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. timcroydon

    Sonic BOOOOOOOOM

    Wow, just imagine the sound of 9 Typhoons in formation! That would be awesome in the true sense of the word.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Sonic BOOOOOOOOM

      But not as awesome as 9 Concordes in formation doing a vertical roll...

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: Sonic BOOOOOOOOM

        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!

        1. Florida1920 Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Sonic BOOOOOOOOM

          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!

          So build new ones! Not like you haven't done it already.

      2. Anonymous Tribble

        Re: Sonic BOOOOOOOOM

        Four Concordes in formation was pretty awesome.

  2. Shady

    What ?!?!?

    No Avro Vulcan? I refuse to partake.

  3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Whatever it is, it should be modified to sound like a Vulcan bomber.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      And be as dirty as a Phantom!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        I didn't vote because there was no option to vote for the F35!!!

        1. tr1ck5t3r

          I wanted to vote for BAE's Taranis stealth unmanned jet.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BAE_Systems_Taranis

          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.

          http://www.theblades.com/

        2. Mike Richards Silver badge

          You reckon there'll ever be a time when the RAF can get more than one F35 into the air at the same time?

    2. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

      If you want the sound of the Vulcan vote Concorde, both used Rolls Royce Olympus variants

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        If you want the sound of the Vulcan vote Concorde, both used Rolls Royce Olympus variants

        But they sounded completely different. I know this from my own ears, the sadly uneducated may need to take a trip to Youtube.

  4. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Alpha Jet

    It's the nearest thing to the Hawk in performance terms, and from about the same era. Could you really see them throwing the Typhoon II around the sky in the same fashion? The fuel costs alone would break the RAF within a season...

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Rich 11 Re: Alpha Jet

      "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.....

    2. rh587

      Re: Alpha Jet

      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...).

  5. M7S

    As Veritech Alphas are probably not available....

    The A-10, with all the options*

    *or to quote the used car salesman, "fully loaded".

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: As Veritech Alphas are probably not available....

      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.

      1. RPF

        Re: As Veritech Alphas are probably not available....

        What the hell are you popping to write such utter garbage?

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: As Veritech Alphas are probably not available....

        "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.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: As Veritech Alphas are probably not available....

          Enough with the willy waving.

      3. IHateWearingATie
        Mushroom

        Re: As Veritech Alphas are probably not available....

        "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.

        1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          Re: As Veritech Alphas are probably not available....

          "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.

  6. Nevermind
    Coat

    How about...

    Reapers? Crowds can then watch the pilots at the controls...or have the planes fly autonomously with software provide by Tesla.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: How about...

      People will be somewhat disappointed when they go to see the pilots and find a bunch of teenagers with XBox controllers.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: How about...

        If they can fire up the 3d printer and make some clones, how about LOHAN?

        Then they can be the Haines Memorial Flight (down the Dog and Duck if wet, having a jar or six).

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Software by Tesla?

      Nah,

      They'll outsource it to Tata hoping that they'll sell some to India.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Software by Tesla?

        What, and miss the chance to be known as the Red Lesters? ;-)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whatever they do

    They should offer FPV pan and tilt cameras onboard so people can pay to use VR goggles to be in the cockpit for some or all of the flight.

    Must be possible to use these 4k 360° cameras to stream multiple lower resolution streams.

    Iknow Iknow, geeky response, sorry.

  8. Matthew Smith

    No F35 in the list?

    No surprise there then.

    1. ElectricFox
      Black Helicopters

      Re: No F35 in the list?

      Of the 10 F35s that would be assigned to the squadron, they would only be able to display a maximum of 2 flying formation at any given time.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: No F35 in the list?

        But with the upgraded block VII software due out in 2018 they will be able to park upto 7 in formation on the apron

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: No F35 in the list?

          But how would people see them with all that stealth?

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: No F35 in the list?

          Its formation flying for gods sake - they can tow gliders!

    2. Ralph B

      Re: No F35 in the list?

      The F35 can't fly in English weather. (Just like British battleships can't cope with Middle Eastern seas)

      Personally I blame the militatary-industrial-peacenik conspiracy.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: No F35 in the list? @Ralph

        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.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

          Re: No F35 in the list? @Ralph

          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).

    3. Peter X

      Re: No F35 in the list?

      Formation flying would require a software update.

      Plus another for each colour of smoke!

  9. A K Stiles

    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)

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Hawk T2

      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.

      1. Dave Bell

        Re: Hawk T2

        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.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Hawk T2

          The US Goshawk is a carrier landing capable Hawk and is very heavily reworked aircraft design.

  10. Egghead & Boffin

    It's not a proper poll unless there's a 'Planey McPlaneface' option.

  11. Conrad Longmore

    Textron AirLand Scorpion

    Projected to cost less than $20m..

    http://www.scorpionjet.com/

    It seems that there has been some real interest from countries looking for inexpensive fighter aircraft. You can buy about five of them for the same price as an F-35.

    1. philthane

      Re: Textron AirLand Scorpion

      Seems to be designed for third-world air forces that can't afford..., oh I see what you mean.

  12. JonW

    Let's be different

    Replica Spitfires (with new Merlins to keep the sounds right, obviously). Every National display team blasts around doing pretty much the same thing - a nice, tight display by spitfires would be awesome to behold.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Let's be different

      Nope. Lancaster Bombers.

      Do the "Pierced Heart" in one of those bad boys.

      I dare ya!

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Let's be different

        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)

        1. A K Stiles
          Pint

          Re: Let's be different

          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.

          1. yoganmahew

            Re: Let's be different

            I agree, difference is good, sooooo, A380s... not sure about the synchronised take off and landings, but think of all that white (red) space they could sell advertising on.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          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.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      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.

