The RAFCTE Trophy for best flying demonstration by an overseas participant went to the Austrian Air Force C-130 Hercules and Typhoon Quick Reaction Alert display - performed on all three days of the event.
The display commenced with the take-off of a C-130 Hercules aircraft, which acted the part of an unidentified intruder/or that of a civilian airliner not responding to radio transmissions. As is standard practice under such circumstances, aircraft were 'scrambled' to intercept the aircraft to identify it, ensure that it is not hostile, and to escort and force the aircraft to land. In this case, the two interceptors were Eurofighter Typhoons from the Uberwachungsgeschwader at Zeltweg air base.
Providing a thrilling Combat Search & Rescue (CSAR) display with the Mil Mi-35 Hind from 221 Vrl and the Mil Mi-171Sh Hip from 222 Vrl. The Czech Air Force helicopter types were both slated for withdrawal almost immediately after the show, with reports that some of the Mi-35s were to transferred to Ukraine to assist in the war with Russia. Czechia ordered four Bell AH-1Z Viper and eight Bell UH-1Y Venom helicopters back in 2019, with deliveries expected to be completed by the end of 2023. Since RIAT, a further delivery of six AH-1Z and two UH-1Y from former US Marine corps stocks has been announced, bringing the total to ten of each type.
Believe it or not, the two photos above are of the same aircraft - QinetiQ’s Airborne Technology Demonstrator (ATD), which is used for military or civil testing and training. QinetiQ and BAE Systems collaborated to develop an ATD to enable and de-risk the development of future sensors and technologies. To illustrate the potential, QinetiQ and BAE worked to create an engineering mock-up of a fast-jet radome fitted to the ATD. On public display for the first time at RIAT 2022, the nose modification is the latest innovative capability delivered by QinetiQ’s Aviation Engineering Centre in conjunction with BAE Systems Air business. The ATD – fitted with the new nose – is expected to take to the skies with this new configuration later this year and will enable the aircraft to accommodate next generation Radar and Sensor systems to support future development programmes. Using an Avro RJ100 aircraft, the addition of fast-jet nose cone is just the latest in a series of modifications to this platform. Transformed into a flying laboratory and classroom, the ATD provides power and data backbones and flexible workstations to enable research and development projects to be quickly and easily integrated.
The Pilatus PC-12 also provided support for the 'Silver Swallows' display team equipped with the Pilatus PC-9M trainer, the first time the team had performed at RIAT for 25 years, when they were flying the now withdrawn Fouga CM170 Magister. The PC-9s (seen right departing RAF Fairford on Monday 18th July to return home) all sported '100 Years' anniversary markings on the vertical fin. With the Air Corps forming in 1922, this year saw the 100th Anniversary of the air arm, with the PC-9s adorned with a tri-colour sash and '100' on their vertical tailfins.
The Belgian Air Force brought two Lockheed Martin F-16AM Fighting Falcons to this year's RIAT. Both aircraft were painted in special schemes, with the 'Dream Viper' (photo, left) taking the Trophy for Best Livery. Sadly, it appeared to have technical problems over the weekend and did not actually display during the show. Instead, the other aircraft 'X-Tiger' conducted the display routine. The BAF has been a long-time loyal supporter of RIAT over the years and in 2022 was represented in both the flying and static displays. Captain Steven De Vries is the current display pilot for the BAF F-16 and is currently the only non-American pilot and the sixth overall to reach 5,000 hours flying the Fighting Falcon.
Making its first appearance at RIAT, the Irish Air Corps Pilatus PC-12NG Spectre from 104 Squadron took the Concours d’ Elegance Award for best static display aircraft. One of three Special Mission aircraft that have recently been taken on strength by the IAC at Baldonnel. This particular aircraft, #280 received a special colour scheme in March this year to celebrate the Centenary of the Irish Air Corps. The Heritage Scheme is a partial application of an Emergency World War II era camouflage pattern with appropriate National identifier markings of the period – namely the bi-colour Celtic roundel and under-wing stripes.
Making its first appearance at RIAT was a RAF P-8A Poseidon. The first production Poseidon MRA1 arrived at RAF Kinloss on 4 February 2020, filling a decade-long gap in the UK's maritime surveillance capability. Declared combat ready in April 2020, the aircraft is in service with 120 & 201 Squadrons at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland.
