RAF News 6 June 2022, Edition 1537

Page 1

The Forcesit' e favourer pap

Competition ompetition


Battle Proms Win! tickets

Spitfire W Named in! Connie

l See R'n'R page 5

l See R'n'R page 5

Friday June 3 2022 No. 1537 70p


l See pages 16-17


UKAF joy

l See page 28


Off to flyer

l See page 31


Gos wins it for Cos

l See page 32

Cosford debut for F-35 Lightning

Radar raider E-scan system raises r e w o p e ir f n o o h p y T Simon Mander TYPHOON IS set to dominate the air combat arena with a new £317 million E-scan radar system, defence chiefs say. Described as the world’s most capable fighter radar, the breakthrough technology developed by Leonardo will enable the swing role fighter to operate inside the range of air defences and launch missiles while monitoring ground-based radar defences. l See p3 for more

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 P2

I needed a bigger challenge than just rowing the Atlantic”

We aim to bring Shakespearean London back to life in every way… apart from the smell”

Cadets Ambassador Sqn Ldr Emma Wolstenholme on her bid to row around Britain See page 5

David Mitchell stars as The Bard in The Upstart Crow in the West End See R’n’R p3

If you think too much about what could go wrong, you shouldn’t be on the track” Sidecar racing ‘passenger’ SAC Mark Middleton See page 31

Typhoons target Qatar World Cup terror threat Staff Reporter

RAF News Room 68 Lancaster Building HQ Air Command High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP14 4UE Editor: Simon Williams Email: editor@rafnews.co.uk Features Editor: Tracey Allen Email: tracey.allen@rafnews.co.uk News Editor: Simon Mander

RAF TYPHOONS will patrol the skies over Qatar during the FIFA World Cup to counter the threat of possible terror attacks, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has revealed. The combat jets will be operated by 12 Sqn, based at Coningsby, the UK’s only joint unit formed following a £6 billion deal with the Gulf state to buy 24 of the swing role fighters and a further nine Hawk training aircraft. The World Cup deployment will coincide with a training exercise in November this year while further military security and training will be provided by the Royal Navy, the MOD has confirmed. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace added: “Making sure citizens from across the world can enjoy attending the World Cup, Britain and Qatar will join forces to provide

air policing in the skies above the tournament. I am delighted that our joint squadron with the Qatari Emiri Air Force of Typhoons will

patrol the airspace during the tournament. It is a demonstration of our strong defence relationship and further enhances the UK and

Qatar’s ability to tackle our shared security challenges – contributing to regional stability and protecting mutual prosperity and security.”

This Week In History

Sports reporter: Daniel Abrahams Email: sports@rafnews.co.uk Tel: 07966 429755


Paveway debut

HARRIER PILOT Wg Cdr Peter Squire drops two Paveway laserguided bombs on Argentinian position at Mount Pleasant – the first operational use of precision-guided munitions.

All advertising: Edwin Rodrigues Tel: 07482 571535 Email: edwin.rodrigues@ rafnews.co.uk Subscriptions and distribution: RAF News Subscriptions c/o Intermedia, Unit 6 The Enterprise Centre, Kelvin Lane, Crawley RH10 9PE Tel: 01293 312191 Email: rafnewssubs@ subscriptionhelpline.co.uk

SECURITY CONCERNS: The 80,000-seater Lusail Stadium is the main venue for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar


Typhoon Caen raid TYPHOONS LAUNCH a rocket attack on the Panzar Gruppe West south west of the French city of Caen, killing Nazi Chief of Staff Gen von Dawans and several senior staff.


Puma and Chinook in Kosovo CHINOOK AND Pumas assist with the rapid deployment of British troops into Kosovo during Operation Agricola, as Serbian forces begin to withdraw from Kosovo.

Extracts from The Royal Air Force Day By Day by Air Cdre Graham Pitchfork (The History Press)

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 P3


A nose for trouble E-scan tilt radar a game changer for world-beater Simon Mander

RAF TYPHOONS are set to get the best fighter radar in the world by the end of the decade. INNOVATION: Defence contractors say the new ECRS Mk2 sensor, Tilting electronic due to be combat ready by 2030, will make the aircraft a device with matrix of hundreds of tiny match for any potential enemy. radar modules Developer Leonardo UK Typhoon Chief Engineer Ross Wilson said: “When ECRS Mk2 goes into service, the RAF will get the world’s most capable fighter radar. “It will enable the jet to link up with future data-driven weapons and combat rapidly evolving air defences, ensuring RAF Typhoons dominate the battlespace for scanning radar that physically “In addition, ECRS Mk2 has years to come.” moves to point its beam at a target. functions that provide an electronic The new kit features an Although proven on operations, warfare capability enabling innovative repositioner that new technology is needed to Typhoon to locate, identify and tilts the radar, allowing the jet respond to threats when flying then jam enemy air defences,” said to fire then turn away from an in conditions where an array of Mr Wilson. enemy fighter while still locking different radio frequency emitters Contract proposals for further on to the target – making it less can thwart a mission. investment in the new kit have been vulnerable to return fire while ECRS Mk2 uses Active submitted to ministers. supporting a missile in-flight. Electronically Scanned Array, or In 2020, BAE and radar “In practice, all of this ‘E-scan’, technology – a matrix of developer Leonardo UK announced together means that RAF hundreds of tiny radar modules – a £317 million deal to make ECRS pilots will be able to engage to steer an electronic beam, rather Mk2 ready for integration on the targets whilst beyond the reach than physically moving a radar to Typhoon. That money runs out of threats – even when point at a target. later this year, when the prototype they’re looking in another This means the beam can should be delivered to BAE’s direction – and operate be moved quickly to perform Warton site for a full system critical inside the range of opposing multiple tasks simultaneously, design review. air defences, remaining such as operating the radar The MOD is set to acquire 40 fully protected while directing a missile in systems to equip the Typhoon throughout,” added Mr towards an enemy aircraft Tranche 3 fleet. Wilson (pictured right). while also keeping a The 2030 date for initial Currently Typhoons lookout for ground-based operating capability is regarded as a use a mechanically radar defences. backstop, with the RAF hoping the

Platinum Jubilee practice run

CROWDED AIR SPACE: 99 Sqn C-17 crew get a close-up view of a 30 Sqn A400M

MILITARY aircraft from Britain soared over RAF College Cranwell to practice the planned Platinum Jubilee Flypast. A 22-strong fleet flew formations for the event, expected to involve 70 participants including the Red Arrows and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Rehearsal reviewer 1 Group Combat Air Force Commander Air Commodore Mike Baulkwill said: “The timing was perfect.” The scheduled June 2 event was due to follow the Trooping the Colour ceremony subject to weather, serviceability and operational commitments.

