Two of 29(R) Squadron BAe Typhoons are seen sitting on the flightline at RAF Fairford during RIAT 2015
With the RAF Atlas C.1 in the static display, the aerial demo by the Airbus A400M was left to a company demonstrator
The first 'Air Tattoo' was staged in 1971 at North Weald, Essex with just over 100 aircraft participating in the show. Becoming the International Air Tattoo in 1976, it was given further recognition of its unique status by Her Majesty the Queen in 1996, when the current Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) title was adopted. Between 1973 and 1983 the tattoo was held at RAF Greenham Common, before moving to its present site at RAF Fairford in 1985. Having traditionally been a 2-day event, RIAT changed to a 3-day event in 2014, with the format remaining in place for 2015. For those enthusiasts and photographers who could not get their fill during the show itself, the 'Park & View' areas had also opened as is the norm on the Wednesday and Thursday for arrivals, with the Monday after the show also open to catch aircraft departing back home. Over 160 military aircraft participated in this year's show, not including support aircraft that arrived prior to and post the actual airshow itself. In addition to these, a further 50+ civilian and warbird aircraft took part in the static and aerial displays. As usual Jetwash Aviation Photos was in attendance to bring you all the action from the 2015 event and show you some of the more interesting participants this year.
On the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the spotlight also fell on this historic aerial conflict, the bravery of the pilots from the 14 nations who flew with RAF Fighter Command and the contribution new technology such as radar then played in Securing the Skies. From Spitfires and Hurricanes of yesteryear to the Typhoons of today and the F-35 Lightning IIs of tomorrow, the RAF often operates alongside NATO and other coalition forces and is committed to providing frontline protection from aerial threats. Mastery of the aerial battlespace remains as important today as it was in 1940 and on 17-19th July 2015, the Air Tattoo highlighted the crucial role that aircraft play in Securing the Skies whenever air power is needed, with the RAF continuing to demonstrate that it is capable of responding, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
This Mil Mi-24V wearing Royal Air Force markings is from the Czech Air Force, painted as WWII 311(Czech)Sqn Consolidated B-24 Liberator #EV953
Two Fairchild-Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II's from the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron took up residence in the static display
One is seen here leaving on Monday 20th July
Aircraft from 27 air arms and 22 different countries participated during RIAT in 2015, maintaining its boast as the largest and best military airshow in the world. The highlight for 2015 without doubt came from Japan. Having supported RIAT over the last two years with a Japan Air Self Defence Force Boeing KC767, this year it was the turn of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) with two Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft to participate. Having transited the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans via California and NAS Oceana, Virginia, they were the first aircraft to arrive for this year's event. On the morning of Tuesday 14th July at 08.04 (serial 5507) and 09.08 (serial 5504) respectively, the two aircraft touched down at RAF Fairford. One of the P-1s also took part in the flying display each day, the first time that a Japanese military aircraft had ever demonstrated at a European airshow.
The 'Paul Bowen Trophy', awarded for the Best Solo Display was won this year by the Finnish Air Force's F-18 Hornet display by Capt. Ville Uggeldahl
Making its debut at RIAT was the Bell-Boeing CV-22B Osprey of US Air Force Special Operations Command
Two aircraft from the 352 Special Operations Wing at RAF Mildenhall took part, one on static display and one flying
In terms of 'fast-jets' at RIAT, the Hellenic Air Force's Lockheed-Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon from Team Zeus made its UK airshow debut and was without date a highlight of the show. Emblazoned in a new paint scheme and with Maj. Sotirios Stralis at the helm, the F-16 gave a dazzling display. Based with 115 Combat Wing at Chania/Souda Bay Air Base, Crete, the F-16 Block 52+ is quite unique in F-16 display terms, as it retains its large conformal fuel tanks, illustrating the aircrafts ability to retain its agility despite its somewhat ungainly appearance. The team also had the privilege of being awarded with the 'Best Livery Award' at RIAT 2015, won for the second year running by the Hellenic Air Force, with Team Zeus following up the previous success of the A-7 Corsair team in 2014.