The nine aircraft that were ordered from Boeing has a crew of two pilots, two Tactical Co-Ordinators (TACCOS), four Weapons System Operators (WSOp) - two Acoustic and two Electronic Warfare.
ZP802 'City of Elgin' was on display in the static arena and is seen here departing RAF Fairford after the show.
Although not a first-time visitor to RIAT, the Romanian Air Force Antonov An-30 (NATO reporting name; Clank), the An-30 is a specialised photo cartography and reconnaissance platform. The Clank is fitted with specialist optical sighting and navigation systems to allow for precise aerial mapping routes to be flown. Romania currently operates two examples from the three originally delivered. The aircraft serves with Esc. 901, part of
This Embraer KC-390 Millenium from the Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB, Brazilian Air Force) was on display in the static park. Although not the first appearance of the type it was the first time an operational aircraft had been seen at RIAT. The KC-390 is a medium-weight, multi-mission tactical aircraft. The KC-390 can carry out a range of missions, including humanitarian support, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, and aerial refuelling. Furthermore, it can be deployed to transport and launch cargo and troops and perform paratroopers' operations.
The aircraft made its first flight in February 2015 and will eventually replace the FAB’s Lockheed Martin C-130E/H and KC-130 Hercules aircraft.
The STTC aircraft will also be equipped to airlift large numbers of personnel and their equipment in support of operations and training activities within Canada and around the world, which will enhance the existing transport capacity provided by the CC-177 Globemaster and CC-130J Hercules fleets, allowing for the more efficient movement of personnel and equipment. As a multi-role aircraft, the STTC will provide the RCAF with increased flexibility, allowing planners to select the most appropriate aircraft for a specific airlift mission, and it will increase the RCAF’s ability to respond to unexpected operational requirements, such as domestic or international emergencies or humanitarian relief missions. The exact number of aircraft in the STTC fleet is currently anticipated to be six aircraft.
In 2017 a C-130 Hercules was donated by the Royal Jordanian Air Force and sunk off the coast by the Aqaba Special Economy Zone Authority (ASEZA) to develop a new diving site to increase the number of coral reefs and marine life in the area.
Another former military aircraft operated by a privately owned defence contractor is this Douglas A-4N Skyhawk, owned and operated by Top Aces. The Skyhawk is a proven and trusted platform for all mission profiles. The A-4N variant was upgraded extensively in-service. The single-seat and dual-seat Skyhawks have been upgraded by Top Aces and have modernized IFR, Tactical Air Navigation System, and ESCAPAC ejection seats for maximum operational flexibility and aircrew safety. Top Aces has equipped its fleet of A-4N Skyhawks with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and infrared search and track (IRST) system. Based in Germany, Top Aces has provided adversary training for the German Armed Forces since 2015 from their base at Wittmund.
Mustang X-Ray Demo Team
Sunday, it was a case of seeing them in the static display. A Saab J32B Lansen, Saab SK.35 Draken and Saab SK.37 Viggen gracing the static display. Seen above is the Historic Flight's Cessna 550 Citation II support aircraft, designated TP103 in Sweden.
One of two Dragon Lady's assigned to the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron (99 ERS) at RAF Fairford was on view in the static arena
The RUAG Trophy for the Concours d’Elegance award for the best participating aircraft went to the Royal Jordanian Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules. The vertical tail-fin of the Hercules depicts Aqaba, a coastal city on the Red Sea in Jordan.
The 2022 Typhoon Display tTeam is from 29 Squadron at RAF Coningsby, comprised of specialists from every aircraft trade, along with support and management teams who work together to bring a dazzling display for the airshow crowds. This year's display pilot is Flight Lieutenant Adam 'Paddy' O'Hare, who was born and grew up in Northern Ireland. Adam joined 29 Squadron in January 2021 where he is currently an A2 Instructor on the Typhoon. Seen here are a couple of images of Adam flying ZJ914 'Black Jack' sporting its livery to good effect in the skies above RAF Fairford.
