OEastern European airpower will take centre stage in the Cotswolds this summer when two of the world’s most potent fighter aircraft take to the skies for one of the UK’s biggest outdoor events – the Royal International Air Tattoo.
Airshow organisers have just added a legendary Mikoyan MiG-29, from the Polish Air Force, and a SAAB JAS-39 Gripen from the Hungarian Air Force to the seven-and-a-half hour flying display programme, which takes place at RAF Fairford on July 20-21.
The Russian-built MiG-29 is a giant among modern-day combat jets, combining supreme power and agility with remarkable versatility. Developed in the mid-1970s, in response to a rapid stream of highly-capable new fighters emerging from the US and Europe, the MiG-29 made its first flight in 1977 and joined the then Soviet Air Force six years later. It has since been acquired by many other nations, several of them in Eastern Europe including Poland.
The MiG-29 can fly at approximately Mach 2.25, or almost 1,500 miles per hour, and it can operate at an altitude of over 59,000ft.
The delta-winged JAS-39 Gripen is one of the world’s most advanced fighters having been designed to replace the SAAB 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force.
Both aircraft will line up against other fighters such as the Typhoon, Tornado and F-16 in the flying display which also features a wide range of large transporters, helicopters, historic warbirds such as the Vulcan and aerobatic display teams including the RAF Red Arrows.
Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said: “The Air Tattoo’s reputation has been built on attracting exciting aircraft from former Soviet Bloc countries. These countries, many of which are now our NATO allies, remain among the most eagerly anticipated and popular participants at our airshow.”
In July, the Air Tattoo will unveil a package of initiatives designed to make the visitor experience even more enjoyable. These include new Service Stations, featuring food courts, free wi-fi hubs, information booths, merchandise outlets, street entertainment, seating and a shaded area providing cover. There will also be three new exciting themed areas called the Adrenalin Zone, Techno Zone and the Vintage Village.
The Royal International Air Tattoo takes place at RAF Fairford on July 20-21. For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase tickets, visit airtattoo.com or call 0800 107 1940. All under-16s go free. Free parking.