FN Rafale & Super Etendard - Paul Johnson

FN Rafale & Super Etendard – Paul Johnson

World-leading combat aircraft from four nations will showcase the sharp end of NATO air power at RNAS Yeovilton Air Day on 11 July. Both the flying and static displays will feature frontline assets which, combined with other attending types, will make this year’s Air Day a thoroughly international affair.

One of Air Day’s most significant international contributions comes from the French Navy, showcasing their carrier based fast jet aircraft. Never before seen in this country, its four-ship role demo, comprising pairs of Super Etendard strike fighters and Rafale M multirole fighters, will be an intense and thrilling spectacle for the show’s anticipated 35,000-plus visitors. Due for retirement in 2016, the Super Etendard will likely have its last UK showing. Its replacement, the supremely agile Rafale, was among the three key European jet fighter projects developed during the 1980s and 1990s. An example of another, the RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 multirole fighter, will spear through the sky in its special colour scheme applied to mark the Battle of Britain’s 75th anniversary.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole fighter is of a previous generation but, through various upgrades, remains at the leading edge of modern-day air power. The Royal Norwegian Air Force was among the F-16’s original European operators and two of the air arm’s F-16s will make a rare UK appearance in Air Day’s static display.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II close air-support aircraft is of the same era but remains a similarly potent part of NATO’s inventory. The United States Air Force, which now rarely participates in overseas airshows, is sending two A-10s for the static display, along with a supporting C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft.

A full list of participants, further information and discounted advance tickets are available from www.royalnavy.mod.uk/yeovilton-airday