Wow, just imagine the sound of 9 Typhoons in formation! That would be awesome in the true sense of the word.
The Red Arrows aerobatic team will get new aircraft when their ageing Hawk T1s finally give up the ghost, the British Ministry of Defence said Tuesday. What should replace the Hawks, though? The venerable jet has been the mainstay of the Reds' fleet since 1979, wowing crowds at air shows around the world with their nail-biting …
Just one Typhoon is loud enough thank you!
Pity we flogged all the Harriers off to the US Marines for spares, now that would enable some truly unique formation flying...
Spitfires? Whilst they would sound amazing, they're a bit too rare, old and delicate to start giving that kind of loading on the airframe regularly! They won't even let the BBMF fly formation in low cloud in these days, let alone pull any stunts!
I wanted to vote for BAE's Taranis stealth unmanned jet.
Then we could see some real acrobatics pulling major G's forces.
All these guys are ex Red Arrows if you want to experience the effects of the display move's yourself, they provide sick bags as well.
"It's the nearest thing to the Hawk in performance terms...." Er, no. The French stuffed the European project for a common trainer because the British requirements (which led to the Hawk) promised an aircraft too close in capability and far cheaper than existing French attack jets. So the Alpha is an anemic, nine-stone weakling compared to the Hawk, which is why the Hawk had massively outsold the Alpha worldwide.
I think the Hawk T2 is the most likely choice given the Tucano is out of production and the next gen trainer under the UKMFTS has yet to be chosen. Of course, an interesting option would be a display team of BAe Systems Taranis drones.....
Alpha Jet - It's the nearest thing to the Hawk in performance terms
From the options on the survey maybe. It's also an entirely new aircraft to the Air Force.
Boringly, but realistically though it'll be the Hawk 128 (or Hawk T2 as the RAF call it). Arrows pilots will have trained on it, be familiar with it, the RAF already has them (along with logistics/service/parts). It's even more Hawk-like than the Alpha Jet (being a Hawk and all...).
The A10 is not something you want to do aerobatics in.
Out of the list only the Alpha Jet is remotely capable of them.
On the Eurofighter aerobatic capability - it sucks bricks sidewize through a thin straw even compared to the Hawk. This is the primary reason to the spectacular defeat of the RAF against the visiting Indian team flying Su-35s. The rules of engagement were within line of sight and within line of sight the Eurofighter is a sitting duck due to abysmal maneuverability so the visitors had a fun turkey shoot.
In fact, out of the "real" fighters the choice is only between SuperHornet and Su-35. Everything else has been crippled by the Stealth Madness or is crap, sorry Eurofighter.
"The A10 is not something you want to do aerobatics in....." Rubbish! At low levels (which is where air show displays are flown) the A-10 is extremely agile and has won in practice dogfights against jets like the F-16. But there is no chance of the U.K. shelling out for a foreign design, especially not an expensive one like the A-10 which would mean buying second-hand and introducing a new airframe requiring new logistics into the RAF system.
".....Out of the list only the Alpha Jet is remotely capable of them...." Except it is (a) not British (the Red Arrows serve a flag-waving role for British industry), and (b) simply not in the same class as the Hawk T1, let alone the T2, due to the French crippling of the requirement so as not to threaten Jaguar sales. It would also mean introducing a new airframe into the RAF logistics, so again unlikely. I suggest it was only put I the list so as to draw forth cries of "No bloody way" from traditionalists.
