Aeralis has been tipped to win a contract to replace the Red Arrows’ Hawk T1 jets, it has been reported.

The RAF’s display team have been using the Hawk T1 for more than 40 years. The Red Arrows and their Hawk T1s are shown below.

HAWK T1 AIRCRAFT OF THE RED ARROWS

Marco Giannangeli, Defence Editor at the Express, said here:

“Sources say the RAF has its sites on Aeralis, which has already designed the first British jet-fighter since the 1970s and has been awarded a three-year research and development contract with the RAF. Aeralis will design, develop and deliver the Hawk T1 replacement. Though officially the order date is being played down, given that it will  take at least 5 years or longer before the plane is in operational service,  there’s an acute awareness that the decision has to be made soon. An announcement is pending and will be made before Christmas.”

Earlier in the year, I reported that Aeralis had agreed a three-year contract with the Royal Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) for research and development into a new modular approach to the design and development of future aircraft.

“The RCO will support the requirements and design review process to gain an understanding of how AERALIS defines the ways in which agile, modular, commercially-driven aircraft design can develop and certify a broad range of future aircraft systems that could support the RAF’s ambition to rationalise its future fleet.”

Aeralis is a UK-based aircraft developer specialising in creating a new class of “transformative military aircraft”. The firm say on their website:

“The new aircraft will be based on a modular system, enabling the company to deliver a range of configurations for different missions by using common fuselage and avionics while switching engines, wings and mission systems. The company has completed phase one and phase two development, with feasibility studies complete and its core team established in preparation to develop a pre-production aircraft with first flight targeted within 3 years. The AERALIS modular aircraft system streamlines the design, development and in-service support processes for military aircraft across multiple training and front-line roles, helping to reduce the complexity and costs of acquisition and sustainment when compared with more traditional approaches.”

“AERALIS is focused on re-inventing how future military aircraft are developed and operated, and we’re delighted to help set the pace and vision for future RAF systems with the Rapid Capabilities Office”, said Tristan Crawford, AERALIS Chief Executive Officer.

“As well as helping to enable rapid, digitally-driven development and the certification of flexible, open-architecture aircraft systems, this supports UK prosperity and the Government goal to champion British innovation. We are creating a significant export and global relationship development opportunity for the UK.”

Air Marshal Richard Knighton, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, commented:

“I’m delighted to hear of the RCO contract with AERALIS.  This private aircraft company is adopting an innovative approach that I have not seen before in the combat air sector.  Its ingenious and innovative use of modularity, together with applying lessons learnt from the commercial sector offers the potential to break the capability cost curve that has dogged military fast jet programmes for many generations.  The design philosophy could be disruptive, providing a means to improve international competitiveness and shift away from expensive bespoke platforms.”

With a view to full-scale production, AERALIS say the project has the scope to directly create over 200 new UK high-value design and manufacturing jobs, supporting a further 3800 in the UK supply chain.

The aircraft recently moved close to a test flight.

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BigH1979
BigH1979
6 days ago

‘Earlier in the year, I reported that Aeralis had agreed a three-year contract with the Royal Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) for research and development into a new modular approach to the design and development of future aircraft.’

And they have produced a picture of an Aeroplane in 6 different pieces. Love that!! 😂

James
James
6 days ago
Reply to  BigH1979

Microsoft paint isnt cheap these days!!

Challenger
Challenger
6 days ago

Bit confused by this. I thought the plan was to replace aggressor training by contracting out to a private company with a ready to go / off the shelf jet and then The Red Arrows would pursue sponsorship to replace theirs with something else by 2030.

This seems to suggest the RAF are looking to develop an all new design.

Bob
Bob
5 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

Give them some of the Tranche one Typhoons.

Challenger
Challenger
5 days ago
Reply to  Bob

That would be my preference. Was in the news last week that the Tranche 1’s are only halfway through their flying hours.

Better to properly sweat the assets we’ve got surely!

Tams
Tams
5 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

The maintenance costs on them just for acrobatic duties would be a stupid use of resources.

