Published on July 14th, 2016 | by FII Reader


The Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, UK

The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) took place at RAF Fairford during the weekend 8th-10th July 2016 and is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. RIAT is the world’s largest military Airshow and this year event was supported by 23 Air Arms contributing to both the flying and static display. The adopted themes for the event included The Next Generation: Inspiring Innovation & celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Air Cadet Organisation. It would be impossible to cover every aspect of RIAT in one review such is the enormity of its size, so for this article we will look at some of the highlights of the three day event.

The highly anticipated arrival of 6 x Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II with examples drawn from the RAF, USAF & US Marine Corps was in no doubt one of the biggest draws for the large crowds in attendance. The display by the F-35B, short take-off/vertical landing version became the latest in a long list of legendary military aircraft that have made their UK debut at the Air Tattoo and demonstrated the stealthy, supersonic aircraft’s state-of-the-art capabilities.

RIAT 029Solo jet performers included the USAF F22 Raptor, 4 F16 Displays from Turkey, Poland, Belgium & Greece, 4 Typhoon displays from Spain, Italy, RAF & the BAe Systems Demo, with the later demonstrating a full underwing weapons load to represent the upcoming Phase 3 Enhancement configuration for the type. A Mig 29A from Poland, US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet, French Dassault Rafale C and SAAB JAS 39C Gripen from Sweden completed a line-up of solo jet military hard ware.

Display teams make up an integral part of the 8 hour flying with no less than 9 military & civilian teams, including the Red Arrows, Patrouille Suisse, Breitling Wingwalkers, The Royal Jordanian Falcons, Orlick Aerobatic Team, The Black Cats & Frecce Tricolori.

RIAT 001

RIAT 018

The Ramex Delta display team

Aerobatic team Krila Oluje (Wings of Storm) from Croatia became the 56th nation to take part in the Royal International Air Tattoo since it was established in 1971. Krila Oluje fly six Swiss-built PC-9M turboprop aircraft and are renowned for performing attractive and imaginative display sequences including dynamic close-formation, opposition and solo elements. Its pilots and aircraft are drawn from the ranks of the 93rd Air Base at Zemunik near Zadar on the Adriatic coast this was the teams UK debut.

The Ramex Delta tactical display team flew their last ever displays over the RIAT weekend to rapturous applause & picking up two awards in the process. The team flies two examples of the Dassault Mirage 2000N nuclear strike aircraft. First flown in 1978, the Mirage 2000 has been in service with the Armée de l’Air since the early 1980s, in fighter and conventional strike versions as well as the nuclear-capable 2000N.The Ramex Delta team comes from Escadron de Chasse 2/4, the famous ‘Escadrille Lafayette’ of First World War fame, with one of the team carrying a striking paint scheme.

RIAT 002A unique aspect of RIAT is show-stopping joint flypasts that over the years have become the trademark of RIAT and for 2016 an F-35B, an RAF Typhoon and the legendary aerobatics display team the Red Arrows flew together. The pairing of the F-35B and Typhoon, which together represent the fast jet component of the UK’s future air defence capability.

Next year’s event will take place 14th– 16th July 2016 celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the United States Air Force.


RIAT Award Winners 2016

The King Hussein Memorial Sword (Best Overall Flying Demonstration): Krila Oluje Aerobatic Team

The ‘As the Crow Flies’ Trophy (FRIAT Trophy): USAF F-22A Raptor Demo Team

The Steedman Display Sword (Best Flying Demonstration by a UK Participant): Nat Makepeace – BAE Systems Typhoon FGR4

The Paul Bowen Trophy (Best Solo Jet Demonstration): French Air Force Rafale C

The Sir Douglas Bader Trophy (Best Individual Flying Demonstration): Swedish JAS-39C Gripen

The RAFCTE Trophy (Best Flying Demonstration by an Overseas Participant): French Air Force Ramex Delta Mirage 2000N Display Team

Best Paint Scheme Award: French Air Force Ramex Delta Mirage 2000N Display Team

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Winner of the best scheme

Participating aircraft:

(F)=Flying Display, (S)=Static Display

Royal Australian Air Force

  • KC-30A (S)

Belgian Air Component

  • C-130H Hercules (S)
  • F-16A MLU Fighting Falcon (F)

Royal Canadian Air Force

  • CP-140 Aurora (S)


  • A400M (F)
  • Anson C.19 (S)
  • BAC Strikemaster MK82A (F)
  • Beech 18S (S)
  • Beechcraft King Air 350 SM – Textron Aviation (S)
  • Blackburn B-2 (S)
  • BN-2T Defender (S)
  • BN-2T Islander (S)
  • Breitling Wingwalkers (F/S)
  • Bristol Scout (S)
  • Bulldog T.1 (S)
  • C172N (S)
  • C42B Ikarus (S)
  • Cessna 208 Grand Caravan EX – Textron Aviation (S)
  • DH-60 Cirrus Moth (S)
  • DHC-1 Chipmunk (S)
  • DHC-1 Chipmunk (S)
  • DHC-1 Chipmunk (S)
  • DHC-1 Chipmunk (S)
  • DHC-1 Chipmunk (S)
  • DHC-1 Chipmunk (S)
  • DHC-1 Chipmunk (S)
  • DHC-1 Chipmunk (S)
  • EV-97 Eurostar (S)
  • Royal Jordanian Falcons (F)
  • Extra 330SC – Unlimited Aerobatic (F)
  • G550 (S)
  • Hunter F.58A (S)
  • Jet Provost T5 (S)
  • OV-10B Bronco (S)
  • P2002-JF Sierra (S)
  • P2008JC (S)
  • P-51D Mustang (F)
  • PA-28-180 (S)
  • Piaggio R166C (S)
  • SC-7 Skyvan (S)
  • Sea Hurricane 1B (S)
  • Spitfire TR.9 (F)
  • TB20 Trinidad (S)
  • Textron AirLand Scorpion – Textron Aviation (S)
  • Breitling Wingwalkers (F)
  • BAE Systems Typhoon (F)
20160711 232 40+36 IMG_9910 - 2