".....This is the primary reason to the spectacular defeat of the RAF against the visiting Indian team flying Su-35s....." LOL I hear lots about this mythical occurrence on pro-Russian websites, but none from reputable sources. For a start, there was a mock dogfight between RAF Typhoons and Indian Su-30MKIs (not "Su-35s") in the 2007 and 2010 "Indrahanush" war games, but the Indians lost every engagement. A lot of misunderstanding was generated by the RAF commenting on how they "respected the agility" of the Sukhois, but the Typhoons' superior electronics and tactics meant they easily dominated the Sukhois. Ignoring that the Typhoon can super cruise faster and at higher altitudes than the latest Russian Su-35S (meaning it enters any dogfight with superior energy), and that both have helmet-mounted sights and off-bore dogfight AAMs, as a last ditch tactic, a Typhoon can maintain a combat turn for longer, losing less energy than the latest Su-35S, until the thirsty Sukhoi has to quit from lack of fuel, giving the Typhoon the chance of a shot at the retreating Sukhoi's tailpipes. That's if the Typhoon hasn't simply jammed the Sukhoi's radar from range and used PIRATE IRST to track the enormous Sukhoi and shoot it down long before the Sukhoi's pilot even realised the smaller Typhoon was in the neighbourhood.
".....In fact, out of the "real" fighters the choice is only between SuperHornet and Su-35. Everything else has been crippled by the Stealth Madness or is crap, sorry Eurofighter." Whatever, TBH. I suggest you do more factual research.
"Everything else has been crippled by the Stealth Madness" - madness?
If you're in a dogfight in modern air warfare you've already lost. The approach should be:
Get missile lock from miles and miles away. Fire. Confirm kill. Head back to base.
"If you're in a dogfight in modern air warfare you've already lost. The approach should be:
Get missile lock from miles and miles away. Fire. Confirm kill. Head back to base."
Yeah. Very nice and modern. I'm sure it's a complete coincidence that air war in Vietnam was supposed to be fought exactly like this. It was such a certainty that USAF/USN did not have cannons on most of their planes and did not train their pilots for dogfighting. Only minor problem was that their not so modern adversaries had not kept up with the times...
Maybe this 'missile doctrine' would work better in the next major conflict. Lots of new toys and all that. Forgive me if I'm not so keen to see it tested in practice.
Um. We haven't had any battleships since 1960. The article quoted is about destroyers, although these are the largest combat ship in the RN until the Queen Elizabeth is commissioned. (Please note, HMS Ocean, Albion and Bulwark are not really combat ships, even though Ocean is the Fleet Flagship).
If you had said "warship" rather than "battleship", you might have been correct.
Indeed - visited Portsmouth Historic Dockyard a couple of weeks back and it was sad to see the Illustrious (decommissioned so sadly no longer HMS) in quite such a state as she currently is. On her way to the breakers yard soon, but she's currently a real mess now that they've stripped her of anything that is re-usable.
(Yes I know she was an aircraft carrier not a battleship or a destroyer, although there were a couple of the latter tied up there too just to make the contrast between the new and shiny and the old and stripped-down even worse).
The thing about the Hawks is that they are *relatively* cheap aircraft so it does seem that the T2 would be a sensible replacement.
The Typhoons would be more expensive, unless they roll out some of those spare ones (doesn't make them cheaper but at least they're already paid for...)
How effective do they reckon the reds are as a recruiting tool? Is it worth the cost of running them at all?
(Don't get me wrong, I think they're very impressive and have enjoyed watching them on several occasions)
It's the only choice. The Red Arrows (and before them the Blue Diamonds) have always flown the RAF fast jet trainer, from the Hawker Hunter, Folland Gnat and the Hawk T1. It's done because of the lower cost and essential good handling (both necessary for a trainer), and because the Red Arrows are a part of the Central Flying School.
The US Navy uses a Hawk variant, and the USAF is working towards a decision on its next fast jet trainer. A next-gen Hawk for RAF training is likely but not certain. And because the Red Arrows fly the same plane, with good reason, all we can do is guess.
I wonder what the effect of Brexit and the slump of the Pound will be. It might mean BAe will be building a lot of Hawks. The original is old enough that it's not so different from starting from scratch. and that will be the big part of the bill.
Brings back lovely memories of a visit to Tattershall Castle a while back. Up on the roof looking around when there's sounds of Merlin's all around, as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight show up presumably doing their practice for a show (or maybe even HMQ's birthday bash).
