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Category Archives: Royal Navy

AIRSHOW NEWS: From Fabric to Fly by Wire – The Evolution of Naval Air Power represented at Air Day


From fabric and wires to fly-by-wire, almost 100 years of Carrier Aviation will be represented at RNAS Yeovilton Air Day on Saturday 26 July. With the Royal Navy’s next generation aircraft carrier being named on 4 July and edging closer into service, types as diverse as the WW1-era Sopwith Triplane, the cutting-edge Dassault Rafale and the Wildcat HM2 will highlight naval airpower, past, present and future, at the show.

100 years on from WW1′s start, in company with the Great War Display Team’s other replicas, the Sopwith Triplane will take Air Day’s visitors back to where Carrier Aviation really began. Come WW2′s advent, sleek and speedy monoplane fighters had largely replaced the biplane generation but, with its heroic attacks on the German battleship Bismarck and the Italian fleet at Taranto Harbour, the Fairey Swordfish proved an exception. Part of the locally-based Royal Navy Historic Flight’s fleet, the Swordfish will participate in the show, joined by the Flight’s Hawker Sea Fury and a Supermarine Seafire – just one of the D-Day anniversary themed aircraft involved this year.

Image © Paul Johnson

Post WW2 jet fighter technology thrust the Royal Navy into a new era of capability, power and purpose. The world’s only airworthy de Havilland Sea Vixen fleet air defence fighter; the biggest and heaviest British designed aircraft to have operated from aircraft carriers will be a flying display highlight. Static examples of the mighty Phantom and the game changing Sea Harrier bring the Royal Navy’s fixed-wing Carrier Aviation story to its last updated point.

Image © Paul Johnson

The F/A-18C Hornet, extensively used by the US Navy for carrier operations but presented by the Swiss Air Force at Air Day, will put on a powerful display of speed and agility. The French Navy’s very welcome involvement brings two state of the art Rafale M multirole combat aircraft for static display in their only UK airshow appearance in 2014 so far confirmed. As ever, based assets will participate en masse with the Lynx Maritime Demo and the traditional show-closing Commando Assault showcasing present day Royal Navy operational tactics. Finally, the Royal Navy Black Cats’ newly-revised display sequence, with its Wildcat HM2 element, will offer a taste of Carrier Aviation yet to come.

Image © Paul Johnson

Tickets for Air Day can be booked online at at the discounted advance rates (until 21 July) or by calling 08445 781 781.

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AIRSHOW NEWS: French Navy Join Air Day Celebrations

Image © Paul Johnson

Rafale multirole fighters from the French Navy will represent the sharp end of ‘Carrier Aviation’ at RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day on 26 July. Two Rafale Ms will be part of the event’s static display, joined by a Falcon 10 transport and communications aircraft in the French Navy’s only UK airshow appearance of this year so far confirmed.

Following the naming ceremony for the Royal Navy’s first Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, which takes place on 4 July, Air Day 2014 has taken ‘Carrier Aviation’ as this year’s theme. Celebrating the triumphs of airborne assets deployed at sea since aviation’s earliest days, Air Day will host a large gathering of carrier-launched aircraft types. They include the Dassault Rafale M which has been in French Navy service since 2000. Equipped with a hardened airframe and toughened undercarriage, it is fast, extremely agile and able to simultaneously carry out air supremacy, interdiction and reconnaissance missions. The Rafale M is a definitive modern-day naval multirole combat aircraft.

Image © Paul Johnson Image © Paul Johnson

The Dassault Falcon 10MER is based on the 1970s-era Falcon 10 business jet. Operational taskings for this aircraft, seven of which joined the French Navy between 1973 and 1983, include training, electronic countermeasures, communications and transport.

Other foreign air arms’ involvement in Air Day 2014 includes Belgium’s, Denmark’s and Jordan’s national display teams, the Belgian Air Component F-16 Solo Display and the Swiss Air Force F/A-18C Hornet Solo Display.

Tickets for Air Day can be booked online at at the discounted advance rates (until 21 July) or by calling 08445 781 781.