AIRBUS CC-150 POLARIS
JASDF Kawasaki C-2
haven't been seen for some time such as the Republic of Korea Air Force's 'Black Eagles' display team. With an estimated 170,000 people attending over the three days (15-17th July), the tickets for Saturday had sold out some four weeks prior to the event, and by the time of the airshow all three days had sold out, illustrating RIAT's continued popularity. Over 250 aircraft took part, with 1500 aircrew in support
Two examples of co-operation between with the Royal Air Force and Qatari Air Force were the BAe Tyhpoon FGR4 (left) from 12 Squadron based at RAF Coningsby and the BAe Hawk Mk167 (right), from 11 Squadron based at RAF Leeming. The Royal Air Force and the Qatar Emiri Air Force formed 12 Squadron in July 2018 - the UK’s first joint squadron since the Second World War. The first personnel from Qatar arrived in June 2020 - with air and ground crew a mix of personnel from each nation. The Government of Qatar committed to a £6-billion package which included delivery of 24 new Typhoons and nine new Hawk Mk167 jet trainers from BAE Systems, which included a support package for the RAF to train Qatari pilots and ground crew. Of note is that the Hawk aircraft are owned by the Qatari Air Force, whereas the Typhoons are actually RAF aircraft, Qatar taking delivery of their first Typhoon on Monday, August 15, with delivery to Qatar scheduled for later this month.
Baza 90 Aviatie de Transport at Bucharest-Otopeni air base. Signed 24 March 1992, the Open Skies Treaty permits each country to conduct reconnaissance flights over the others' territories to collect data on military forces and activities.
Another regular visitor to RIAT is the Royal Air Force of Oman, who brought this rather nice Airbus C-295MPA Persuader maritime patrol aircraft. Developed from the C-295 medium tactical transport, the Persuader retains its cargo hold and loading ramp allowing it carry air droppable rescue rafts or palletised cargo without having to remove the specialist mission operator stations installed in the cabin. In addition to the mission-specific sensors, the Persuader has six wing-mounted hardpoints allowing it to carry a wide range of external stores including anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. The aircraft is one of four aircraft in service with the air arm.
Good things come to those who wait - after a break of two years, the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) returned with a blast in July 2022, continuing its stature as the world's greatest airshow, with visitors being entertained over three days by the best aviation action the world has to offer. The global Coronavirus Pandemic had seen an enforced break to RIAT in 2020 and 2021, and so aviation enthusiasts around the world looked towards the show with anticipation; themes for 2022 focusing on the United States Air Force's 75th Anniversary; with the operational theme centred around 'Training the Next Generation Air Force'. There were of course a number of first-time attendees at this year's show, alongside a number of regulars, together with a number of aircraft/air arms that
Since its formation in 1947, the United States Air Force (USAF) has contributed significantly on many occasions to peace and stability around the world - providing an effective and rapid aerial response whenever and wherever needed p often at significant cost and human sacrifice to their nation. RIAT 2022 saw the U.S. Air Force support the event as it has done since its inception, with a number of aircraft from different Commands based in the U.K, Europe and the Continental United States. Reconnaissance, fighter, aerial refuelling and special forces aircraft all participating. Unfortunately, the much-loved Boeing B-52H Stratofortress, which had been scheduled to participate in both the static and flying displays, had to cancel, but the late announcement of a Boeing E-4B taking part more than made up for the loss.
The first Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady made its first flight on 1 August 1955. In true Lockheed Martin Skunk Works fashion, its modular design provided flexibility and agility, allowing the aircraft to evolve and develop solutions to future threats. The U-2 continues to defy the possible, continuing to fill its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance role - an essential element in shaping the future battlespace.
Performing with eight indigenous T-50B trainers, the 53rd Air Demonstration Group as they are officially known as, thrilled the crowds at RIAT on all three days of the show.
The team included its trademark drawing with smoke tails of the Taegeuk mark, a signature symbol of South Korea’s national flag, and a joint flight with the Royal Air Force Red Arrows during the Friday display.
at this year’s show. The weather throughout was generally very good, the forecast for clear skies undoubtedly encouraging the crowds to flock to the event. If anything, it was at times a little too hot, but rather that than rain and poor visibility. Whilst aircraft numbers will never reach the heady days of the 1980/90s, as is tradition with RIAT, there was something for everyone – the usual fast-jets, helicopter displays and aerobatic teams; but also, some interesting displays and aircraft such as the Austrian Air Force QRA display with their C-130/Typhoon aircraft, and the arrival and static display of the U.S. Air Force Boeing E-4B Advanced Airborne Command Post (AACP), the current ‘Nightwatch’ strategic command and control aircraft.
