Russian President Vladimir Putin flew to the country’s southwestern region on board his IL-96-300PU presidential plane with an escort of six Su-57s. Putin arrived in the Russian town of Akhtubinsk for inspection of new weapons systems and aircraft as part of a series of defence meetings in May.
Putin arrived at the 929th Chkalov State Flight-Test Center in Russia’s southwestern Astrakhan region early on May 14, 2019. The facility is the Russian military’s largest research and development site for advanced aircraft, as well as air defense systems.
Путин прилетел в Ахтубинск, где осмотрит образцы перспективного вооружения. Борт номер один на подлете сопровождало звено из шести истребителей Су-57 pic.twitter.com/lrUPtlquLB
— Кремлевский пул РИА (@Kremlinpool_RIA) May 14, 2019
“The cutting-edge fighters took off from an airfield at the Chkalov State Flight Test Centre to meet the head of state’s aircraft,” “During the landing, the president’s jet was escorted by the Su-57s to starboard.”
After touching down at the Chkalov State Flight-Test Center, Putin inspected an array of advanced weapon systems, including the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal air-launched hypersonic missile and the modified MiG-31 Foxhound aircraft capable of carrying it.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) May 14, 2019
This is one of six super weapons the Russian President revealed in 2018 in a fiery speech that served, in general, as an assertion of the country’s continued strength in the face of hostile actions from its international competitors, chiefly the United States.
The state-of-the-art Su-57 has been slow in development over a decade or so and their appearance alongside the presidential Ilyushin is a sign that they are now fully in service. At the end of last year the Russian air force boasted around a dozen of the planes.
Afterward, Putin left for the city of Sochi on the Black Sea to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed the idea that the Russian President’s visit to the Chkalov State Flight-Test Center was meant to send a message to Pompeo ahead of their meeting.