The Red Arrows will fly to North America for the Western Hawk 19 tour and will travel across two nations with ‘a view to promoting trade and co-operation’, say the Royal Air Force.

The Red Arrows will display at several US air shows and areas with strong UK links – the first time they have done so in more than a decade.

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said:

“The Red Arrows are an international symbol of Britain and this landmark event will generate a significant amount of investment. It is only right that, after more than a decade away, they return to the home of our closest defence ally.

Previous tours, which include China, Greece, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan and Bahrain, have led to the UK gaining as much as ten times in sales and investments as the cost of the tour.”

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

“One of the key roles of the Red Arrows is to support UK interests overseas and this major tour to North America will provide an important opportunity to both showcase the best of British and highlight the strong relationships we have with the US and Canada.

The deployment will build on the recent successful Red Arrows tours to China, the Far East and Gulf regions and the team is already preparing extensively – to present a safe, memorable and visually-exciting formation display to new audiences across the Atlantic.”

35 COMMENTS

  1. A part of the UK’s Soft Power.
    A demonstration of the RAF.
    A demonstration of British aviation know how.
    A thrill to every person with half a cell of patriotism and pride in their nation.

    Well done.

    Now how about some new T2 please? Eventually.

    • I would actually like to see the RAF purchase the Hawk 200 or even better the Advanced hawk for operations where air superiority is available. They would be cheap to operate and cheap to maintain. It seems crazy using Typhoons to hit a few terrorists in a ditch…

      • Hawk 200 has been out of production since 2002, it might well be cheap to operate and maintain but the act of procuring a modernised version would be to draw scarce funding away from other programs that are more needed!

        There are many other things that I would prefer spend on than buying a Hawk 200 variant!

        • The Bae systems and India are currently working on the Advanced Hawk (I think based on the 200). The saving on our Typhoon airframes would be beneficial going in to the future as the Typhoons will last longer and need less maintenance. Plus with the number of missions being carried out in Syria I imagine the hawks would pay for themselves.

          • The only way they would save costs on Typhoon is simply not to fly them, the cost per flying hour is the same regardless if the aircraft is flying over Syria or Lincolnshire, with the exemption of live ordnance cost.

          • Yep, and they are not going to be doing the sort of flying rate in training as they are in Syria right now.

          • The Advanced Hawk is a development from the Hawk 132 and has no connection with the 200 series.

            If we want something cheap to drop 500lb bombs in the Sandpit we already have Reaper and will be getting the Protector RG.1 soon.

            Adding another Hawk variant for such a spurious reason when we have other platforms that can do the job is nonsensical!

      • Definitely. Get a two or three squadrons of advanced hawk for low intensity conflict. They can do QRA or be the hand off from the typhoons once the initial intercept has happened. Where we have air superiority that can be used instead of more expensive assets, and can also be used for intelligence/search functions too. Finally you get to use the same as training craft and for red arrows. From an initial cost perspective For one f35 you get 6 hawks price wise (£18 million I think). There are ofcourse other costs too but all of this money would go to U.K. manufacturers. Giving that boost will then keep production lines open skill share etc and allow for other countries to have as lower cost purchase purchase options. You can drop feed the training and other squadron ioc over several years so that it is not a big outlay. Eventually you could even put in remote pilot/ai module in the plane and use it as a drone.

        • “Definitely. Get a two or three squadrons of advanced hawk for low intensity conflict.”

          We already have Reaper and soon Protector to perform the low intensity roll.

          “They can do QRA”

          Only if they wait patiently for their target to come to them or we develop some telepathic system to get them up early enough to intercept outside our airspace.

          “or be the hand off from the typhoons once the initial intercept has happened.”

          As per my above point how can they perform the initial intercept and then handoff to Typhoon when the latter will arrive at the target first?!

          “Where we have air superiority that can be used instead of more expensive assets, and can also be used for intelligence/search functions too.”