Luftwaffe in Special colours

Croatian Air Force

  • Mil Mi-171 (S)
  • Krila Oluje Display Team – PC-9M x 6 (F)

French Air Force

  • Alpha Jet E (S)
  • AMD Mirage 2000N – Ramex Delta (F)
  • Rafale C (F)

German Air Force

  • A400M (S)
  • Eurofighter EF2000/T – TLG-31 (S)
  • Eurofighter EF2000/T – TLG-33 (S)
  • Eurofighter EF2000/T – TLG-73 (S)
  • Eurofighter EF2000/T – TLG-74 (S)
  • Tornado PA200 IDS/ECR (S)
  • Transall C-160D (S)

German Army Aviation

  • Bolkow Bo105P (F)
  • Bolkow Bo105P (S)

German Navy

  • Do228 (LM) (S)
  • EC-135P2+ (S)
  • P-3C Orion (S)

Hellenic Air Force

  • Team Zeus – F-16 Demo (F)
  • F-4E Phantom x2 (S)

Irish Air Corps:

  • CN235-100MPA (S)

Italian Air Force:

  • Frecce Tricolori Aerobatic Team (F)
  • Typhoon F-2000 (F)
  • Typhoon F-2000 (S)

Japan Air Self Defense Force:

  • KC-767J (S)
20160711 388 Jap AF B767 - 2 IMG_2974

Japanese Air Force Boeing KC-767

Army Air Corps

  • AAC AH-64D Apache (F)

Royal Air Force

  • A330 Voyager (S)
  • A400M Atlas C.1 (S)
  • Squirrel HT.1 (S)
  • C-130J Hercules (S)
  • C-130J Hercules (S)
  • Grob Tutor (S)
  • Grob Venture T2 (S)
  • Grob Vigilant T.1 (S)
  • Grob Viking T.1 (S)
  • Red Arrows (F)
  • Hawk T.1 (S)
  • Hawk T.2 (S)
  • BBMF Hurricane (F)
  • King Air (S)
  • Kirkby Cadet (S)
  • Slingsby Grasshopper (S)
  • Slingsby Sedbergh (S)
  • BBMF Spitfire (F)
  • Tornado GR.4 (S)
  • Tornado GR.4 (S)
  • Tucano (S)
  • Typhoon FGR.4 (S)
  • Typhoon FGR.4 (S)
  • RAF Typhoon FGR4 (F)
  • F-35B Lightning II (F)
  • RAF Chinook (F)
20160711 375 RAF IMG_0043 - 2

RAF Typhoon with special tail markings

Royal Navy

  • RN Black Cats (F)
  • Hawk T.1 (S)
  • King Air Avenger (S)

Lithuanian Air Force

  • C-27J Spartan (S)

Netherlands Coastguard

  • Dornier Do228 (S)

Royal Netherlands Air Force

  • CH-47 Chinook (S)
  • AH-64D Apache solo display (F)

Royal Air Force of Oman

  • C-295M (S)

Pakistan Air Force

  • C130E Hercules (S)

Polish Air Force

  • F-16 – F-16 Tiger Demo Team (F)
  • MiG-29A (F)
  • Team Orlik (F)

Polish Navy

  • An-28B1R Bryza (S)

Royal Jordanian Air Force

  • Royal Jordanian Falcons (F) TBC
  • C-130H Hercules (S)

20160711 333 NZ7572 IMG_0012 - 2

Royal New Zealand Air Force:

  • Boeing 757-22QC(S)

Royal Norwegian Air Force:

  • Falcon DA20 ECM (S)

Spanish Air Force

  • Eurofighter EF2000 (F)
  • Eurofighter EF2000 (S)

Swedish Air Force

  • JAS 39C Gripen (F)
  • JAS 39C Gripen (S)

Swiss Air Force

  • Patrouille Suisse (F)

Turkish Air Force

  • F-16 (SoloTurk)

United States Air Force

  • F-22A Raptor (F)
  • F-35A Lightning II (F)

US Air Force Special Operations Command

  • CV-22B Osprey (F)
  • CV-22B Osprey (S)
  • MC-130J Commando II (S)

US Air Forces Europe

  • F-15C Eagle 48FW/493FS (S)
  • F-15E Eagle 48FW/492FS (S)
  • KC-135R (S)

US Army Europe

  • AH-64D Apache (S)

 RIAT 017

United States Marines Corps

  • F-35B Lightning II (F)
  • KC-130J Hercules (F)

United States Navy

  • F/A-18 Super Hornet (F)
  • P-8 Poseidon (S)

RIAT 027


  • A109 Power Elite (S)
  • Alpha Jet (S)

Words and photos by Jason Phelan

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