Final preparations are being made for the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team’s biggest-ever tour to North America.
The Red Arrows leave for Canada and the United States in just over two weeks, expecting to depart the United Kingdom on August 5.
More than 25 cities will be visited by the team across the 11-week deployment, which is aimed at promoting the best of British and supporting trade, business and defence interests.
Additional details about some of the locations and airshows where the Red Arrows will appear were released today, as the team prepares for its last UK public event for the 2019 season, before the overseas tour gets underway.
Speaking at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), Gloucestershire, Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, said: “The United Kingdom shares a deep and enduring defence relationship with both Canada and the US.
“Sending our world-famous RAF Red Arrows demonstrates the UK’s global ambitions and will provide a unique opportunity to strengthen our partnerships with two of our closest allies.”
It is the first time the Red Arrows have been to North America since 2008 and the deployment will be the most ambitious tour of Canada and the United States ever undertaken by the team – going coast-to-coast.
The tour is an indication of the UK’s continuing commitment to enduring relationships, mutual prosperity and extensive security cooperation in the region.
With stops across the continent, the tour comprises a combination of nearly 20 aerobatic displays, several iconic flypasts and 100 separate ground engagement activities – from business receptions to sessions aimed at inspiring young people.
Each show is a demonstration of creativity, engineering excellence and innovation – not just hallmarks of the Red Arrows and RAF but of the proven capabilities, strengths and skills of the UK.
Moreover, the tour provides chance to celebrate and enhance international trade and investment between the UK, Canada and the US, worth more than £208 billion in 2018.
Wing Commander Andrew Keith, Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said: “Tours by the Red Arrows have always been an important role of the team – aiming to demonstrate RAF expertise, helping to highlight UK excellence across a range of sectors and celebrating close connections with friends and allies.
“With only days to go before the Red Arrows depart for North America, and with more tour locations now being released, all of us in the team hope people across Canada and the United States will be able to join us in the coming weeks and enjoy one of our displays, flypasts or events.
The men and women of the Red Arrows epitomise the skill, agility, teamwork and precision of the RAF and we are relishing the opportunity to travel overseas, display in front of hundreds of thousands of people and be ambassadors for a global Britain.
“A key aim of the tour is to inspire people through safe, dynamic and visually-exciting shows. However, we have also planned dozens of ground events, where we hope to meet countless individuals and showcase the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths – the STEM subjects – in our work.”
The first public flypast will be in Halifax, Canada, on August 11, followed by an aerobatic display in Gatineau two days later. Chicago will provide the setting for the first US airshow of the tour, on August 17.
Miramar Airshow, near San Diego, California – made famous as the base previously home to the US Navy’s Top Gun school – is a new addition to those airshows, unveiled earlier this year, where the Red Arrows will display during the deployment.
Other stops planned by Red Arrows, and being announced for the first time today, include Washington DC, Boston, San Francisco, cities in Texas and also places never previously visited by the team in its history – such as Vancouver and Seattle.
This activity develops a longstanding, successful record of the Red Arrows supporting the GREAT Britain Campaign, helping to highlight opportunities across business, education and tourism.
Planning for the North American tour has spanned more than a year and technical equipment and other resources have already been shipped to key “hub” locations in the US and Canada, in advance of the jets setting off from RAF Scampton, Lincolnshire, in August.
Wing Commander Keith said: “A huge amount of energy has gone into preparing for this tour, involving detailed work by specialists from across the RAF and liaising closely with colleagues from the UK’s Department for International Trade, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partners in Canada and the United States.”
The team’s Hawk jets, which cannot refuel in the air and do not have the range to make the transatlantic crossing in one sortie, will be flown via several stops, including Scotland, Iceland and Greenland, to reach Halifax – the first major location of the tour.
This weekend, the Red Arrows are displaying at RIAT– one of the biggest airshows of its type – in front of thousands of people. Sunday’s show will be the final display of the Red Arrows’ UK season.
For more information on the Red Arrows, follow @rafredarrows on Twitter, like the team’s Facebook page at RAF Red Arrows, view pictures on Instagram @rafredarrows or visit www.raf.mod.uk/reds
Use #redarrowstour online to keep up-to-date with the Red Arrows’ tour of North America.
Below is the latest list of locations where the Red Arrows will visit in Canada and the United States. Activities will typically include either a flypast, display or ground engagement-only – or a combination of these elements. Venues and places are subject to change. More details for each location will be released ahead of each stop and date:
- Halifax (including a flypast on August 11) – August 7-13
- Ottawa – flypast on August 13
- Gatineau – display at Gatineau-Ottawa Airshow on August 13
- Chicago (including displays at the Chicago Air and Water Show) – August 14-18
- Boston – August 19
- Atlantic City – display at Thunder Over The Boardwalk – August 21
- New York (including displays at the New York Airshow) – August 22-25
- The Hamptons – August 24
- Washington DC – August 25-28
- Niagara Falls – August 28
- Toronto (including displays at the Canadian International Airshow) – August 28-September 5
- Dayton, Ohio – September 5
- St. Louis (including displays at Spirit of St. Louis Airshow and STEM Expo) – September 6-9
- Fort Worth/Dallas – September 9-16
- Houston – September 11
- Denver – September 17-18
- Portland (including displays at The Oregon International Airshow) – September 18-23
- Seattle – September 23-24
- Vancouver (including a flypast on September 26) – September 24-27
- Victoria – flypast on September 26
- Miramar Airshow, San Diego – displays September 27-29
- San Francisco – October 1-2
- Long Beach – October 2
- The Great Pacific Airshow (Huntington Beach) – displays October 4-6
- Rapid City – October 8