      1. PickledAardvark

        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...

    3. PickledAardvark

      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.

  13. Vinyl-Junkie
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          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.

          1. rh587

            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.

        2. D@v3

          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.

          1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            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.

      2. rh587

        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).

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      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.

      1. RPF

        Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

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

        You on the other hand......

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          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.

          1. imanidiot Silver badge

            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]

          2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            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.

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Plenty of air forces out there...

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

  14. Alister Silver badge

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

  15. ElectricFox

    Tornado?

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

  16. BoldMan

    Angel Interceptors...

    SIG!

  17. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Hawker Harrier

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

    1. Dr Spork
      Pint

      Re: Hawker Harrier

      Thought exactly the same.

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

    2. Alan J. Wylie Silver badge

      Re: Hawker Harrier

      VIFF

      that is all.

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      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+

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Hawker Harrier

        A bit of history - USMC Harriers on HMS Illustrious

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

  18. Ralph the Wonder Llama
    Joke

    Lockheed Blackbird SR-71

    What?

    1. Blitheringeejit

      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.

  19. Edward Clarke

    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?

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      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.

  20. Richard 31

    Lightnings!

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

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Lightnings!

      That would be bloody amazing!

      For about thirty seconds until they were out of fuel.

      1. Paul Kinsler

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

        Perhaps Canberras then?

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          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!

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: Lightnings!

      Do you think we can dig out the TSR2 designs?

  21. P0l0nium

    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.

  22. Doonesman

    de Haviliand

    But not a Tiger Moth - bring back the Mosquito!

    1. Guy 2
      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

  23. Graham Cunningham

    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/

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Come on guys, too retro...

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

  24. oomwat

    Taranis

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

  25. Len Goddard

    Raptor Drones

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

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: Raptor Drones

      schoolkids/pilots

      In my experience there is little difference.

  26. 0laf Silver badge

    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.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      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.

  27. John Hughes

    Biased poll.

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

    1. /dev/null

      Re: Biased poll.

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

  28. seven of five

    Incom T-65 B

    ´nuff said.

    1. Chris King Silver badge
  29. Trumpet Winsock
    Thumb Up

    The Red Barrows

    These guys:

    http://www.redbarrows.org/

    1. ukgnome Silver badge

      Re: The Red Barrows

      Nope - these guys instead!

      www.earthboundmisfits.co.uk/red-marrows-arena-show

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. 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

  31. Guido Brunetti

    The Super Tucano

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

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embraer_EMB_314_Super_Tucano#Specifications_.28EMB_314_Super_Tucano.29

  32. MakingBacon
    Devil

    Reaper drones FTW!

  33. david willis

    Depends if the Americans buy it.

    Possibly the most likely candidate ?

    http://www.defensenews.com/articles/tx-trainer-northrop-grumman-boeing-saab

  34. Dave 32
    Coat

    Fokker Dr.I

    If you're going for maneuverability, why not go with a Fokker Dr.I?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fokker_Dr.I

    Dave

    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:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Rhinebeck_Aerodrome

    P.P.P.S I'll get my coat. It's the one with the neck-scarf attached.

  35. Fink-Nottle

    Anything flown by James Bigglesworth ...

  36. CanadianMacFan

    Canada's Snowbirds

    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.

  37. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Or...

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

  38. 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?

  39. Joseph Eoff
    Alien

    Avro

    How about the Avro Avrocar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avro_Canada_VZ-9_Avrocar)

    See icon for a pic of the pilot.

  40. 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.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rPRAn9eGrg

    I think the UK should bite the bullet and use the Typhoons. Would be impressive. And the UK can afford it.

  41. Roq D. Kasba

    PARIS, obviously

    LH would get it

  42. 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.

  43. 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

  44. 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...

  45. DougS Silver badge

    No Antonov An-225?

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

  46. 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.

  47. Steve Crook

    Spruce Goose

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

  48. LDS Silver badge

    Alenia Airmacchi M-346

    Why not?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge
      Joke

      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*

  49. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    J-20

    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

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beriev Be-42 (A40)

    It's an island, innit?

  51. Christoph Silver badge

    If we're resurrecting old designs ...

    The TSR-2

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Retro...

    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....

  53. 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
      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.

  54. heyrick Silver badge

    How about a B52 squadron?

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

  55. Gio Ciampa

    Thunderbird 2

    ...nuff said

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Thunderbird 2

      Anastasia

  56. Montreal Sean

    The obvious answer would be...

    The Avro Arrow!

    I'm sure we could scrape together a couple.

    Or 5.93

  57. 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

  58. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Pirate

    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.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why no Harrier Option?

    Bring back the Harriers IMO

  60. 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!

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. PassiveSmoking

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

  65. D@v3

    F-117 Nighthawk

    Just coz

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. Mike Richards Silver badge

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

  69. I am the liquor

    Skylon

    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.

  70. Bobbly

    Sukhoi Su-30.

  71. La Barbe D'Action

    Folland Midge

    Yes, it was the forerunner of the Gnat, but surely this ticks a few boxes: light, manoeuverable, low-cost (potentially): http://www.britishpathe.com/video/worlds-lightest-jet-fighter

  72. Phil the Geek

    Thrust SSC

    No aerobatics (hopefully) but a very impressive Mach 1 formation drive-by. I once saw a Dutch Air Force F-104 Starfighter display team that used a marginally slower and only slightly higher version of the same routine.

  73. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    What, no option to vote for "Supercar"?

    Some fucking poll this is.

  74. GSVNotInventedHere

    Textron Scorpion (as already mentioned)

    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.

  75. wibblewobble

    Hawker Tempest please

    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...

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