The Eurasia Airshow, took place for the first time between 25-29 April 2018 in Antalya gathering numerous aerospace giants from Turkey and the world. Two members of MAR attended the airshow held during the weekend of the 28th and 29th of April.

Although Eurasia Airshow was held for the first time, it managed to attract a high number of firms and visitors. Held under the auspices of the Turkish presidency, Eurasia Airshow aims to intertwine international aviation giants with Turkey’s ever growing aviation sector including their fast-growing airliners, manufacturers, defence contractors and government agencies.

The Eurasia Airshow was attended from 67 countries, from Russia to Qatar from Iran to United Kingdom, Ukraine to Poland. Worldwide leading companies of the industry such as Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Sukhoi, UAC, Antonov, BAE Systems, SAAB, Qatar Airways, Thales, Honeywell, GE Aviation, Pratt-Whitney, Goodrich and IRKUT have participated in the Eurasia Airshow. Local companies have also successfully represented the Turkish Aviation Industry with leading companies such as Turkish Airlines, Havelsan, Aselsan, Alp Havacılık and Turkish Aerospace.

Eurasia Airshow is held once every two years and the first three days of the show (25-27th April) are trade days open only to professional visitors. During the weekend, Eurasia Airshow opens its doors to visitors and the general public. Eurasia Airshow offers a Spotter registration package limited to 100 aircraft spotters allowing unique photographic opportunities, access to custom photo-taking areas whilst also being provided with a special high-vis vest and hat. For the 2018 edition, registrations started in the beginning of April and one could register through a link which was posted on their Facebook page.

Gates opened to the public during the weekend at 09:00 and closed at around 18:00, with the flying display starting at 12:00. The static line up consisted of a number of civil aircraft as already mentioned above from leading companies such as Boeing, Airbus, Sukhoi, SAAB, Antonov and Qatar Airways. Leonardo also displayed on static an Italian Air Force C-27J Spartan serial ‘MM62218’ from 98° Gruppo of the 46° Brigata Aerea ‘Silvio Angelucci’ based at Pisa Airport. The Polish Air Force displayed one of their MIG-29s serial ‘70’ supported by a C-130E Hercules, and the Czech Air Force proudly displayed their ‘Tiger’ Scheme JAS-39C Gripen serial ‘9241’. Also present at the show was the OV-10B Bronco Demo Team.

Antonov was represented by an AN-124 and the newly introduced Antonov An-178. The aircraft had made its Western debut at the 2015 Paris Air Show. In February 2020, during a visit by the Turkish President Erdogan to Ukraine, a deal was signed for Ukraine to provide the An-178 to Turkey. The An-178 is a relatively small transport aircraft roughly in the same class as the C-130E currently in service with the Turkish Air Force. Although unconfirmed, Turkey hasn’t yet mentioned if An-178s are actually being purchased but Turkey is looking to acquire new transport aircraft to gradually replace aging C-160s and C-130s in service.

Also representing Antonov on static was a Ukrainian Air Force An-70 serial ’02 BLUE’, the sole operator of the type. The An-70 officially entered service with the Air Force in January 2015 after the Ukrainian Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak signed an order for the type. In 2015, Russia excluded An-70 aircraft from its state military program and the production of the plane was suspended after political tensions between the countries. In order to continue the production of the An-70, Antonov had to replace Russian components used for its manufacturing hence the An-77 was proposed in July 2017 for joint development between the U.S. and Ukraine. During the Eurasia Airshow, Antonov announced that it would work with Turkey’s Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in redeveloping the An-77 aircraft to meet current-day requirements.

The most interesting exhibits for us where both the rotating wing and fixed winged platforms of the Turkish Armed Forces which took part in the static area and in the flying display. The Turkish Army showcased two of their TAI T-129 ATAK serials ‘18-1034’ and ‘18-1035’, both on static and flying. The helicopter is designed for specific hot, high environment and rough terrain requirements of the Turkish Armed Forces for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in both day and night conditions.

The Turkish Navy displayed a single type in the form of a Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk ‘TCB-53’. The first batch of 4 Seahawks were ordered in February 1998 and 4 more in September 1998. These were followed by an additional 17 new S-70B in 2006, a Lot 2 agreement, which were added to the seven S-70B Seahawk helicopters in the inventory of the Turkish Navy.

The Turkish Jandarma was also present with a Sikorsky S-70A-28 Blackhawk ‘J-1902’ and a Mi-17-1VA ‘J-1701’. The Gendarmerie of the Turkish Republic is an armed general law enforcement organization responsible for maintaining public order in areas that fall outside the jurisdiction of police forces, as well as assuring internal security along with carrying out other specific duties assigned to it by certain laws and regulations. The Gendarmerie General Command is subordinated to the Ministry of Interior.

The first force command to use the S-70 Blackhawk helicopter in Turkey was in fact the General Command of Gendarmerie. The first six airframes were introduced into the inventory in 1988 and in 1999, the Turkish Government signed a contract for an additional 50 S-70 Blackhawks for the Turkish Armed Forces.

The Turkish Gendarmerie operate 20 Mi-17-1Vs with 2nci Filo stationed at Ankara which were delivered in 1995. 14 of these were delivered in a standard military transport configuration, 3 helicopter gunship/assault versions, 2 configured for the air ambulance role and one as VIP platform.

The Turkish Police attended the show with 2 Bell 429 Global Ranger ‘EM-7112’ & ‘EM-7116’ and a Sikorsky S-70i Blackhawk ‘EM-706’. The Turkish Police currently operates 15 Bell 429 helicopters and 7 Blackhawks. Another operator of the Bell 429 present at the show was the Turkish General Directorate of Forestry. In total 6 were delivered from June 2014 onwards, replacing the ageing Dauphins and Ecureuils. The Turkish Aeronautical Association displayed a Canadair CL-215 and a Cessna 172S Skyhawk.

The Turkish Coast Guard also took part with two Agusta-Bell AB-412SAR serials ‘TSCG-501’ and ‘TSCG-505’ and a CASA CN-235M-100 ‘TCSG-552’. In 1998 Turkey ordered 3 CN-235 Maritime Patrol aircraft for the Turkish Coast Guard, the first of which was delivered in November 2001. The 3 CASAs form part of Coast Guard Aircraft Fleet Command and are based at Gaziemir Air Base. The Coast Guard operates 14 AB412EP for search and rescue, reconnaissance and patrol duties.  The Coast Guard is under the operational control of the Turkish Ministry of Interior, but in times of crisis or war, the coastguard is under the command of the chief of the Turkish Navy.

Last but not least, the Turkish Air Force had a KAI KT-1 Woong-Bee serial ’11-13’ on static whilst the Turkish Stars graced the skies above Antalya. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) procured up to 55 of Korea’s KT-1 basic trainer aircraft for the Turkish Air Force in 2007. The KT-1 aircraft replaced the fleet of SF260Ds and T-37B/Cs in the elementary and basic training role respectively.

More than 100 countries are represented in Eurasia with 150 civilian and military delegations, and some 400 companies from the aviation sector displayed their latest products. In the near future, the exhibition is expected to become one of the key events in the aviation sector, joining the likes of well-known aviation events in Dubai, Singapore, Farnborough and Paris. So without a doubt, future editions of the Eurasia Airshow will definitely be on our watchlist!