Bob
Bob
5 days ago
Reply to  Tams

Agreed, however the Reds are not just an aerobatic team, they have a secondary war role.
Back when we had five different fighter types in service it made no sense to spend so much on an aerobatic team. Now, we have so few fighters an additional ten Typhoons would be most welcome.

lee1
lee1
5 days ago
Reply to  Bob

I would argue the opposite. I would say it would be better to have a bunch of cheap light fighters for use against terrorists etc. We are spending a fortune flying Typhoons around to bomb a guy in a ditch. A Hawk or similar aircraft could do the same thing for a fraction of the costs.

Bob
Bob
5 days ago
Reply to  lee1

Not much use if you suddenly find yourself in a real war situation.

Lee1
Lee1
5 days ago
Reply to  Bob

How many real wars are we likely to get into? You would obviously use the typhoons and f35s in any significant conflict. However the light fighters could do the day to day anti terror work and the pilots would all be automatically trained in them given that they would be the primary training aircraft too.

Adrian Flitcroft
Adrian Flitcroft
2 days ago
Reply to  Lee1

What about all those Tu160s that are flying skirting the UK’s Airspace? You know, the ones that carry a dozen nuclear tipped cruise missiles each. That threat?

Lee1
Lee1
2 days ago

I am not sure what you are trying to say? What would using light fighters in day to day ground attack operations have to do with UK airspace defence?

Adrian Flitcroft
Adrian Flitcroft
2 days ago
Reply to  Lee1

Your comment started with ‘…How many real wars are we likely to get into?’ Given politicians proclivities for cutting defence if you offer them the option of buying a high end/low end mix they will invariably buy the low end only. Also every penny spent on low end options is one less to spend on the high end/high capability systems like Typhoon- and we have too few of them already. Another point is there has been a swing away from using single role aircraft. You mention using light fighters in day to day ground attack operations but what if they… Read more »

Challenger
Challenger
5 days ago
Reply to  Tams

I was thinking more in the aggressor role than for The Red Arrows. 9 squadron was I think taking on some of the aggressor work until recently (remember seeing a picture of one painted all black).

The 107 remaining tranche 2 & 3’s need to focus on sustaining 7 frontline squadrons but a dozen or more of the tranche 1’s could provide a near peer adversary without having to fork out for a new contractor.

Peter S
Peter S
6 days ago

I hope the story in the Express is more accurate than its spelling. The thought of flying Aureoles is mind boggling.
The Hawk has been a major export success. With the arrival of the T7 RedHawk at a price lower than BAE can offer Hawk, Aeralis really have to produce something cheap to buy and operate.

Chris
Chris
6 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Yes I thought the same…

“Sources say the RAF has its sites on Aeralis…”

🤔

Cuthbert1899
Cuthbert1899
5 days ago
Reply to  Chris

Where is this place called Aeralis?

magwitch
magwitch
6 days ago

This has expensive disaster written all over it.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
6 days ago
Reply to  magwitch

Why??

Cuthbert1899
Cuthbert1899
5 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Because it’s the MoD and they are crap at procurement.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

The in built positivity and optimism that runs through our blood is frightening…..🙄

James William Fennell
James William Fennell
4 days ago

Wierd how the first 100% UK designed fast jet for 4 decades is greeted in the comments. The RAF is doing a great job at promoting the British aircraft industry, which is a strategic necessity – this is superb news. BAe had huge success with Hawk, it deserves a sucessor, and this team are all from that heritage and also have a brilliant commerical model taken from the airline industry – bon chance.

magwitch
magwitch
5 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Why? It’s a startup company with zero experience and not much capital that are going to make a short production run of a high performance MODULAR military aircraft for the world’s stupidest customers (RAF/MoD). Does it sound like it’s going to be cheap to you?

