North Korea hosts first air show ever

As U.S. B-1Bs fly south of the DMZ, the rather geriatric North Korean aircraft take part in the nation’s first-ever airshow in Wonsan.

Last weekend North Korea hosted its first-ever air show at the Kalma International Airport, in the eastern port city of Wonsan.

The event, attended by both civilian and military aircraft, has represented an unbelievable opportunity for aviation enthusiasts from all around the world to photograph some of the world’s rarest combat planes, including the North Korean Air Force Mig-29 Fulcrum, Su-25 Frogfoot, Mig-21Bis Fishbed, Mi-8T Hip and Y-5s.

Among the aircraft that took part in the air show, there was also a formation of four Hughes 500E helicopters: exposed in 2013 during the traditional flying parade over Pyongyang, the North Korean “Little Birs” have long been surrounded by mystery. There were no images that could prove their presence in DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) in spite the news that they had been illegally supplied to the regime had been unveiled in the ’80s.

Even the state airline Air Koryo took part in the air show with its Tu-134, Tu-154 and Il-62 aircraft.

Pyongyang’s first air show took place amid growing tensions with the U.S. over North Korea’s continued development of missiles and nuclear weapons.

Following the fifth nuclear test this month, U.S. Air Force B-1Bs bombers have conducted extended deterrence missions south of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone).

Whilst international sanctions restrict the regime’s international trade, air shows like the one held this year are probably one of the ways to attract some tourists in a country almost inaccessible to foreigners (especially those keen on ultra-rare military hardware!) until a few days ago..

Image credit: Ed Jones/AFP

 

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About David Cenciotti 3633 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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 four books.