          Or we can use the affordable assets we already have like Reaper and Sentinel plus Protector in the future. That way we don’t have to lay out money and resource for another type to enter UK service.

          “From an initial cost perspective For one f35 you get 6 hawks price wise (£18 million I think).”

          Are you proposing to cut the purchase of a vastly more capable aircraft in the form of F-35B to get six less capable aircraft impacting RAF and FAA plans?

          “There are ofcourse other costs too but all of this money would go to U.K. manufacturers. ”

          UK PLc does very well out of the F-35 program, more so than the Hawk.

          “Giving that boost will then keep production lines open skill share etc and allow for other countries to have as lower cost purchase purchase options. ”

          Hawk is competing in an increasingly crowded market and is increasingly inferior to other offering both in capability and price.

          “You can drop feed the training and other squadron ioc over several years so that it is not a big outlay”

          That isn’t how the MFTS works.

          “Eventually you could even put in remote pilot/ai module in the plane and use it as a drone.”

          Or just use the purpose designed drones that are already in service or being procured.

          • The UK has left it too late for the Hawk, the Advanced Hawk has no backing from India and the Boeing TX will take most NATO and allies orders imo. It’s highly likely the TX will also develop into a light attack platform also cornering that market also. Boeing and SAAB invested 2 years and their own cash into a clean sheet design. BAe have had over 1000 orders for the Hawk and have failed to invest in a new airframe. Almost all updates to the Hawk have been paid for by customers.

            Other than drones the UK could invest in a C130 bomb trucks instead Hawks.

          • Absolutely wonderful reply, a very rare well informed reply to the above comment, well informed commentators are becoming increasingly rare on this site. All i see are fantasy fleets and totaly un-realistic views about our armed forces and how everything is funded.

          • I am not going to in a pint by point answer, and by all mean this is not fantasy fleets you still get a capability just not high end. However if we don’t invest in our manufacturing and sustain it as well as use that capabilities in our forces it will disappear and we will end up buying everything from abroad. Eventually there will be no money to buy that as the taxes will not be raised in the first place. Hawk may be aged but not everything needs to be latest tech, and with the advanced hawk upgrades it is still a good plane. It is also our best exported aircraft and lots of other countries use it. If we don’t continue developing it the USA trainer will instead take that market. If you don’t have engineers etc involved in building this when it comes to building Tempest you will not have the skills to do it and either it will be extortionately expensive or just too complex to do with likely reduce numbers or delivery dates or no plane at all. See the same thing in other industries eg shipbuilding and the whole debate about RFA/hospital ships being built here. If you don’t sustain the industry when it comes to the high end stuff either it is very expensive or you can’t build it at all. Considering we produced one of the first jet passenger aircraft (admittedly with then unknown problems on square windows) we should have a Boeing building planes in the U.K with all he income that brings. There are countless other examples where we don’t sustain skill/industry and let it go (challenger MBT) etc etc.

          • “I am not going to in a pint by point answer”

            I am

            “and by all mean this is not fantasy fleets you still get a capability just not high end.”

            It is fantasy fleets, it is a capability that the RAF has expressed zero interest in…not even a hint of a concept study let alone an RFI. We already have low end capability in the form of Reaper and soon Protector as well as Shadow R1 in the ISTAR role.

            “However if we don’t invest in our manufacturing and sustain it as well as use that capabilities in our forces it will disappear and we will end up buying everything from abroad. ”

            In respect of Jets the UK is a tier one partner in the F-35 programme which should help sustain our ability to manufacturer advanced combat jets for the moment. We already buy from abroad, Systems integration is where the real money is these days when it comes to R&D and sovereign capability.

            “Eventually there will be no money to buy that as the taxes will not be raised in the first place.”

            You wait and see how little money we have if the UK hard Brexits!

            “Hawk may be aged but not everything needs to be latest tech, and with the advanced hawk upgrades it is still a good plane.”

