100 Years of the RAF 1st April 1918-2018
Horse Guards Parade
RAF Planes in Central London
July 6th-9th 2018
Although the display of RAF planes at Horse Guards parade in London was only for a few days, this article is part of the homage to the 100 years of the RAF events this year, and takes a snapshot of the planes of display. A heatwave long week end was the backdrop for visitors who came from far and wide. We noticed tourists from allied countries taking photos in front of the planes, shouting “Great Britain” which really translates the impact of the wars these planes saw and the solidarity it created.
Horse Guards Parade, #RAF100 Enclosure
Stem Zone: This was an interactive area showing how the RAF uses many other disciplines and its advances with SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, MATHEMATICS = STEM.
9 Aircraft at Horse Guards Parade;
Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning
Full scale Replica most modern RAF fast Jet
Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4: Full scale Replica
Panavia Tornado GR4
Provides primary ground attack, and carries out reconnaissance, where observation of a location takes place to identify strategic targets and locate enemy. Words associated precision, tactical, flexible, programmable, for predictable and unpredictable situations.
Speed: RAF website notes Mach 1.3. Mach 1 is the speed of sound so anything above that is termed supersonic, i.e. is faster than the speed of sound.
Weapons: GPS/Laser guided paveway group bombs, storm shadow cruise missile. A lightening III targeting pod and 27mm gun. Dual Mode Seeker Brimstone,(DMB) circa 2008. Brimstone also a term for sulphur/ fire and in the bible “Gods Wrath” Seems an apt that name commands ones attention. Turns out Brimstone missile technology is a British invention and somewhat of a legacy that started late 70s and resurfacing in the late 80s was cancelled a few times till the Gulf war 1991 when development was given more consideration since the Americans had technology that we had yet to fulfil.
Through fits and starts, 2005 is the next notable time things got moving again. Delays were due to integration issues with software and the need to upgrade the Tornado GR4 Aircraft. It can be launched at supersonic speeds and to get your head around the technology sub sonically i.e. below the velocity of sound. An Urgent Operational Requirement went out in 2007 for the upgrade to contain a Semi Active Laser that was then named the Dual Mode Brimstone (DMB). This missile technology could switch from autonomous to laser guided targeting. So also being able to switch from Semi active Laser SAL and using mmW millimetric Wave seeker that capture near optical high resolution wavelengths that the computerised system mathematically processes. Good for fast moving targets or a congested battle zone that surpass a laser.
It has been used in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. It’s loaded in a triple launching pylon. It can fire Directly where a pilot integrates the targeting system to a specific target in advance to missile release and indirectly for when targets are beyond the pilots sight known as “Fire and forget”. It has a program that is able to search, identify, track and strike within a set “Kill box”. The Actor Ewan McGregor in 2002 took a trip in a Tornado with his RAF pilot flt Lt Colin McGregor 550mph also flying upside-down. He was quoted in the tabloids “Unbelievably fast and low” The trip raised around £4 thousand pounds for a Children’s Hospice. This event somewhat name dropped the name of this aircraft into the public limelight.
Chinook Boeing Hc4/6A:
Helicopter with twin rotor blades & weapons. Capable of operating at land or sea in jungle, desert or Artic conditions. It can transport a lot of troops, and lift heavy cargo items ,such as vehicles. Used to evacuate casualties. Versatile. History of the various models over time is interesting. The Iconic RAF debut for this was around Aug 1981 Chinook Squadron 18. Spring of 1982 it was called into action, many who recall seeing it during the Falklands war. Over time this Helicopter saw Service in the Gulf wars, Iraq, Afghanistan. Upgrades and technology have moved with the times but now other Squadrons also fly the Chinook, 27 Squadron, 28, Squadron, 7 Squadron as well as a display team.
Harrier GR3 – Falklands 1969-2010
The Harrier Jump Jet by Hawker Siddeley was developed in the 1960 for the RAF as a Vertical short takeoff and landing aircraft (V/STOL) and in the 1970’s exported to the United States. Aircraft variants GR1 and GR3.
From a certain generation these aircraft where most memorable for taking part in the Falklands War in 1982. The conflict saw the use of the Sea Harrier variant which was commissioned for the Royal Navy during the 1970’s for the Invincible class aircraft carriers.
Douglas C-47 Dakota
One of those Aircraft which is recogniseable from the sound and it’s distinct look. The Douglas DC3 (C-47, Skytrain, Dakota)first flew in 1935 as a civilian passenger aircraft and arguably the world’s first successful airliner. The Second World War took this aircraft into mainstream military service, transporting duties, acting as glider tug.
The aircraft could cruise at 185mph with a service ceiling of 23,000 feet and a range upto 2100 miles
Supermarine Spitfire MkXVI
One of the most recognisable aircraft, the Supermarine Spitfire came into service after a series of developments at the Mk1 Spitfire in 1937. The aircraft name was twinned with the most famous aircraft engine name Rolls Royce Merlin.
The variant on display was a very different machine to that of the Mk1. This variant was made at Castle Bromwich factory, notable that the wing design change led to a higher speed (ends where clipped). There where 50 variants of the Merlin engine that went into production over the series life time. Starting at 1000 HP and ending at almost 2000 HP. The aircraft on display is powered by 27 Litre V12 Merlin 66.
Gloster Meteor F4
Gloster Meteor F4 – 616 mph in 1946 made the world airspeed record at that time
Where the Show was held..
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