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Russia Shows Planes at Air Show

August 17, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russia displayed its latest experimental stealth fighter Tuesday at an international air show outside Moscow where cash-strapped aerospace designers hoped to entice foreign buyers.

The S-37 Berkut, or Golden Eagle, was the main draw of the MAKS-99 air show, though it only made a brief appearance. Painted in black and still bearing the red star of the Soviet Union on the underside of each wing, the jet roared by twice high overhead before flying off.

The plane’s designers say it can elude enemy radar and is more agile in dogfights than its western counterparts because of its forward-swept wing, which points ahead in a V-shaped wedge. It has been in testing for years and had been shown only once before.

Vladimir Putin, on his first full day as Russia’s new prime minister, kicked off the show at the Zhukovsky air field by promising to work to restore funding for Russia’s struggling aerospace sector.

Russia’s military is underfunded and cannot afford to purchase many of the next-generation weapons being produced at the country’s defense plants. Most manufacturers now look abroad for contracts.

Over 300 Russian firms set up booths at the air show, and were joined by dozens of companies from 28 other countries, the ITAR-Tass news agency said.

Visitors also got a glimpse of the Su-37, which has a system that deflects engine exhaust and gives the plane extra maneuverability. The plane has been shown before but hasn’t entered combat service.

Russian manufacturers displayed more than 100 other planes, including the Il-96T cargo plane, the Be-200 amphibious plane and the Tu-334, designed for short-distance passenger flights.