FRONTLINE DUTIES: Typhoons based at RAF Akrotiri as part of 83 EAG

system can be delivered earlier. BAE is also developing mission systems upgrades for

Typhoon and a new cockpit with a single large screen and no headup display.

P for Peter Belgium Lanc bomber heroes honoured TRAINEE pilots and instructors paid tribute to Lancaster heroes shot down during a mass bombing raid over Belgium. All but one of the crew of W4234 DX-P for ‘Peter’ died in a crash after being hit by a BF110 German fighter on December 21, 1942. Six personnel from Cranwell’s 57 Squadron at No 3 Flying Training School led by Wg Cdr Jamie Norris provided a ceremonial Standard Party at the monument to them inaugurated in 2000. The event was attended by families, Belgian Ministers and diplomats from Australia, Belgium, the UK and New Zealand. And the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Lancaster staged a flypast over the commemoration in Lierde. Wg Cdr Norris said: “The ceremonial aspects were a poignant touch to an extremely high-profile event. The value our trainees got out of the visit is immeasurable and the experience will remain with them for a long time.” DX-P was on a mission with 119 Lancasters, nine Short Stirlings, nine Wellingtons and the Pathfinder force, crewed by five RAF Volunteer Reserves and two members of the RAAF and RNZAF, when it was

STANDARD PARTY: Group led by Wg Cdr Jamie Norris, No 3 FTS

brought down. Sole survivor Kiwi tail gunner Sgt Roden Pickford was taken prisoner. Standard Party Commander Flt Lt Gavin Connolly said: “This has been a truly humbling experience and serves as a timely reminder of the sacrifices made during war. “After 80 years, the wonderful people of Belgium still have a deep appreciation for those sacrifices made by the RAF during World War II. “I am extremely proud to be able to represent 57 Sqn and the RAF today.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 P5


Vet Emma’s Jubilee bid to row around UK Simon Mander INTREPID RAF veteran Emma Wolstenholme is bidding to row around the British coastline as the nation marks The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Just three months after her solo bid to cross the Atlantic ended with a dramatic sea rescue by a cargo ship, the Cadets ambassador is hoping to complete a 2,000-mile circumnavigation of the UK as part of a five-strong team. “I needed something more challenging than my Atlantic crossing and I have definitely found it,” she said. “Rowing across the Atlantic might sound more difficult, but UK weather, tides, rugged land mass and busy shipping areas make this row so much more technical, but that plays to my strengths. “I love navigation and being at sea, and now I get to share the experience with an amazing crew.” Emma was invited to join the team by GB Bobsleigh Olympian and Grenadier Guard Lamin Deen, who organised the challenge. Also on board is physiotherapist Sophie Harris, who, if successful, will become the first amputee

DRAMA: Emma was rescued by the crew of cargo ship Petrel Arrow during Atlantic row

OARSOME: From left, L/Sgt Lamin Deen, Sophie Harris, Christian Howard, Jason McKinlay and Wg Cdr Emma Wolstenholme

to row around Britain. Completing the team are rowers Christian Howard, who crossed the Atlantic in 105 days, and Jason McKinlay, joint holder of the World Record for the fastest pair around Great Britain.

“I’m in a fantastic team – we have gelled quickly and can’t wait to spend 30 days, hopefully less, on a tiny rowing boat admiring the UK coastline,” said Wg Cdr Wolstenholme. Dubbed ‘A Race with A Purpose’

the boat has sensors fitted by the University of Portsmouth to collect data on microplastics, sound pollution, salinity, temperature, and marine biology as part of a four-year project to monitor the health of our oceans.

Setting off on June 12, from Tower Bridge, three teams will compete against each other and rough waters, sea sickness and busy shipping lanes. They will race clockwise taking turns to row and rest, aiming to end back at the start point 30 to 40 days later depending on conditions. Wg Cdr Wolstenholme and the ‘Sea Legs’ team are raising funds to enable The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity to conduct lifesaving research. “It’s going to be tough, but I’m up for the challenge and really looking forward to being on the start line,” she said. l For more information visit: justgiving.com/teamsealegs and to follow their journey, gbrowchallenge.com/tracker

UK Typhoons target Apache on NATO wargame NATO RESPONSE: 3(F) Sqn combat jets simulating strikes against heavily armed Apache helicopters during international exercise in the Balkans

Simon Mander TYPHOONS JOINED Army Apache attack helicopters honing their combat skills on a major combat exercise. The 3 (Fighter) Sqn jets currently deployed to Romania on Nato Air Policing duties flew to North Macedonia for the training. They joined more than 40 aircraft over the Krivolak training area to simulate strike coordination and reconnaissance sorties with two Army Aviation Task Force AH-64s. Typhoon pilot Flt Lt Lewis Travers said: “Conducting coordinated strikes between Typhoon and Apache is excellent training. “It develops our understanding

of two very different aircraft, and their capabilities.” Exercise Swift Response began with a High-Altitude Low Opening parachute jump from a C-17 Globemaster by Army Pathfinders, who landed and seized ground positions, after which the Typhoons flew in to help defend them. The annual drill tests Nato’s ability to respond to international crises. This year it formed part of a wider exercise with four multinational forces, led by the US Army, conducting airborne operations training across Europe. The training covered eight countries operating in the Arctic, the Balkans, and the Baltic regions with an estimated 9,000 military personnel from 17 Nato and partner nations.

