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In 2012, we visited the second instalment of the KADEX trade show in Kazakhstan. With memorable performances of the MiG-31 and indeed the Su-27s of the Kazakh Air Force.

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Being held at Astana airport, this provided a good opportunity to sample a wide variety of aircraft from various branches of government. Kazakhstan has turned to the West for some of its hardware like the H145M shown here.

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For heavier transport duties, the Mi-17V-5 is still used in numbers. Many were present in 2012. Of these 04 red performed aerial displays, whereas 01 red was parked on stand-by. Both are hoist-equipped, and likely operated by 620 Aвиаполк (Aviapolk - aviation squadron).

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Mi-17V-5 02 red had the honour of bearing the flag of Kazakhstan.

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Resplendent in a completely different two-tone green colour scheme is 11 yellow, it was in the static park.

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More legacy Soviet-era hardware in the shape of the venerable MiG-29 is used by fighter unit 600 Авиабаза (600 Aviabasa - 600 Aviation Base - Zhetygen).

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Every day a two-ship performed, consisting of a dual seat MiG-29UB and a MiG-29 single seater.

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On a milder tone, but with larger numbers present, were the L-39 Albatros' from 609 Авиабаза (609 Aviabasa - 609 Aviation Base) in Balkash, central Kazakhstan.

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We can imagine this replicates some of the scenes normally to be seen on a Kazakh air base, that could now be witnessed on the busy ramp of the international airport!

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No doubt the four-ship Su-27 display was one of the highlights of the airshow. Popping out huge amounts of flares in the process, an awesome performance that lighted up the place; literally as some of the flares caused minor brush fires.

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Then at Taldykurgan, with 604 Авиабаза (604 Aviabasa - 604 Aviation Base) and upgraded to Su-27M2 and UBM2 standard the fleet has recently been augmented with the Su-30SM. Since then, they are at Aktobe.

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Before the grey takes over, let us just enjoy some more tones of bright blue...

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...before the legacy Su-27 departs the scene for good, like this 50 yellow heading home after being parked at the static, it graced us with with a last display.

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More hardware from illustrious manufacturers could be seen. Like this VIP Tu-154 UP-T5401 with "Kazakhstan" titles. Another was seen at Almaty, UP-T5406, but that belongs to the Ministry of Emergency Situations (Төтенше жағдайлар министрлігі - тжм).

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Two helicopters of тжм were displayed on the ground with Ka-32A-11C UP-K3201 and H145 UP-EC015 in the distinctive white with orange and blue markings of said institution.

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The An-26 is being replaced with C295, but in 2012 these Astana-based aircraft (620 Авиабаза - 620 Aviabasa - 620 Aviation Base) were quite active still. Especially on departure day.

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On that day the static aircraft departed and support equipment needed to be ferried back home. For this whispering giant Mi-26T for example. Heading back all the way to 612 Авиабаза (612 Aviabasa - 612 Aviation Base - Taraz).

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At departure, the static birds could finally be captured in fine style. Su-25s are at Shymkent with the 602 Aviation Base (602 Авиабаза - 602 Aviabasa)...

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...while the brutal MiG-27, freshly overhauled by CHARZ Chuguyev in the Ukraine, went back to Taldykurgan's 604 Авиабаза (60 Aviabasa - 604 Aviation Base).

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Closest fighter base to Astana is Karaganda where 610 Авиабаза (610 Aviabasa - 610 Aviation Base) resides. And, oh my word, do they have serious hardware there. The stunning MiG-31, a couple of which performed daily fly-bys. ...

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...while a third was at the static and departed in true MiG-31 style, with fire and brimstone!

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Speaking of fire, although overcast at this display day, the four Su-27 lit up the grey skies providing an even more eerie sight.

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With a final salute, two MiG-29s depart as only they can... We look back at a truly lovely first acquaintance with Kazakhstan. More Aviagraphers have visited since and, more will surely follow!