100 stories and reflections
In support of RAF100, BAE Systems is communicating 100 unique and compelling stories and reflections from 1st April to mid-October. Together these insights support the RAF and demonstrate our support for RAF100 in particular.
These are key facts around the technological edge we have provided the RAF over the last 100 years (and will continue to in the future), as well as the instances where our colleagues past and present have gone beyond to provide the kind of imagination, invention, service and support the RAF needs in order to carry out their own role.
73/100 - Learning how to make the future
Whether they are future pilots, maintainers or the engineers and manufacturers who will deliver the future aircraft, we share the same values.
On August 10, we hosted 80 youngsters from RAF Air Cadet squadrons across the North West for a ‘Make It’ Challenge designed to engage them in all aspects of manufacturing capability.
It challenged them to come up with everything from setting up a team through to designing a concept and then coming up with a finished product.
The competition took place at our Academy for Skills & Knowledge (ASK), a £15.6m commitment to our current and future talent. The ASK facility ensures we have the skills to continue to deliver the future capabilities required by the RAF and our international customers.
Since opening its doors in December 2016, the Academy has played host to more than 80,000 visitors from across the world including apprentices, graduates and schoolchildren to senior military officials and members of the Royal Family.
72/100 - Saluting the 'Tonka'
On August 14 1974, an airfield in Manching, near Munich, Germany, saw the maiden flight of an aircraft which has since become the heart of operations with the Royal Air Force.
Speaking after the flight, Paul Millett, the British Aircraft Corporation test pilot who made the maiden flight, said: "It felt like an aircraft that has been flying for many years."
Since then, the trusty ‘Tonka’ as it has become known, has been present in every major operation from the first Gulf War in 1990 and remains in service today, spanning nearly three decades of almost continuous service.
As it prepares to go out of service in the UK in 2019, we are working alongside the Royal Air Force to ensure the capabilities which have seen Tornado at the heart of the frontline for so many years are transferred on to Typhoon.
As the RAF celebrates its centenary, there can be few more lasting legacies than that of Tornado.
71/100 - 100 Squadron
Among the earliest aircraft it operated were the Bristol Fighter, known as 'The Biff' which was one of the earliest examples of a multi-role aircraft built by our predecessor company, but during the Second World War, 100 Squadron formed part of Bomber Command.
They operated the iconic Avro Lancaster bomber during the conflict, moving on to the Lincoln and later the English Electric Canberra.
Today, 100 Squadron operates the Hawk T1 from RAF Leeming providing advanced air combat training to RAF pilots.
The aircraft provides the 'aggressor' role, replicating hostile aircraft, for Typhoon pilots training for air-to-air missions and close air support for UK land units.
70/100 - 56 Squadron
69/100 - 41 Squadron
68/100 - 29 Squadron
67/100 - 17 Squadron
Our business produces around 15% of every F-35 built, including the aft fuselage and electronic warfare equipment, as well as supporting the UK in its entry in to service.
However, our close partnership with the squadron goes back much further. We worked closely with members of 17 Squadron at our Warton site in Lancashire as part of the entry in to service of Typhoon in an operational evaluation role, known as Case White in 2003.
17 Squadron continued its work as the Typhoon Operational Evaluation Unit from RAF Coningsby between 2005 and 2013.
During the Second World War, 17 Squadron operated the Hawker Hurricane, including in the Battle of Britain, and later operated the Supermarine Spitfire, English Electric Canberra, SEPECAT Jaguar and Panavia Tornado, all products of our business.
66/100 - 31 Squadron – First into Indian skies
Its first deployment was to then-British controlled India where it took part in operations in the Third Anglo-Afghan War operating the BE2.
It was from here that the squadron got its emblem, the Star of India, representing its claim to be the first military unit to fly in India, and its motto, In Caelum Indicum Primus - First into Indian skies.
The Bristol Fighter was the first product of our heritage which 31 Squadron operated.
Disbanded following Indian independence and Partition, it reformed in the UK in 1948 taking on the aircraft and role of the Metropolitan Communications Squadron, operating aircraft including the Avro Anson.
Reforming again in the 1950s, it was equipped with the English Electric Canberra which it operated in Germany and later on the SEPECAT Jaguar from the mid-1970s.
In 1984, it took delivery of the Panavia Tornado which it operated in both Gulf War conflicts, and 31 Squadron was the final one to return home following Operation Herrick in Afghanistan.