Nothing like being at almost eye level with a whole load of Spitfires and Mosquito's etc to really make an enjoyable day (although the missus wasn't so pleased that I refused to come down and stop watching them until they'd finished - a good half-hour or so).
(Tattershall Castle is a mile or so from RAF Coningsby, home base of the BBMF)
We were there a couple of years back when the Canadian Lanc was over on tour. We'd gone out for the day and were at the Dogdyke steam ~& diesel pumping station nearby when there was that very familiar sound in the distance - got some great photos as they came overhead, circled round for a couple of minutes and then came in to land - incredible.
Some time ago I used to live in an ex RAF house at Church Fenton near Selby. Even though the airfield was by then semi mothballed and only home to a UAS it was still an RAF station and in a MATZ. During the day there would sometimes be interesting visitors with the odd fast jet dropping in.
One time when I was working from home I heard aircraft noise very different to the usual. Looked out the window and saw the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane passing very low over my house. The BBMF was on its way somewhere in the NE to perform at an airshow and was transiting through the MATZ.
I believe Church Fenton has now been flogged off and the new owner is trying turn it into an airport.
Exactly my thinking, a flight of 'New Spitfires' would be cheaper than most of the jet options and built with modern materials could possibly perform even better than the original. The Merlin is a must though, it may be time to get a shovel out; when I worked at Biggin Hill in the '70s, there were a couple of old boys there who had been ground crew during the war. They told me that there were half a dozen Merlins still in the oily wrapping and their crates that were shoved down a hole close to where the VOR Beacon is ( that was in the '70s). They were surplus to official stock numbers as all wartime stores were stockpiled as much as possible against sudden shortage, being unofficial they dug a hole and bunged 'em in at the end of the war. Ihave always wanted to have a go with a good metal detector to see if they were really there.
Buried Merlin engines have been retrieved from dumps by enthusiasts, but once buried or sunk aluminium becomes a nasty metal. It is the case that Merlin and Meteor engines have been "dug up" from the 1980s onwards for use in specials and restorations. But the engines were "dug up" from a pile of crates in an MoD or surplus supplier warehouse.
In the early 1980s there was a flood of new old stock Morris 8-type engines after somebody determined that they were no longer required for emergency fire pumps...
Mechanics looking after historic racing cars have seen everything and are very difficult to impress. One thing that pulls them out into sunlight is the sound of a Merlin engine.
I propose Spitfire replicas for the Red Arrows. The rest of a new run of Merlin engines would be available for replica Hurricanes and P-51 Mustangs.
When we watch a display of restored or replica WWII aircraft, we rarely see the performance of which they were/are capable. A genuine plane is simply too old to pull the number of Gs as when new. Replicas are usually disallowed owing to insurance or legal limitations.
..using frontline (or nearly so) fighters for displays (as indeed the RAF did in the era when most fighter squadrons had their own team). Examples that spring to mind are the USAF Thunderbirds (F-16), the USN Blue Angels (F/A-18), Russian AF Swifts (Mig 29), and the Ukrainian AF Falcons (Su-27).
Whilst the Reds' display is undoubtedly impressive (as are the other jet trainer based aerobatic teams at a similar level, such as the Patrouille de France and the Frecce Tricolori) there is nothing quite like seeing a close formation group of jet fighters going through aerobatic manoeuvres!
Would be nice to see the Reds using the Typhoon I as a display aircraft; that delta wing would look pretty impressive in red, too.
Now air show displays are kept well away from the crowd.
In Europe, maybe. Not in the US. You should see the Fleet Week air show in San Francisco sometime. The close formation action takes place over the bay, but I've also seen a fighter (F16?) come in over the crowd low and loud (cue people ducking amidst cries of "what the f**k was that!") then stand on it's tail & go straight up out over the water, and that was only 3-4 years ago, long after Ramstein.
