Display Teams - Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Display Aircraft
The Royal Air Force display aircraft includes the Red Arrows, BBMF, Typhoon FGR4, Chinook HC4 and Tutor T1. The RAF Falcons are the Royal Air Force's parachute display team. RAF Aircraft may perform a flypast or be seen on static display at air shows.
The Red Arrows aerobatic display team and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight have their own pages.
RAF Typhoon FGR4
The Typhoon FGR4 provides the RAF with a highly capable and extremely agile multi-role combat aircraft, capable of being deployed in the full spectrum of air operations, including air policing, peace support and high intensity conflict. RAF Typhoons are based at RAF Lossiemouth
and RAF Coningsby
RAF Typhoon FGR4 Display Pilot 2021:
Flt Lt James Sainty
29 Squadron at RAF Coningsby.
• RAF Typhoon Display Team Schedule 2021.
UK F-35B Lightning
The UK's F-35B Lightning provides UK Defence with a 5th Generation (low observable, supersonic, enhanced data fusion), multi-role, all weather, day and night aircraft that has the ability to operate from land bases as well as the Queen Elizabeth Class carriers. These aircraft are based at RAF Marham
in Norfolk and are operated by Royal Air Force & Royal Navy pilots. The F-35B Lightning, flown by Squadron Leader Hugh Nichols, made its first UK display at the Royal International Air Tattoo in 2016
. There is more information on the UK's F-35B Lightnings here.
RAF Hawk T1 & T2
The Hawk T2 is used as an Advanced trainer at RAF Valley
and is a fully aerobatic, low wing, transonic, 2-seat training aircraft with mission avionics that are representative of front-line aircraft. It is used to train pilots for Typhoon FGR4 and F-35 Lighting II.
The Hawk T1 is used by the Red Arrows, 100 Squadron (Aggressor Squadron) at RAF Leeming
, as well as the Royal Navy who simulate missile attacks and fast jet attacks on warships in naval exercises.
RAF Texan T1
The Texan T1 replaced the Tucano T1 which was retired in 2019. These aircraft are based at RAF Valley
and used in the basic fast jet training role.
RAF Tutor T1
Used for Elementary Flying Training by the 14 University Air Squadrons and 12 Air Experience Flights throughout the UK.
• RAF Tutor Display Team Schedule 2021.
RAF Prefect T1
The Tutor T1 is being replaced by the Prefect T1.
RAF Phenom T1
The RAF Phenom T1 is an advanced multi-engine trainer with a modern touchscreen cockpit and comprehensive navigation, communications and flight safety suite. This aircraft replaces the RAF King Air B200.
RAF Juno HT1 / Jupiter HT1
The Juno HT1 replaces the Squirrel for basic rotary wing training and the Jupiter HT1 replaces the Griffin helicopter. They are based at RAF Shawbury
with some Jupiter HT1 helicopters also at RAF Valley
where they are used for 'Maritime and Mountains' Training.
RAF Puma HC2
The Puma HC2 is an upgraded version of the original Puma HC1. This upgrade brings the workhorse of the UK's medium battlefield helicopter fleet into the modern era. It has more powerful engines than the HC1 along with greater range and a modern digital cockpit, the Puma HC2 will be capable of operating in harsh environments, lifting troops, supplies and humanitarian aid to where it is needed. These helicopters are based at RAF Benson
. The Puma helicopter will be retired and replaced by a new medium lift helicopter in the mid-2020s.
The Chinook is an extremely capable and highly versatile support helicopter that can be operated from land bases or ships into a diverse range of environments, from the Arctic to the desert or jungle. The aircraft may be armed and is fitted with a suite of self-defence equipment allowing it to operate across the battlespace. Chinooks are primarily used for trooping, resupply and battlefield casualty evacuation (casevac). They are mainly based at RAF Odiham
as well as an OCU & Operational Evaluation Unit at RAF Benson
RAF Chinook Display crew 2021:
18(B) Sqn based at RAF Odiham
• RAF Chinook Display Team Schedule 2021.
Widely recognised as the UK's premier military parachute display team, the Falcons, based at RAF Brize Norton
, Oxfordshire, display at venues all over Britain and Europe throughout the year. The RAF Falcons utilise a variety of aircraft depending on availability and nature of the display and includes Hercules, Chinook, Puma and Dakota.
• RAF Falcons Display Schedule 2021.
