Asia-Pacific & Middle East Tour 2016
During 2016, the Red Arrows embarked on the team’s biggest overseas tour in a decade.
More than 20 displays and a series of flypasts were performed across the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team.
The major tour, which took two months to complete, saw the Red Arrows perform in China for the first time ever.
The deployment contributed to the UK government’s GREAT campaign and showcased the best of British innovation and industry.
Squadron Leader David Montenegro, Team Leader of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team and Red 1, said: “Ever since the team’s first season in 1965, the Red Arrows have performed on a global scale.
“The team – flying British-built aircraft – has displayed to millions of people in more than 55 countries around the world.
“This year, in 2016, we were honoured to represent the United Kingdom on an even greater platform, to new locations.”
The Asia-Pacific and Middle East Tour saw 12 Hawk T1s flown from the Red Arrows’ base of RAF Scampton, in Lincolnshire, to the deployment locations.
China took the number of countries the display team has performed in to 57 since 1965.
The exercise also saw the Squadron’s technicians and other ground staff travel in support.
Sqn Ldr Montenegro said: “Our Asia-Pacific and Middle East Tour was the Red Arrows’ largest overseas deployment for a decade and saw the team perform in China for the very first time.“We were also excited to be invited to the Indian Air Force Day in October as well as having extensive engagement programmes in Singapore, Malaysia, Oman, Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait.”
The overseas deployment began just two weeks after the final performance of a successful domestic season, when the Red Arrows performed nearly 70 displays.
Sqn Ldr Montenegro said: “The tour was a tangible demonstration of how the UK is a bold, outward-looking nation that works on the world stage with international partners.
“The two-month deployment raised awareness of Britain’s economic offer, its industry and as a country that celebrates arts, science, sport, education and diversity.
“Indeed, our colourful, dynamic aerial display of precision, formation aerobatics – together with the associated events on the ground – are a vivid showcase of British engineering, teamwork and creativity.
“These performances are the result of countless people and organisations, both in the UK and overseas, who have supported the team and made this possible – for which everyone in the Red Arrows would like to express sincere gratitude.”
The Strategic Defence and Security Review made clear the UK’s commitment to the Asia Pacific region and to building relationships to address global challenges.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced the tour early in 2016.
Following visits to Japan in January and Singapore in May, Mr Fallon also confirmed that RAF Typhoon jets would take part in the joint exercise Bersama Lima from Malaysia, which forms part of the UK’s commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA).
The Typhoons deployed around the region for joint exercises with allies, demonstrating the UK’s commitment to exercise with allies across the globe.