Tom
Tom
5 days ago
Reply to  magwitch

Might I remind you some of our best military products have come from men in sheds.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
5 days ago
Reply to  magwitch

And if we buy somthing foreign, you will probably have a good moan about that too. And I wouldn’t call the RAF stupid

James William Fennell
James William Fennell
4 days ago
Reply to  magwitch

Much of the team are experienced exiles from BAe – they wanted a Hawk replacement. KBR and Atkins are partners (now part of SNC Defence), and a lot of familiar names are involved like Honeywell (engines), Martin Baker, Frazer-Nash and so on.

john melling
john melling
6 days ago

Last week I said this was likely not to happen!
However, after reading the above I think I will shut up from now on!🙄
And we may see the birth of a new British aircraft company apart from BAE Should it be successful.
Let’s keep our eyes open I guess.

spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
6 days ago
Reply to  john melling

Good to see that you have become more open minded and less cynical than a few others on here. Maybe we are long programmed to react so cynically but it is very frustrating when British companies promote new ideas and innovation there is such a negative response… sadly far too often from the banks and investors too which is why so many of our companies and ideas end up abroad sadly. Lets give these guys a chance at least until there is some evidence that they are screwing things up or we will never invest in future innovation.

Reaper
Reaper
6 days ago
Reply to  john melling

Shame some of our old Aeroplane companies couldn’t restart, like “Hawker” ect

Martyn Palmer
Martyn Palmer
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

BAE own the rights to the names

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  Martyn Palmer

Ahh right cool.

Boots
Boots
6 days ago

This smacks of tabloid misreporting in all honesty; why would the RAF place an order with an untried company with no manufacturing base for a squadrons worth of aircraft when it has committed to greater use of synthetics in the training environment? If such an order really were to be forthcoming, why isn’t the news plastered over Aeralis’s website? And how does it tie in with the article published in the Mail Online, which states that the aircraft is being used to replace Hawk T Mk 1s over safety fears?

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9982581/British-firm-NEW-Red-Arrows.html

expat
expat
6 days ago
Reply to  Boots

Well we’ve tried placing MoD orders will well established companies and haven’t fared well (GD for Ajax currently in the new example).😀

geoff
geoff
6 days ago
Reply to  Boots

‘Order with an untried company’-yes on the face of it unusual and risky but given the professional and convincing looking graphics one has to assume there must be some good in-house experience in Aeralis and notwithstanding some poor decisions from the MoD in the past surely some top RAF boffins have examined this bid carefully and liked what they saw? I always thought we missed an opportunity not to develop and market a middle order Hawk combat variant for sale to countries such as NZ and the ROI-cheap and easy to operate in a dedicated air defence role. Obviously top… Read more »

Boots
Boots
6 days ago
Reply to  geoff

While I agree that the level of interest from the RAF is genuine (hence the £200K from the RCO), I do not see how a company the size of Aeralis in its current form) could be expected to get to a point where they are building actual aircraft on the basis of an order for just 12 airframes – I’m no expert, but I would imagine the certification process for an aircraft designed as modular will take many years to accomplish.

Last edited 6 days ago by Boots
spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
6 days ago
Reply to  Boots

Yes I think this is a very valid point that will need explaining at some point. I assumed that they were going to work on a process something like an Aircraft version of BMT conceptualising and designing the fundamentals but leaving beyond some point final engineering development and production to a major player. As things stand indeed I can’t see how some form of this sort of process cannot be the answer but will be interested to see how it is resolved that way or otherwise should it get beyond the initial proof of concept stage. I do wish it… Read more »

Boots
Boots
6 days ago
Reply to  spyintheskyuk

Completely agree; while it may have a degree of implausibility about it the concept is worthy of merit and should be encouraged. I sincerely hope Aeralis are successful in their endeavours.

Andy Poulton
Andy Poulton
5 days ago
Reply to  Boots

Outsourcing the manufacturing to Airfix

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  Boots

The Gear to make just 12 will cost more than the dam planes!!

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
6 days ago
Reply to  Boots

Dont put it past a big player to buy out the company just before or just after a contract is signed.

Coll
Coll
5 days ago
Reply to  Boots

Wouldn’t it be for research and development and a prototype? No doubt, another project to waste money on.

Last edited 5 days ago by Coll
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago

Hope so!

It is the Express though!

WW2 bombers on the Moon and all that.

farouk
farouk
5 days ago

Dan wrote:
“”WW2 bombers on the Moon and all that.””

I had just been posted to Omagh from Germany (via a couple on months in Lisburn and Ballykelly) Anyway I popped into the Naafi shop one night and noticed a newspaper which sported that headline, and like the fool I am, bought it, Huge mistake and my introduction to crap British media.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
6 days ago

Very hard to believe but I’d love to be proven wrong

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 days ago

Excellent. The Hawk is a difficult act to follow…. it looks like the UK is on a roll…
McLaren won at Monza. Raducanu won in the US….
I trust HMG will be protecting Aeralis from US private equity takeover.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

In fairness mate, British teams have won the last 12 constructors championships in Mercedes and Red Bull!