WAR MEMORIES: WWII Spitfire mechanic Jane Britten at Biggin Hill event

Biggin thrill

VETERANS RELIVED their experiences at the largest gathering of former military personnel at Biggin Hill since the end of World War II. Among them was former Mosquito pilot Wg Cdr Colin Bell DFC, who joined former comrades all aged between 97 and 101 for lunch among the Spitfires and Hurricanes in the heritage hangar. Ninety-nine-year-old wartime Spitfire mechanic Jane Britten said: “Us girls could give them back what they gave us every time, including the swear words. It was war, it was a time of all pulling together and I loved it.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 P7


CAS tribute to the fallen

Malame remembered ATLAS AIRCREW took part in a flypast tribute to remember comrades killed in the Nazi invasion of Crete. A 30 Sqn transporter passed over the Suda Bay Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in memory of 30 members of the unit killed by German paratroopers during the fight for Malame Airfield in May 1941. British Ambassador Matthew Lodge said: “We are surrounded by the final resting place of 1,500 men who fought alongside their Greek comrades for this island and for Greece.

AIR FORCE personnel paused to remember more than 20,000 Commonwealth airmen and women who died during wartime operations from bases in the UK and Europe who have no known grave. The service at the Runnymede Memorial was attended by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, veterans, members of the public and family members.

“They came from every part of the globe and during the Battle of Crete and the subsequent occupation, many thousands were killed, and many thousands taken prisoner.” 30 Sqn OC Wg Cdr Stuart Patton said: “It is important to reflect and remember those squadron members who have served before us, to remember their exploits and ultimate sacrifice.” Two further ceremonies were held, attended by representatives of Australia, Greece, India, New Zealand and the UK – whose forces fought in the battle.

On the Baltic beat Simon Mander ACTOR AND director Stephen Merchant strikes a pose beside the RAF Benevolent Fund’s statue of a WWII fighter pilot – the centrepiece of the charity’s entry to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. He was one of the famous faces to flock to the display, designed by gardening guru John Everiss. Also admiring the aluminium 12ft statue were (inset from top) Dame Judi Dench, Amanda Holden, Zoe Ball with Paul O’Grady and Gaby Roslin, and campaigner Esther Rantzen – who was given a tour of the exhibit by RAFBF chief AVM Chris Elliot.

TYPHOONS SIMULATED air combat and ground attack sorties in two Baltic states as Nato rehearsed its response to an attack on an Allied nation. Lossiemouth-based 1 (Fighter) Squadron jets joined aircraft from Belgium, Spain, France and the Czech Republic to take part in Exercise Vigilant Falcon in Lithuania. RAF weapons controllers teamed up with the Lithuanian Armed Forces Air Operations Centre and other Joint Expeditionary Force personnel for the training, that also involved US Marines serving in the country. The British fighters then returned to the region for Estonia’s Exercise Hedgehog – the largest conducted in the country since it regained its independence from the

former Soviet Union in 1991. During this exercise the 1 (F) Sqn jets backed up the British Army-led battlegroup which is integrated into the Estonian Defence forces. 1 (F) Sqn OC Wg Cdr John Cockroft said: “This provides an excellent training opportunity in a joint environment to enable us to maintain some of our skills across the multiple roles that the Typhoon is able to undertake.” The jets were supported by airto-air refuelling from Brize Nortonbased Voyagers. The 10-nation Joint Expeditionary Force was founded by the UK and includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. They form a high-readiness force to respond rapidly to crises in Northern Europe on their own or as part of Nato or the UN.

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 P9


The Great British RUDE trip

In Brief

Simon Mander MADCAP RAF veterans have completed a 1,600-mile tour of Britain’s lewdest locations to raise cash for veterans with PTSD. The trio spent two days visiting 27 places to raise £10,000 for Service Dogs UK and hit national headlines after their story was featured in RAF News. Retired Sqn Ldr Lawson Smith and ex-RAF Regiment FS Jack Harmer also dressed as characters from the 1994 movie Dumb and Dumber for the ride The pair, with 52 years’ service between them, were joined by their professional dog behaviourist chum James Conroy. Lawson (57), Jack (60), and James (48), started in Dorset and finished at Orkney. The tour also took them to Ass Hill, East Sussex; Upperthong, West Yorkshire; Backside Lane, Doncaster; Coxhoe, County Durham and Busty Terrace in Bishop Auckland. There was disappointment for the team when they arrived to find the sign at Slag Lane in Chesterfield had been stolen. The trio travelled in a carpet-covered Citroën ‘dog’ car for the 48-hour charity drive, raising funds to train rescued animals to be support dogs for exService personnel struggling with PTSD. Lawson, of Sheffield, said: “What a hoot that was, exhausting but we had uncountable belly laughs. We have had a blast. It’s been non-stop laughter.”

FRONTLINE COMMAND: Wg Cdr Tait, left, is welcomed to 617 Sqn by outgoing chief Cdr Sparrow at Marham

Dambuster lands Marham posting FORMER ‘DAMBUSTERS’ Tornado pilot Wg Cdr David Tait has taken over command of 617 Squadron, operating the F-35 Lightning from Marham. He was welcomed back to the Norfolk station by outgoing chief Cdr Mark Sparrow, the first Navy Officer to command the famous squadron. Wg Cdr Tait, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “It is especially poignant to return to the Dambusters having completed my first frontline tour with the squadron and to take command as we approach our 80th anniversary in 2023.”

Charity chief marks a decade of JET power

THE RAF Falcons parachute display team stole the show after dropping in on Northern Ireland’s largest agricultural festival. And despite bad weather preventing them jumping on two of the four days of the event, their arrival

got a welcome fit for royalty from the crowd at Balmoral Park in Lisburn. Now in its 152nd year, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society event attracts an estimated 120,000 visitors annually. And among them this year was Air Officer Northern Ireland Air Marshal Sean Reynolds, who took the salute.