Austrian Air Force
Also on static display was a Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle from the 492nd Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath - this particular aircraft (#92-0364) having received an anniversary paint scheme only days before the airshow. Illustrated below are three images of the tailfin and airbrake of the jet. The paint scheme is based on the Skyblazers aerial demonstration team from the 1950's and 60's, honouring the USAFE's 80-year history. The F-15E also celebrates the U.S. Air Force's 75th anniversary and the 48th Fighter Wing 'Liberty Wing' 70th anniversary.
Returning after a two-year absence, RIAT once again proved that it is without doubt capable of attracting some notable participants from around the world - Japan, Korea, Brazil and Canada being notable examples alongside the regular participants from Europe and the Middle East. It was a little disappointing that the U.S. Air Force was unable to muster some participants from CONUS for one of the main RIAT themes, and that the only USAF aircraft flying was a single CV-22 Osprey. However, the E-4B was a real coup and something you are very unlikely to see at an airshow again, even in the United States. There were a number of aircraft types we're unlikely to see at future shows as they are withdrawn from service, with types such as the F-16, which not that many years ago dominated the static and flying displays, now becoming less and less prevalent. What is a little disappointing is the lack of newer types such as the F-35, with just one static example along with an RAF example that flew from/to RAF Marham - although I expect in the coming years that will change as more and more European countries increase their F-35 fleets. In summary, considering the turmoil of the last two years and the fact that many 'faces' have gone within the RIAT team, with new ones having taken on the task of putting the show together, the Air Tattoo lived up to most people's expectations. The flying display was a little disappointing in terms of numbers, but there were some first timers on display, some aircraft with special schemes that were particularly requested by the Media Team, and of course the weather was superb throughout. So, in all, RIAT made a welcome return to the airshow calendar and expectations are that 2023 should be even better.
Literally the day before RIAT 2022, the Department of National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces
announced that it had finalized a contract to acquire the first two aircraft for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) that will replace the capability currently fulfilled by the CC-150 Polaris fleet and later become part of the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) fleet.
The contract for the procurement of two Airbus A330-200 aircraft, manufactured in 2015, was awarded to International Air Finance Corporation and is valued at $102M USD.
This beautiful Hawker Hunter is operated by Hawker Hunter Aviation, a privately owned defence contractor. The aircraft was initially built for and delivered to the Chilean Air Force in the 1970s. “The Seeker Head Trials Platform aircraft” is a specially modified Hunter Trainer designed to accommodate a seeker head in the nose with an instrumented Flight Test Observers station in the right-hand seat. Various types of seeker head can be fitted with only minor modification, the mounting assembly being role fit with Line Replaceable Units (LRU) and computers required to run the seeker being mounted on various assembly trays in the forward compartment bay.
RAF TYPHOON DISPLAY TEAM
Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) was represented by the 352 Special Operations Wing at RAF Mildenhall, UK. The unique Bell-Boeing CV-22B Osprey (left) was on static display throughout the weekend, with another example in the flying display on the Saturday and Sunday. Able to take-off and land vertically, the Osprey can conduct long-range infiltration, exfiltration, and re-supply missions for special forces.
Also from RAF Mildenhall and on display in the static arena was a Lockheed Martin MC-130J Hercules from the 67th Special Operations Squadron. The MC-130J, known as the Commando II, providing precise, reliable, flexible, and responsive specialized air mobility. Utilising its night vision goggle (NVG) capability, the aircraft can penetrate potentially hazardous areas to conduct single or multi-ship infiltration, exfiltration and re-supply of Special Operations Forces (SOF)
RIAT 2022 paid tribute to Colonel Oleksandr Oksanchenko who sadly lost his life defending his homeland in the skies above Kyiv, Ukraine, earlier this year. In 2017 Oleksandr was awarded the ‘As the Cow Flies’ award at RIAT for the best overall display in his Sukhoi SU-27. He had since retired from active duty, but returned to defend his homeland from the Russian invaders. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky posthumously awarded Oleksandr with the title of “Hero of Ukraine”
"Blue Skies #39"
Another aircraft breaking cover at RIAT 2022 was this Eurofighter Typhoon which was on its way to be delivered to Kuwait from the final production line in Italy. The Typhoons being built for Kuwait are currently the most advanced in existence and are fitted with the new CAPTOR-E AESA radar.