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 days ago

Yeh, its the name nostalgia effect I guess…

spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
6 days ago

Yes and as I have boringly repeated too often perhaps its pathetic how we don’t trumpet that supremacy more often, despite indeed because the names disguise that much, or often most of the design and technology is designed, created and produced here. Mercedes for one have a great deal more confidence in out engineering prowess than we do ourselves sadly. That F1 engine was designed by a guy who goes right back to the good old Cosworth days… and interestingly left only last year. However I suspect its German car sales that get the benefit from that while our efforts… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  spyintheskyuk

Mclaren Woking just up the road from me. Isn’t Williams Oxfordshire somewhere?

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
6 days ago

McLaren in Woking, Williams in Wantage, Aston Martin at Silverstone, Red Bull in Milton Keynes, Mercedes in Brackley & Brixworth, Haas in Banbury, Alpine Renault in Enstone. Only three constructors aren’t British – though F1 for marketing reasons really hams up the German-ness of Mercedes or the French-ness of Alpine, in reality they aren’t at all

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago

So there we are. I could have added that to my list when I went off on one of my rants the other day on another thread talking up my country when drive by posters come here and talk it down.
Science and engineering power. We really should try and push it more.

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago

Yeah they shouldn’t play the german or French anthem if the teams win, they are British teams. But then it would always be British anthem so…

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  spyintheskyuk

I wish cosworth would team up with Aston…

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Pitty Mclaren are selling their world famous headquarters in England…

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Oh no 😲

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

It was a sale and leaseback, don’t worry. They’re staying where they are, just freeing up some short-term cash

AlexS
AlexS
6 days ago

This seems more like product placement than a decision that is imminent.

Mike
Mike
6 days ago

“RAF has its ‘sites'”?…sights!

Reaper
Reaper
6 days ago

I’m not really keen on the aesthetics of these planes, but if building for the red arrows gets the company off the ground🙄 then fair enough.

Are hawk t2s too expensive for the red arrows? And have we any more export orders for T2s.

Finney
Finney
6 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Hawk production line is gone and the Brough site is being wound down, it’s possible that older models could still be upgraded to T2 standard at Salmesbury/Warton but I doubt it’s high on BAE or many customers’ agenda.

Peter S
Peter S
6 days ago
Reply to  Finney

Brough has preserved most of the workforce, switching from airframe production to a wider range of defence engineering. It will also support the hundreds of Hawks in service for years. I think the last Hawks for Qatar were actually assembled at Wharton. I assume that production could be resumed but there are no new orders under negotiation.
There has been no recent news on the Advanced Hawk unveiled in 2017.
The Hawk has had an incredibly long production run. If the basic design is right, constant upgrading is relatively low risk. F15/16/18 have been similar successes.

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Hawks must be one of the most successful jets we ever make

Peter S
Peter S
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Yes. Over 1000 sold including the USN Goshawk. I can’t see that being repeated: too many other contenders-from SKorea,Italy and now the US itself with the T7 RedHawk.

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Was the hunter more successful yeah? I can’t think of a more successful UK jet.

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Hi Reaper, I haven’t “done the math” – but production of the Gloster Meteor and De Havilland Vampire would far exceed the number of later Hunters or Hawks.

Peter S
Peter S
4 days ago
Reply to  Alan Reid

Indeed. The production numbers of jet fighters in the post war decades seem incredible today. Nearly 4000 Meteors,over 3000 Vampires.
Hawk’s success has really been a result of its longevity, coming up to 50 years

Alan Reid
Alan Reid
5 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

Hi Peter
Production of the Hawk was moved to Warton several years ago – and the line is still active.
The first Hawk T2s on order from the Qatar Air Force were only handed over to the customer on 1 September 2021. There are another seven aircraft to follow.

