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.”