Sunday, 1 August 2010

RIAT Fairford (continued)

As already mentioned, Fairford was not all fast jets. Virtually the entire spectrum of military aircraft roles were represented. Pictured above is a Boeing E-3A Sentry airborne early warning aircraft operated by NATO. Representative of the troop and cargo transportation needs of the military, below is a Luftwaffe Transall C-160D, one of many of these 40 year old transports that the German military continue to operate.

Most well known and widely used of all military transports is the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. From the first aircraft which appeared in 1953, more than 5,000 of these venerable tranports have been produced, and 57 years later, production continues. The example below is an Oman Air Force C-130H model.

Another aspect of military operations is anti-submarine warfare and search and rescue. The P-3 Orion long range patrol aircraft entered service with the US Navy back in the 60's, and like the Hercules, continues in production today, albeit in much updated form. Below a US Navy P-3C taxies to the holding point for take off.

Another vital military role is that of the aerial tanker to effectively extend the range of fighter and bomber aircraft. A variety of civilian airliner aircraft have been used as the basis for a tanker, including the Boeing 707 (although in that instance the tanker appeared before the airliner), Vickers VC-10, Lockheed TriStar and the Douglas DC-10. Below is a USAF KC-10A Extender, the military tanker variant of the DC-10 wide bodied airliner. Not only does it have the capability to refuel 3 fighter aircraft simultaneously, it can itself be refued by another tanker.

Finally no air display is complete without an aerobatic team of some description. Using Alpha Jet training aircraft once such team represented was the Patrouille de France. Here 2 of their aircraft are on their take-off run.

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