Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2019-07-01

Bigger and Better Than Ever Air Tattoo Returns

The Royal International Air Tattoo returns to RAF Fairford this year with one of the most diverse flying displays and static line-ups in the world, consisting of 31 air arms confirmed from 20 different nations. An evocative joint fly-past by the RAF Red Arrows and a specially decorated jumbo jet will mark the centenary of one of the UK’s biggest and best loved brands from 19th -21st July at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire. 
 
This year’s varied flying display includes a pair of Spanish Navy AV-8B Harriers, Ukrainian Su-27, US Air Force F-16 Viper Demo Team and the Italian Frecce Tricolori. Different aircraft displays may appear on different days owing to display team commitments, but the Red Arrows and Spanish Navy Harriers are planning to fly on all three days.
 
Celebrating Airline Heritage
Amongst its centenary initiatives, British Airways has found a slot for a Boeing 747, which flew between 1952-74 and presented in the colours of the iconic British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) for a fly-past with the Red Arrows on Saturday 20th July. The other BOAC 747s are the Negus (1974-1980) and Landor (1984-1997) liveries, alongside an Airbus 319 painted to reflect its British European Airways heritage. 
 
The Air Tattoo first featured a British Airways aircraft in its 1985 flying programme when Concorde flew a memorable joint fly-past with the Red Arrows, before appearing regularly at the airshow in support of the Air Tattoo's Flying Scholarships for the Disabled charity and British Airways' own High Flight charity. The early 2000s saw several British Airways 747 and 777 charter flights while, in 2013, a giant A380 performed a showstopping fly-past with the Red Arrows to the delight of the large Air Tattoo crowd.  
 
BA's support for the Air Tattoo goes back to the 1970s, when the airline displayed its hot air balloons and provided flight simulators for the showground. This year the airline hosts 'BA 2119', an exhibition exploring the future of sustainable aviation fuels, the aviation careers of the future and the customer experience of the future.
“The participation of British Airways aircraft in our flying displays over the years have often provided some of the most memorable aviation moments of the year and I am confident this summer will be no different” says Air Tattoo Chief Executive, Andy Armstrong. “I can think of nothing better than to have one great British institution helping celebrate another!” 
 
New NATO Fly-past 
A special 70th anniversary fly-past will showcase NATO's air power capabilities for Air Tattoo 2019 where, joining the already confirmed NATO E-3A AWACS, will be aircraft from Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the United States and the UK. Additional aircraft will include F-16AM fighters from the Belgian Air Component, whilst Germany offers a substantial commitment with Eurofighter EF2000s, A400M and Tornado strike aircraft.
 
The Royal Danish Air Force will also contribute F-16 fighters, with the United States Air Force joining the fly-past with F-15 aircraft from RAF Lakenheath. The Royal Air Force also plans to provide Typhoon fighters for the 19th-20th July commemorative fly-past, expected to be at RAF Fairford.
 
Cutting-Edge Aerobatics
Air Tattoo 2019 will see a flying debut from the world's only aerobatic airline, the Blades Aerobatic Team, with their Extra EA-300 aircraft performing close formation flying in exciting aerobatic solo sequences. The team has over 25,000 hours of flying experience, led by Andy Evans (Blade 1), Red Bull Air Race pilot Ben Murphy, Kirsty Murphy, James McMillan and Mike Ling - all former Red Arrow pilots - and Gerald Cooper, a multi-award-winning national aerobatic champion.
 
“The Royal International Air Tattoo is the pinnacle of all military air shows and performing at it is a life-long ambition for the Blades as we fly into our 14th display season”, confirms Blade 1, Andy Evans. “We're proud and feel extremely privileged to perform our dynamic and exhilarating display to RIAT spectators this summer.”
Now entering their 14th display season, the Blades Aerobatic Team can take paying passengers into the sky, with the team having flown over 3,500 passengers in their 14 display seasons.
 
"As the only aerobatic airline in the world, made up of former Red Arrow pilots, the team will demonstrate its military heritage through precision close-formation aerobatics,” Andy Evans concludes. “Look out for our high-performance Extra 300 aircraft cutting through the Gloucestershire skies very soon!"
 
Italian Tricolori Displays
The Italian Air Force is sending the Frecce Tricolori display team, Typhoon, C-27J Spartan and M-346 jet trainer to Air Tattoo 2019. They’ll be joined by Austria with a C-130K Hercules, Belgium with two F-16AMs and an ERJ regional jet, and the Hungarian Air Force with a JAS-39 Gripen. Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Air Force will cross the Atlantic with a CP-140 Aurora and CC-130 Hercules.
 
MiG-21 and Spartan Confirmed
A Romanian Air Force MiG-21 LanceR will appear in the new flying display, alongside a static C-27J Spartan. Not seen since 2005, the MiG 21 will fly alongside the Ukrainian Su-27, Spanish Navy Harrier and USAF F-16 Viper Demo Team.
 
F-35B Fly-pasts Confirmed
The F-35B debuted in the UK at the 2016 Air Tattoo and was joined by aircraft from the United States Marine Corps and F-35As from the United States Air Force. Since then, a 617 Squadron F-35B has participated in the spectacular Dambusters fly-past, alongside the BBMF Lancaster and a single Tornado GR.4.
Based at RAF Marham, the F-35B is the short take-off and vertical landing F-35 variant. Operating from the Royal Navy's new HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carriers, this year's F-35B fly-pasts will take place on Friday to Sunday at the Air Tattoo.
 
Breitling Returns to RIAT
Breitling Jet Team returns to this summer's Air Tattoo for the first time in five years, operating seven L-39 Albatross jet-training aircraft as the largest civilian aerobatic display team in Europe. Dijon-based Breitling has attracted and amazed new fans throughout Asia and North America recently, with the seven-strong squad of pilots working seamlessly to master one of most demanding flying disciplines.
 