It currently operates the Tornado GR4 aircraft from RAF Marham, Norfolk.
65/100 - XI (F) Squadron
The squadron’s first aircraft, the Vickers F.B 5 known as the "Gunbus", was deployed to France in the First World War in 1915, the first ever fighter aircraft to do so.
In the Second World War, the squadron operated the Hawker Hurricane. By 1943 the majority of the squadron’s aircrew were made up of Royal Australian Air Force personnel, a symbol of the RAF's international partnerships.
XI (F) Squadron went on to fly the De Havilland Mosquito, Vampire and Venom, as well as the Gloster Javelin before spending almost four decades operating the English Electric Lightning and the Panavia Tornado, in the frontline of the RAF's combat force.
In 2007, it was stood up at RAF Coningsby as part of the RAF's Typhoon fleet and today operates as part of its Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) force, supported by our team at the Lincolnshire base.
64/100 - IX (B) Squadron
Today, it continues to operate the aircraft from RAF Marham, Norfolk, flying the Tornado GR4.
Finishing the First World War flying the Bristol Fighter, “Biff” it entered the Second World War, flying the Vickers Wellington.
Both these aircraft are from heritage companies and the Wellington is notable for having been designed by Barnes Wallis.
Wallis’ connection with IX (B) Squadron continued when they flew missions dropping the 12,000 lbs “Tallboy” bomb that he designed, from its Avro Lancaster bombers.
It continued its role as a bomber squadron following the conflict, operating the Avro Lincoln, English Electric Canberra and Avro Vulcan, all aircraft which have their origins within our heritage.
Our partnership with IX (B) Squadron continues as we work alongside them to support the RAF's Tornado fleet at Marham until it retires from service next year.
63/100 - 6 Squadron – The eyes of the Army
62/100 - IV Squadron – To see into the future
The 'flying classroom' puts student pilots at the controls of the latest radar, weapons systems and defensive aids simulation to prepare them for life in the cockpit of jets like the Typhoon and F-35.
While IV Squadron is at the cutting edge of today’s aircraft technology, the squadron has a combat history dating back more than half-a-century carrying out ground attack and reconnaissance. The squadron has operated a range of aircraft designed and delivered by BAE Systems and its heritage companies including the De Havilland Mosquito, Hawker Hunter and the Hawker Siddeley and BAE Systems Harrier.
During the Falklands War, the squadron operated Harriers from RAF Stanley and continued to operate the later marks of the Harrier until being stood down in 2010 and re-activated later the same year in its present role.
Our team at RAF Valley today works alongside IV Squadron and our industry partners to deliver availability support.
61/100 - 3 (F) Squadron – The third shall be first
Our people work in partnership with the RAF as part of a 'whole force' approach supporting aircraft availability through our Typhoon Total Availability Enterprise (TyTAN), introducing new ways of working to further reduce the costs of operating the fleet.
3 Squadron can date its origins as far back as the First World War when it flew the Sopwith Camel, a biplane fighter aircraft.
The Sopwith Camel was built by the Sopwith Aviation Company, one of our predecessor companies and a key part of our company's heritage.
Since then, the squadron has operated many aircraft built by our former companies, including the Hawker Typhoon and Tempest, De Havilland Vampire, English Electric Canberra and Hawker Siddeley Harrier.
In 2012, 3 Squadron's Typhoon aircraft provided air defence for the Olympic Games in London, the first time RAF fighters have been stationed in the capital since the Second World War.
60/100 - II (AC) Squadron – Guardian of the Army
Today, II (AC) Squadron operates as part of the UK's Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) force, securing the skies over the UK and its allies.
It has previously conducted QRA missions from Estonia as part of the NATO Baltic air policing mission, operating alongside allies from across the globe.
59/100 - 1 (F) Squadron - First in all things
58/100 - From very good to the very best
57/100 - Learning from the world's fastest bird
How do they do it? Our scientists are working with leading academic researchers to look at how we can apply unique abilities developed from nature to military aircraft - improving in areas like safety, aerodynamics and efficiency.
An example is our work with City, University of London researching how falcons fly. This collaboration has seen the development of several concepts including 3D-printed polymer 'hair' filaments which would act like sensors on the body of an aircraft, providing an early warning system if it began to stall.
This type of bio-inspiration has been part of the design behind many of our aircraft operated by the Royal Air Force over the past century.
56/100 - The next level