Set to receive 22 single-seat and 6 twin-seater Typhoons, they also have a Phase 3 Enhancements Package, multi-role features and the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod.
Probably a type we will not see again at RIAT and most likely not in UK skies is the Bombardier Sentinel R.1. When in service with the Royal Air Force it was never a regular at RIAT, but now withdrawn from service the aircraft have been sold to a U.S consortium - rumoured that the former RAF C4ISTAR asset will be sold on to the U.S Army. Now carrying the civilian registration N691BD (ex ZJ691) and devoid of any RAF markings, this particular example was a surprise display item in the static enclosure.
RIAT AWARD WINNERS
The Concours d’ Elegance Award for best static display aircraft went to the Irish Air Corps Pilatus PC-12.
The Steedman Display Sword for best display by a UK participant went to the RAF Chinook.
The Sir Douglas Bader Trophy for best individual flying demonstration was won by the Italian Air Force C-27J Spartan.
The As The Crow Flies Trophy for best display awarded by the Friends of RIAT was won by the Black Eagles display team.
The King Hussein Memorial Sword for best overall flying demonstration was won by the Black Eagles display team.
The RAFCTE Trophy for best flying demonstration by an overseas participant went to the Austrian Air Force C-130 Hercules and Typhoon QRA display.
The Paul Bowen Trophy for best solo jet display was won by the Hungarian Air Force Saab Gripen.
The RUAG Trophy for the Concours d’Elegance award for the best participating aircraft went to the Royal Jordanian Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules.
The Trophy for Best Livery was won by the Belgian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon’s ‘Dream Viper’.
Although the Austrian Air Force are not strangers to the Air Tattoo, this year was the first time that their Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft have attended. The air arm took delivery of 15 Tranche 1 Typhoons to replace a small number of F-5E Tiger IIs leased from Switzerland, the last Typhoon being delivered by September 2009.
Due to the Typhoons being Tranche 1 aircraft, which are considered obsolete by other countries operating the aircraft, together with a debate over whether Austria needs such an aircraft, there has been lots of talk of selling the aircraft. However, there has been little or no interest in anyone purchasing the aircraft other than a tentative enquiry by Indonesia, which in all probability will not lead to anything.
There was a time when Air Tattoos saw numerous Lockheed C-130 Hercules in attendance. In recent times however, there have been fewer and fewer - this year was not really any different, with just four on display, and only the Austrian one involved in their QRA flying display. This little beauty left from the Royal Bahraini Air Force was the first time the air arm had attended RIAT - the 57th in all. The aircraft is ex-RAF #ZH880 and is one of two former RAF C-130J Hercules C5 that were delivered in 2018 after overhaul by Marshalls Engineering at Cambridge.
The 'Training the Next Generation Air Force' theme saw a couple of aircraft from the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI - Italian Air Force), one of which was this nicely painted Aermacchi MB339CD (known as the T-339B in AMI service) seen departing the airshow. The aircraft is adorned with a tailfin for 213 Gruppo, part of 61 Stormo (Wing). The AMI has been a long-time supporter of RIAT and 2022 was no exception. Also in the static arena alongside the MB-339 was a less often seen aircraft in the shape of the AMX A-11B Ghibli from 132 Gruppo/51 Stormo (below). This particular aircraft also sported a decorative tailfin, indicating one of the former AMX units - 101st Gruppo and 132 Gruppo markings. Four AMX were painted in 2019 to celebrate the type's 30th anniversary with the Italian Air Force.
Returning to RIAT for the first time since 2002 were two SOCATA TB30 Epsilon trainers from the Portuguese Air Force's Esquadra 101 at Beja. Following retirement of the French fleet in 2019, Portugal is now the sole operator of the type in Europe.
This RAF Grob Tutor T1 was painted in an experimental yellow scheme back in late 2020. The idea was to evaluate whether it provided better visibility for students during their Elementary Flying Training. As far as I am aware no other Tutors have received the scheme since.
via airdrop or air-land operations, and conduct long-range refuelling operations of SOF vertical-lift assets. The squadron also supports information operations, humanitarian relief, medical evacuations (MEDEVAC) and non-combatant evacuations. In conjunction with its sister squadron, the unit regularly performs long-range air refuelling operations, performing both day and night air-to-air refuelling with the 7th SOS Ospreys. An additional part of the squadron's mission sees it also support European Command (EUCOM), Africa Command.
