back to article What should the Red Arrows' new aircraft be?

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 …

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Re: Let's be different

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.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's be different

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.

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Re: Let's be different

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.

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Re: Let's be different

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...

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Go

Plenty of air forces out there...

..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.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

I've seen the Blue Angels doing displays, those guys are seriously mad (and impressive). Especially when the commentator has the crowd watching the hills in front waiting for them to appear...and they scream in overhead from behind at low altitude.

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Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

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.

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Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

Patrouille Suisse fly the Northrop F-5E Tiger II.

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RPF

Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

A 9g delta-winged Eurofighter is far from a joke.

You on the other hand......

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Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

The fly-in from behind has been effectively banned since the Ramstein air show disaster when the Frecce Tricolori hit each other and landed in the crowd. Now air show displays are kept well away from the crowd.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

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.

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Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

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.

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Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

"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.

[Citation needed]

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Re: Trigonoceps (displays are kept well away from the crowd)

Not always.

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.

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Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

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).

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Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

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.

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Re: Trigonoceps (displays are kept well away from the crowd)

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.

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Stop

Re: Voland's right hand Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

".....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.

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Most disappointed that there is no Predator Drone option...

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Tornado?

Shame the RAF got shut of all those F3s. Could have kitted out a 30-ship formation with those!

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Angel Interceptors...

SIG!

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Hawker Harrier

would be a top choice for me. It can pull stunts few others can. Dearly love that plane

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Pint

Re: Hawker Harrier

Thought exactly the same.

Probably plenty of gently run-in examples still knocking around for spares & repairs too. ;)

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Re: Hawker Harrier

VIFF

that is all.

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Re: Hawker Harrier

Want to see a Sea Harrier on flying display? Head over to the US...

Art Nalls, ex-USMC pilot has an ex-RN Sea Harrier

http://artnalls.com/

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Art+Nalls+

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Re: Hawker Harrier

A bit of history - USMC Harriers on HMS Illustrious

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DGgoeJKOZw

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Joke

Lockheed Blackbird SR-71

What?

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Re: Lockheed Blackbird SR-71

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.

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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?

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Mushroom

@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.

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Lightnings!

Time for the old EE Lightnings to return as a display force.

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Re: Lightnings!

That would be bloody amazing!

For about thirty seconds until they were out of fuel.

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Re: Lightnings! For about thirty seconds until they were out of fuel.

Perhaps Canberras then?

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Re: Lightnings!

Do you think we can dig out the TSR2 designs?

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Re: Lightnings! For about thirty seconds until they were out of fuel.

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!

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A bus to the job centre....:-)

Having the RAs at the end of the show allows me to extract my car from the muddy field early.

And they can put the Tannoy guy on the same bus.

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de Haviliand

But not a Tiger Moth - bring back the Mosquito!

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Happy

Re: de Haviliand

Isn't there a group building a mosquito from scratch just change the 'no of items ordered' on the web page. Just think, the sound of all those twin Merlin engines......bliss

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Come on guys, too retro...

Contemporary J-20 stealth fighters. I bet they'd be on time and on budget, too.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/01/china_j20_fighter_jet_seen_in_public/

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Trollface

Re: Come on guys, too retro...

That might be taking the red part a bit too far, but would make an interesting display...

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Taranis

Not only because it looks cool, but you could program in some amazing tricks!

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Raptor Drones

No more worries about accidents at air shows and we can use schoolkids to fly them instead of expensively trained pilots.

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Re: Raptor Drones

schoolkids/pilots

In my experience there is little difference.

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Why not throw Vlad some love and buy them some SU-27 Flankers. A rather handsome plane that can do the nifty cobra manoeuvre.

Plus being Ruski you can probably fix most problems with 3 sizes of hammer rather than flying a Raytheon consultant out from the states.

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Russian Knights

I had the privilege of seeing the Russian Knights flying Su-27s years ago - they were spectacular! You got a real impression of weight as they hauled those things through the air. It was an affront to physics.

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Biased poll.

The only sensible answer is the alpha jet. (Which is why El Reg readers will vote against it).

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Re: Biased poll.

But the last Alpha Jets were built in the mid-80s, so not much newer than a Hawk T1 really.

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Incom T-65 B

´nuff said.

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Re: Incom T-65 B

And DON'T mess with R2-D2 !

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The Red Barrows

These guys:

http://www.redbarrows.org/

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