Air International 2018-08
??? - UK Air Power /Military/ (1)
Tired and a little under specification for the modern battlespace, the RAF's remaining six Sentry AEW1s are currently expected to soldier on until 2035. Former defence procurement minister, Guto Bebb said in March 2018 that no decision has been made with regard to the future delivery of the UK's airborne warning and control capabilities, although a range of options are being explored.
In 2016, Tornado GR4 ZG771 was painted with a commemorative colour scheme to mark the 100th anniversary of RAF Marham, Norfolk. Under current plans, the final Tornado GR4s w be retired at RAF Marham in 2019.
The RAF Tornado GR4 Force remains deployed on combat operations in support of Operation Shader. This year is the 28th consecutive year that the Tornado GR Force has been continuously deployed on ops.
In years gone by all RAF Typhoons had squadron markings applied like this aircraft from XI Squadron based at RAF Coningsby. Today the majority of the RAF Typhoon fleet is void of any squadron insignia. This is reportedly due to the type's combat involvement in Operation Shader and the need for greater discretion faced with the ISIS threat. However, the adoption of the aircraft's serial number as a numerical tail code is perhaps more geared toward helping maintenance crews identify each jet. On one occasion a costly maintenance procedure was performed on the wrong jet.
Clean configuration but for two under wing drop tanks, a Typhoon FGR4 snakes through the Mach loop in north Wales during a training mission from RAF Coningsby.
Built by Short Brothers in Belfast, Northern Ireland between 1986 and 1993, the Tucano T1 is now in its twilight years of service with the Royal Air Force. When its replacement, the Texan T1 is fully operational the surviving Tucano T1s based at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire will be retired.
RAAF E-7A Wedgetail and F/A-18F Super Hornet fly aft of a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport as they transit to the battlespace as part of Operation Okra, the Australian Defence Force's mission in the Middle East. RAF Voyager tankers don't have a boom refuelling capability.
The Boeing E-7 Wedgetail is perhaps the most likely option being explored by the UK MoD as a replacement for the RAF's Sentry AEW1 airborne warning and control aircraft.
Now here’s a new RAF aircraft that we've not seen much of yet; the Texan T1. Four aircraft have been delivered to RAF Valley, Anglesey where they are currently being used for the training of maintenance personnel. Flight operations are due to commence in the early part of 2019 when RAF instructors will commence the evaluation of the Texan T1 flying training course. All ten Texan Tls are due to be delivered to RAF Valley before then.
Phenom T1 ZM334 of No.45 Squadron on approach at RAF Cranwell. Under the UK Military Flight Training System, Affinity Flying Training Services provides five of the type for multi-engine flying training.
A nice little mover, the brand-new Phenom T1 is operated by Affinity Flying Training Services to provide multi-engine flying training from RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire as part of the UK Military Flying Training System.
The RAF's first RC-135 Rivet Joint seen arriving on its delivery to RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire on October 23, 2013. Operated by 51 Squadron, all three aircraft are now in operation at Waddington.
Hawk T2 ZK019 in the markings of IV Squadron seen passing through the Mach loop in north Wales during a training mission from RAF Valley, Anglesey. The Hawk T2 is used for advanced fast jet training.
Next year, the RAF is expected to receive the first of nine Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, which will enter RAF service with 120 Squadron based at RAF Lossiemouth, Moray.
One of the RAF's five Sentinel R1 aircraft is understood to have been withdrawn from service; the future of the other four aircraft seems set to come to an end in 2021 when the type will be withdrawn from service.
Typhoon T3 ZJ800/BC of 29 Squadron seen landing at RAF Coningsby on January 19, 2018; its final flight before being scrapped.
Affinity Flying Training Services began using its 23 newly-acquired Grob Prefect T1s for elementary flying training at RAF Barkston Heath and RAF Cranwell on April 1, 2018, also as part of the UK Military Flying Training System.
Army Air Corps Islander AL1 ZG845 is one of three set to be transferred to the Royal Air Force in 2018.
Shadow R1 ZZ416 is one of five mission system aircraft operated by 14 Squadron at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire. The exact systems aboard Shadow is classified but is known to include an L-3 Wescam MX-15 electro-optical/infrared sensor and intelligence-gathering sensor systems almost certainly housed in the forward under fuselage canoe.
Based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, Cornwall, 750 Naval Air Squadron operates four Avenger T1s for training navigators and observers destined for service in the Fleet Air Arn and the Royal Air Force.