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 …


    1. ukgnome Silver badge

      Re: The Red Barrows

      Nope - these guys instead!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  1. David Pearce

    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

  2. Guido Brunetti

    The Super Tucano

    With the Brexit imminent I would opt for something cheap, reliable and still capable.

  3. MakingBacon

    Reaper drones FTW!

  4. david willis

    Depends if the Americans buy it.

    Possibly the most likely candidate ?

  5. Dave 32

    Fokker Dr.I

    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.

  6. Fink-Nottle

    Anything flown by James Bigglesworth ...

  7. CanadianMacFan

    Canada's Snowbirds

    Canada has an air demonstration squadron of Canadair CT-114 Tutor which were procured in 1962. ( 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.

  8. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge


    Buy back some of our Harriers from the Yanks - the sort of maneuverability that those bad boys offer should make for good aerobatic displays

  9. Spiracle

    Back to the Gnat please

    Because then I'll be able to get that poster that I had on my bedroom wall in 1975 out of the attic.

    Failing that do the RAF currently have enough A400's to make up a display team?

  10. Joseph Eoff


    How about the Avro Avrocar (

    See icon for a pic of the pilot.

  11. Bruce Hoult

    use a real fighter

    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.

  12. Roq D. Kasba

    PARIS, obviously

    LH would get it

  13. 45RPM Silver badge

    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.

    1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      > The Hawk ticks all the boxes, so the sensible replacement is another Hawk.

      Yeah, but now that El'Reg have told the MOD about those 50p plastic things that's all the budget the team will be given.

  14. 0laf Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Lets get serious

    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

  15. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Jaguar or Tornado*

    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...

  16. DougS Silver badge

    No Antonov An-225?

    Flying those in formation at low altitude, now THAT would be impressive!

  17. johnnymotel

    Totally off topic, but why have the Indian AirForce painted their Hawks a sort of dung coloured brown?

    1. x 7 Silver badge

      "Totally off topic, but why have the Indian AirForce painted their Hawks a sort of dung coloured brown?"

      Because their country has the general impression of being shit-brown in colour when you fly over it. Camoflage.

  18. Steve Crook

    Spruce Goose

    I'd just want to see them take off. That'd be enough...

  19. LDS Silver badge

    Alenia Airmacchi M-346

    Why not?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Alenia Airmacchi M-346

      Because it'll be about as reliable as a mid 1980's Alpha-Romeo?

      *disclaimer* I'm not actually aware of any reliability issues but I felt I needed to make this joke */disclaimer*

  20. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    if George Osborne was Chancellor, he'd force the RAF to by the latest from the Chinese

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: J-20

      oops - typo

      if George Osborne was Chancellor, he'd force the RAF to buy the latest from the Chinese

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beriev Be-42 (A40)

    It's an island, innit?

  22. Christoph Silver badge

    If we're resurrecting old designs ...

    The TSR-2

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    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....

  24. Steve 114

    Focus Focus Focus

    Just don't do it. Use my taxes to shoot up something real. Done best in A-10s anyway.

    1. Spamfast Bronze badge
      IT Angle

      Re: Focus Focus Focus

      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.

  25. heyrick Silver badge

    How about a B52 squadron?

    A bit unwieldy, sure, but imagine seeing those painted bright red and shaking up the sky!

  26. Gio Ciampa

    Thunderbird 2

    ...nuff said

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Thunderbird 2


  27. Montreal Sean

    The obvious answer would be...

    The Avro Arrow!

    I'm sure we could scrape together a couple.

    Or 5.93

  28. x 7 Silver badge

    WESTLAND Sea King please...........

    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

  29. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Bad News

    I've just seen an Air Marshall buying up stock on the beach at Weymouth.

    BTW Christmas is officially here, I saw my first person wandering down the street in a santa hat today.

    Yep, he bought a load of those little paper flags as well.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why no Harrier Option?

    Bring back the Harriers IMO

  31. Clive Mitchell

    Given it should be an aircraft in active service, and showcase British industry, then the obvious candidate is flight of red painted Islanders!

  32. Rattus Rattus

    Let's have something different

    Buy a batch of second hand MIG-29s - nicely acrobatic and something you don't see too often at western air shows.

  33. jon 13

    It has to be one of the planes I built as an Airfix kit as a kid otherwise they mean nothing to me.

    Therefore it's either Me 109 or a Wellington

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Following that rule I vote for the

      Bristol Freighter.

  34. Caff

    who needs pilots

    Red Arrows should be rushed kicking and screaming into the digital era. No longer will they be expected to fly free in the air, instead they will co-ordinate elaborate aerobatic feats from the comfort of their drone command center in Waddington.

  35. PassiveSmoking

    They should just convert their existing jets to UKIP specifications and saw off the left wing.

  36. D@v3

    F-117 Nighthawk

    Just coz

  37. imanidiot Silver badge

    Typhoon or F-35?

    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.

  38. nijam

    "we will start to think about that in the next year or two"

    Because it would be just plain silly to start thinking about it now.

  39. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Seven - sorry - six - nope - five - errr - four R101s.

  40. I am the liquor


    Hurry up and get those built, they'd look good in red. Although at mach 5, spectators would need a good pair of binoculars to enjoy more than 2 seconds of the show.

  41. Bobbly

    Sukhoi Su-30.


POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019