venue to show Russia’s military aviation might. While the forum was only open to guests and delegates during the first three days, the general public was allowed access during the last three days of the event.

Following its 2015 debut; 2016 was the second consecutive year the International Military-Technical Forum ‘Army’ was organized by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. Last year the Forum was attended by 818 exhibitors and over 200,000 visitors; including representatives of the 73 states and members of official delegations from 38 countries. The 2016 edition saw over 500,000 visitors and over 80 foreign delegations took part, thus showing that the debutante of last year is quickly growing into one of the world’s major exhibition of arms and military equipment. Spread over five days, the forum showcased the latest developments in weapons, military vehicles and technology.

The Forum served multiple purposes: stimulation of innovative development of the military-industrial complex of the Russian Federation; promoting the activities of young promising experts of scientific-research organizations of the Russian defence Ministry and the defence industry; development of military-technical cooperation of the Russian Federation with foreign states; and the formation of a positive image of the Ministry of Defence of Russia as a modern and dynamic structure. At the same time the event was set-up to increase the popularization of service in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

Main objectives for this year’s event were to present new technologies and materials of other branches of science and industry for their introduction into production by the defence industry; and to demonstrate the maximum range of weapons, military- and special equipment in use with the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

While the Alabino range was used to display the firepower of modern Russian built tanks, Kubinka Airbase was the place to see a variety of aircraft in service with the Russian Air Force. Approximately thirty aircraft were on static display, ranging from the ageing Tu-95 “Bear” to the modern Sukhoi Su-34 bomber. Operating from the flightlines were various types of helicopters and fighters, which performed at the venue of the exhibition centre, as well as at the airfield itself. With Kubinka being home to the air demonstration teams ‘The Swifts’ (MiG-29) and ‘The Russian Knights’ (Su-27); both teams performed multiple times during the public days.

With Russian airshow attendance becoming increasingly rarer outside the Russian Federation itself, “Army” has become an interesting complement to the bi-annual MAKS aviation salon at Zhukovsky to still see some of its impressing airpower at work.

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