Crash and Burn: Russia's Largest Air Show Canceled in 2024 After Year Delay

Russia's MiG-35 Fighter

Crash and Burn: Russia's Largest Air Show Canceled in 2024 After Year Delay

The MAKS air and space show, a significant event in the Russian aerospace calendar since 1992, has been canceled, with its future now uncertain.


Summary: The MAKS air and space show, a significant event in the Russian aerospace calendar since 1992, has been canceled, with its future now uncertain.

Su-57 Russia


-This show, held biennially in Zhukovsky near Moscow, has historically been a crucial platform for Russia to showcase and secure international customers for its civil and military aerospace technologies. The last successful event in 2013 generated $21 billion in deals.

-However, since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent international sanctions, the show's prominence and success have waned. Recent security concerns, particularly due to Ukrainian drone attacks within Russia, and the potential for reduced international participation have further challenged the event's viability. This cancellation reflects broader struggles within the Russian aerospace sector, which is grappling with sanctions and a loss of specialists to military efforts in Ukraine.

MAKS Air Show Canceled: A Blow to Russian Aerospace Ambitions

One of the world’s largest air shows has been grounded. Russian state media reported this week that the MAKS air and space show, held annually in odd years but delayed from 2023 to 2024, has been canceled. It was just a year ago that the Sixteenth International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2023, which was to be held in Zhukovsky in the Moscow Region in late July, was postponed due to security concerns.

According to sources in the Russian aviation industry, the show has been canceled, likely marking the end of an event that began in 1992 but can trace its roots back more than a century. The significance of the event can’t be overstated. The 2013 event—the last one held before Russia annexed Crimea in 2014—generated $21 billion in deals for the Russian aerospace sector.

The air show has been on the decline in the years since.

“Scheduled every other year, MAKS takes place near Moscow and showcases Russia’s civil and military aerospace sectors and has become key to securing export customers,” the UK Ministry of Defense said in a defense intelligence briefing posted on social media last year.

The MoD also suggested that the show was likely canceled largely due to security concerns following Ukrainian drone attacks inside Russia, including within Moscow. At the same time, the organizers were likely worried about the reputational damage if fewer international delegations attended.

“The war has been exceptionally challenging for Russia’s aerospace community,” the MoD added. “The sector is struggling under international sanctions; highly trained specialists are being encouraged to serve as infantry in the Roscosmos space agency’s own militia.”

History of High Profile Unveilings at MAKS

The initial Mosaeroshow-92 was held in 1992, but in 1993, it was renamed MAKS (Mezhdunarodnyj Aviatsionno-Kosmicheskij Salon—translated as “International Aviation and Space Show”) and held biennially on odd years. It grew to attract nearly half a million attendees to the Zhukovsky International Airport, home of the Gromov Flight Research Institute.

Three of the six days were traditionally open to the general public, and it routinely featured aircraft demonstrations from the Russian Knights flying the Sukhoi Su-27 (NATO reporting name “Flanker”) and the Swifts, operating the Mikoyan MiG-29 (NATO reporting name “Fulcrum”).

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Such notable aircraft as the forward-swept-wing S-37 (later redesignated the Su-47) Berkut and the Kliper spacecraft were first unveiled at past MAKS air shows. It was also at the MAKS-2011 that the prototype of the fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57 (NATO reporting name Felon) made its public debut. A virtual reality simulator for the Su-57 aircraft was part of the aerospace firm’s exhibits in 2019, and it allowed attendees to “fly” the aircraft. The Felon performed a variety of aerobatic maneuvers at the 2021 show—the last held before Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

Su-35 Fighter

That same year, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) unveiled the lightweight, single-engine Sukhoi Su-75 Checkmate. While the aircraft has largely remained vaporware, it now seems the MAKS air show is going up in smoke!

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites, with over 3,200 published pieces and over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].