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Russia’s Warplanes, Volume 2

Russia’s Warplanes, Volume 2 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review December 2016 Title Russia’s Warplanes, Volume 2
Author Piotr Butowski Publisher Harpia Publishing, LLC
Published 2016 ISBN 9780997309201
Format 256 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $64.95


Russia has robustly re-entered the world's stage – especially in the Middle East. And airpower regularly remains the muscle behind Russia's international adventures.

Just in time, Piotr Butowski returns with Volume 2 of Harpia's superb Russia's Warplanes: Russian-made Military Aircraft and Helicopters Today.

It's as fresh as today's front-page news. Contents commence with 26 pages of "addenda" to Volume 1 – including, appropriately, details of "Russian military aviation in Syria".

Those seven pages help separate wheat from chaff in today's headlines. And additional notes on Syrian operations periodically pepper remaining text. Butowski also reveals a "forthcoming title" on Russia's Air-launched Weapons. That should perfectly complement this terrific, two-volume effort.

Continuing from the first installment, coverage then courses through remaining categories of Russian warplanes – both fixed- and rotary-wing:

  • Long-range Bombers
  • Maritime Aircraft
  • Strategic Transport and Tanker Aircraft
  • Theatre and Special-Purpose Transports
  • Trainers

Harpia's beautifully illustrated format follows Volume 1's proven prescription. Individual chapters recap manufacturer, role, power plant, dimensions, performance, armament, "history" and operators – among other entries.

Steel yourself for surprises. How about that aborted Tu-160PP "escort electronic warfare Aircraft and interceptor" variant – "intended for hunting transport aircraft carrying supplies from the United States to Europe during wartime"? And how about the wild warpaint on that armed Russian Border Guard An-72P? Butowski liberally seasons his sumptuous stew with fascinating facts and photos.

Nor does Harpia's pithy précis demand sequential reading. I happily and hungrily roamed from Tu-95s and Tu-160s to Yak130s – then back to Be-12s, An-22s, Tu-142s, Tu-134s and An-12s, before completing the rest. This book – and its companion – utterly encourage sampling and savoring!

Hundreds of color photos augment the account. They're great modeling references, too. Weathering that Tu-22M3? One shot accurately shows how. Building a 1:144-scale Tu-134Sh weapons trainer? Another close-up illustrates the aircraft's external bomb racks.

Core contents span 252 pages. A single appendix with map recaps Russian Aircraft production facilities. But what does a "two times lighter" Be-200 mean?

You can't tell players without a scorecard, Americans often observe. And in the great game of international power politics, Harpia's lavishly illustrated, two-part set remains the most authoritative, English-language survey of modern Russian warplanes.

Buy both – definitely!

Roundly recommended!

With thanks to Harpia Publishing for the review copy.