Sukhoi Su-27P1M Flanker (39 Blue) from the Ukrainian Air Force at the RIAT 2019, RAF Fairford (United Kingdom)
The Sukhoi Su-27 heavy air superiority fighter - codenamed "Flanker" by NATO - was designed during the Cold War as a Soviet counter to potential Western opponents such as the United States Air Force's McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. It first flew in 1977. Service entry began during 1985, and when the "Flanker" started appearing at Western air displays in the hands of Sukhoi test pilots, starting at Paris in 1989, it astounded spectators with its manoeuvrability. In the post-Soviet era, the original Su-27 series has continued to equip the Russian armed forces, and carried on serving with the Ukrainian Air Force as well as other former Soviet states and several export customers. The design has continued to be developed for both Russia and overseas markets, some of the latest derivatives incorporating thrust vectoring. The Ukrainian Su-27s (one P model and one UB model) are from the 831st Tactical Aviation Brigade, based at Myrhorod in central Ukraine. The Su-27P1M is the Ukrainian modernized version of the Su-27P.
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is the world's largest military air show, held annually over the third weekend in July,
usually at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England in support of The Royal Air Force Charitable Trust.
The show typically attracts a total of 150.000 to 160.000 spectators over the weekend.