The NH90 is a product of the NH Industries conglomerate, now part of Airbus Helicopters. This NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) is an example of from the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
Hawker Hunter Aviation Trials Platform
Making their debut at RIAT 2022 were the 'Baby Blue' display team from the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF). Flying six Saab T-17 Supporter aircraft from the Flying School at Karup. The aircraft has been in service since 1975, and one of the six aircraft from the team sported a non-standard scheme seen in the photo, right. This particular T-17 was painted as a tribute to the DHC Chipmunk trainer that the RDAF once flew, and acted as the lead aircraft in the team's display.
The aircraft can carry 2-3 people, depending on the internal configuration. The cockpit has two seats for a pilot and navigator, or a student pilot and an instructor, seated in a side-by-side configuration. The T-17 is equipped with a fixed tricycle undercarriage and skis can be added for landing in snow. The engine is a Lycoming 10-360-A1B6 which produces 200 HP.
Open Skies Antonov An-30 'Clank'
The Swedish Air Force Historic Flight (SwAFHF) has been active since 1997 and is funded through sponsorship, membership fees and air shows- in place to preserve aircraft previously operated by the Swedish Air Force. Operating a number of different types, the SwAFHF brought three of its classic aircraft types to RIAT 2022, along with its dedicated Cessna Citation support aircraft. The SwAFHF sets an example that unfortunately not many countries adhere to in terms of restoring and maintaining the aircraft that have been a part of its history and the backbone of their military, something they are rightfully proud of. Unfortunately, UK restrictions on operating former military fast-jets that are now deemed as operated by a civilian organisation stopped them from gracing the skies over Fairford, but we were fortunate enough to catch them arriving and departing RAF Fairford. For those just attending the airshow days on Saturday and
Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford,UK 15-17 July 2022
The Finnish air Force was one of the first export customers for the British Aerospace (BAe) Hawk trainer, and has operated the advanced jet trainer since 1980 as the Hawk T51/T51A. In 2007 a further 18 aircraft were purchased from the Swiss Air Force, the T66 model aircraft had been flown very little in comparison to the Finnish Hawks and came at a bargain price, costing roughly what two new aircraft would have been. After modifications and modernisation, the aircraft joined the fleet in 2011–2013.
During 2020, to celebrate 40 years of service HW-341 was painted in a special commemorative scheme, which has the head of a hawk on the vertical tailfin in honour of the Finnish Air Force display team, the Midnight Hawks.
The Saab Lansen is a two-seat, transonic military aircraft designed and manufactured from 1955 to 1960 for the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet). Three principal variants of the Lansen were built for attack (A 32A), fighter (J 32B), and reconnaissance (S 32C), some later being converted to electronic warfare platforms and target-towing aircraft. Seen right is the J32B Lansen, one of two operated by the SwAFHF. This particular version was an all-weather fighter version, with 118 production aircraft built between 1958-60 and retired in 1973. This example, which is now on the civil register as SE-RME, wears the markings of F4 Wing based at Östersund, which operated the type between 1967-69. This particular aircraft was one of six that were converted to J32D and used as target-towing aircraft in 1972.
'Valkyries', part of the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, UK. The 495th is the first of two F-35 squadrons scheduled to join the two squadrons of F-15E Strike Eagles with the 48th Fighter Wing.
The F-35A Lightning (photo, right) was shown off in the static park alongside an F-15E Strike Eagle from the 48th Fighter Wing.
This Airbus Helicopters AS365N3 Dauphin is one of three of the type in service with the Lithuanian Air Force's Sraigtasparniu Eskadrile at Siauliai - Zokniai. Used in the Search & Rescue (SAR) role, this is the first time one had visited the Air Tattoo.
The three AS365 are fully equipped with forward looking infrared (FLIR), radar, searchlights, winch, and stretchers. The glass cockpit and the 4-axis autopilot with SAR modes significantly decreases the crew's workload, allowing them to perform their demanding missions safely.
Originally established to combat smuggling, HM Coastguard was formally brought into existence in January 1822, and has been working to keep people safe at the coast and on the sea ever since.
Operated by Bristow Helicopters, RIAT saw both the Sikorsky S92A and Leonardo AW189 represented in the static display. Both helicopters can be seen in the photo, right, departing RAF Fairford after the show.
