As many as four F-35s (three from the U.S. Marine Corps and a British one) were scheduled to take part in Royal International Air Show (RIAT) and Farnborough Airshow (FIA) near London. But, whereas it seems at least unlikely the aircraft can make it to RAF Fairford for RIAT, there could be some chances the aircraft could eventually attend FIA 2014, a major showcase which attracts aerospace companies and potential customers from all around the world.
Indeed, while investigation into the cause of the engine fire continues and the rest of the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Royal Air Force F-35s remain grounded, according to DefenseNews, the Marines may decide to allow their F-35B jets to cross the Pond, making happy aviation enthusiasts and…Lockheed Martin, facing the umpteenth issue with the troubled fifth generation aircraft.
“As part of that, there is the possibility NAVAIR would allow for return to flight before the Air Force or the UK did depending how they analyze and accept that data and manage risk,” Kyra Hawn, a spokeswoman for the F-35 joint program office, told to DefenseNews’s Aaron Mehta.
Therefore, even if U.S. Air Force and UK will not lift the flight ban in time for the airshows, the U.S. Marine Corps may decide it is ok for them to fly the jump jet aircraft overseas.
As said, nothing has been decided yet. Considering that RIAT opens this weekend, the participation to FIA appears at least a bit more likely. But, who’s going to accept the risk to allow the aircraft to fly in spite of a fleet-wide grounding and investigation underway?
Can you imagine the impact of an incident on the reputation of the much debated aircraft?
According to the information released by the RAF, the Typhoon aircraft, from 3 (Fighter) Squadron, were launched !after four separate groups of aircraft were detected by NATO air defences in international airspace near to the Baltic States.”
The “zombies” (how unidentified aircraft are dubbed in fighter pilots jargon), turned out to be a Tupolev Tu-22M “Backfire” bomber, four Sukhoi Su-27 ‘Flanker’ fighters, one Beriev A50 ‘Mainstay’ early warning aircraft and an Antonov An-26 ‘Curl’ transport aircraft “who appeared to be carrying out a variety of routine training,” even though the Flankers appear to be armed to the teeth, with 4x R-27 medium range and 2x R-73 short range air-to-air missiles
Both aircraft were painted with the characteristic “invasion stripes”, alternating black and white bands painted on the fuselages and wings of allied aircraft during WWII Normandy campaign to increase recognition by friendly forces and reduce friendly fire incidents.
Other interesting aircraft attending the air show were five DC-3/C-47 Dakotas, including “Whiskey 7,” a veteran of the air drops over France in 1944, which crossed the Atlantic Ocean to attend the D-Day celebrations.
A Boeing B-17G-105-VE Flying Fortress.
A North American P-51D Mustang flying with a Vickers Supermarine Spitfire.
A Hispano HA-1112-M1L Buchon (a Spanish-built Bf-109 with Rolls-Royce engine).
More images of the numerous interesting warbirds that attended the Air Show can be found here.
RAF reconnaissance planes have taken shots of the D-Day beaches after 70 years. With today’s stand-off technology and higher resolutions.
RAF Tornado GR4 jets from II (AC – Army Co-operation) Squadron from RAF Marham have used today’s technology to emulate their World War II counterparts that, on D-Day, Jun. 6, 1944, took the first pictures of the Normandy landings.
70 years ago, II (AC) Squadron used bulky cameras loaded onto the bottom of the Mustangs to get panoramic images of the beaches. Today, a single Tornado sortie provides much better results using the RAPTOR (Reconnaissance Airborne Pod for Tornado) which takes aerial images and the Litening III Advanced Targeting Pod that is able to capture Full motion video.
Here’s the comparison between the quality of images taken today as compared to those of 1944.