Royal Air Force Display Aircraft
The Hercules is the RAF's primary tactical transport aircraft and in its current C.Mk 4 and C.Mk 5 versions of the C-130J-30 and C-130J, respectively, has been the backbone of UK operational tactical mobility tasks since it was brought into service in 1999. These aircraft ar based at RAF Brize Norton. The RAF C-130 Hercules will all be taken out of service by 2023.
RAF Atlas (A400M)
Entering operational service with the Royal Air Force in 2014 and based at RAF Brize Norton
, RAF Atlas (Atlas C.1 A400M) provides tactical airlift and strategic oversize lift capabilities complementing those of the Hercules and C-17 fleets.
C-17A Globemaster III
The C-17 gives the RAF a long range strategic heavy-lift transport aircraft that offers the ability to project and sustain an effective force close to a potential area of operations for combat, peacekeeping or humanitarian missions worldwide. They are based at RAF Brize Norton
Voyager is based on the modern A330-200 passenger aircraft and provides the RAF with a step change in reliability and capability in both the Air-to-Air Refueling and Air Transport roles. They are based at RAF Brize Norton
The UK has invested in nine P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) which will be called the Poseidon MRA Mk.1 in RAF service and operate from RAF Lossiemouth
. These aircraft replace the Nimrod MR2/MRA4 Maritime Patrol Aircraft after a capability gap of about ten years. There is more information here.
RAF RC-135W Rivet Joint 'Airseeker'
Photo - Wiki-Commons
The RC-135W Rivet Joint is a large, all-weather electronic surveillance aircraft based on the C-135 airframe. The RC-135W Rivet Joint is equipped with a variety of sensors, allowing its multi- disciplined crew to intercept and exploit emissions across the electromagnetic spectrum, providing both strategic and tactical level intelligence. The RAF purchased three of these aircraft which are based at RAF Waddington
The RAF operates the E-3D Sentry aircraft in the airborne surveillance and command-and-control role. The Sentry's roles include air and sea surveillance, airborne command and control, and weapons control. These aircraft are based at RAF Waddington
and will be replaced by three Wedgetail AEW Mk1 surveillance aircraft which will be based at RAF Lossiemouth
. The Sentry will be retired in 2021 and the Wedgetail will be in service in 2023.
RAF Sentinel R1
The Sentinel R1 is the RAF's only long-range wide area battlefield surveillance asset, providing critical intelligence and target tracking information to British and Coalition forces. They are based at RAF Waddington
along with other ISTAR assets. These aircraft were retired in February 2021 and their surveillance role will now be carried out by other aircraft in RAF service including the newly introduced Poseidon and Protector amongst others.
RAF Shadow R1
Through a combination of sensors, Shadow adds a comprehensive intelligence gathering capability to ISTAR Force. Its output is particularly valuable to ground commanders. The Shadow's electro-optical and electronic capabilities complement those of the Sentinel R1, its data combining with that gathered by Sentinel and other platforms to help analysts prepare comprehensive intelligence product. These aircraft are based at RAF Waddington
RAF MQ-9 Reaper / Protector RG Mk1
The Royal Air Force currently operate ten MQ-9A Reaper remotely piloted medium-altitude, long endurance (MALE) aircraft which are designed for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR), and attack missions. These unmanned aircraft will be replaced by an initial sixteen MQ-9B Protector remotely piloted aircraft which are to start entering service by mid-2024. The Reapers are operated from Creech AFB, USA and RAF Waddington
in the UK and the MQ-9B Protector will be based at RAF Waddington
and will be permitted to fly in all UK airspace safely and is certified against stringent NATO and UK Safety Certification standards equivalent to manned aircraft due to its revolutionary 'Detect and Avoid' technology. There is more information here.
BAe 146 / A109SP
operates in the VIP and general air transport roles with their BAe 146 aircraft and an Agusta A109 helicopter. The four RAF BAe 146 aircraft will be retired by 31st March 2022. BAe 146 / A109SP photos copyright of John Bilcliffe.
Future RAF Aircraft
The Tempest is a proposed sixth-generation fighter aircraft concept that is under development in the United Kingdom for the Royal Air Force. It will be able to fly manned or unmanned, and use swarming technology to control drones.
The Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) concept looks to offer increased capability, protection, survivability and information when deployed alongside combat aircraft. It could even provide an uncrewed combat air 'fleet' in the future.