From late 1985 a number of Royal Saudi Air Force crews were 'streamed' through Cottesmore in preparation for delivery of their Tornados under the 'Al Yamamah II' deal, which saw the country take delivery of 48 aircraft. With the Interdictor-Strike (IDS) version of the Tornado built to a common standard across the three nations (aside their weapons fit), the TTTE continued to function until 1999, when it ceased operations due to the diminishing demand for Tornado aircrew and the fact that each countries aircraft were becoming more and more diverse due to various upgrades carried out by each nation based upon their varying requirements.
The Royal Air Force's new kid on the block
The Airbus A400M Atlas C.1 departs Fairford after the show for the short hop back to its base at RAF Brize Norton
As is the case with most RIATs, there was yet another debut country taking part in 2015, becoming the 55th nation to participate
The Qatar Emiri Air Force with their Lockheed C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft, based at Al Udeid Air Base in Doha
By no means regular attendees at previous RIATs is the US Army
This UH-60A+ Blackhawk was displayed in the static arena alongside an AH-64D Apache Longbow
RIAT has traditionally had a theme every year, with 2015 being 'Securing the Skies-Past, Present and Future'. Whether countering increasingly sophisticated and diverse military threats, or delivering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, securing the skies and demonstrating air power is critical, both at home and abroad. Thanks to today's cutting-edge platforms, the Royal Air Force (RAF) is capable of controlling airspace, providing timely and accurate intelligence, mobilising quickly and effectively to meet a wide range of missions. The same is true of those air arms operating longside the RAF, and RIAT invited many of them to Fairford to help highlight how Securing the Skies is achieved around the world.
TTTE Celebrates 35th Anniversary at Air Tattoo
Team Zeus' F-16C Viper put in an awesome display at RIAT 2015
Aside its display, it also wore a striking and award winning paint scheme
Seen departing after the airshow, the 354th EFS A-10s have been deployed around Europe since February as part of the European Theatre Security Package (TSP)
This Agusta A.109E Power belongs to the Empire Test Pilots School (ETPS) at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire
This Tornado ECR-MLU is from 50 Stormo and based at Piacenza in northern Italy
The TTTE badge is visible on the vertical tail fin
Established on 1st July 1980 as a joint enterprise between the Royal Air Force, the German Air Force, German Navy and the Italian Air Force at RAF Cottesmore, the Tri-National Tornado Training Establishment trained thousands of aircrew, including pilots, navigators and weapons system operators during its 19 year existence. During its time the TTTE operated with three squadrons, known simply as A, B and C squadron, commanded by a British, German and an Italian officer, with the three partner nations mixing their crews within the units. This proved to be the TTTE's strength, as the mix of nationalities and experience within each squadron benefited the crew members posted to Cottesmore for the training on the Panavia Tornado jets.
