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 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:
|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.|
|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.|
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.
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.
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.
"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.
||RAF Scampton - Depart
||Lyon - overnight
||Cannes - Flypast (complete)
|September 16 & 17
||Athens - displays (complete)
||Amman - arrived
||Amman - flypasts over various landmarks (complete)
||Jeddah - arrived
||Jeddah - display (complete)
||Transit via Riyadh
||Kuwait City - display by Kuwait Towers (complete)
||Doha Corniche - display & flypast with Qatar Airways Airbus A350
||Muscat - display at 15.00, near Intercontinental Hotel, Shatti al Qurum beach (complete)
||Karachi - display (complete)|
||Bahrain - Karbabad beach, Ritz Carlton - display (complete)|
||Transit from Bahrain
||Riyadh - Flyover with Saudi Hawks (complete)
| October 12
||Cyprus||Arrived from Riyadh
| October 13
||Athens||Arrived from Akrotiri
||UK||Return to Scampton
|This table is based on information supplied by the Red Arrows on their Twitter Feed|
To follow what was said about the tour on Twitter, use #RedArrowsTour
The team visited 11 nations including Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan and Bahrain.
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 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.
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).
||RAF Scampton - Depart
||Amman - Flypast
||Karachi - Flypast. Arrival delayed by weather until October 4th
||Hindon: Indian Air Force Day - Display completed
||Dhaka - Flypast Arrival delayed by weather. Arrived October 13th
||Flypast not possible due to weather. Flypast rearranged for 18th October.
||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.
||Kuala Lumpur - Display completed
||Flypast at 1pm local time (rearranged from October 13). Completed|
||Kuala Lumpur Flypast at 18.20 local time (rearranged from October 14). Completed|
||Da Nang - Overnight stop, no display
||Shanghai - Ground events
||Hong Kong - Ground events
||Zhuhai airshow - 9 Displays in 6 days. Completed
||Hua Hin - Displays and flypasts. Complete.
||Hyderabad - Display. Complete
||Bangalore - Flypast complete
||Muscat - Display at 3:00pm, at Shatti Al Qurm near the Intercontinental Hotel. Complete
||Seef area - Flypast 11:00. Complete
||Seef area - Flypast 11:00. Complete
||Abu Dhabi - Display at 4:00pm: the Corniche. Complete
||Display at 15:00 between Kuwait Towers and Souq Shark. Complete
||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.”
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.
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.
Map of the tour. First published on the Red Arrows web site.