RED ARROWS' 50th DISPLAY SEASON
Along with the Spitfire, Mini, 007 and Big Ben, the Red Arrows rank among the UK's greatest national icons. During the past 50 years, the team has come to symbolise the 'Best of British', performing more than 4,500 dazzling displays in 55 countries in 49 display seasons around the world. The Royal Air Force has chosen the Royal International Air Tattoo to stage a special and unique celebration of the Red Arrows 50th display season and planning is already underway to ensure the occasion will be a memorable one.
The Red Arrows began life at RAF Fairford in 1965, their name an amalgam of two earlier RAF aerobatic display teams - the Red Pelicans and the Black Arrows. Flying seven Gnat T1 trainers and featuring renowned pilots such as Squadron Leader Ray Hanna, the Red Arrows quickly earned a reputation for pin-point precision flying and synchronicity. When, in 1968, the team became a nine-ship, the now legendary Diamond Nine formation became part of the Red Arrows' official routine.
By 1980, the Red Arrows had swapped the Gnat for the British Aerospace Hawk T1/1A, and their reputation as ambassadors for the United Kingdom, representing the very highest standards of the Royal Air Force, grew further. Guided by their motto 'Eclat' - brilliance - the Red Arrows are more than just an aerobatic display team - they are the public face of the Royal Air Force and they occupy a place at the heart of British life. Fellow display teams from air arms around the world have been invited to take an active part in this historic anniversary celebration.
FLYING HIGH AT 40...
The Royal International Air Tattoo 2014 will mark the 40th anniversary of two of the world's most successful military aircraft that continue to deliver state-of-the-art performance and capabilities four decades on.
Thanks to a regular programme of upgrades and modifications, the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon remains one of the most advanced fourth-generation fighters produced today, providing the central core of NATO air defence and fighter aircraft operations with air arms spanning five continents. The F-16 is flown by aerobatic display teams in the USA and Singapore.
The BAE Systems Hawk has provided generations of pilots from around the world with an effective and realistic training platform and continues to fulfil this important role, preparing pilots to fly aircraft such as the Typhoon, Tornado GR4 and F-35 Lightning II. The agility and speed of both have made them the aircraft of choice for a number of national aerobatic display teams; in Finland, Saudi Arabia and, of course, here in the UK, home to the world famous RAF Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of both aircraft, the Air Tattoo has invited all current operators to Fairford to participate in a global gathering of F-16 Fighting Falcons and Hawks.
OPERATIONAL THEME - PARTNERSHIP 2014
The Air Tattoo provides an important focal point for global military engagement at both the strategic and tactical level. Few other events provide so many valuable opportunities to share ideas, build relationships and demonstrate, to an international audience, how together, through co-operation, a stronger, more cohesive and effective air power capability can be created. Building on this premise, the Air Tattoo's 2014 operational theme will be 'Partnership'.
Partnership is prevalent today both operationally and in industry. This can be different military organisations of different nationalities conducting joint operations or utilising each other's infrastructure and bases, or commercial operators effectively communicating when reacting to a humanitarian crisis across international borders. Furthermore, aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the commercial Airbus family and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner have all utilised the principles of partnership during intensive, complex testing and production phases on the road to maturity.