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AIRSHOW NEWS: Sea Vixen boosts Air Day Carrier celebrations

Image © Paul Johnson

The world’s only flying de Havilland Sea Vixen post-war naval strike fighter will be a special part of RNAS Yeovilton Air Day 2014′s ‘Carrier Aviation’ theme. Its appearance in this year’s flying display will be one of the most eagerly anticipated performances in recent years.

Closely following HMS Queen Elizabeth’s 4 July naming ceremony, Air Day 2014 celebrates the role played by airborne assets deployed at sea since aviation’s inception. The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers will redefine this capability when, from 2017 onwards, they start to enter service but, more than 50 years ago, it was the mighty Sea Vixen which spearheaded the Royal Navy’s sea-deployed airpower.

An all-weather fleet air defence fighter, the twin-engine, twin-boomed de Havilland Sea Vixen entered Royal Navy service in 1959. It was the biggest and heaviest British designed type to operate from aircraft carriers but, now, the uniquely airworthy Sea Vixen FAW2 XP924 is the largest and weightiest classic jet fighter flying anywhere in Europe.

Image © Paul Johnson

Restored to flight in the late-1990s, with its futuristic lines and thunderous displays, the aircraft has been thrilling Air Day’s audiences for many years, recalling the times when Sea Vixens were based at RNAS Yeovilton. XP924 currently wears the colours of 899 Naval Air Squadron, replicating its exact look when it was based here during its former Fleet Air Arm service days.

Tickets for Air Day can be booked online at at the discounted advance rates or by calling 08445 781 781.


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AIRSHOW NEWS: D-Day Tribute at Air Day

Aircraft linked to the D-Day 70 commemoration, both old and new, will take part in this year’s RNAS Yeovilton Air Day flying and static displays on Saturday 26 July. While 6 June is the actual anniversary date, Air Day’s timely inclusions will help extend the tributes well into the summer as the nation reflects back on the Normandy landings of 70 years ago.

The twin-engine Douglas C-47 Skytrain/Dakota transport aircraft was deeply involved in D-Day, towing assault gliders and dropping paratroopers into the theatre of action. It is perhaps the aircraft type most associated with D-Day and an example will take part in the flying display courtesy of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The Dakota III will be making its first appearance at the show wearing No 233 Squadron RAF colours, complete with the famous black and white D-Day stripes adopted by Allied aircraft to distinguish them from those used by enemy forces.

The Skytrain was hugely successful in its transport role; a distinction applicable in the modern age to the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules. An RAF Hercules will be on the ground at Air Day providing an impressive sight in the static display amongst Royal Navy types past and present, international visitors and other stars. Another RAF contribution is a flypast by a Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 from No 29(R) Squadron, based at RAF Coningsby. This aircraft is expected to be a specially-marked example, complete with D-Day stripes. The scheme mirrors that worn by a WW2-era Hawker Typhoon in June 1944.

Tickets for Air Day can be booked online at at the discounted advance rates or by calling 08445 781 781.

Additional Information

AIRSHOW NEWS: Midair’s Classic Jets to fly at Air Day

Midair Canberra PR9

The world’s only airworthy Canberra PR9 (XH134) has been added to RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day’s 2014 line-up. Only recently-reflown, this sole survivor is operated by the Midair Squadron, whose Hunter T7 XL577 will also be at the show.

Performing their powerful display, under the skilled piloting of Flt Lt Mike Leckey and Sqn Ldr (R) Dave Piper, the Midair Squadron have quickly become an internationally-recognised act and an emerging favourite on the airshow scene. Delighted with the announcement, Midair Squadron Operations Director and pilot, Dave Piper commented: “This booking solidifies the Midair Squadron’s prominence within the UK’s display circuit. The combination of a Hunter and Canberra PR9 is a totally unique display visual, and the dynamic pair will captivate the hearts and minds of audiences young and old.”

