WASHINGTON — While the Royal International Air Tattoo is famous for its impressive flying displays and significance of being the largest military air show in the world, the annual event also provides a hub for aerospace excellence, bringing military and civilian leaders in aviation together to discuss airpower and the future of innovation.
In addition, this year’s Air Tattoo, held July 13-14, at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England, served as the official international celebration of the RAF’s 100th anniversary.
Seventy-nine military delegations, including 64 military chiefs from around the world, were on hand to commemorate the RAF centennial, among them U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein.
Reflecting on the relationship between the two nations and their militaries, Goldfein said, “The USAF and the RAF share a bond unlike any other – a bond born in the crucible of war against tyranny and nurtured over decades of commitment to our shared values of peace, security and prosperity.”
“The depth of this partnership will only grow as – together – we face increasingly complex, high-end threats,” he added. “I am proud that the RAF – as a technological aviation leader and tier-one partner in the development of the joint strike fighter – will be flying on our wing as we train harder, deter adversaries and when required, defeat threats to global peace and security.”
The U.S. Air Force participates in RIAT annually, a symbol of U.S. commitment to the security of Europe and the ever-strong bond between the U.S. and England.
This year, the U.S. Air Force made a particularly strong showing, with the F-35 Lighting II, KC-135 Stratotanker, MC-130 Commando II, F-15E Strike Eagle and F-15 Eagle, B-1 Lancer, C-17 Globemaster III, HH-60 Pave Hawk and KC-10 Extender in attendance, and special performances by the F-35 Heritage Flight Team and B-2 Spirit to commemorate the RAF centenary.
Following the Air Tattoo, the week-long Farnborough International Air Show was held in Farnborough, England, July 16-22.
Held every two years, the event includes an international trade show that allows the aerospace industry to demonstrate the latest in both civilian and military aircraft capabilities, while the public air show offers an opportunity for the U.S., along with other military allies, to showcase leadership in aerospace technologies to an international audience.
U.S. aircraft featured at this year’s FIA included the AH-64 Apache, F-16 Fighting Falcon, C-130 Super Hercules, C-130 Hercules, P-8 Poseidon, C-17 Globemaster III and CH-47 Chinook.
U.S. Air Force participation in international airshows such as RIAT and FIA promotes standardization and interoperability of equipment with NATO Allies and other potential coalition partners.
“No nation will be able to combat future threats alone. Innovation and the interoperability of our combined efforts will allow us to find ways to address these challenges,” said Goldfein of the value of U.S. Air Force involvement in the events.
(U.S. Air Forces Europe Public Affairs contributed to this story)