Home Kent News Red Arrows could fly foreign jets for first time in their history

Red Arrows could fly foreign jets for first time in their history

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Original article from Kent Live

The Red Arrows could fly foreign aircraft for the first time in their 56-year history.

The aircraft currently used, named the Hawk, are to be retired in 2030, and ministers will begin shopping around for new aircraft for the team from 2023.

The RAF's frontline warplanes are fully or part-made in Britain.

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However, manufacturers BAE Systems will stop producing the 640mph Hawks from next year, as the Mirror reports.

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The Eurofighter Typhoon and the F-35(B) Lightning II are thought to be unsuitable replacements for the small, agile and highly-manoeuvrable Hawks.

This could lead defence chiefs to search abroad to replace them, raising the chances of a foreign firm making planes for the world-famous display team.

The Red Arrows

Answering a written parliamentary question this month, Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said: “The planned out of service date for the Red Arrows remains 2030, and a decision on a replacement aircraft for the Red Arrows is not expected to be taken for at least two more years.”

Labour MP and former Defence Minister Kevan Jones said: “Since their inception, the Red Arrows have held a prominent place in British culture and part of that is due to the aircraft being UK-designed and UK-built.

“The MoD must provide the ­assurances now that the ­replacement aircraft for the Red Arrows will remain British.”

The MoD said: “A d­ecision on replacement aircraft will not be taken for at least two more years.

“Procurement decisions will be made under the guidelines of our new Defence and Security Industrial Strategy, which sets out how we will sustain and grow the UK’s industrial capability ­critical for our defence and security.”

The Hawk is the RAF's main fast jet training aircraft and was originally made by Hawker Siddeley.

The plane was flown by learning pilots of No4 Flying Training School at RAF Valley on Anglesey when it was first introduced into service in 1976.

The Red Arrows, formally know as the RAF’s Aerobatic Display Team, used the two-seat, advanced training aircraft Folland Gnat when the squadron formed in 1965.

An MoD spokeswoman said: “The planned out-of-service date for the Red Arrows remains 2030, and a decision on a replacement aircraft for the Red Arrows will not be taken for at least two more years.

“Any future procurement decisions will be made under the guidelines of our new Defence and Security Industrial Strategy, which sets out how we will sustain and grow the UK’s industrial capability critical for our defence and security."

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Original Article