The Red Arrows are touring the Middle East, and possibly Egypt, in the autumn of 2022.
The normal display by nine jets has been reduced to displays involving just 6 jets for this tour. There were only seven for the 2022 season anyway, following the departure of some members during pre-season training, and at the end of the UK 2022 season Flt. Lt. James Turner (Red 7) had to move from flying to PR duties for the duration of the tour because of a neck injury.
Unusually for an international tour, the routes and display dates were not announced in advance. It is known, however, that the tour will last about five weeks and that the team will display at the Bahrain International Airshow which is being held from 9th to 11th November. The tour is also scheduled to include Egypt, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
The information comes from, and is credited to, the Red Arrows web site and their social media accounts, especially a Tweet on 28th October by @RAFRed7.
Back in July 2018, it was announced that RAF Scampton would close and that the Red Arrows would be based elsewhere.
Over 30 alternative bases were considered and assessments made. The long list of 30 was reduced to a shortlist of three and on 19th May it was announced that, following an Operational Safety Assessment, RAF Waddington was considered the "only viable alternative" to RAF Scampton and had been selected as the future base of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows.
There still has to be an assessment of the cost the options before the final decision is sealed. Subject to that assessment, the relocation will happen before RAF Scampton closes in late 2022.
The link between RAF Scampton and the Red Arrows will be maintained, however, as the airspace over RAF Scampton will be retained for the team’s training and display practice.
Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said:
As we saw during the recent VE Day celebrations, the Red Arrows have a proud and prominent place in British culture and have long demonstrated the best of what the UK Armed Forces offer with their world-renowned skills, discipline and teamwork.
It is good news that we have an excellent base for them at RAF Waddington, and I am delighted that they will be able to continue to practice their extraordinary aerobatic talents above RAF Scampton in their home county of Lincolnshire.
Air Vice-Marshal Warren James said:
I am delighted that we now have confirmation that the Royal Air Force Aerobatics Team - The Red Arrows - will remain in the heart of Lincolnshire. The Royal Air Force remains committed to the strong links it has with the county and a considerable amount of work has been carried out to secure a suitable future home location.
The Red Arrows are a highly skilled and professional team showcasing the very best of the British precision and leadership for industry on a global scale, and inspiring next generation interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through an air and space power lens. The announcement of this move will provide much needed stability for their future endeavours.
The Red Arrows are back in the UK after their extremely successful tour of the USA and Canada, displaying to enthusiastic crowds wherever they have been.
Their route to America took them on a 2,658-nautical mile journey across the North Atlantic, flying at 31,000 feet in two loose 6-aircraft formations. They left RAF Scampton on August 5th and, travelling at 0.7 mach, flew via Lossiemouth, Scotland, arriving in Keflavik, Iceland later on the same day after a flight of 1hr 45 mins. On 6th August they flew via Narsarsuaq, Greenland (1 hr 55 min) to Goose Bay (1 hr 50 min) and completed their journey to Halifax on 7th.
The team left with 12 red Hawks, supported by several aircraft including an RAF A400M Atlas from LXX Squadron and Voyager transport aircraft from 10 Squadron and 101 Squadron with personnel and cargo. The Atlas A400M RAF transport aircraft remained their support aircraft during the tour.
The deployment, called ‘Western Hawk 19’ was the first time the Red Arrows had visited America since 2008 and their first major North American tour for 26 years. The tour took the team to more than 25 cities over 11 weeks, with a combination of displays, flypasts and ground events helping to support a range of UK interests across business, trade, defence and education.
|The table is a summary of some major features of the tour.|
|Aug 5||Left Scampton, flew via Lossiemouth to Keflavik, Iceland|
|Aug 6||Left Iceland, flew via Greenland to Goose Bay, Canada|
|Aug 11||Halifax||Flypast over waterfront (see beige box)|
|Aug 13||Ottawa, Canada||Flypast over Parliament Hill during the Changing of the Guard ceremony & National War Memorial|
|Aug 13||Gatineau, Quebec, Canada||Aero Gatineau-Ottawa 2019, display|
|Aug 17-18||Chicago||Air and Water Show, display|
|Aug 19||Boston||Flypast over Harbour from 11 a.m.|
|Aug 21||Atlantic City||Thunder Over The Boardwalk, display|
|Aug 24-25||New York||New York Airshow, Stewart International, display|
|Aug 31-Sep 2||Toronto||Canadian International Airshow, display|
|Sep 7-8||St. Louis||Spirit of St. Louis Airshow & STEM Expo|
|Sep 20-22||Portland||The Oregon International Airshow, display|
|Sep 27-29||San Diego||Miramar Airshow, display|
|Oct 4-6||Los Angeles, Huntington Beach||The Great Pacific Airshow, display|
|This table is based on location information supplied by the Red Arrows and official government news releases. We have added some dates based on published show dates.|
Minister for the Armed Forces, 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.
