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70 Years of NATO Alliance Celebrated at Air Tattoo

Published: 21 Jul 2019   updated: 28 Oct 2019

The Royal International Air Tattoo has marked 70 years of NATO with a flypast of eight nations over the skies of RAF Fairford.

Fighters and aerial refuelling jets provided a fitting tribute to the alliance which safeguards the freedom and security of its 29 member nations.

The flypast was led by RAF Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, and featured Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons from Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway. Additional Eurofighter aircraft were provided by Germany.

Also appearing was a French Air Force Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker refuelling aircraft with Boeing F-15 Eagles of the United States Air Force, based at RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk, completing the line-up.

Although many of the aircraft operated from RAF Fairford, others flew directly from their bases in the UK and in France.

Six of the nations represented in the flypast were among the 12 founder members of the alliance.

As one of the longest-lasting and most successful alliances in history, NATO works to safeguard the freedom and security of its member countries using crisis management and peacekeeping tactics. Since it was established in 1949, the alliance has grown from twelve to 29 members.

An Air Tattoo spokesperson said: "What a sight to see so many nations coming together to mark the anniversary of such an integral alliance. Not only is it an opportunity for us to pay tribute, it also creates opportunities to further strengthen and create relationships through airpower."

“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Former Formula 1 Racing Driver

“Probably the most complete air show I’ve ever been to!”

Al Worden, Apollo 15 Astronaut

“This is THE best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

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