Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has confirmed the Red Arrows will get new jet aircraft
While confirming this would happen “in the next couple of years”. he has not said exactly when.
Speaking to the BBC, Michael Fallon said:
“Eventually we will have to replace the aircraft, and we will start to think about that in the next year or two.”
The Red Arrows badge shows the aircraft in their trademark diamond nine formation, with the motto Éclat, a French word meaning “brilliance” or “excellence”.
Initially, they were equipped with seven Folland Gnat trainers inherited from the RAF Yellowjacks display team. This aircraft was chosen because it was less expensive to operate than front-line fighters.
In their first season, they flew at 65 shows across Europe. In 1966, the team was increased to nine members, enabling them to develop their Diamond Nine formation. In late 1979, they switched to the BAE Hawk trainer. The Red Arrows have performed over 4,700 displays in 56 countries worldwide.
The team use the same two-seat training aircraft used for advanced pilot training, at first the Hawker Siddeley Gnat which was replaced in 1979 by the BAE Hawk T1.
The Hawks are modified with an uprated engine and a modification to enable smoke to be generated; diesel is mixed with a coloured dye and ejected into the jet exhaust to produce either red, white or blue smoke.
What will replace the Hawk T1 with the Red Arrows? Probably, the Hawk T2.