In addition to the two helicopters, the Coastguard also displayed a twin-engine Piper PA-31 Navajo aircraft.
Korean Air Force'Black Eagles'
The return of the Republic of Korea Air Force Black Eagles was the highlight of RIAT 2022 for many. Flying the supersonic KAI T-50B trainer, they returned to the show ten years after their previous appearance and took two awards home with them - the 'As the Crow Flies' Trophy for best display, which is awarded by the Friends of RIAT; and the 'King Hussein Memorial Sword' for best overall flying demonstration.
German Navy Lynx helicopters have been fairly frequent visitors to RIAT over the years, but not sure for how much longer. With the NH90 Sea Lion helicopter now commencing delivery to the Marineflieger's MFG-5 at Nordholz air base, it may well be the last time we see one.
Making its first appearance at a RIAT was Boeing's KC-46A Pegasus - the U.S. Air Force's latest air refuelling aircraft. This particular example came from the 78th Air Refueling Squadron/514th Air Mobility Wing at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. Replacing the legendary KC-135 Stratotanker, its modern fly-by-wire refuelling boom provides a receiver envelope three times larger than that of the KC-135, delivers more fuel at all ranges and from shorter runways. The KC-46 accommodates three times more cargo pallets, up to twice as many passengers and about 30% more aeromedical evacuation patients than the KC-135, whilst its large cargo door and cargo rollers enable rapid mission reconfiguration.
PZL-Swidnik W3A Sokol making its Air Tattoo debut in a very rare solo display. The Polish designed and built helicopter is part of a small fleet operated by the Czech Air Force for MEDEVAC and SAR operations
Mustang X-Ray is a tactical dem0nstration team of the French air Force consisting of two Pilatus PC-21 single-engine turboprop trainers from BA709 at Cognac-Chateaubernard. The team was making its first ever UK appearance, which was only formed in June 2021. Three PC-21s attended the show, all wearing the standard colour scheme applied to the 26-strong fleet. The Pilatus PC-21 is equipped with a pressurized cockpit, air conditioning, an anti-G system, and on-board oxygen generation. It is capable of sustained low-level speeds over 320 knots, and able to produce fighter-like rates of roll in excess of 200 degrees per second.
On the first day of the airshow, Friday 15 July, the RAF Red Arrows performed a flypast with a Poseidon MRA1 for the first time. For some bizarre reason the RAF made a big thing about the same formation flying over RAF Lossiemouth on 21 July, releasing a press statement that it was the first time they had flown together. Exactly why I do not know, as clearly the image right shows them over RAF Fairford a week earlier!
'Best Solo Jet Display'
The Paul Bowen Trophy for best solo jet display was won by the Hungarian Air Force Saab JAS39C Gripen from 1 Vadászrepülő Századok, 59 Tactical Fighter Wing based at Kecskemét. Two aircraft from the unit attended RIAT, with aircraft number '40' adorned with a Puma's head on the vertical tailfin, the unit's nickname being 'Puma'. This particular aircraft was on display in the static park and is seen here departing RAF Fairford on the Monday following the show.
The trophy is awarded by the Friends of the Royal International Air Tattoo (FRIAT), voted for by the enthusiasts who attend the FRIAT enclosure during the airshow.
The Austrian Air Force Lockheed C-130K Hercules seen shortly after landing, following another thrilling QRA display at RIAT 2022
The Boeing E-4B 'Nightwatch' from the 1st Airborne Command & Control Squadron (1 ACCS) serves as the National Airborne Operations Center and is a key component of the National Military Command System for the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In case of national emergency or destruction of ground command and control centres, the aircraft provides a survivable command, control and communications centre to direct U.S. forces. The E-4B is a militarized version of the Boeing 747-200 commercial airliner, with the capability to refuel in flight.
Making its debut at RIAT was this Westland Wessex HU5 (left) owned and operated by Historic Helicopters, alongside its stablemate, the Westland Sea King HAR.3 (right). The ex-Royal Navy Wessex flew with the Fleet Air Arm until 1988 and was the mainstay of UK SAR operations for many years, entering service with the Royal Navy in 1961 and serving until it was withdrawn from service in 1988. Whilst a very effective platform for Search and Rescue, the Wessex was the first helicopter operated by the Royal Navy to be designed from the outset as an anti-submarine platform. The Westland Sea King provided a range of services in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, as well as wartime roles in the Falklands War, the Gulf War, the Balkans conflict, the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War. This particular Sea King is a former RAF Search and Rescue helicopter. XZ597 flew with 22, 78, 202 and 203 Squadrons during its service life.