Peter S
Peter S
4 days ago
Reply to  Alan Reid

Thanks. I thought the line was still open because of the Qatar order but couldn’t find anything confirming it for sure.
Why aren’t we ordering some more, especially a combat capable variant? If, heaven forbid, we undertake another counter insurgency mission, we would only have F35 or Typhoon to provide fixed wing ground support.
With so few in the fleet, a small number of Hawks could ease the pressure at a much lower cost.
Cheers.

Blacky
Blacky
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

The Hawk t2s avionics suite is not compatible with performing aerobic flying and as so no use to the Red Arrows

Marked
Marked
6 days ago

It would make sense, with this aircraft being modular, to have it replace not just hawk T1 but T2 as well. Standardise the fleet and reduce maintenance and training costs. Assuming it does get selected of course.

Last edited 6 days ago by Marked
Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  Marked

Modular jets doesn’t really seem like a good idea, using same airframe for multiple jet types! Airframe won’t last long surely. Why can’t they just build a good solid
trainer/ light atack.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
5 days ago

All aircraft designs are a compromise . By trying to be a modular aircraft, the central core of the aircraft must make compromises to be able to fit all posssible options. As such, the performance of all the options will be compromised.

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago

The whole design seems one big compromise. Jack of all trades master of none springs to mind.

Jaralodo
Jaralodo
5 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

Jack of all trades, master of none is oftentimes better than a master of one

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
5 days ago

It already happens whenever an aircraft is asked to switch between an air superiority, interdiction, ground support, recon or bombing role.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
5 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Certainly there are characteristics that would make an aircraft that is specialist in one role, suitable for another but it would still start out as a specialist, rather than being compromised in all roles from the start.

PaulW
PaulW
5 days ago

Reminds me of the old Gnat trainer. I did my ground marshalling training with one of them.

Jason
Jason
5 days ago

Smart. Smart looking, smart idea and smart approach. Stay positive, stay positive god knows I’m trying to stay positive.

Reaper
Reaper
5 days ago
Reply to  Jason

Someone has to I Suppose lol

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
5 days ago

It reminds me of a parasite fighter. Short and fat. Often if it doesn’t look right it’s not right. Did textron not try the kind of modular aircraft with the scorpion. Which no one bought.
Good luck to them but I don’t see it. For adversary aircraft go with leased gripens or 2nd hand hawks upgraded. Or the T-7
The raf is not a big enough buyer to support manufacturers on its own anymore.
One role this modular aircraft thinking could be good in is for drones. Get a family of drones for multiple roles.

Martin
Martin
5 days ago

I sense another money black hole.
Just buy an off the shelf design like the M-346, Leonardo would happily build them in the UK.

Davalew
Davalew
5 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Has anyone looked up this company in Companies House company database? It certainly doesn’t look like an aerospace company and the directors track records are not what you might have expected them to be for an aerospace company. Then put in the listed address for correspondence into Google Street View and you get a run down terrace house on the A1408 in Stowmarket. Of course all this may be above board but it smacks of The Lavender Hill Mob!

Tommo
Tommo
5 days ago

Well done AIRFIX

AlexS
AlexS
4 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

it looks like 🙂

Tommo
Tommo
4 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Just hope the glue has been G tested for strength if indeed it is AirFix

STEVE
STEVE
5 days ago

Is this aircraft just to replace the hawk ti red arrows or will it be used as a light jet fighter off the shelve and low cost and would we see a increase in the amount of aircraft to replace the hawk ti 2 by 2040 other wise a lot of money for 12 aircraft

Mr T Atton
Mr T Atton
4 days ago

Manufacturer at Broughton, massive win

Paul Swindells
Paul Swindells
3 days ago

Why not give the Red Arrows the Typhoon F2. This would use existing aircraft and in an emergancy give an extra air defence squadron?

Peter D Parkes
Peter D Parkes
1 day ago

the RAF probably had their sights on Aeralis rather than sites.

George Parker
George Parker
3 minutes ago

This grown man will shed a tear the day the last Red Arrow Hawk takes to the sky for it’s final display. One of my first memories in the mid sixties, was watching the Red Arrow Gnats, while sitting on the shoulders of my now late father.
Likewise, I’ll shed a tear of joy when watching the new aircraft take to the sky’s in that famous red livery. British and proud.