Both the Canberra and Hunter have historic links to RNAS Yeovilton. Operated by FRADU (the Fleet Requirements and Air Direction Unit), examples of each were based there from the early-1970s to the early-1990s. The Midair Squadron’s involvement in Air Day 2014 will thus bring back a sight not seen in Somerset’s skies for very many years.

Midair Hunter T7

The Canberra and Hunter will take part in Air Day’s five-plus hour Flying Display, alongside a wide range of types linked to the show’s ‘Carrier Aviation’ theme, modern-day combat aircraft, aerobatic teams and other very popular classic jets including Avro Vulcan B2 XH558.

Tickets for Air Day can be booked online at at the discounted advance rates or by calling 08445 781 781.

AIRSHOW NEWS: Sea Harrier to join ground displays at Cosford

This year’s ground displays at the RAF Cosford Air Show will be joined for the first time by a Royal Navy Sea Harrier.

The Sea Harrier FA2 arrived by road earlier this week after being transported across the country and was delivered safely to RAF Cosford engineers who are now working hard to piece it back together in time for the Air Show. On loan from RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, this Sea Harrier ZH796 was built in 1996 and has flown approximately 1300 flying hours. It was retired from service in 2006 and was the last of its type to fly from HMS Illustrious before it was decommissioned. It is now housed at the School of Flight Deck Operations at RNAS Culdrose where it is used in support of naval groundcrew training.

This aircraft joins three other Harriers on display at this year’s Air Show, a GR3 and two GR9’s each with a unique configuration. The exhibit is part of a special display to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Kestrel, the prototype for the Harrier. The original Kestrel is part of the RAF Museum collection and will also be part of this special line-up.

Amanda Butcher, spokesman for the Cosford Air Show, said:
“The addition of this Sea Harrier will enable us to represent the history of Harrier aircraft of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy across the years. This will be a unique opportunity to witness the evolution of the Harrier family from the Kestrel right through to the Harrier GR9.”

AIRSHOW NEWS: More Military Displays for RAF Cosford Air Show

Today the organisers of the RAF Cosford Air Show revealed a number of exciting additions to aircraft appearing at this year’s event.

Following on from last year’s popular Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) demonstration, which saw Prince Harry in his first air show appearance, the RAF Chinook and Army Apache will again be at Cosford as part of the planned six-hour flying display. As well as performing their individual displays, they will showcase the combat capabilities of the two helicopters in an exciting joint demonstration with the RAF Regiment. Other helicopters taking part in the flying display include the Royal Navy Lynx, making a welcome return with its ‘Black Cat’ solo routine.

The Navy are also represented by the Royal Navy Historic Flight displaying the Swordfish & Sea Fury, joining a number of historic aircraft already confirmed for this year’s event including the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Great War Team.

On the ground, a number of military aircraft join the resident Jaguar fleet, with an Army Air Corps Defender and RAF King Air being the latest additions to the static displays.

Air Show spokesman Amanda Butcher said “Although we now know details of most of the UK Military aircraft we are expecting to announce more aircraft displays soon so visitors should check our website, Facebook Page and Twitter regularly.”

Details of where to buy tickets can be found on the RAF Cosford Air Show website, with advanced tickets held at last year’s price of £20 and children under-16 and parking free.

AIRSHOW NEWS: U.S. set to approve international debut of F-35 fighter

From Reuters News Agency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Defense Department is poised to approve the first trans-Atlantic flight of Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 fighter jet in July, when the new warplane is expected to take part in two international air shows near London, according to multiple sources familiar with the issue.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is “very close” to a decision that would allow two or three F-35s to fly at the Royal International Air Tattoo, or RIAT, an annual military air show outside London, and the larger Farnborough air show, held every two years, said the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Britain, which contributed $2 billion (1.2 billion pounds) to the development of the new radar-evading fighter jet and plans to buy 138 F-35s in coming years, asked for the jet’s participation to help showcase the increasing maturity of the new radar-evading plane. Britain was also the first international partner on the program.

Details of the F-35′s international debut are being worked out, including how much it will cost to fly the planes to London and who will pay for it, but no issues have emerged to prevent the appearances, the sources said.

