Report by: Thierry LETELLIER
The Paris Airshow, held every 2 years, celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2013. The show featured a number of first time visitors along with significant others, as aerospace industries competed to create as many new business opportunities as possible. For the aviation photographer and enthusiast, this promised a range of unusual types on display as compensation of the absolute lack of American Military participation since many years. Some of the most anticipated participants and exhibitors at the 2013 Paris Airshow were from Russia and the Ukraine. Russia’s Rosoboronexport brought examples of the Sukhoi Su-35 E Flanker, Kamov Ka-52 Alligator and Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten, whilst Ukraine’s Antonov Design Bureau attended with their prototype Antonov An-70 and an Antonov An-158 regional jetliner.
The RussianSukhoi’s Su-35 Flanker E was on display for the first 4 days of the flying programme, with the manufacturer reportedly not having insurance for displays during the final three days of the airshow (the airframe was still present on static display), Sukhoi is expecting a market for about 200 aircraft (100 of which are anticipated to be for the Russian Air Force). The Su-35 had previously displayed at the 1994 Berlin Airshow, but it seems to not be exactly the same aircraft version when you compare the flying displays. The velocity of this version is asboletely awesome and the aircraft is able to perform some incredible maneuvers . With plenty of Su-27 operators worldwide, Sukhoi OKB is optimistic to get a first foreign customer.
The Antonov An-70 is not really a new aircraft , but having been recently overhauled and upgraded, is back on the hunt for orders (after an initial signing from the Ukrainian Air Force for three examples). Powered by a unique Progress D-27 Propfan arrangement (visually recognisable by the large contra-rotating fans), the An-70 has a cargo capacity of 47 tonnes, 10 more than that of the A400M.The Kamov Ka-52 Alligator was making its first sales trip outside of Russia. Under the ownership of Russian Helicopters – a combined group of the most important helicopter manufacturers- the Alligator is searching for an export customer, having already been purchased under a 141 aircraft deal with the Russian Military. The Ka-52 took part in the flying display each day at the show, completely weapons loaded . But the display time was too short to fully appreciate the capabilities of this incredible helicopter.
Due to the lack of time for this edition i took the decision to only come for the flying display on the first and second trade days. Because at this time of the Salon, you can expect to have the complete flying display; at least for the fighters. If you come later you have the risk to constat them as departed! In fact it was a very relaxing way to avoid the incredible amount of road traffic on the other side of the field. The last good surprise of this trip happened at Roissy Airport, when we were able to quickly catch the TU-154 from Russian Airforce arriving for a night stop.