Opening the flying display on the Saturday were Team Aguila of the Spanish Air Force with their CASA 101 Aviojets
Initially starting as a 5-ship team, 'Aguila' has since expanded to six and now seven aircraft for their display
The 'Sir Douglas Bader Trophy' for the Best Individual Flying Display was won by the German Army's Bolkow Bo.105 helicopter
Two such aircraft were at RIAT, with this particular aircraft being displayed in the static park
Another regular performer at RIAT is the Swiss 'PC-7 Team'
They are seen here flying in formation with a Swiss Air Force AS.332 Super Puma helicopter
Always a popular participant and a fairly regular sight in recent years at RIAT is the SU-22 of the Polish Air Force
This particular aircraft is a Sukhoi SU-22UM-3K two-seater, from 40 ELT based at Swidwin
One of HävLLv 11's two F-18C Hornets that attended RIAT is seen on the flightline
However this particular aircraft wears the squadron markings of HävLLv 31
Performing the first display of a JMSDF aircraft at a European airshow was the Kawasaki P-1
Two such aircraft were present, one in the static and one giving an aerial display
Accompanying the EC.135 was this Westland Super Lynx, also from MFG-5
Team Zeus bought two F-16s to RIAT
The back-up aircraft wearing the standard Hellenic Air Force grey camouflage scheme
Seen as the main contender for the RAF's requirement for a MPA (maritime patrol aircraft) is Boeing's P-8 Poseidon
Having spent the weekend in the static display, #167956 is seen taxying out for departure on 20th July for the journey back to Naval Air Station Patuxant River, Maryland
'Out with the old and in with the new'
The Merlin HC.3 is replacing the Sea King HC.4 in the Fleet Air Arm, having recently been transferred from RAF service
The 'Cannestra Trophy' for the Best Flying Demonstration by a Foreign Participant was taken by the
Slovenian Air Force Pilatus PC-9 display, flown by 1st Lt. Andrej Fiorell
The Panavia Tornado always provides an impressive sight during a take-off with full afterburner (above & below)
Touching down for the last time at RIAT
XH558 ends with a bang as it gives the gathering masses an opportunity to catch it with its brake-shoot deployed
This 208(R) Squadron Hawk T.1 was painted to commemorate the start of World War One
The aircraft design splits the aircraft into old and new, with the current black training scheme for the front, and the green WW1 scheme to the rear
The design was based on the colour scheme used on the Bristol F2B Fighter housed at the Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden
This aircraft saw active service with 208 Squadron in 1922 during the Chanak Crisis in Turkey
Another relatively rare type to RIAT is the Airbus Helicopter NH.90
This Belgian NH.90TTH (Troop Transport Helicopter) making its debut at the show
"Break, Break, Break"
Having given its awesome display for the last time at RAF Fairford,
the mighty Vulcan teamed up with the RAF Red Arrows to perform a couple of fly-bys
Vulcan 'XH558' One of the most popular displays at this year's RIAT was of course the Avro Vulcan bomber. One of the most iconic aircraft of the last 60 years, it made its farewell appearance in 2015. XH558 is the only airworthy Vulcan in existence, but will sadly end its flying career this year. Following the announcement by its owners, the Vulcan to the Sky Trust (VTTS), Director Michael Trotter said, "This will be a very emotional year for everyone who enjoys the unique sight and sound of a Vulcan in flight. She has given many memorable displays at the Air tattoo and we are grateful to the airshow's substantial and appreciative audience and to the organisers for their support as we celebrate this remarkable aircraft. In her new life on the ground, XH558 will still be able to accelerate dramatically along the runway at her home in Doncaster as part of both a heritage centre and a new type of engineering education centre. We hope that many Air Tattoo visitors will come and see her there."
Amongst the many Tornados from Britain, Germany and Italy was this nice 15(R) Squadron Anniversary aircraft
It's not only fighter aircraft that are involved in 'Securing the Skies'
Aircraft such as Boeing's E-3 AWACS play a crucial role in today's modern air force
Although in service for a number of years now, the Royal Air Force's E-3D Sentrys are a relatively rare site at RIAT
Normally based at RAF Waddington with 8 Squadron, the aircraft are temporarily based at RAF Coningsby due to ongoing runway repairs at their home base
ZH101 is seen departing Fairford after the show on Monday 20th July
Formed at the Spanish Air Force Academy at San Javier in 1985, Team Aguila has been displaying at RIAT since 1987
As always the Belgian's not only provided an F-16 with a nice colour scheme, but it also gave a very dynamic display
The Tornados flown by the TTTE retained their respective national markings, but all wearing a TTTE unit badge on the fin and being allocated a national based code (B-xx for the British aircraft, G-xx for the German's and I-xx for the Italian's). At its peak the TTTE operated some 50 aircraft, teaming the trainee pilots with a navigator of the same nationality and continuing through to 'passing out' and moving back to a training unit in their own country. Due to the differences in the weapons fit utilised by each country no weapons training was conducted at Cottesmore, the three countries setting up their own training units, with the Royal Air Force having 45(R) Squadron at the Tornado Weapons Conversion Unit (TWCU) at RAF Honington.
