One of the world’s most potent Soviet-built jet fighters, rarely seen in the UK, will make a welcome appearance at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford next month.

The Ukrainian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 ‘Flanker’, which can fly at speeds of up to 1,550mph, was first developed in the 1970s to counter the US Air Force’s new F-15 Eagle. It is often considered to be the best and most successful Russian-built fighter of the Cold War era. The Eastern European fighters were last seen at the Air Tattoo 12 years ago, having made their debut at the airshow in 1996.

When it returns for the airshow on July 16-17, the aircraft will be accompanied by a large Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said the Ukrainians’ participation underlined the airshow’s global reputation built up during the past 40 years.
He said: “We regularly receive wish lists from enthusiasts hoping to see specific aircraft and on almost all, the Su-27 ‘Flanker’ comes either top or close to the top. It is an incredibly large and distinctive looking aircraft with immense manoeuvrability and power.

“I’m absolutely delighted that visitors to the Air Tattoo next month will be able to see such an iconic aircraft along with another from the same era, the Vulcan bomber.”

This summer’s Air Tattoo will be marking its 40th anniversary and hosting a gathering of specially-decorated ‘Tiger’ aircraft from the NATO Tiger Association. ‘Tiger’ aircraft come from NATO squadrons that have a Tiger or Big Cat in their emblem and their association marks its 50th anniversary in 2011. The ‘operational’ spotlight STAR 11 will focus on aircraft and equipment involved in the roles of Strike and Reconnaissance.
Nine aerobatic display teams from around the world will be performing in the flying display along with aircraft from countries including the US, Oman, Turkey, Sweden Italy, Austria, Denmark and Jordan. On Sunday, visitors will also be able to see a one-off lunchtime performance by X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke.

Tickets are available by visiting www.airtattoo.com or calling 0800 107 1940. All tickets must be purchased in advance. All accompanied under-16s go free.