            Hawk is a good place and you can still put the latest tech in it but the aircraft is increasingly behind the curve and struggling in the market against more modern types like the T-50 and M346 (they type the RAF apparently really wanted via PFI until forced to accept Hawk T2). Once the Boeing T-X ramps up I can’t see much hope for Hawk as it stands.

            “It is also our best exported aircraft and lots of other countries use it. If we don’t continue developing it the USA trainer will instead take that market.”

            Ever heard of King Canute? I refer you to my previous point.

            ” If you don’t have engineers etc involved in building this when it comes to building Tempest you will not have the skills to do it and either it will be extortionately expensive or just too complex to do with likely reduce numbers or delivery dates or no plane at all. ”

            Typhoon and F-35, both active fighter programmes keeping UK Engineers busy! Personally I am sceptical Tempest will ever come to fruit unless in partnership with a third party but I am open to being surprised.

            “See the same thing in other industries eg shipbuilding and the whole debate about RFA/hospital ships being built here. If you don’t sustain the industry when it comes to the high end stuff either it is very expensive or you can’t build it at all. ”

            Oh don’t get me onto the subject of Hospital ships, FYI I think it is a stupid idea that will take up resources much needed elsewhere.

            “Considering we produced one of the first jet passenger aircraft (admittedly with then unknown problems on square windows) we should have a Boeing building planes in the U.K with all he income that brings. ”

            We currently have Airbus here producing parts and employing many many engineers in cutting edge R&D. One of the countries largest high tech employers actually…pity Brexit will screw with that as well. On a side note Boeing sub contracts to UK companies as well.

            “There are countless other examples where we don’t sustain skill/industry and let it go (challenger MBT) etc etc.”

            Too late now for Tank production in this country but as I said Systems integration is where it is now…

        • The Hawk is perfect for destroying a couple of Toyota pick-ups with a machine gun or 20 mm cannon in the back. You don’t need a Tornado or F-35 for that. With modern methods of CAM a production line would not cost as much as in the past.

  2. Such a shame the UK Gov are closing the 🇬🇧 Red Arrows 🇬🇧 UK base, RAF Scampton! The base 617 squadron were based and left to go bust some dams in WW2! We shouldn’t close this base! We aren’t going to have any bases left at this rate! We should sign the save scampton petition guys.

    • I kind of agree, 617 and that remarkable operation, but also we have to be realistic. At the height of WW2 there were 1000’s of aircraft dropping bombs and very few of them near the target, let alone on target. Now 1 plane 1 smart bomb, goodbye target.

      We just don’t need lots of huge, expensive to maintain, aging airbases when we don’t have anywhere near the same numbers in aircraft.

      Id rather get rid of an airbase or 2 to maintain current aircraft numbers. ( There’s no chance of an increase in numbers)

      But yeah get rid of a less historic one. Start that petition!

      • I do agree that some of these bases are just not viable to keep open. However I do think we should keep parts of some of the bases (the runway and some apron) in order to be able to make them partially operational again with a small effort. We may need some of them again in the future and will run out of places to put runways… Not sure how viable that is but it seems like if we needed to suddenly grow our air force then we might struggle with places to put them.

        • I’d keep airfields. Like I would keep naval bases, dockyards, the GPSS, POL installations, bases with rail access, RAF ststiobs with comprehensive SSA, underground installations, all stuff with strategic or defensive importance that if needed again have not just been chucked. Would take billions to reestablish.

          I think, hope that the Mod share this thinking as look how many RAF stations become army barracks. The infrastructure is there.

          If bases need to go I would close army barracks. Especially those with small numbers of units. Again Mod already appear to be going down this route with the last round of base closure announcements. ( our resident troll got very excited about it recently on another thread. Laughably, it was news years old already. )

          On Scampton and retaining parts of bases, this has happened for years. If the Reds move would there still be an enclave housing the CRC? Not long established following the closure of the Neatishead R3.

  3. When will they publish the shows and dates? Jones Beach (Long Island) is closest show to me but being a beach there’s no static display. Wish they’d demonstrate a Typhoon too

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