YOUTH CHARITY founder Dr Emma Egging took to the skies in a Spitfire recently, completing 10 challenges to mark a decade of the Jon Egging Trust. Emma (pictured right), launched the organisation to support young and disadvantaged youngsters following the death of her husband, Red Arrows pilot Flt Lt Jon Egging during a display in 2011. She said: “The Trust is about aviation and the inspirational people and opportunities there are. “It felt particularly fitting to have the chance to take to the skies for my final challenge.” Emma has completed an ultramarathon and a 4.5-hour caving challenge as part of her bid to promote JET’s Blue Skies programme. The youth campaigner was joined by JET graduates Bethany Drewery and Nathan Holland

(right) for the event. Emma added: “They were both enrolled onto Blue Skies in their early teens and struggling at school. With JET’s help they have gone on to achieve fantastic things and are now youth ambassadors for the charity.” The youngsters flew in formation with Emma in Extra 300 aircraft piloted by The Blades Aerobatic Team, including former Red Arrows pilot James McMillan. Emma’s JET10 challenges have raised more than £70,000 for the Trust. l To donate go to: fundraising@ joneggingtrust.org.uk/JET10

HOME RUN: RAF Museum curator Maggie Appleton with PDHT’s Graham Clarkson

Sunderland heads home THE RAF Museum’s Short Sunderland Flying Boat could be on its way home following a deal with the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust (PDHT). Under a new agreement both groups will collaborate on future plans for the aircraft that was originally located in the Welsh town more than 50 years ago. Trust chairman Graham Clarkson said: “We are particularly looking forward to working together on special projects for the Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre which relate to our long RAF history.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 P13


REMEMBRANCE: Members of 140 EAW pay tribute to lost WWII crew in Romania

WWII Bomber crew honoured BRITAIN’S AMBASSADOR to Romania called for an end to the wartime targeting of civilians at a ceremony honouring an RAF bomber crew killed crash landing to avoid hitting a village. The 150 Squadron Wellington was attacked by night fighters 30km from Bucharest on a sortie targeting the Ploiesti oil refineries in May 1944. With its right engine on fire and payload intact, pilot Warrant Officer Stanley Clarke avoided Comana and attempted to land close to a lake. The landing gear collapsed, and the aircraft rolled, burying itself in thick mud and killing all five crew. Speaking at a commemoration event Ambassador Andrew Noble said: “We must protect the civilian population, not have them as military targets.” Air Force personnel from 140 Expeditionary Air Wing visited Commonwealth War Graves in Tancabesti for a service of remembrance and visited the crash site at Neajlov Delta. 140 EAW CO Wg Cdr Holland said: “It is important we remember the sacrifice and bravery of all those who served on 150 Sqn, in particular the crew of JA-525, who made the ultimate sacrifice here at Comana.”

Who Dares Wings TV chef Matt flips over RAFA stunt

SATURDAY KITCHEN presenter Matt Tebbutt took a walk on the wild side for the RAF Association – strapped to a stunt bi-plane. The RAFA ambassador, whose grandfathers both served with the RAF Regiment in World War II, joined other volunteers to raise funds for the charity with the AeroSuperBatics team at Redcomb airfield in the Cotswolds. He said: “I was buzzing. Doing loops and rolls was incredible. “I wanted to learn to fly from an early age, which is why I joined my university’s air squadron. I am still connected with friends from there.”

Polish Battle of Britain heroes take a bow at Northolt defence of Poland, France, and Britain. HISTORIC WWII artefacts Others include Fighter ace Flt Lt belonging to Polish heroes who Ludwik Paszkiewicz who famously helped win the Battle of Britain shot down an Me110 after breaking have gone on display at Northolt. formation from a training flight for The exhibition tells the stories which he was reprimanded then of some of the 147 battle-hardened congratulated. pilots who fought in the conflict – The exhibition includes pieces 66 of them in two fighter squadrons, from the wreckage of his 303 Sqn 302 and 303. Hurricane retrieved after his death Polish Consul General Mateusz in the Battle of Britain having Stąsiek unveiled memorabilia from scored six victories. the collection in an area of the Also featured is Gp Capt historic Officers’ Mess renamed the Alexander Gabszewicz who Polish Air Force Room. commanded 131 Polish Wing at He said: “It represents the newest Northolt, and Johnny Kent, a Flight addition to the map of places Commander on 303 (Polish) Sqn of Polish heritage in the United – the highest-scoring unit in the Kingdom and reminds us very Battle, shooting down 126 German well of the vital contribution aircraft in 42 days. of the Polish Air Force during But perhaps most poignant the Second World War.” is the diary of engineer Tadek Among the aircrew Kwissa, whose entry for May featured is Frantisek Kornicki, 8, 1945 reads: ‘Today at 24.01 voted the people’s Spitfire pilot the official end of war in in a poll by Hendon Museum Europe but what about in 2017, aged 100, with Sir us? Unfortunately, the Douglas Bader runner-up. joy of victory over The last surviving Polish Germany doesn’t yet Sqn Commander he was give freedom to us.’ OC of both 308 and 317 Polish Air Force Sqns during three tours ICKI Memorial Committee RN KO K SE TI AN at Northolt and flew in FR Chairman Richard

Simon Mander

BRAVEST OF THE BRAVE: Richard Kornicki (left) with Gp Capt McPhaden and Consul General Mateusz Stąsiek open the exhibition at Northolt

Kornicki said: “This splendid new facility in the historic heart of RAF Northolt will play a key part in enabling us to tell the story of the Polish Air Force to an everwidening range of visitors.”

Northolt Station Commander Gp Capt Toria McPhaden said: “It is a privilege and honour to continue to support our Polish community and its long history with RAF Northolt.”

The exhibition will be open to anyone, but visits must be arranged in organised tours. Dates of open tours will be placed on the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee website.