In Europe, maybe. Not in the US. You should see the Fleet Week air show in San Francisco sometime. The close formation action takes place over the bay, but I've also seen a fighter (F16?) come in over the crowd low and loud
Singles maybe (though it's still frowned upon).
It's anything involving head-on maneuvres (like the Red's Synchro Pair) that must be done parallel to the crowd line so in principle the momentum of debris carries it parallel to the crowd, not into it.
It's not so much distance between aircraft and spectators as the direction and orientation of the display with respect to the spectators.
Was down in Devon recently, and saw the Reds' doing a display being 'shown' to people on the other side of the estuary. While most of the actual stunts were taking place over the water, there were a lot of turns and manoeuvring taking place what felt pretty close to (over) us, and there was a fair number of spectators on our side of the bay.
Was down in Devon recently
I saw one of their last shows above a city. They were flying literally above my house. This was several weeks before Shoreham which resulted in a severe restrictions on all airshows in the UK from there onwards.
Well. No more.
I've seen the Blue Angels doing displays, those guys are seriously mad (and impressive).
Probably why they have a 10% death rate. There's putting on a good show and then there's ooh-rah willy waving. The Blue Angels cross over to the latter a little too often at the cost of lives (yes, the Reds have had a bad patch recently, but before then they hadn't had a major accident or fatality for years and years).
This will is the state today. I have some doubts about any displays using frontline aircraft tomorrow.
Eurofighter - maneuverability is a joke
F35 - thrust is a joke. It simply cannot pull quite a few of the maneuvers everybody else can. Maneuverability most likely matches thrust (this is yet to be seen).
F22 - cost prohibitive and USA only
This is a natural side effect of the current tendencies in fighter development (emphasis on stealth and out-of-line-of-sight weapons). They are simply no longer fit for an aerobatic function - you are better off taking a trainer aircraft for the purpose.
A 9g delta-winged Eurofighter is far from a joke.
In a straight line dashing to intercept the incoming USSR waves of Backfire bombers - definitely. I have no doubts about it.That is what it was made for. This _WAS_ the design brief. AN INTERCEPTOR (with some minimal extra functionality). Everything else is an afterthought. It could not even do ground attack in the first tranche - at all. It is a fighter built for a bygone age and a conflict that never happened.
Its stall speed is ridiculously high and as a result its maneuverability in a dogfight is ridiculously bad.
As a basis for comparison - watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVlmoNtcyhY Can't be arsed to search - I recall coming across a similar airshow demo with F22 too.
Most of the time the Su in that video is flying at a speed at which the Eurofighter will be in pieces on the ground 10 times and it enters flat spins at least 3 times. Flat spin at stall speed is something the Eurofighter cannot recover out of - you need vector thrust. F22 can. Su30 onwards can. F35 (maybe) can. Eurofighter cannot.
So going back to the 9G - yeah, sure. Even at 9G when flying barely above its stall speed its turning radius is several times higher than the turning radius of vector thrust upgraded Su and F22/35. Even Rafale has better turning radius due to lower stall speed.
This is _EXACTLY_ why the RAF flying Eurofighter is having their arse handed to them on a plate every time they fly a line-of-sight engagement. It had its arse handed to them on a plate by Indians, French and in Red Flag by the USA aggressor squadrons flying the ancient by today's standard F16s. Their only hope is that they will shoot an opponent down out-of-line-of-sight with missiles at long range.
Also, the original topic was airshow - that requires aerobatic performance. Compared to an F22 (or even series A F35) or Su30 onwards the Eurofighter will look ridiculously bad. By the way RAF knows it. Otherwise it would have replaced the Hawks for the Red Wings long ago.
"It had its arse handed to them on a plate by Indians, French and in Red Flag by the USA aggressor squadrons flying the ancient by today's standard F16s. Their only hope is that they will shoot an opponent down out-of-line-of-sight with missiles at long range.
