After 8,000 miles travelled, jets from the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team the Red Arrows have returned home from an overseas tour.

Wing Commander Andrew Keith, Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said:

“The tour was a great demonstration of a key role of the Red Arrows – that of national ambassadors, powerfully supporting and promoting UK interests. We were privileged to fly to a range of countries across Europe and the Middle East with hundreds of thousands of people either seeing these performances live or learning more about the team and the UK through the resulting media coverage.

Everywhere the team flew we were very well-received and the tour highlighted the strong, important and often longstanding ties the UK and our Armed Forces have with counterparts overseas.”

The MoD say the tour was staged in support of the ‘GREAT Britain’ campaign – the Government’s international marketing campaign, showcasing the ‘very best of what our whole nation has to offer in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business with the UK’.

The deployment began just a few days after the Red Arrows last UK airshow of the summer season and began with a flypast over the Cannes Yachting Festival.

Wing Commander Keith added in a media release:

“The flying we are able to do is obviously very spectacular but perhaps the most rewarding aspect of a tour such as this is meeting people at all of the varied events and activities which form the foundation of the deployment and where we can promote the UK face-to-face.

It’s very humbling to be able to visit a school or invite young people to see our British-built aircraft and inspire them to consider what can be achieved through teamwork and education.”

The RAF say on their website:

“After France, Athens Flying Week was the destination with the Red Arrows performing displays on back-to-back days. Moving to Jordan, the Squadron was honoured to complete a flypast over eight national landmarks, including Petra.

The first display in Saudi Arabia by the Red Arrows in a decade was then staged in Jeddah, to help mark the Kingdom’s National Day, before a move to Kuwait – only the third time the team has performed there.

Doha’s skyscraper-lined Corniche provided the next venue for a display and also a special mixed formation flypast with a Qatar Airways Airbus A350, celebrating the airline’s 20th anniversary and also highlighting the airliner’s British-made Rolls-Royce engines and wings.

Muscat, Oman, was the sixth show location and then the team performed in Karachi – the first time the Red Arrows had displayed in Pakistan for 20 years, broadcast live on national television.

The last public display of the deployment and the 2017 season was in Bahrain, against a perfect blue sky.”

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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_387179)
3 years ago

Well done.

Mike Saul
Mike Saul (@guest_387182)
3 years ago

The red arrows have little real military value and as such should NOT be funded by the defence budget.

I see their has been some talk in the press about the replacement of the current aircraft, Hawk T1, due to the age factors.

Again the new aircraft should not be funded by the defence procurement budget.

Steve (@guest_387188)
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Saul

Yeah, but they do look really good at airshows !

Mike Saul
Mike Saul (@guest_387193)
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve

Love the red arrows, just don’t want cuts to the UK fighting capability to pay for them.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach (@guest_387201)
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Saul

The biggest problem is that no other department is going to take them on either . I don’t really agree that they have no military value. I know one now ex flight lieutenant who reckons the Red Arrows got him interested in his career when he was in his teens and I suspect that are lots of others.

Ian (@guest_387199)
3 years ago

Falls into the same budget as a Royal Yacht for me i.e. Business & International Trade

Mike Saul
Mike Saul (@guest_387203)
3 years ago

In the 70s the RAF purchased 175 Hawk T1.

In the 2000s the RAF purchased 28 Hawk T2 to replace those 175 T1s.

There isn’t 10 T2 in a hanger somewhere waiting to be used as red arrow replacements.

Some think it’s acceptable to cut 500 RM commandos to save £50m a year but then spend £250m on red arrow replacements plus £10m a year on running costs.

Sjb1968 (@guest_387207)
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Saul

Unfortunately the people thinking like that tend to run the MOD.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach (@guest_387212)
3 years ago

So what are you both suggesting? One speculative wrong equals the end of the Red Arrows? The team is an important part of the UK’s ability to fly the flag overseas and should be supported. What about the Advanced Hawk?

Mike Saul
Mike Saul (@guest_387234)
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Don’t buy into idea of flying the flag around the world in a digital world.

If we wish to retain a display team for PR reasons then it should be funded outside of the defence budget, given the cuts that have been and will be imposed in cutting our warfighting capability.

It’s all about priorities and the red arrows are not a high enough priority.

It’s up to the politicians to find the money and if they can’t what about public donations.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach (@guest_387273)
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike Saul

I sympathize with what your saying Mike but realistically which other department is going to pick up the tab.The thing that worries me about the idea of giving way is that just gives the MOD another target. So get rid of the Red Arrows and then go ahead with other cuts,if any, anyway.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_387249)
3 years ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Agree with Geoffrey.
Other countries keep their teams while the Red Arrows disbanded? Nah.
I think the public backlash in cutting the Reds would be high, and the politicians, like the dispicable scum that they are, of any hue it seems, will not risk it.