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 P15


Envoy IV breaks cover Dassault 900LX

Simon Mander THE RAF’S latest aircraft type has been named after a wartime transporter that once flew with the King’s Flight. Two new Dassault 900LX Falcon jets bought to replace the BAe146 fleet are to be christened ‘Envoy IV,’ in recognition of their role in defence diplomacy and their namesake’s previous military service. Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Simon Edwards, said: “The name of our new Command Support Air Transport aircraft reflects our proud heritage, heralds the arrival of a new aircraft type, and recognises its important mission. “The fleet – and those who make it fly – play a key role in the future of UK Defence, moving quickly to build and strengthen partnerships, relationships and influence across the globe.” Envoy aircraft will be based


3X Honeywell Turbofan



20.21 metres/66ft 4ins


21 metres/70ft 2ins


4600 miles/7400kms

at RAF Northolt with 32 (The Royal) Squadron under contract with Centreline AV Ltd for two years and operated by mixed crews before upgrading to full military and operational capability in 2024. The aircraft will transport Royals, government, and military leaders around the world more quickly and efficiently than before. The original Envoy III was a twin-engine light transport aircraft, used by the RAF before and during World War II in the communications role with the ‘King’s Flight’ – a precursor to 32 (The Royal) Sqn.

Waddington wing-din marks Black Buck raids David Swift

THE TWELVE Air Force personnel killed battling to save people on some of Britain’s most dangerous peaks have been honoured with a new monument at the National Memorial Arboretum. Serving Mountain Rescue Service personnel and veterans unveiled the tribute to those who lost their lives with the UK military’s only all-weather ground search and rescue unit, formed during WWII to locate

and save downed pilots. Commanding Officer Sqn Ldr Ed Slater said “MRS has a proud tradition of helping others. Since 1943, when Flt Lt George Graham ventured into the mountains to rescue a downed airman, the men and women of the MRS have continued this selfless pursuit. “The monument pays tribute to the troops who have given their lives whilst on mountain rescue duties.”

VETERANS OF the daring Black Buck raid on the Falklands gathered under the wings of the V-bomber that carried it out for a celebratory dinner to mark the 40th anniversary of the mission. Vulcan pilot Sqn Ldr Martin Withers, who flew XM607 on the operation to deny the Argentines use of Port Stanley airfield, was reunited with his former Operations Wing chief retired Air Cdre Simon Baldwin at the event. The iconic jet which made the record-breaking trip from the Ascension Islands to the Falklands stood centre stage in the Waddington hangar. At the time the 16-hour, 12,000 km mission was the longest bombing raid ever conducted by any aircraft. Air Cdre Baldwin said: “The Falklands conflict was a closerun thing, and the Black Buck sorties made a very significant contribution to air superiority, and therefore to the victory in the Falklands War. “For most of us directly involved in Black Buck operations, it was the most important and traumatic period of our careers in the RAF. “It is a bit humbling, but very

HISTORIC: Falklands veterans enjoy dinner in the Waddington hangar alongside Vulcan XM607 to mark 40th anniversary of raids. Inset, raid hero Withers (left) with Air Cdre Baldwin

pleasing that RAF Waddington wishes to mark the 40th anniversary of Black Buck, and I would like to thank everyone who gave us the

opportunity to meet old friends and colleagues again, and to remember those who are no longer with us.” Vulcan XM607 now acts as gate guardian for the Lincolnshire station.

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 P16

Feature DEBUT: F-35

Cosford blas

Air Show returns bigger and better after its enforced three-year break IT’S CURTAIN up at the Cosford Air Show and the first time in three years for aviation fans to experience the full force of UK combat air power. This year’s event boasts air show A-listers the Red Arrows and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, plus high-octane displays by the swing-role Typhoon and, for the first time, the F-35 Lightning (above). As the UK marks HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, organisers will be celebrating the RAF’s Royal links over the last 70 years of her reign. More than 50,000 aviation fans are expected to flock to the famous RAF site on Sunday, June 12, to see the military’s current top guns and vintage war birds from World War II onwards. Air Show spokesman Sqn Ldr Chris Wilson said: “We’ve been looking forward to this since 2019. It’s the one time we get to throw our doors open to the public and show


them what their RAF does for them. “While the UK was in lockdown aircrews have been honing their skills on operations and exercises worldwide and we are proud to put them centre stage here at Cosford.” The UK’s Allies will be flexing their military muscle with displays by Belgium F-16s and A109s and the French Air Force Rafale. On the ground there is the chance to get up close to vintage icons like the Harrier GR3 and Tornado GR4 and tour the RAF Museum’s internationally renowned collection, which includes the Vulcan and English Electric Lightning. Air Show Chairman, Wg Cdr Kenny Wickens, added: “A huge amount of work has been done to provide a safe and enjoyable show for all of our visitors and we look forward to welcoming everyone back to RAF Cosford for a day of celebration and entertainment.”

ON A ROLL: The Reds perform their Tornado manoeuvre, above; an engineer helps pilot, left, and young fans dressed for the occasion, right

Top role in aviation Anarchy in the UK Gibbs Grob job

COMMANDING THE Battle of Britain Memorial Flight must be one of the most coveted jobs in aviation. Sqn Ldr Mark Sugen took the helm in December 2021, replacing Sqn Ldr Mark Discombe who held the post for seven years. Sqn Ldr Sugen joined the Coningsby-based unit, which flies a

MAKING THEIR MARK: Sqn Ldr Mark Sugen has taken over from Sqn Ldr Mark Discombe

priceless collection of WWII warbirds, as a volunteer in 2017. He said: “I hope the BBMF can look forward to resuming normal business, showing off our iconic aircraft to the millions who see us during the summer months. I’m incredibly excited about the contribution I can make during my time at the helm.”

TYPHOON DISPLAY ace Flt Lt Adam O’Hare (pictured) is set to wow millions of aviation fans as he takes to the skies in the UK and Europe with his show-stopping routine this summer. The Coningsby-based combat pilot, who uses the call sign Anarchy1, said: “It’s an absolute dream come true to be given this opportunity. “I cannot wait for the year that lies ahead. Being able to display the incredible Eurofighter Typhoon all over the UK and overseas whilst hopefully inspiring the future generations of the RAF will be a memory that stays with me forever.”

