Two of the world's most potent fast jets are among a stellar line-up of RAF aircraft joining celebrations marking the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at this summer's Royal International Air Tattoo.
As well as displays by the RAF's frontline fighting force, the Typhoon and the Tornado, visitors to the Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford on July 7-8 will be able to see a range of training aircraft including the Tutor, Tucano and King Air as well as historic RAF warbirds such as the Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster.
Also taking part will be the legendary RAF Red Arrows, originally formed at RAF Fairford in 1965 who will be performing with seven rather than the usual nine Hawk jets in 2012.
There will be another special homecoming for the RAF's solo Hawk display pilot Flt Lt Phil Bird who will be performing in his home town of Fairford. He said: “Becoming a fast jet pilot in the RAF was a life-long dream and the idea of displaying in front of the crowds at my home airshow is something I am incredibly excited about.”
It is also likely that the A400M, the new heavy transport aircraft that will supercede the C-130 Hercules in RAF service, will be put through its paces by its Airbus Military test pilot at the airshow.
Air Tattoo spokesman Richard Arquati said the level of RAF participation reflected the important role the Air Tattoo plays in enabling the Service to demonstrate to the public the capability of its aircraft and the professionalism of its men and women. He added: "We're really looking forward to working with the Royal Air Force to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with an exciting aerial tribute that will live long in the memory.”
Other Air Tattoo highlights this year include displays by the Vulcan bomber, a US Marine Corps MV-22B Osprey and the European debut of the Al Fursan aerobatics display team from the United Arab Emirates. Special Air Tattoo 'Earlybird' tickets, priced £34, are available until the end of March from airtattoo.com or by calling 0800 107 1940. All accompanied under-16s go free. Free parking.