These awesome photos from KADEX 2016 show Kazakhstan Air Force combat aircraft as you’ve never seen them before

Su-30SMs, Su-27M-2s, Yak-130, Pterodactyl-1 and much more exotic stuff you don’t happen to see too often.

Held between Jun. 2 and 5, 2016, the Kazakhstan Defence Expo (KADEX 2016) provided an interesting opportunity to have a close look at some rather rare Kazakhstan Air Force “hardware.”

The IV International Exhibition of Weapons Systems and Military Equipment brought to Astana some really interesting combat aircraft.

Kazakhstan Air Force were represented at KADEX 2016 by their Sukhoi Display Team the “Zhetysu” (Severn Rivers) from the 604 Air Base, Aktobe. They brought with them five Su-27M-2, numbered 07, 11, 14, 16, 17 yellow along with a single Su-27UBM-2 numbered 52 yellow.




Su-27M-2 # 07 did not fly at all during the show, and was probably the spare machine.

The Su-27UBM-2 was always the lead aircraft for the formation demonstration, and was always flown by Col. Timur Omarov, the Team Leader.

Solo demonstrations were flown by the two Su-30SM #02 and #03 red on a daily basis.






EC-145 helicopters took part in the flying display as well along with some Russian aircraft and helicopters: the Yak-130, the Mi-8MSB and the Mi-17V-5.

Other interesting participants in static display were the Chengdu Pterodactyl-1 UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), the Kazakhstan Government Tu-134A and An-74, the MCHS Kazaviaspas (Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Kazakhstan) EC-145, Ka-32, Mi-26T and Mi-171E.





Kadex_33 Kadex_34 Kadex_35 Kadex_36 Kadex_37 Kadex_38 Kadex_39  Kadex_42 Kadex_43 Kadex_44 Kadex_45 Kadex_46 Kadex_47 Kadex_49 Kadex_50

The Aviationist’s Tony Lovelock had the opportunity to visit Kadex 2016 and take the photographs you can find in this post.

Sincere thanks for the hospitality and attention of the Officers and Staff from the Ministry of Defence of ther Republic of Kazakstan.

Image credit: The Aviationist/Tony Lovelock

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Wow. Great pics of some good Russian gear. I have always loved the SU-27/30/34 etc look. It looks like what a A2A fighter should look like. Has crap range, but it handles “well”. Are the drones Press or some kind of Russian rip offs?

    • I think the F-14 is an ugly hanger queen. Sukhoi’s 27 family of aircraft is much prettier, especially in Astana blue.
      But so what? What matters is not how pretty an airplane is, but how well it accomplishes its mission. If its mission is deterrence, then both the F-14 and Sukhoi’s jets were equally successful [pretty?] because they deterred a hot war between powerful adversaries.
      I wish the An-74 was available in the west. It is a well designed short take-off light transport unlike any western counterpart.

      • While you have every right to consider the F-14 ugly, calling it a “hangar queen” betrays your ignorance. Im pretty sure that the F-14’s service and combat record (at least 4 air-to-air kills, countless bombing missions in 3 conflicts, and decades of keeping the US fleet safe from agression) speaks for itself. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of aviation would laugh at the suggestion that the F14 was a hangar queen.

        • Depends on how they use the term. Navy maintainers have always referred to the F-14 as hangar queens simply because of the maintenance and cost nightmares they were.

          If he used it like it’s tossed around in civil aviation, to denote an aircraft that sits around, looks pretty/scary, and not much else, then that’s obviously false.

      • It’s perfectly “available”. Russia will sell to anyone with cash. Nobody wants it.

        Where do you get that the AN-72/4 was/is great? It was built in very limited numbers and didn’t export well. There’s a reason nobody really flys it. It’s too small and too slow for military use. The US military experimented with it’s type (the YC-14 and YC-15) and decided it was a waste. The YC-15 turned into the C-X program which evolved in the C-17. The C-17 has almost identical STOL capabilities while being far faster, with a larger payload, inflight refueling, and longer range. The Coanda effect created by the wings and engine has been since deemed not worth the trade off and later variants have engines on pylons under the wings.

  2. We get Su-25, Uzbekistan get Su-25. We get Su-27, Uzbekistan get Su-27. We get Su-30SM, Uzbekistan cannot afford! Great Success!

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