LIMA ’19 will be Flanker heaven – but other jets will star too

LANGKAWI | The Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition is just a few days away, and rehearsals for the air displays are  in full swing.

An RMAF Su-30MKM Flanker-H performs a solo display at LIMA ’15. Photo: Tom Wittevrongel

Yesterday the Royal Malasian Air Force surprised fans with stunning images of eight Su-30MKM Flanker-H jets flying in formation over Butterworth in preparation for the show. This is significently more than the six first promised for this year’s show or the two that participated in the opening ceremony in 2017. Photos also show an Airbus A400M flanked by six PC-7s rehearsing a flypast.

Also due to fly in the opening ceremony are two more A400Ms, three EC-725s, two S-61 Nuris, four F/A-18Ds and five Hawk 108/208 trainers. Two of the Hawks are expected to wear special tail schemes to celebrate 25 years of service with the RMAF.

Additionally, the F/A-18D and Su-30MKM will perform flare-filled solo routines on each day of the show.

The suspension of the Multi-Role Combat Aircraft programme has seen fewer jets take part in the flying display (the Gripen and Rafale are usually sure bets) but Malaysia’s upcoming Light Combat Aircraft programme will welcome two new additions to the display. India will contribute the HAL Tejas while Russia will display the Yak-130 in both the flying and static displays. A further rare display performer will be a Pakistan Navy Harbin Z9 helicopter.

Two national aerobatic teams will also wow the crowds. Both are LIMA regulars: Indonesia’s Jupiter Aerobatic Team have flown at almost every edition of the show with their six KT-1B Woongbis, and the Russian Knights will return flying the Su-30SM Flanker-C.

The Jupiter Aerobatic Team perform a graceful display rarely seen at major airshows. Photo: Adam Landau

The only civilian flying display performer will be UK aerobatic ace Mark Jefferies, who will fly an Extra 300L owned by Aerotree in the colours of the locally-based Krisakti Aerobatic Team.

The United States is to be a major contributor to the show, bolstering the static lineup with two F/A-18F Super Hornets, a P-8A Poseidon, KC-135R Stratotanker and C-17A Globemaster III. Two B-25H Stratofortresses will also perform a flypast.

The impressive static display lineup at the 2015 show. Photo: Tom Wittevrongel

There will be plenty of revolutionary drone technology in the static display this year. An in-service United States Air Force MQ-9 Predator will be joined by a Turkish Aerospace Industries ANKA and a Chengdu Wing Loong from China.

Airliners at the show will include an Embraer E190-E2, Airbus A319 and Airbus A321neo. The latter comes from AirAsia Malaysia, who had been due to bring three of the type together for a flypast, but this did not come to fruition.

The Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition will be held on the 26th-30th March 2019. Static and aerial displays will take place at MIEC, Langkawi International Airport, with maritime displays at Resort World Langkawi.