The costs will likely be shared by Britain, the Pentagon’s F-35 program office, the U.S. Marine Corps and industry.

Lockheed and Britain’s Ministry of Defense declined comment. Officials at the F-35 program office had no immediate comment.

“Having the aircraft front and centre on the UK stage will focus attention on the fact that it’s a fairly mature program at this point, with over 100 jets built,” said one of the sources.

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond is due to meet with Hagel during a visit to the United States this week, but they are not planning an announcement about the F-35′s UK debut, said one of the sources.

Current plans call for at least one of the participating F-35s to be one of the three F-35 B-model jets already built for Britain, with a UK pilot at the controls.

Participating in the international air shows will allow the Pentagon’s F-35 program to carry out additional training and learn how the plane’s logistics, maintenance, aerial refuelling, and security systems work overseas, the sources said.

“This will be an opportunity to learn real-world lessons and allow additional time to resolve any problems before the first airplanes are delivered overseas,” said one of the sources.

Lockheed and Britain’s Ministry of Defence declined comment. Officials at the F-35 program office had no immediate comment.

Lockheed is the main contractor on the $392 billion F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program. Northrop Grumman Corp and Britain’s BAE Systems are the biggest suppliers.

Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, builds the single engine that powers the plane. Britain’s Rolls Royce Group builds the lift fan that enables the B-model of the F-35 to land like a helicopter.

Boeing Co’s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet is also due to fly at the RIAT air show.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Ros Krasny, Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)

AIRSHOW NEWS: Swiss Air Force Hornet to star at Air Day

RNAS Yeovilton Air Day 2014′s first confirmed international participant is the Swiss Air Force’s F/A-18C Hornet Solo Display. Among Europe’s premier fast jet performances, the display combines speed, raw power, sharp precision, staggering agility and the use of flares to stunning effect.

Commodore Jock Alexander OBE, Commanding Officer, RNAS Yeovilton said “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome the Hornet Solo Display this year, given our theme of Carrier Aviation and the Swiss Air Force’s 100th anniversary celebrations. The Swiss Air Force last took part at Air Day 2007, when its Patrouille Suisse team performed to great acclaim and I am sure the Hornet display will do the same. We hope to announce further international participation details in the coming months.

While the multirole-capable F/A-18 Hornet is essentially a naval aircraft used by the US Navy and US Marine Corps, some 30 examples equipping three squadrons of the Swiss Air Force are used for land based operations. First flown in 1978, the widely-sold Hornet has an incredible top speed of 1,190 mph and is sure to be one of the stars of the show.

Tickets for Air Day can be ordered from at the discounted Earlybird rate with no booking fee until 31 January.

AIRSHOW NEWS: RNAS Yeovilton International Air Day Date confirmed

The date for the annual Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton International Air Day has been confirmed as Saturday 26th July and planning is well under way for the popular event. The award-winning Air Day is one of the south west’s largest one day events attracting around 35,000 visitors.

Air Day 2014 will follow the naming ceremony of HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, the first of the UK’s 21st Century Aircraft Carriers. The carrier, a floating sovereign airfield, will enable the UK to project air power around the globe supporting tasks from humanitarian and disaster relief through to combat operations. The Royal Navy has been at the core of ‘Carrier Aviation’ since inception and at Air Day 2014 aircraft, past and present, which operate from the sea will be on display.

Over five hours of flying displays will include UK/Foreign military and civilian display teams as well as the resident squadrons performing spectacular role demonstrations. The ground displays will showcase modern Royal Navy assets and equipment that support embarked aviation Protecting our Nations Interests.

The Air Station is one of the UK’s busiest military airfields and is notably home to the Lynx Wildcat Maritime Force, Commando Helicopter Force, Aviation Reconnaissance Force and the Royal Navy Historic Flight with its rare collection of naval aircraft.

Discounted ‘Earlybird’ Tickets are now available, with no booking fees, from for a limited period. These are priced lower than the usual advance tickets which will go on general sale in the New Year.



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