TYPHOON: Inspiring future combat pilots

FORMER SEARCH and Rescue pilot David-John Gibbs will showcase the RAF’s Tutor trainer – the starting point for every UK pilot’s journey to the frontline. After a Navy career flying the Sea King helicopter, the SAR star signed up with 115 Sqn as an instructor teaching students with the University Air Squadrons to fly in the basic trainer. Flt Lt Gibbs (above) became an examiner at the Central Flying School in 2019 and will be performing at air shows across the UK during this year’s air show season. He said: “It’s an enormous honour to be chosen for this role. We want to attract the brightest and best undergraduates to the UASs, and then hopefully a career in the RAF. For many of them, their first experience of a UAS or the RAF will be when they see the Grob Tutor in a flying display.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 P17

sts back


The Wok stars ICON: Spitfire

Reds honour Her Majesty COSFORD MARKS the start of the Red Arrows’ latest campaign, featuring more than 65 displays across the United Kingdom and Europe. Along with some of their famous moves the new show will feature a formation to honour HM The Queen during her Platinum Jubilee. The new 20-minute display was created and choreographed by Red 1 and team leader Sqn Ldr Tom Bould. He said: “It is with great pride and privilege that the Red Arrows have the opportunity to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, by performing a display full of creativity and excitement. “The new show features lots of loops, rolls and shapes with our trademark patriotic red, white and blue trails, marking this important year and

the very best of British. “As a team, the Red Arrows are thrilled to be displaying at a range of events in the UK and overseas. “We are extremely grateful for the massive support from the millions of people who attend these airshows and events.” This year the Arrows are performing aerobatics with a seven-aircraft formation, while the team’s major national flypasts will use nine jets. The team spent the winter months honing their showstopping routine in Greece and Croatia and are promising a display with some new moves, along with tried and tested crowd pleasers. Sqn Ldr Bould (left) added: “Our start to the new show in 2022 is the Wall Arrival – one of our widest shapes, spreading out all of the jets and making for a big impact.” The team has reached back into their greatest hits catalogue with the

Double Goose, which features the Synchro Pair flying head-on towards five aircraft before pulling up through a pyramid shape. For the finale the Reds will be performing their famous Infinity Break, where Sqn Ldr Bould will fly an infinity sign through the formation before the pilots all break at 360 knots, pulling 6-G. This year is the team’s 58th season and will be the busiest domestic campaign since 2018, following a reduced number of events due to the pandemic over the last two summers, while 2019 involved a calendar of shows split between the UK and a major tour of North America. Officer Commanding, Wg Cdr David Montenegro, said: “At home and overseas, the team brings people together with a demonstration of precision and professionalism. “As a team, we were heartened to see groups, especially families, back at air shows and other events, which are incredibly valuable to so many communities and economies.”

The rank outsider who defied odds to become Arrows pilot THIS YEAR’S Red 10, Sqn Ldr Graeme Muscat, dreamed of being a RAF pilot from the age of 10. But when he joined the ranks as a Communications System Analyst and was posted to 399 Signals Unit, he didn’t believe he’d even become an officer, let alone a combat pilot. “It was always an ambition since I was 10 but it didn’t work out with exam results, so I joined as an Airman in Trade Group 11, Communications,” he said. His big chance came after becoming an Air Signaller on 51 Sqn at Waddington, when the RAF decided to up the age limit to 31 for NCO Aircrew. “I applied and was successful. I always had ambitions to be a combat pilot but really didn’t know if they would let me go down that stream with my age, as I was 29 at the time,” he said. “Once under training it was mainly keeping up with my peers who were generally 10 years younger than me, but my previous RAF experience allowed me to concentrate on the difficult aspects for me,


DUST-UP: Chinook

THE RAF Chinook Display Team say they can’t wait to get back to showing the public what the formidable Wokka Wokka can do. Their appearance at the Cosford Air Show will be just the third time they’ve been able to display since Covid restrictions lifted last autumn. Team captain Flt Lt Matt ‘Schmitty’ Smyth, said: “We’re really looking forward to it – we like to think we’ll be among the show’s highlights but there’s a lot of competition out there.” He added: “I was lucky enough to be co-pilot in 2018. It’s very good fun, everyone on the team really enjoys it, and it’s great meeting the public afterwards and answering questions.” This year’s displays will, of

Chinook Display Team, 27 Sqn, RAF Odiham Captain, Flt Lt Matthew ‘Schmitty’ Smyth Both Schmitty’s parents served in the RAF. He has more than 2,000 hours flying Chinooks and has deployed to numerous operations around the world including Afghanistan and Op Newcombe, Mali. Co-Pilot: Flt Lt Paul Huyton aul joined the RAF in 2010 as a trainee pilot and moved to 27 Sqn in 2017. He took part in the D-Day 75 celebrations in Caen in June 2019, has seen many exercises in the UK, USA and Norway and has deployed on Op Shader and Op Newcombe.


which was the flying. I just continued doing my best during pilot training and eventually managed to get to the Tornado GR4, which I loved.” Sqn Ldr Muscat was posted to XIII and IX(B) Squadrons and flew frontline missions in Afghanistan and Libya. “I remember I told my Dad

I wanted to be a fighter pilot and he kind of dismissed it, not because he didn’t think I was good enough, but my parents just didn’t know enough about the RAF. The day I got my wings he was the first to walk up and congratulate me. “They all can’t wait to see the team in action in 2022.”

course, feature the team’s famous ‘big hands’ and all the noise and thrills Chinook fans love. The Chinook with the special Union Flag paint job marking the aircraft’s 40th anniversary last year won’t be displaying for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this month because it’s having its ‘MOT’ but it could return to the skies for the second half of the display season. Schmitty’s colleague, crewman Sgt Scott ‘Scotty’ Morris, agreed the aircraft has a special place in their hearts. Scotty said: “I always wanted to work on Chinooks, they do such an important job.” l Follow the RAF Chinook Display Team on Facebook and Twitter @ChinookDisplay

Co-Pilot: Flt Lt Simon ‘Flynny’ Flynn Flynny was awarded his wings in 2005. He completed tours of the Falklands and in Mali, working with the French military on Op Newcombe, and served on exercises in Oman, Norway, and America.

