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  • Writer's pictureLudo Mennes

2018 RIAT RAF Fairford

A diamond nine formation of Eurofighter Typhoons from RAF Coningsby

As the RAF celebrated its 100th anniversary this special occasion became the main theme for the 2018 edition of the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford , Gloucestershire. Instead of the regular two days, the event was expanded to a full three days for the first time to internationally celebrate the centenary following the national event in London.

With over 300 aircraft and 30 nationalities present the show was visited by NSA on Sunday and the departure day on Monday. It turned out to be a good decision with georgeous weather for the airshow and powerfull take offs at the park&view West area.

MQ-9B SkyGuardian, to be called Protector RGI in UK service, making a first transatlantic flight entirely controlled by satellite communications in British aerospace. The RAF will be the launching customer and 31 Squadron will become the first Protector squadron at RAF Waddington

F-35B from 617 Squadron at RAF Marham performing its capability to hover steadily

RC-13W River Joint of 51 Squadron making its first static display appearance at any UK airshow ever

Some exotic visitors made it to the UK including aircraft from Brasil, Oman, Pakistan with a special livery, Canada with 5 aircraft including the CF-18 Demo Team, Japan with their new Kawasaki C-2 and Australia with its Boeing E-7A Wedgetail.

Although the collection of Russian aircraft was relatively small the Ukrainian Air Force brought two Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker and an Il-76MD. The impressive colourscheme is an absolute eye-catcher.

Su-27C Flanker taking off for its demo on Sunday afternoon

The USA as always was again present with some interesting hardware. Especially the departure viewed from Park&View West was impressive as the aircraft used every inch of the runway to get airborne!

KC-10A Extender using the full length of the runway in support of the Heritage Flight Team

The F-35 Heritage Flight performed an impressive show of force making a 9G turn at the right place.

F-35A from Luke AFB climbes the sky for a 9G turn

Flying as impressive as ever was the French Couteau Delta team from EC3 From Nancy Airbase with their two Mirage 2000D aircraft. At about the same time as they were performing the French national team won the Worldcup beating the Croatian team.

Couteau Delta at the start of their show beating the track

The Belgium Demo F-16 flown by Vador

Vador shows the crowd its colours at the topside pass

Many European countries sent aircraft and teams to RIAT 2018.

A German Tornado basking in the morning sun

Danish high speed pass after take off on Monday

With these colours it can only be Frecce Tricolore Team from Italy

RIAT 2018 with a record crowd of 185,000 people attending proved to be a succes and was enjoyed a lot! The RIAT 2019 edition will see the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation theme, undoubtedly again prove why this is the nr. 1 airshow.

For the last time at RAF Fairford?? Marham based Tornado takes off with full afterburner

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