".....Most of the time the Su in that video is flying at a speed at which the Eurofighter will be in pieces on the ground 10 times and it enters flat spins at least 3 times....." You really do know nothing about aerodynamics. The delta-canard design of the Typhoon is designed to give the best compromise between low drag at supersonic speeds and sustained agility, it allows a much higher and sustained angle of attack than the Sukhoi can manage even with vectored thrust. The Typhoon's wing will also bleed energy less than the Sukhoi in a sustained turn, which means the Sukhoi will stall, spin and crash long before the Typhoon. That is the opinion of aerodynamic experts, not the ranting of pro-Russian kiddies.
As to your other fanciful claims, the Eurofighter (in both German and British hands) has beaten the F-22 in numerous NATO exercises, and the French have been very careful to avoid putting the Rafael up against it. In the recent Indian MRCA selection competition (to replace existing Su-30MKI jets), the final choice went down to the Rafael and the Tranche 3 Eurofighter, the Russian offerings (Mig-35 and Su-35) being rejected very early in the competition despite the Indians' long history of using Russian jets. The final selection was Rafael on price, the Indian pilots preferring the Eurofighter which was the leader on technical points. Please note that competition included the Super Hornet, your other fanboi choice.
My thought exactly - though my plan would be to TELL everyone that the team are flying SR-71s, but obviously they are flying too high and too fast for anyone to see them. Which means we don't need to actually buy and run them at all, saving a fortune in taxpayers' finest.
And if anyone in the beancounting dept insists on seeing actual footage, this could easily be sim'd.
Sopwith Camel Biplane Fighter (1917). They were still flying in NZ in 2011 and seven are still believed to exist in 2016. "One single fighter, flown by Major William Barker, shot down 46 enemy aircraft, more than any other fighter in history."
How many other hundred year old planes do you know that are still flying?
@Edward Clarke Sopwith Camel Biplane Fighter (1917)
Excellent idea (even if it does remind me of an old Fry & Laurie sketch, "What is the name of this camel who lives with you in Greenford?..." - does anyone else remember that or is it just something dark, vivid and unpleasant from my imagination?).
For my money though, the best aircraft for the Red Arrows would be the Bede BD-5, as seen in Octopussy. Although getting a display flight aloft in one would be difficult, given the colossal, heavy steel balls that would be needed to fly several of them in close formation...
Icon shows the probable resut of attempting to fly the Bede BD-5.
NASA are still flying Canberras. Sorry, I mean 'Martin WB-57F's (but as far as I'm concerned they're Canberra's really).
In fact, they seem to be using them for battlefield communications links over Iraq and Afghanistan, so you could argue that the Canberra is still in frontline service!
Display aircraft must do far more flying hours than any other military aircraft, so maintenance costs and ease of maintenance become very important. This is why frontline aircraft are so unsuitable.
Also important are low altitude and low speed behaviour - displays are not done at 30,000 ft Mach 2
Trainers are also built tough to survive student abuse, so more safety margin for surviving frequent high G turns
If you're going for maneuverability, why not go with a Fokker Dr.I?
P.S. There are no originals left, mainly because they're so unstable that they tend to fall out of the sky if the pilot loses attention for a moment. But, that makes them exciting and challenging to fly, as well as great for dog-fighting.
P.P.S. I'm fortunate to have seen the airshow at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, back when Cole Palen was still alive and flying some of the planes there:
P.P.P.S I'll get my coat. It's the one with the neck-scarf attached.
Canada has an air demonstration squadron of Canadair CT-114 Tutor which were procured in 1962. (http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/aircraft-current/ct-114.page) We really need some new planes to replace them. I hope that they pick something like the SuperHornet for the replacement given the history of using the CF-18 in the Air Force. But given our history of procurement the SuperHornet will be long retired by the time we get around to buying anything to replace the Tutors even if we decided to replace them today.
The Red Arrows have always used a cheap trainer, which seems like a shame for such a populous, rich, and important country!
In my opinion even the RNZAF's A4 Skyhawks were a better display plane, let alone the RAAF's F/A-18s.