Developed to replace the Lockheed P-3C Orion in service with the JMSDF, the P-1 began entry into service during 2013 Kawasaki is hoping to gain export orders for the aircraft, and with the UK expected to release a requirement for a maritime patrol aircraft in the upcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review later this year, it is possible that the aircraft may be a potential contender, although Boeing's P-8 Poseidon currently seems to be the firm favourite to win any orders
First flown in 2007, the four-engine P-1 has a range of some 4,300 miles (8,000km).
Also on show in the static display, but seen here taxying out for departure is this 9 Squadron 'Tonka' from RAF Marham
The annual awards ceremony was held on the Sunday evening at RIAT, kicking off with the 'Paul Bowen Trophy', awarded for the Best Solo Display and won this year by the Finnish Air Force's F-18 Hornet display by Capt. Ville Uggeldahl. The 'Cannestra Trophy' for the Best Flying Demonstration by a Foreign Participant was taken by 1st Lt. Andrej Fiorell of the Slovenian Air Force, flying the Pilatus PC-9M. The 'Steedman Trophy' for the Best Flying Display by a UK Participant was won by the BAe Typhoon and Spitfire display. The 'As the Crow Flies Trophy' for the Best Flying Display' was taken by the VTTS team and their Vulcan #XH558. The 'Best Livery Award' was won for the second year running by the Hellenic Air Force, Team Zeus following up the success of the A-7 Corsair team in 2014. The final award, the 'King Hussein Memorial Sword' for the Best Flying Demonstration was won by the participants of the 75th Anniversary Flypast commemorating the Battle of Britain.
The Belgian Air Component's F-16A Fighting Falcon blasts off the Fairford runway with full afterburner and smoke canisters in full flow
The second Spanish SF-5B(M) departs for home on Monday 20th July, illustrating the type of image you can get during departures of aircraft that were in the static display at RIAT
Sadly the weather did not play ball that day and the sun failed to make an appearance
Maintaining the debut theme was this German Navy EC.135P2+ from MFG-5 at Nordholz
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 is always a popular performer at RIAT. This year it was the turn of the Polish Air Force to bring their 'smokers'
Seen just prior to take off and with the familiar black plume from the engines, is this 1 ELT aircraft based at Miñsk
Probably making its last apparance was this 'Junglie' from 848 Naval Air Squadron at Yeovilton
With the Sea King HC.4 already being withdrawn we may not see another at future RIATs
The French Air Force's 'Ramex Delta' team of two Dassault Mirage 2000N aircraft from Escadron de Chasse (Fighter Squadron) 2/4 'Lafayette'
Performing for the first time at RIAT, the team is named after the squadron's call-sign (Ramex) and the aircraft's wing (Delta)
Formed in 2008 to demonstrate the 2000Ns tactical manoeuvres used during combat operations, the team put on a popular and powerful demo' at RIAT 2015
Team Aguila CASA 101 Aviojets rolling out after completing their display
The 'As the Crow Flies Trophy' for the Best Flying Display was taken by the VTTS team and their Vulcan #XH558
Typifying what the RIAT organisers can conjure up is this Northrop SF-5B(M) from Ala.23 of the Spanish Air Force
It's very rare to see these at airshows anywhere, in fact I think this is only the second time I have seen them at a show, and I've been around!
The Royal Air Force had a number of British Aerospace Typhoons at RIAT 2015 painted in commemorative schemes
#ZK349 (above) from 29(R) Squadron based at RAF Coningsby, is painted to represent a Hawker Hurricane of 249 Squadron,
that was flown by Wing Commander EJB Nicolson (VC, DFC), RAF Fighter Command's only recipient of the Victoria Cross during the Summer of 1940
Having engaged a Messerschmitt BF-110 and suffering severe burns and wounds, he then engaged another BF-110 before bailing out of his badly damaged aircraft.
The third 29(R) Squadron Typhoon was painted in 2014 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the D-day landings in Normandy
The JMSDF Kawasaki P-1 seen touching down after its historic first demo' at RAF Fairford