The German Air Force Airbus A340 in the static display was the first and last time you will see one at the Air Tattoo. In 2020 the Luftwaffe announced the order of three new Airbus A350-900 aircraft to replace the two A340s that had been on strength since 2011. It is expected that both former Lufthansa A340s will be withdrawn by the end of this year. In service with 2. Lufttransportstaffel of the Flugbereitschaft (FBS) at Koln-Bonn, the aircraft are used for long-range governmental transport.
The Saab 37 Viggen is instantly recognizable by its 'splinter' camouflage. The Sk37 version was produced as a two-seat trainer, of which only 17 were built. Ten aircraft were later converted to Sk37E standard, of which the SwAFHF example is one. #37809 was delivered to F7 Wing in February 1974, where it remained until 1999 when the aircraft was converted to an Sk37E and delivered to F4 at Östersund in January 2000. In October 2005 it was transferred to the Försökscentralen (Test Unit) at Linköping/Malmen. In June 2007 it was handed over to Saab AB, the aircraft remaining in storage for a long time at Såtenäs until it was restored to an airworthy condition and taken on strength by the Swedish Air Force Historic Flight.
The Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) Kawasaki C-2 entered service in June 2016 to replace the Kawasaki C-1 aircraft. Having appeared for the first time at RIAT in 2018, it was a welcome return for the type. In service with 403 Hikotai/3 Yuso Kokutai at Miho air base, the C-2 is a medium-size, twin-engine, long-range, high-speed transport aircraft. A total of 30-40 aircraft are planned and will eventually replace the fleet of older Kawasaki C-1 and Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules tactical cargo aircraft- the C-2 carrying a much larger payload over longer distances than both the C-1 and C-130 Hercules.
My personal favourite is the Saab Draken, an aircraft that to me just looks 'right' and epitomises Swedish aircraft design - a fighter jet if ever there was one and much like the paper dart aircraft that we all made as schoolboys. This particular aircraft is a twin-seat trainer version designated Sk35C, of which 25 were converted from single-seat J35As between April 1961 and August 1962 by rebuilding the front section of the aircraft. The aircraft is captured here powering out of RAF Fairford to return to Sweden.
A type that has been e regular visitor to RIAT during the last few shows is the Airbus A400M. Designed as a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities to replace aircraft such as the C-160 Transall C-160 and the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, the A400M is sized between the C-130 and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster. Capable of carrying heavier loads than the C-130 and able to use rough landing strips, the A400M can also perform air-to-air refuelling and medical evacuation.
It has been in service with the German Air Force's Lufttransportgeschwader 62 (Air Transport Wing/LTG-62) at Wunstorf since December 2014, with Germany having ordered 53 aircraft. So far, orders have been placed by Belgium, France, Germany, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain, Turkiye and the United Kingdom.
Another German Navy type that has been a regular visitor, but that we may not see again is the Lockheed P-3C Orion. Eight Orions were purchased from the Netherlands and delivered in 2006, but now only a few remain operational - to be replaced with five Boeing P-8 Poseidons by 2025.
A Typhoon display is a culmination of months of hard work, detailed preparation and concerted effort by the team. The pilot who displays the aircraft cannot begin to do his role without the unfaltering commitment and backing of the professionals that make up the Typhoon Display Team from the Royal Air Force.
Along with the F-22A Raptor, Lockheed Martin provides the state-of-the-art F-35A Lightning II, the USAF's latest 5th generation multi-role fighter, which will eventually replace the F-16 and A-10. The aircraft on display at RIAT in 2022 came from the 495th Fighter Squadron
An aircraft that probably won't be seen again at RIAT is the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon. The type is diminishing rapidly with the RNLAF as it is replaced by the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II. A regular visitor over many years from a number of air forces, the F-16 is gradually disappearing from service with many air arms, and it is likely that in just a few years it will be a type that will not be seen on a regular basis, something unthinkable just a few years ago when the F-16 was the dominant fighter aircraft in European skies.