Crewman: Sgt Dan ‘Scranners’ Hine Scranners joined 27 Sqn in 2018 and has since been on exercises worldwide, including the USA, Oman, Norway, and France. He has also deployed on operations three times – twice to Mali and once to Iraq. Crewman: Sgt Danny ‘Gilders’ Gilderson Gilders has amassed more than 1,200 hours flight time on the Chinook. He assisted during the dam crisis at Whaley Bridge in 2019 and has completed tours of the Falklands and Mali and been on exercises all over the world. Crewman: Sgt Scott ‘Scotty’ Morris After joining the RAF as a logistics supplier in 2009, Scotty served at RAF Lyneham, Brize Norton, and MOD Stafford, completing detachments to the Falkland Islands and Afghanistan. He graduated from the Operational Conversion Unit in 2018 and was posted to 27 Sqn.

A timely summary of the key benefits of AFPS15 ADVERTORIAL

AS you know, from 1st April, everyone serving is now on AFPS15 which remains one of the best public sector pension schemes in operation.

The Forces Pension Society is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which acts as a pension watchdog for the entire military community.

There are numerous benefits to AFPS15 and in this article I’m going to highlight some of them. First, the basics: if you serve to the age of 60, your pension will be paid immediately you leave – if you exit earlier, (which is highly likely for most serving today), pension payments are deferred until state pension age. For every year you serve, the MoD adds 1/47th of your annual pensionable earnings to your individual pension. Each year, it increases in line with the Average Weekly Earnings Index, thereby retaining the value of your pension for the long term. Early Departure Payment (EDP): in order to encourage retention to at least age 40 (and assuming departure before age 60), for a 20year minimum term, you will qualify for an EDP equivalent to at least 34% of your deferred pension, plus a tax-free lump sum equivalent to 2.25 times the deferred pension. This is quite separate from any pension you’ll receive at state pension age and is unique to the Armed Forces! Buy Added Pension: this is extra pension you can purchase to increase your benefits on retirement – and I recommend you consider doing this. It’s very flexible- with a minimum contribution of just £25 a month. You can do it

From Maj Gen Neil Marshall, CEO Forces Pension Society for a year at a time and include your spouse/partner if you wish. And it’s highly taxefficient since payments into the scheme are taken from your gross pay before tax. The scheme not only delivers a bigger pension, but it also increases your EDP and lump sum. At the moment, the extra annual pension benefits you can buy is capped at £6,500pa. Dependant’s Benefits: provided you have served more than two years at the time of your death, your spouse or civil partner will be eligible to receive a pension under AFPS15. If you die in Service, your spouse/civil partner or eligible partner will receive an immediate pension, paid for life, and a tax-free lump sum amounting to four times your final pensionable earnings. To ensure these benefits pass to the right person, you just need to keep your personal details up to date with Joint Personnel Administration. In summary, the benefits of AFPS15 compare very favourably with other schemes across the public and private sectors and the longer you are in it, the greater the rewards. To ensure you’re aware of the full details of the scheme and how the McCloud Remedy might affect you, join our growing membership, now well over 63,000. Visit www.forcespensionsociety.org and remember, it pays to understand your pension.

GMANY OPTIONS: Maj Gen Neil Marshall

66p ISSN 0035-8614 22 >

9 770035 861037

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 R'n'R 1

Announcements l P6-7

Puzzles l P8

R'n'R Win!

Win Battle Proms tickets See pages 4-5

See p3

Where there's a Will – Mitchell plays The Bard

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 R'n'R 4

R'n'R Film

Princess Diana/Allelujah Diana/Allelujah Altitude Films/Pathé Films/Pathé

An Allelujah for our ab fab NHS

Win tickets to the Battle Proms 25th spectacular T

NHS STALWART: Nurse Gilpin (Jennifer Saunders)


HE FIRST images have been released from Pathé’s new feature film Allelujah, a darkly comic tale about surviving old age based on the stage play by Alan Bennett (The Madness of King George, The Lady in The Van). Heidi Thomas (Call the Midwife, Cranford) wrote the screenplay and it’s directed by Richard Eyre (Notes on A Scandal, Iris). The film stars a host of famous faces, including Jennifer Saunders, Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi, Julia McKenzie and Russell Tovey. Pathé plans to release the film in UK cinemas early next year, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the NHS. When the geriatric ward of a small Yorkshire hospital is threatened with closure, the hospital decides to fight back by galvanizing the local community. They invite a news crew to film

© Pathé and BBC 2022

their preparations for a concert in honour of the hospital’s most distinguished nurse. What could go wrong? Allelujah celebrates the spirit of the elderly patients whilst paying tribute to the deep humanity of the medical staff battling with limited resources and ever-growing demand. But in the midst of the tears and the laughter, we slowly realise that there is something threatening the hospital that is far more lethal than the politicians demanding efficiency at any cost… Eyre said: “Heidi adapted Alan’s play very cleverly, and the two of them produced a wonderful, thought-provoking script – very funny but also deeply moving. They challenge us to think hard about how, as a society, we should care for the old. The film is an urgent call to arms to support our public health services.”

The Queen of Hearts


HE PRINCESS, a new film about Princess Diana, is in cinemas from June 30, including a special one-night-only event across the UK and Ireland. Tickets for the exclusive screening will be on sale in the coming weeks via: altitude. film. Telling the story of Princess Diana through contemporaneous archival footage creating an immersive narrative of her life and death, it has its UK premiere at Sundance Film Festival London on June 11. A spokesperson for Altitude Films said: “Turning the camera back on ourselves, the film also illuminates the profound impact she had and how the public’s attitude to the monarchy was, and still is, shaped by these events.”

