The RAF Centennial Fly-Past
THE RAF CENTENNIAL FLY-PAST
Note: The first three fabulous pictures were obtained from major news sources freely available on the internet, and indeed, many more including videos can be seen. Presumably many of these pictures will be available for a long time to come?. The fourth rather dismal picture is by the author from a location in west London.
On the 10th July 2018 it was arranged, with reasonably good weather, for a one hundred aircraft fly-past to take over Buckingham Palace with the Royal family spectating. This was by far the largest fly-past the RAF has staged for many years - probably decades. And quite an impressive display it made too. Best seen, as so often, on the television rather than at the venue itself. This said, a large crowd did assemble around Buckingham Palace and no doubt greatly enjoyed the spectacle.
However, I suppose it should be pointed out that, compared to the Royal Coronation, (for the same Queen), fly-past at ODIHAM on the 15th July 1953 with 639 aircraft in the fly-past alone, this event certainly proved how diminished to RAF has become over the decades. And without much doubt this trend will continue.
According to various sources that I looked at, it appears the following aircraft types took their place in the fly-past
Display team: Red Arrows with BAe Hawks
Helicopters: Aérospatiale SA330 Puma HC2, Boeing CH-47 Chinook, Airbus H135 Juno and Airbus H145 Jupiter
BBMF: (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) Hawker Hurricane, Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire, Avro Lancaster and Douglas C-47 Dakota
Airborne Tankers: Airbus A330 MRTT Voyager
Training: Grob 120TP Prefect, Short Tucano T1 and BAe Hawk
Transport: Lockheed C-130J Hercules, Airbus A400M Atlas, Boeing C-17 Globemaster III and BAe 146
Reconnaissance etc: Raytheon Sentinel R1, Beechcraft Shadow R1, Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joint and Boeing E-3D Sentry
Fighters & bombers: Panavia Tornado GR4, Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 and Lockheed Martin F.35 Lightning
Note: The Typhoon echelon 'spelt out' 100. A nice touch and in the video I saw, a very tightly flown formation. Must have taken quite a bit of practice I would imagine.
Without any doubt whatsover, these aircraft, celebrating the centennary of the RAF, clearly shows how much has changed, especially in the last three or four decades. The traditional military ideas of defence and deterrent have pretty much gone. The main enemy today dresses in civilian clothes and is almost impossible to identify by visual means. Hence the emergence of highly sophisticated 'surveillance' types capable of intercepting messages sent by various telephonic means.
The idea of having warfare against an enemy with similar equipment, costing billions, is now non-existent. And, thankfully, the concept of mutual oblivion in a nuclear holocaust has been shoved aside. Or has it?