Red Arrows

VJDay Flypast, Move to Waddington, Training 2020 and international Tours

National Flypast for VJ Day

15th August 2020
VJ75 logo

VJ Day is on 15th August

In the first such flight since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, The Red Arrows will conduct a UK-wide flypast tribute over Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and London. Its path will include The Royal Hospital Chelsea, home to three Burma Star recipients.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will conduct a flypast whilst Armed Forces musicians lead the nation in a Service of Remembrance hosted by The Royal British Legion at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

These flights are part of VJDay, when Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Duke of Cambridge will lead commemorations marking 75 years since the end of the Second World War on 15 August 1945.

The Prince of Wales, accompanied by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, will lead the UK in a national moment of remembrance and thanksgiving for all those who served in the Far East. His Royal Highness will lead a two minute silence at 11am at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire as part of a special televised service. A number of veterans, including 93 year-old Albert Wills who served in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Indefatigable, will be present at the service to pay their respects to their fallen comrades and will represent the surviving veterans of the war in the Far East still alive in the UK today. Music at the service will be provided by the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will take part in a flypast following the two minute silence.

His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge will feature in ‘VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute,’ a special programme filmed at Horse Guards Parade that will be broadcast on BBC One. Alongside veteran testimony, The Duke will honour and give thanks to all those who sacrificed so much during the Second World War.

His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, who was present on board HMS Whelp in Tokyo Bay for the signing of the Japanese surrender, will feature on large screens in locations across the country in a poignant photo montage showcasing living Second World War veterans.

A piper will play “Battle’s Over” at the Imperial War Museums’ HMS Belfast in London at sunrise as part of a tribute entitled ‘Waking Up to Peace’, that will also include pipers playing at dawn in India, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal.

Some of the Plans for the Day

At 11am a National Two Minute Silence led by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will take place at the National Memorial Arboretum.

His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh will appear in a photo montage series alongside other Second World War veterans. Each veteran will be pictured with an image of themselves from their time in service in a touching tribute broadcast on large screens across the country marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the war.

Armed Forces musicians will lead the nation in a Service of Remembrance hosted by The Royal British Legion at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The ceremony will involve a flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The Red Arrows will conduct flypasts over Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff and will conclude their tour of the UK over London.

VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute will be broadcast on BBC One. Filmed at Horse Guards Parade, alongside veteran testimony His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge will give an address which pays tribute to the veterans and the wartime generation, as the Nation honours, thanks and remembers all those who sacrificed so much during the Second World War. The pre-recorded programme, developed with the Ministry of Defence and involving 300 members of Armed Forces personnel, will highlight the scope and diversity of the British military in 1945. It will include a host of famous faces reading tributes, military bands and dramatic visual projection.

The Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum, including the two-minute silence, will be broadcast on BBC One between 0930 – 1130. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and social distancing, this event is not open to the public and people are asked not to visit the National Memorial Arboretum. VJ Day 75: The Nation’s Tribute will be broadcast on BBC One between 2030 - 2200.

Sources

This page is based on information provided in a press release published on 5th August 2020 on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the Ministry of Defence, The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP and The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP.

Whilst VE Day marked the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, many thousands of Armed Forces personnel were still engaged in bitter fighting in the Far East. Victory over Japan would come at a heavy price, and Victory over Japan Day marks the day that Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945, which ended the Second World War.

During the Second World War, fighting in the Asia-Pacific took place from Hawaii to North East India. Britain and the Commonwealth’s principle fighting force, the Fourteenth Army, was one of the most diverse in history – more than 40 languages were spoken, and all the world’s major religions represented.

The Government’s events will pay tribute to the tens of thousands of service personnel from across the UK and the Commonwealth who fought and died in the war against Japan, including all those who were held as prisoners of war by the Japanese.

Red Arrows at Dunsfold 2019

The Red Arrows at Dunsfold in 2019

Red Arrows: relocation to RAF Waddington

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.

Sources

The information comes from, and is credited to, The Ministry of Defence and 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.

Red Arrows at Dunsfold 2019

The Red Arrows at Dunsfold in 2019

Training for the 2020 season

A message from the RAF

Training update for the Red Arrows

Given the current restrictions in the UK and many European partner nations to contain the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, the decision has been taken not to send the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, overseas for work-up training this year.

While this is usually done to guarantee better weather, continuity of highly-skilled flying practice and to accelerate the team's preparedness for a busy season, 2020 will clearly not be a normal campaign.

All displays suspended

On 25th March 2020 the RAF announced that all RAF teams would suspend all displays until further notice.

It is the intention of the RAF that the Red Arrows will maintain their capabilities, when the current situation enables the team to do so.

There is also a requirement for skill and knowledge retention for the medium to long-term within the team, so that the Red Arrows can continue to be deployed as a valuable National asset and symbol of UK excellence at the appropriate time.

Updates will be given as the details of the Red Arrows' commitment to displays this season becomes clearer.

The Red Arrows with the Thunderbirds

The Red Arrows toured the USA and Canada in 2019

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.

