International Air Tattoo… Once again, RIAT honoured its name: a
Royal International Airshow.
Royal by the quality of the displays, Royal by its program and above
all, Royal by the shared dreams. International by the number of
participating countries, International by its encounters and human
contacts, International by its diversity.
It is said that RIAT is the biggest airshow on earth; well this has
become a certainty. You can visit magnificent shows on all continents,
Australia, USA, Japan or even Russia, but no matter the qualities of
these shows, never will you encounter so many represented countries,
so many airplanes as different and exotic as well, so many
Where can you find that much airplanes? Take pictures of so many
roundels and flags? Where can you see a Japanese aircraft hobnob with
an Ukrainian? An Australian parked next to a Dutch or Belgian one? An
Irish and a Greek, Austrian, Germans, Canadians and Slovenes among
hundreds of other aircraft and helicopters? Where can you run into six
C-130 on the same apron, an Israeli, a Pakistani, a Qatari, a
Jordanian, an American and a Dutch?
to admire national display teams from Finland, Switzerland, Jordan,
British and American at the same time? The Red Arrows and the
Thunderbirds in the same show, is already not often seen, but to
complement them with the Patrouille Suisse and the Midnight Hawks...
is quite exceptional. Only the Patrouille de France and the Frecce
Tricolori were missing and why not, one can always dream, the Japanese
Blue Impulse or a Russian team to complete the picture. Let us not
forget that some years ago, the Korean team displayed at the Tattoo...
where everything is still possible!
And the European solo displays? Ukrainian Sukhoi SU-27, Belgian and
Turkish F-16's, Spanish EF/A-18, French Rafale (which received a
well-deserved award), the RAF Typhoon FGR.4, Swedish and Czech
Gripen's, Italian Tonado and T-346 "Master", Austrian Saab
105OE, Slovenian PC-9M and our venerable Belgian Sea king, before
retiring and vanishing forever out of the European skies.
to all this the French tactical displays on Mirage 2000D and Czech on
Aero L-159 Alca. Where to picture USAF and warbirds aircraft at the
same location: six F-15's, twelve F-16's, a KC-135, a stealth bomber
B-2, two Mustang P-51D, a B-17G, a CV-22B, two U-2's, a B-1B, a B-52H,
two C-17 and in fine two F-22 "Raptor"?
All at Fairford to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Air
Force and sign this fabulous stars and stripes show.
What is also interesting at the RIAT is the diversity of languages
heard during conversations, English, French, Italian, Dutch, German,
Hebrew, Arab, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian or Japanese.
This flavor some mix can only be found at Fairford, county of
Gloucestershire in Great Britain. So if you are looking for this
diversity you have to go imperatively to the Royal International Air
Tattoo, the biggest military airshow on earth!
(By Bruno Ghils)
on the picture to make a walk in the static display
the past and the present (Based on USAF notes)
The Air Force is the youngest of all U.S. military services. Its birth
date is September 18th, 1947. On that day, the National Security Act
became law. Signed by President Harry Truman, it set up the National
Military Establishment, which was renamed the Department of Defense
(DOD) in 1949.
The DOD was divided into three equal branches. The former War
Department became the Department of the Army. The Navy Department
became the Department of the Navy, which included the Marine Corps.
And a brand-new branch was created; the Department of the Air Force.
The head of the Department of Defense is a civilian, the secretary of
defense. Each of the three branches is also headed by a civilian
secretary. The first secretary of the Air Force was Stuart Symington,
who had been an assistant secretary of war and who later became a U.S.
senator from Missouri. The highest-ranking military officer in the Air
Force is the chief of staff. The first chief of staff was General Carl
"Tooey" Spaatz, a World War II veteran.
All American military forces are commanded by the Joint Chiefs of
Staff (JCS). This group meets weekly in Washington, D.C. It includes a
chairman and vice chairman, the Chiefs of Naval Operations, the
Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Chiefs of Staff of the Army
and Air Force. These six people advise the president in decisions
about the military. The president is commander in chief of all the
The job of the United States Air Force (USAF) is to protect the United
States from any threat by air and to defeat aggressors. Along with the
Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, the Air Force is pledged to preserve the
peace and security of the United States and to defend it if necessary.
Air Force Headquarters is located in the Pentagon building in
Washington, D.C., as are the headquarters for all the military
services. Headquarters sets policy, reviews programs, plans and
budgets, and distributes resources to all Air Force units. It is the
center of all Air Force activities.
The Air Force includes more than 500,000 servicemen and women on
active duty. In addition, there are more than 250,000 men and women in
the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard. The Air Force
Reserve has its headquarters at Robins Air Force Base (AFB) in Georgia
and has units all around the country. Its members are not on active
duty, but they stay in training and can be called into service in an
emergency. Some reserve units of the Air Force, as well as the Army
and Navy, were activated during the war in the Persian Gulf in 1991.
AIR FORCE COMMANDS:
For years, one of the main jobs of the Air Force and other services
was to counter the threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. But in
1991, the Soviet Union collapsed. At that time, the Air Force began a
Changes in technology have also changed the way the Air Force will
operate in the future. "Global reach---global power" might
be thought of as its new slogan. In this new "leaner,
meaner" Air Force, these are the major commands:
COMBAT COMMAND, Langley AFB, Virginia, is in charge of fighters and
AIR MOBILITY COMMAND, Scott AFB, Illinois, controls most of the tanker
force and airlift planes.