HARLEM, 1989: Di visits child Aids hospital

HE BATTLE Proms are back this summer – and it’s an especially appropriate event to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this year. From toe-tapping vintage vocals to a captivating programme of classical tunes, the event is set to be an unforgettable evening of music and breathtaking Spitfire, parachute, cavalry, cannon and firework displays, all set in the grounds of some of the UK’s top stately homes. Now celebrating their 25th anniversary, these quintessentially British ‘party in the park’ concerts are said to be the place to be this summer, whether you’re planning a romantic evening as a couple, a celebration as a group, or want to enjoy an informal concert as a family. The Battle Proms Concerts are the longest running picnic proms series in the UK, attracting around 40,000 visitors a year since the first concert in 1997. They feature a two-hour orchestral programme with all the ‘Last Night of the Proms’ finale favourites. Also on the bill are the Napoleonic Cavalry, the Red Devils parachute team, the legendary Grace Spitfire taking to the skies, music from the Battle Proms Belles, inspiring classical music from the New English Concert Orchestra hosted by BBC presenter Pam Rhodes, soprano Denise Leigh singing arias from famed operas and, leading the singalong finale, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and Beethoven’s Battle Symphony, with more than 200 live cannon shots, musket fire and fireworks and the classic finale with anthems including Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory – then the evening closes with a magnificent musical fireworks display. 2022 also sees The Battle Proms reach a fundraising milestone, with more than £500,000 raised for military charities. For the last five

years The Battle Proms charity partner has been SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, and so far, the partnership has raised more than £169,000 to support the charity’s work for the UK’s Armed Forces, veterans and their families. The Battle Proms return this July, once again in support of SSAFA, with concerts at: Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire (July 2), Burghley House in Lincolnshire (July 9), Hatfield House in Hertfordshire (July 16) and Highclere Castle – the real Downton Abbey – in Hampshire (July 30).

ICON: Grace Spitfire



pair on f out. T tick


E Pro batt CO

RED DEVILS: Parachute display

B The will who your the u emai W and n

Royal Air Force News Friday, June 3, 2022 R'n'R 5


A Spitfire Named Connie Pen & Sword (pen-and-sword.co.uk)

Letters from a Spitfire ace A

PARTY TIME: Pack a picnic

O CELEBRATE with The Battle Proms, we have six pairs of tickets worth £94 each r to give away, so pack up a picnic, stock up fizz and get ready for a spectacular evening . To be in with a chance of winning a pair of kets, answer this question correctly:

COLOURFUL: Cannon fire

When was the first Battle Proms UK concert?

Email your answer, and preferred Battle oms concert venue and date, to: info@ tlproms.com, subject: RAF NEWS OMPETITION by June 17, 2022.

SPITFIRE Named Connie is the new book by Air Marshal Graeme ‘Black’ Robertson – the prequel to Fighters in the Blood – and the story of decorated Spitfire ace ‘Robbie’ Robertson who was shot down and badly wounded in North Africa. Written by his son (below) – whose distinguished RAF career culminated in serving as Chief of Staff and Deputy Commanderin-Chief, RAF Strike Command, before he retired in 1998 – the book draws heavily on the hundreds of letters Robbie wrote to the teenager Connie Freeman, who eventually became his wife. Described as ‘an exciting rollercoaster of a story’ it tells how ‘Robbie’ starts his RAF training during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. As he learns his trade, he is soon rubbing shoulders with Fighter Command heroes, including Brian Kingcome, ‘Ginger’ Lacey and Bob Stanford Tuck. Moving from 111 to 72 Squadron, Robbie opens his account against the Luftwaffe in Spring, 1942. Six months later, as he adds further to his score, the action moves to the skies over North Africa. There, wounded and shot down by one of the Luftwaffe’s most celebrated

experten, his Spitfire crashes to the ground. Found lying near the wreckage by an Army patrol, Robbie is moved from casualty clearing stations to hospitals across Tunisia and Algeria as doctors try desperately to save his sight. Finally, unable to stand the pain any longer, he reluctantly agrees to the removal of his right eye. A slow recovery and eventual return to the UK is no compensation for the end of his flying career. Desk-bound for the remainder of the war, the second period of his RAF life begins. With Robbie’s own and Connie’s diaries, correspondence from RAF colleagues and his flying logbook, this highly-charged tale reads like a novel but almost every word is true. We have copies of this compelling title, published by the Air World imprint of Pen & Sword books, to win. For your chance to own one, tell us: In which year did AM ‘Black’ Robertson retire from the RAF? Email your answer, marked: A Spitfire Named Connie competition, to: competitions@ rafnews.co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE to arrive by June 17.

Guild Fringe free events

Enjoy a quintessentially Win! British party in the park



By entering the competition you agree to subscribe to Battle Proms e-marketing database. JSL Productions never share your personal data with third-parties intend to use it for their own purposes without be exchanged for any other goods. Winners agree to abide by concert and estate r consent. You can unsubscribe at any time using rules. Please email: info@battleproms.com for full competition T&Cs. unsubscribe option on JSL Productions marketing n Don’t want to leave it to chance? Full details and tickets can ils. be found at: battleproms.com, with a military discount available Winners will be selected at random on June 20, 2022 for serving or retired military personnel via Defence Discount notified by email. Tickets are transferable but cannot Service: defencediscountservice.co.uk


UILDFORD FRINGE Festival returns from June 24 to July 16, with a packed programme of more than 100 live performance and arts events. It features comedy, theatre, live music, cabaret and other events, including a summer exhibition, a writing workshop and a ‘Movie & Meal’ series. Set up by managing director Nick Wyschna in 2013, Guildford’s largest independent multi-arts festival – which Nick runs with his wife Charlotte – is described as ‘an open-access celebration featuring theatre, comedy, poetry, music, visual arts, family-friendly shows, talks and free events.’ Nick said: “We are back! I can’t tell you how excited Charlotte and I are at the prospect of a ‘normal’ Fringe Festival this year. “We have been away for a while but our values are still the same, we want the arts to be accessible for everyone who wants to enjoy them. With this in mind I am very pleased to say that we have several free events and we have kept the average ticket price at around £9. We hope this means you’ll be able to come out and have some fun with us.”

ODE TO JOYCE: Apollo Theatre Company

This year’s event venues include Clandon Wood Nature Reserve, Guildford High Street, Holy Trinity Church, St Mary’s Church, The Fallen Angel, The Guildhall, The Keep Pub, The Mill Studio at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, The Star Inn and Zero Carbon Guildford. Among the acts taking part are cabaret artist Amber Topaz (below), ‘slapdash magic’ pioneers Griffin and Jones and the Apollo Theatre Company in Ode to Joyce. n Go to: guildfordfringefestival. com for more details or call the box office on: 01483 361101.