Royal Navy’s Air Tattoo
The Royal Navy will be sending four aircraft to Air Tattoo 2019 prior to operations aboard its new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Two helicopters and two fixed wing aircraft will fly in from their Cornwall and Somerset bases, while an AW159 Wildcat from RNAS Yeovilton will be joined by a BAE Systems Hawk T.1, Merlin HM.2 and King Air 350 from RNAS Culdrose.
 
Fabulous Flanker Set Returns
The Ukrainian Air Force will be flying again, with their Su-27 set to display for crowds at RAF Fairford in July. Their Russian-built frontline fighter, known by NATO codename 'Flanker' will be joining for the third year in a row to display.
 
The Su-27 was developed to combat Western opponents like the American F-15 Eagle in the late 1970s but remains a potent air superiority fighter. The Air Tattoo was the first Western airshow to welcome Ukrainian participation when a Su-27 displayed at Fairford back in 1996.
 
RAF Confirms Flying Displays
Joining the previously announced Red Arrows, who are flying their final displays at the Air Tattoo before heading off on their tour of the U.S., four more teams RAF teams have confirmed participation at this summer's Air Tattoo.
 
The RAF Typhoon Display Team will be demonstrating the multi-role BAE Systems Typhoon FGR.4 in a display that promises to showcase the aircraft's amazing performance, flown again by Flt Lt Jim Peterson.
 
RAF training aircraft will also perform solo displays in the form of the Shorts Tucano and Grob Tutor. Perennial airshow favourites in the form of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will also be flying at the show with their Lancasters, Spitfires and Hurricanes.
 
German Statics Confirmed
To the delight of Tornado lovers, the German Air Force (GAF) confirmed that they will be sending a total of six aircraft to the RIAT static line-up and two examples of the Tornado jet from Tactical Air Wing 51. 
 
Following the retirement of the Royal Air Force's Tornado fleet, the opportunities to see the type in the UK are now limited. Nonetheless, the GAF will also be providing three examples of the EF2000 (known to the RAF as the Typhoon) from three different units, in addition to an Airbus A400M tactical transport.
 
Airbus 'Go' for 2019
Space will be a core theme for the 2019 Air Tattoo because the show takes place on the weekend of the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon.  
Airbus DS will be showcasing an ExoMars rover prototype in the Techno Zone, where visitors will be able to see this full-scale working rover drive across a simulated Martian surface and talk to the scientists and engineers responsible for operating it. The 2019 show will also present some amazing satellite imagery of this year’s Air Tattoo, including a photo of the showground on Friday 19th July from the Airbus DS Pleiades satellite system.
 
Both the ExoMars rover and Pleiades will give visitors unrivalled access to current and future space exploration. Half a century after the unprecedented feat of engineering, scientific and human endeavour that was the first Moon landing, the Air Tattoo will be the place to celebrate this achievement and inspire the next generation.
 
Award-Winning Slovenia Returns
The Slovenian Air Force will be returning to the Air Tattoo to take part in both the flying display and static line-up. The PC-9M Swift solo display, winner of the Sir Douglas Bader Trophy two years ago, returns with an impressive display of this multi-role turboprop. 
 
Receiving the award at the Air Tattoo Awards Ceremony in 2017, First Lieutenant Andrej Fiorelli said in 2017, "It's a great, great honour to win a prize again and to be a part of the biggest airshow so far for me." There will also be a static appearance from the Let-L410 twin turboprop transporter joining the PC-9.
 
Danish Merlin Compares
The Royal Danish Air Force has confirmed its participation via an EH-101 Merlin from 722 Squadron based at Karup Air Station and flying to RAF Fairford to feature in the Air Tattoo.
 
The EH-101 is manufactured by Leonardo Helicopters in Yeovil, Somerset and used by the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) for tactical troop transport and search-and-rescue duties.
 
The RDAF are strong supporters of the Air Tattoo having previously sent aircraft including the F-16, C-130 Hercules and Challenger CL-604.
 
Jordanian Falcon in Attendance
Having delighted crowds in 2018, the Royal Jordanian Falcons’ fantastic display team will thrill crowds at RAF Fairford with their display. The team performs around the world, acting not only as an ambassador for Jordan but also demonstrating the country's aviation expertise.
 
Originally flying three Pitts S-2A Specials, since 2007 the team has changed to four fast and nimble Walter Extra-300 L aircraft. In 2018, the team introduced a brand new Extra 300LX aircraft as a more modern, capable version of the Extra design.
 
Swiss Precision Display 
This summer's Air Tattoo will feature a display from the Swiss Air Force, who will be sending an F/A-18C Hornet to fly an energetic display of this Cold War-era fighter for Air Tattoo crowds.
 
Three squadrons in the Swiss Air Force operate the twin-engined, multi-role Hornet although the aircraft's primary role in Switzerland is air policing. 
The Swiss are strong supporters of the Air Tattoo, last year sending both the Hornet and PC-7 Display Team to celebrate the Royal Air Force's 100th anniversary.
 
Friday 'Pit Access' Returns
A visit to the Air Tattoo on Friday 19th July promises to provide access to the exclusive 'pit area' where flying display aircraft are parked before and after the flying display, subject to operational requirements. The 2019 display follows the 2016 version in placing this area in the east end of the airfield, south of the runway.
The pit area will be closed on Saturday and Sunday. Hence, the Friday preview day will be the only opportunity for a more intimate view of some of the aircraft in the flying display.
 
Reference Text/Photos:www.media.defense.gov,www.wikipedia.org,www.mildenhall.af.mil,www.rafcte.com,www.airtattoo.com,www.aeronautica.difesa.it
 

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