Central Air Force Museum​

Central Air Force Museum - Sukhoi Lineup

The Central Air Force Museum, located 40 km east of Moscow,​ is one of the most impressive aviation museums in the world.  The selection of aircraft from the Cold War allows a glimpse behind the Iron Curtain at many aircraft that I have read about but had never seen.  On a beautiful Sunday morning ahead of the International Aviation and Space Salon and after a sleepless red-eye flight from Heathrow we explored the former Monino Airfield and its incredible collection.   

There are two categories of aircraft at this museum; those that were part of operational squadrons and others that were prototypes or for research purposes.  There are Sukhoi and MiG fighters that would have been, and sometimes were, sent after B-47s, B-52s and B-58s in nice sequential lines so that aeronautical development can be observed.  Then there are the bombers that the century series fighters would have had to destroy like the M-4 Bison, the Il-28 Beagle (which is still in service in North Korea), the Tu-16 Badger (which is still in service in China) and the ageless Tu-95 Bear (which is still in service in Russia).

There are also many aircraft that did not attain the fame of those listed above as just a few were built.  Only one M-50 Bounder was ever produced, intended to be a high speed four engine bomber.  Another project that was cancelled was the Sukhoi T-4, a high speed strategic bomber that had many design similarities to the North American XB-70 Valkyrie.  Finally there is the Yak-141 Freestyle, a promising supersonic vertical takeoff/landing aircraft that was cancelled due to a lack of funding as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union.