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U.S. Military Set to Take Part in Moscow Air Show

American Forces Press Service

STUTTGART, Germany, Aug. 12, 2005 – Eight U.S. military aircraft and 100 personnel will be present at, and participate in, the Moscow International Air Show 2005, Aug. 16-21, at Ramenskoye Airfield, Zhukovsky, Russia.

Aircraft will include two F-15E Strike Eagles, two F-16C Fighting Falcons, a KC-10 Extender, a KC-135 Stratotanker and two B-1B Lancers.

The B-1B will perform an aerial demonstration throughout the air show. Other activities will include presentations by senior officials, static displays of aircraft and discussions with aircrew.

According to Stars and Stripes newspaper, most of the airmen attending the show will come from Europe. The trip "represents a journey into what was once enemy territory," according to the paper. "If you are looking for proof that this is a new world, this is it," Col. Scott Nielson, Air Force Europe reserve forces adviser, told Stars and Stripes.

The year 2003 marked the first time U.S. military aircraft were on public display in Russia, according to an Air Force Print News story at the time. That visit was also the first time a U.S. B-52 bomber was open to the public at the air show. Reportedly another B-52 had been in the country in the early 1990s on a military-to-military contact visit.

"I've been in many Russian bombers, and this is very similar," then-Russian air force Col. Magomed Tolboev told the B-52 crewmembers as they climbed out of the aircraft after landing in 2003. "Everyone in the world was afraid of the B-52. It was a symbol of the Cold War. Now that it's here on Russian ground on such a beautiful, sunny day, it's a great symbol of our friendship."

The Moscow air show is a premier event of its type in the world. U.S. participation is part of a greater military-to-military contact program that fosters good relations between countries, according to officials. Such events contribute to U.S. national economic and security interests while contributing to a secure and stable environment in Europe.

(Based on a U.S. European Command news release and other news reports.)

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