When the further locations were announced at the Royal International Air Tattoo on 19th July, Mark Lancaster said:
Sending our world-famous RAF Red Arrows demonstrates the UK’s global ambitions and will provide a unique opportunity to strengthen our partnerships with two of our closest allies.”
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 as much in sales and investments as the tour cost.
The Red Arrows displayed at several US air shows and areas with strong UK links. With stops across the continent, the tour comprised a combination of more than 20 aerobatic displays, several flypasts and 98 separate ground engagement activities, from business receptions to sessions aimed at inspiring young people.
Before they left the UK, 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.
In July he added:
Tours by the Red Arrows have always been an important role of the team – aiming to demonstrate RAF expertise, helping to highlight UK excellence across a range of sectors and celebrating close connections with friends and allies.
The Red Arrows left the UK on 14th September 2017 on 'Exercise Eastern Hawk': a tour of the Middle East lasting nearly five weeks, returning on October 14th.
When in Kuwait earlier in the year, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced that the Red Arrows would display in that country as part of a wider regional tour, with a programme that will promote the United Kingdom’s long-standing relations across the Gulf.
"This historic Red Arrows tour will be a visible demonstration of UK engagement across the globe, flying the flag to promote Britain in important capitals through the GREAT campaign. Kuwait is a vital partner. I will be looking to strengthen our military relationship with more frequent joint exercises ..."
One of the most spectacular elements of the tour was on Saturday September 23rd, when the Red Arrows were given the freedom of the airspace over Jordan and below 3,000ft for an hour. During that time they flew the length of Jordan, completing a series of flypasts over the Dead Sea and some of the country’s historic landmarks, including the famous carved temples of Petra, watched by some of the Jordanian royal family as well as tourists. The following day they moved on to Saudi Arabia where they displayed over Jeddah on Monday 25th.
Their last full display was on Sunday 8th October in Bahrain, over Karbabad Beach but there were later flypasts over Saudi Arabia and Athens (and Lincoln City football ground) en route back to their Scampton home, which they reached on 14th October.
|September 14||UK||RAF Scampton - Depart|
|September 14||France||Lyon - overnight|
|September 15||France||Cannes - Flypast|
|September 16 & 17||Greece||Athens - displays|
|September 23||Jordan||Amman - flypasts over various landmarks|
|September 24||Saudi Arabia||Jeddah|
|September 25||Saudi Arabia||Jeddah - display|
|September 26||Kuwait||Transit via Riyadh|
|September 28||Kuwait||Kuwait City - display by Kuwait Towers|
|September 30||Qatar||Doha Corniche - display & flypast with Qatar Airways Airbus A350|
|October 3||Oman||Muscat - display at 15.00, near Intercontinental Hotel, Shatti al Qurum beach|
|October 5||Pakistan||Karachi - display|
|October 8||Bahrain||Bahrain - Karbabad beach, Ritz Carlton - display|
|October 11||Saudi Arabia||Transit from Bahrain|
|October 11||Saudi Arabia||Riyadh - Flyover with Saudi Hawks|
|October 12||Cyprus||Arrived from Riyadh|
|October 13||Athens||Arrived from Akrotiri|
|October 14||UK||Return to Scampton|
|This table is based on information supplied by the Red Arrows on their Twitter Feed|
The team visited 11 nations including Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan and Bahrain.
The information comes from a press release issued by the UK Ministry of Defence (click the blue text to see the full press release) and the Twitter feeds of the Red Arrows, their individual pilots and technicians.
There is also a summary on the Red Arrows web site, published after their final display.
The government says that, at a time when the UK is negotiating a new, deep and special partnership with the European Union, it is continuing to look outwards globally. One of the purposes of the tour was to highlight the partnership with the British Armed Forces in each nation visited, as well as demonstrating that the UK is ‘open for business’, committed to peace and security, and a leading player on the global stage.
The Ministry of Defence said that the Red Arrows tour allowed for further close cooperation with Kuwaiti and regional armed forces and promote opportunities for investment and trade with the UK, encourage government-to-government engagement to develop economic partnership, and showcase the excellence of STEM education with UK universities.