The USN Blue Angels now use the F/A-18, before that the A4, and before that the F4 (which the UK used to have a few of).
I think the F/A-18 (especially the F model) is the best display aircraft in the world right now, because:
- real fighter size and power
- not too expensive to purchase or run at $60m, vs $100m for Typhoon, and probably $40m for new Hawks.
- impressive high-alpha manoeuvres and very tight loops and turns
Here's my own shitty iPhone 4 video of an RAAF F/A-18 from a few years ago. Not being zoomed in too much (ahem) gives a good perspective on how small the display box is.
I think the UK should bite the bullet and use the Typhoons. Would be impressive. And the UK can afford it.
I’d be prepared to bet that the only option is a newer Hawk. After all, there’s no point in having a supersonic aircraft (and the RAF already did that with the Lightning display team) because it isn’t going to be able to go supersonic in a display. The plane needs to be relatively cheap, and yet powerful enough to get itself into virtually any position. The Hawk ticks all the boxes, so the sensible replacement is another Hawk.
All the ex-air cadets here know that there is only one plane for the job. Robust enough to deal with a weekly procession of puking teenagers yet simple enough that it only needs started with a couple of big shotgun cartridges and some WD40. Repairs usually carried out with a roll of duct tape and some cable ties (or plain old Sellotape for the ones I flew in).
Gentlemen I give you the - de Havilland Canada Chipmunk
I've always liked the lines of the Brit version of the Jaguar and seeing Tornados changing their wing geometry while in a diamond formation slow roll would be a really neat sight.
*Yes, I know they are retired designs and therefore highly impractical BUT no more so than, say, the Mozzies/Lancasters/etc others have suggested...
If we're doing retro :
Blackburn Buccaneers - always gave a good display.
F4 Phantom, 9 of them smoky buggers thundering past, already smoky enough just add colour!
F111, 9 of them on mass take off then doing a flyby dumping fuel into their exhaust, you could have an awesome BBQ. Must be some that could be dusted off in a boneyard somewhere....
Alternatively, anything they bloody want - so long as they pay for them instead of taking it out of our taxes. If they can't recoup the purchase and operating costs from the punters it's not a sustainable business model. In the brave new post-socialist capitalism is king world, it's the only way.
Those Sea Kings may have been based on an original Sikorsky design, but when they came off the Yeovil production line there wasn't much American engineering input left..........
The airframe was re-engineered for UK tooling and much improved. Power and transmission was UK made and heavily modified. The avionics fit (the bits which made it so good) were all British.
It may have looked the same as the Sikorsky, but it was vastly improved and modified.
As to what should replace the Hawks, how a squadron of BAE Taranis drones? Save on the cost of the pilots
Both way too unwieldy at low speeds. The Red Arrows display is very much based on being able to do a lot of aerobatic feats close to the public, something that wouldn't be possible on the faster jets. They'd have to convert to the "make a lot of passes in various close formations" type of display also flown by for instance the Blue Angels. No doubt they could do it but it's not the same sort of display.
If it's not the Hawk T2, I think it may be the Scorpion (as mentioned in previous posts).
It's an un known aircraft at the moment that appeared out of nowhere that seems to match many emerging strategic roles that aren't filled as yet.
QuinetQ are currently flying it at the Royal Test Flight School I believe it's called and have yet to see how 'aerobat' it is. The wing looks a lot like a P-51 and we know how aerobat they were / are.
Saying that, I'd love to see some British AeroBoffin build a new airframe for the RR Merlin / Griffin engine that the RAF take up as an advanced trainer to replace the Tucano.
As the engine is not a TurboProp so nothing like the engine controls of a fast jet, it's highly unlikely.
I always liked the Hawker Tempest, partly (as suggested by a previous commentard) because of the model I made of it as a kid, partly because of the stories about being fast enough to fly alongside doodlebugs and tip them over with a wingtip!
So they weren't slowed down at all by the pilot's balls of steel...