AIR FORCE INTELLIGENCE COMMAND, Kelly AFB, San Antonio, Texas,
combines intelligence operations, once scattered among other commands.
AIR FORCE MATERIAL COMMAND, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, makes sure
that Air Force units everywhere have the supplies they need. It buys,
stores, supplies, and transports anything the Air Force needs
anywhere, including about 890,000 airplane parts.
AIR FORCE SPACE COMMAND, Peterson AFB, Colorado, is in charge of Air
Force space programs. It was created in 1982. The Space Command works
with NASA on U.S. space projects, including the operation of the space
shuttle. And it is responsible for early warning of an enemy air
attack. It also keeps track of weather and communications satellites
as well as "space junk," pieces of rockets or satellites
left in orbit. The ICBM missles are under the Space Command.
AIR FORCE SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND, Hurlburt Field, Florida, has as
its motto "Air Commandos--Quiet Professionals." Its mission
is to organize, train, equip, and educate special operations units of
the Air Force. This would such unconventional warfare as dealing with
AIR TRAINING COMMAND, Randolph AFB, Texas, recruits and trains airmen
and officers for the Air Force. Since it was created in 1943 during
World War II, it has trained more than ten million people! Anyone who
joins the Air Force will at some time be trained by this command. It
provides, among other things, basic military and officer training (at
Lackland AFB, Texas), reserve officer training, (headquarters Maxwell
AFB, Alabama), and technical training in nearly 350 different fields
at six centers in Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, and Texas. This
command also runs a fifty-two-week pilot training program at five
bases in Arizona, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas; navigator school
at Mather AFB, California; and space training for specialists at Lowrt
AIR UNIVERSITY, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, sees to the higher education of
Air Force officers at various locations around the country. It may be
thought of as the Air Force officers at various locations around the
country. It may be thought of as the Air Force Academy's graduate
PACIFIC AIR FORCE, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, provides the U.S. Pacific
Command with everything it needs for air combat.
UNITED STATES AIR FORCES IN EUROPE, Ramstein AFB, Germany, provides
the U.S. European Command with what it needs for air combat.
The thirty-four Field Operating Agencies include such units as the Air
Weather Service, the Civilian Personnel Management Center, and the Air
Force Reserve. The three Direct Reporting Units are the Air Force
District of Washington, the Air Force District of Washington, the Air
Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center, and the United States
Air Force Academy.
The basic fighting unit of the Air Force has always been and continues
to be, the "wing". A wing is stationed at one base and has
one commander. Some wings operate only one kind of aircraft, such as
fighters or bombers. Others are composite wings. They might have, for
example, fighters, tankers, and special-mission aircraft. They are
designed to get to trouble spots in a hurry anywhere in the world,
which is another example of "global reach--global power."
After 70 years, the USAF remains the strongest worldwide Air Force
involved in most of the current external conflict.
As it should be said, and by way of conclusion: Happy Birthday USAF.
(By Serge Van Heertum)
on the picture to watch the USAF 70 anniversary tribute
airshow, which on both days started at about 10 AM lasting until 7 PM,
gathered a great number of displays of all kind. All from an
exceptional quality be it by rarity, mastery of the flight or the
know-how of the pilots.
But the most noticed presence, beside the "USAF Tribute" was
the presence from, at the last minute confirmed participation, of the
powerful display of the Sukhoi SU-27, The SU-27 present at the RIAT
were from the Ukrainian 831st Tactical Aviation Brigade, based at
Mirgorod, a fighter base located in the region of Poltava in
East-Ukraine. Today the 831st Tactical Aviation Brigade consists of
three squadrons on SU-27, SU-27P and SU-27UB. Sadly since the conflict
in Crimea, the exact number of operational aircraft is unknown.
The SU-27 and SU-27UB are equipped with air-to-air refueling probes
for the long distances fighter operations. The UB version is a
two-seat variant of this aircraft, but with the same combat
capabilities as the single-seat aircraft.
Before the conflict in Crimea, this base hosted also MIG-29 Fulcrum,
of which six were operational in 2014.
At the RIAT, the Ukrainian delegation was made up of a SU-27 and a
SU-27UB, together with a supporting IL-76M. The last visit to a RIAT
by an Ukrainian SU-27 goes back to 1996. The three pilots present in
Great Britain were Colonel Oleksander Oksatchenko (the display pilot),
Colonel Dmitry Fischer and Colonel Oleksander Mostovoy.
Colonel Oleksander Oksatchenko is the official Ukrainian SU-27 display
pilot, for several years now, but the visit at the RIAT was a
lengthily effort between the organizers and the Ukrainian delegation.
Wing Commander Jonathan Nixon went to Mirgorod a few weeks before the
Tattoo to validate personally the display. In the past, as we know,
the Ukrainian airshow reputation was befouled by one of the biggest
fatal airshow accidents, after Ramstein in 1988, when in 2002 at Lviv,
a SU-27 crashed into the crowd killing tens of people. But this is the
past, as by now the Ukrainian Air Force was redrafted and
professionalized, with the pilots having acquired much more
experience, especially during combat in 2014 and the Crimea conflict.
The Ukrainian headquarters dedicated two aircraft for the airshows,
the "58" single-seater (display aircraft) and the
"71" two-seater (static show) and were already present in
Slovakia, Malta, Denmark and Czech Republic. Why not in Belgium? Who
(By Anthony Graulus)
on the picture to discover all the display of the RIAT 2017 edition