The Red Arrows left the UK on 29th September 2016 to perform displays or flypasts in 12 countries from the Middle East to the Asia-Pacific. They returned after covering 19,772 miles through 18 countries.
The Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, announced back in July that the RAF’s display team will perform their world-famous aerobatics with displays and flypasts for the first time ever in China, and to perform in other countries including India, Malaysia and Singapore.
There is information about the tours on the Red Arrows web site and on Twitter using #RedArrowsTour.
The total trip was 19,772 miles through 18 countries with 41 refuel stops.
The tour followed an invitation for the Royal Air Force aerobatic team to perform at the Zhuhai Airshow as part of the UK’s GREAT campaign. At Zhuhai the Red Arrows performed 9 displays in 6 days.
The Strategic Defence and Security Review made clear the UK’s commitment to the Asia Pacific region and to building relationships to "address global challenges". Following visits to Japan in January and Singapore in May, Mr Fallon confirmed that RAF Typhoon jets will take part in the joint exercise Bersama Lima from Malaysia, which forms part of the UK’s commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA).
|September 29||UK||RAF Scampton - Depart|
|September 30||Jordan||Amman - Flypast|
|October 3||Pakistan||Karachi - Flypast. Arrival delayed by weather until October 4th|
|October 8||India||Hindon: Indian Air Force Day - Display|
|October 11||Bangladesh||Dhaka - Flypast Arrival delayed by weather. Arrived October 13th|
|October 13||Singapore||Flypast not possible due to weather. Flypast rearranged for 18th October.|
|October 14||Malaysia||Kuala Lumpur - Flypast with Typhoon not possible because weather en route delayed arrival. Finally arrived in Malaysia 15th October (Local time). Flypast rearranged for 18th October.|
|October 17||Kuala Lumpur - Display|
|October 18||Singapore||Flypast at 1pm local time (rearranged from October 13).|
|October 18||Malaysia||Kuala Lumpur Flypast at 18.20 local time (rearranged from October 14).|
|October 20||Vietnam||Da Nang - Overnight stop, no display|
|October 23-25||China||Shanghai - Ground events|
|October 28-29||Hong Kong - Ground events|
|November 1-6||Zhuhai airshow - 9 Displays in 6 days.|
|November 11||Thailand||Hua Hin - Displays and flypasts.|
|November 16||India||Hyderabad - Display.|
|November 17||Bangalore - Flypast|
|November 20||Oman||Muscat - Display at 3:00pm, at Shatti Al Qurm near the Intercontinental Hotel.|
|November 23||Bahrain||Seef area - Flypast 11:00.|
|November 24||Seef area - Flypast 11:00.|
|November 24||UAE||Abu Dhabi - Display at 4:00pm: the Corniche.|
|November 28||Kuwait||Display at 15:00 between Kuwait Towers and Souq Shark.|
|December 2||UK||RAF Scampton - Returned|
|This table is based on information supplied by the Red Arrows on theirweb site|
In July, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“Our RAF Red Arrows and Typhoons represent the best of British. The Red Arrows will fly the flag for Britain in key export markets while our RAF Typhoons will exercise with our allies.”
The general details in this article are taken from two government press releases and the Red Arrows web site. The Press release on the Red Arrows tour is here and the Government's release on the Typhoon tour is here.
The updates to the timetable are taken from the Twitter accounts of various Red Arrows pilots and engineers and from the British Embassies and Consulates in the respective countries.
The Five Power Defence Arrangements are a series of defence relationships established by multi-lateral agreements between the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore signed in 1971, whereby the five powers are to consult each other ’immediately” in the event or threat of an armed attack on Malaysia or Singapore for the purpose of deciding what measures should be taken jointly or separately in response.
The Five Powers Defence Arrangements do not refer to exclusive economic zones and the enforcement of a state’s EEZ rights is a matter for that state; a state may request the assistance of other states in so doing.
The Typhoon was able to flypast in Kuala Lumpur on 14th October, even though the Red Arrows were weather-bound and could not get there. Typhoons then landed in Japan for joint exercises.
Exercise Bersama Lima is a Five Power Defence Arrangements exercise held in the South China Sea, Malaysia and Singapore. The aim of the exercise: to enhance interoperability and strengthen the professional relationships of FPDA nations by conducting maritime, land and air operations in a simulated multi-threat environment.