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:

Itinerary
The table is a summary of some major features of the tour. The schedule published by the Red Arrows is more detailed. Click this text to see it.
DateLocationEvent
Aug 5Left Scampton, flew via Lossiemouth to Keflavik, Iceland
Aug 6Left Iceland, flew via Greenland to Goose Bay, Canada
Aug 11HalifaxFlypast over waterfront (see beige box)
Aug 13Ottawa, CanadaFlypast over Parliament Hill during the Changing of the Guard ceremony & National War Memorial
Aug 13Gatineau, Quebec, CanadaAero Gatineau-Ottawa 2019, display
Aug 17-18ChicagoAir and Water Show, display
Aug 19BostonFlypast over Harbour from 11 a.m.
Aug 21Atlantic CityThunder Over The Boardwalk, display
Aug 24-25New YorkNew York Airshow, Stewart International, display
Aug 31-Sep 2TorontoCanadian International Airshow, display
Sep 7-8St. LouisSpirit of St. Louis Airshow & STEM Expo
Sep 20-22PortlandThe Oregon International Airshow, display
Sep 26VictoriaFlypast
Sep 26VancouverFlypast
Sep 27-29San DiegoMiramar Airshow, display
Oct 4-6Los Angeles, Huntington BeachThe 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.
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.

Why green suits, not red?

When flying from the UK to Canada, the Red Arrows wore green suits. These are 'immersion suits' designed for survival in water ... just as a precaution.

Halifax Flypast Aug 11th

The formation comprised the Red Arrows with an RAF A400M Atlas and five RCAF aircraft: a CC-130 Hercules, CH-146 Griffon, CH-148 Cyclone, CH-149 Cormorant and CP-140 Aurora.

Why 12 Hawks?

As well as the nine members of the Red Arrows, Hawks are also flown by:
Red 10, the supervisor and commentator: Sq Ldr Adam Collins
The Commanding Officer: Wg Cdr Andrew Keith
Flt Lt Dave Simmonds, who was appointed a 2019 team member but injured his knee before the season began.

Sources

Outline of tour from a Government press release dated 23.01.19

First venues from a Government news release dated 08.02.19

Further locations from a Government news release dated 19.07.19

Tour locations and dates from RAF News Release

Update on departure from news release on 5th August

Other snippets from various Twitter accounts. Use #RedArrowsTour

The first of the venues for Red Arrows displays were released on 8th February. They are listed in the table. The map at the bottom of this page, taken from a government news release and available through social media, includes the locations announced on 19th July

The first joint flypast was a spectacular one, when the American Air Force Thunderbirds, American F-35s and the American Navy Blue Angels flew with the Red Arrows over the Hudson River on Thursday, August 22.

Red Arrows North America Tour

Tour of North America. The illustration is from the Government News Release dated 19.07.19

Red Arrows

The Red Arrows are touring the Middle East

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.

He said:

"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.

Itinerary
DateCountryDetail
September 14 UK RAF Scampton - Depart
September 14 France Lyon - overnight
September 15 France Cannes - Flypast (complete)
September 16 & 17 Greece Athens - displays (complete)
September 21 Jordan Amman - arrived
September 23 Jordan Amman - flypasts over various landmarks (complete)
September 24 Saudi Arabia Jeddah - arrived
September 25 Saudi Arabia Jeddah - display (complete)
September 26 Kuwait Transit via Riyadh
September 28 Kuwait Kuwait City - display by Kuwait Towers (complete)
September 30 Qatar Doha Corniche - display & flypast with Qatar Airways Airbus A350
(all complete)
October 3 Oman Muscat - display at 15.00, near Intercontinental Hotel, Shatti al Qurum beach (complete)
October 5Pakistan Karachi - display (complete)
October 7Bahrain Arrived
October 8Bahrain Bahrain - Karbabad beach, Ritz Carlton - display (complete)
October 11 Saudi Arabia Transit from Bahrain
October 11 Saudi Arabia Riyadh - Flyover with Saudi Hawks (complete)
October 12 CyprusArrived from Riyadh
October 13 AthensArrived from Akrotiri
October 14 UKReturn to Scampton
This table is based on information supplied by the Red Arrows on their Twitter Feed

On Twitter

To follow what was said about the tour on Twitter, use #RedArrowsTour

Displays

The team visited 11 nations including Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan and Bahrain.

Sources

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.

Red Arrows Middle East Tour

Tour of the Middle East. Illustration is from the Twitter feed of the Red Arrows

Red Arrows

The Red Arrows toured Asia in 2016

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.

Airmiles

The total trip was 19,772 miles through 18 countries with 41 refuel stops.

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 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).

DateCountryActivity
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 completed
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 completed
October 18Singapore Flypast at 1pm local time (rearranged from October 13). Completed
October 18Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Flypast at 18.20 local time (rearranged from October 14). Completed
October 20 Vietnam Da Nang - Overnight stop, no display
October 23-25 China Shanghai - Ground events completed
October 28-29 Hong Kong - Ground events completed
November 1-6 Zhuhai airshow - 9 Displays in 6 days. Completed
November 11 Thailand Hua Hin - Displays and flypasts. Complete.
November 16 India Hyderabad - Display. Complete
November 17 Bangalore - Flypast complete
November 20 Oman Muscat - Display at 3:00pm, at Shatti Al Qurm near the Intercontinental Hotel. Complete
November 23 Bahrain Seef area - Flypast 11:00. Complete
November 24   Seef area - Flypast 11:00. Complete
November 24 UAE Abu Dhabi - Display at 4:00pm: the Corniche. Complete
November 28 Kuwait Display at 15:00 between Kuwait Towers and Souq Shark. Complete
December 2 UK RAF Scampton - Returned
This table is based on information supplied by the Red Arrows on their web 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.”

Sources

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 Red Arrows tour date list and map are 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.

Typhoon

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.

 

The Red Arrows tour

Map of the tour. First published on the Red Arrows web site.