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.
50/100 - Case White
In the summer of 2002, 17 Squadron Operational Evaluation Unit of the Royal Air Force arrived at our facility in Warton, Lancashire to prepare for Typhoon’s entry into service.
Over a period of just 18 months they worked alongside BAE Systems to deliver 1,350 flying hours, training 20 air crew and 194 RAF ground crew – well in excess of their targets.
This programme was known as ‘Case White’ and is a great example of our collaborative approach, with industry partners and the RAF working together as one team to deliver.
Archie Neill was the Typhoon Entry-Into-Service Manager for Case White and is today Director of Operational Training. He recalls: "It was all about belief, belief in yourself and your team-mates, whether that is industry or military, working together to that single objective. For me, it was a very special time and one I look back on with tremendous pride."
Today, this spirit of partnership lives on, both at our Warton site where our flight testing and engineering team continue to work hand-in-hand with the RAF to further develop Typhoon's capabilities, and at RAF Coningsby, where our support team operate a one-team approach to ensure the aircraft is available to the RAF when and where it counts.
49/100 - The race to succeed
From lightweight structures to head-up displays and future cockpit design, our products influence and are inspired by the latest technologies found in Formula One.
Why? Because we share the desire to gain back every split second of advantage, whether it is in the sky or on the track.
We work with leading engineers at Williams and McLaren to introduce the technologies and techniques which deliver the very best in design and performance to fast jets and Formula One cars.
48/100 - Game changer
At our £2.3m Training Simulation Integration Facility (TSIF) in Warton, Lancashire, we are using immersive technologies to advance the training of RAF pilots, and the ground crew and engineering teams who support them.
Augmented reality and other immersive technologies enable our customers to analyse, evaluate and experiment with the next generation of military aircraft cockpits and training solutions.
47/100 - Factory of the future
Throughout the past 100 years, the design and manufacture of the aircraft operated by the RAF has used the latest technologies to deliver capability required on the frontline.
This spirit of innovation lives on today through the advanced manufacturing led by our business on aircraft including Typhoon and the F-35 Lightning.
By the end of 2018, we will begin to pilot the use of technologies including collaborative robots - or 'cobots' - into the production of Typhoon.
Working alongside leading technology experts, including the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and Siemens, on the latest step of our constant investment in new technologies to deliver the aircraft which will form the future frontline.
Dave Holmes, Manufacturing Director for BAE Systems Air, explains: "We have only really started to scratch the surface of what automation can do in industry and some really exciting possibilities are emerging as we enter the fourth industrial revolution. Through the factory of the future technology, automation will empower employees to work safely at greater speed and with maintained accuracy, leading to increased productivity and quality."
At the Farnborough International Air Show, one of the world's leading air shows, our people are showing off these future technologies which will revolutionise the way we work and enable us to keep the RAF at the forefront of aviation capability.
46/100 - A glimpse of tomorrow
In a complex and uncertain world, future combat air systems will need to operate in the most contested, congested and complex environments.
This will require any future combat air system to be highly capable, flexible, upgradeable, connected and affordable - ensuring it can meet the needs of air forces for decades to come.
That’s why we are working alongside the Royal Air Force and our industry and Government partners to support the UK’s world-leading combat air capability today and into the future.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, the Chief of the Air Staff, said: "For the Royal Air Force, it is about taking ownership. It is a unique opportunity to architect a system that will ensure we can sustain the combat air capabilities that are so important today and continue to control airspace in the future."
The technologies which ultimately form part of a future combat air system today include the latest combat air technologies being developed for Typhoon.
These technologies will ultimately be incorporated onto a future combat air system, ensuring Typhoon remains at the forefront of technology and will operate seamlessly alongside future platforms.
45/100 - Hard-earned heritage
In a business which has roots going back to the earliest days of flight, we recognise that our success is built on the achievements of the past.
The centenary of the RAF gives us an opportunity to commemorate and celebrate the men and women whose innovative thinking and commitment to excellence has built our enduring partnership with the RAF.
At the Royal International Air Show (RIAT) we will once again be displaying some of the ground-breaking aircraft we have delivered to the RAF.
This year's BAE Systems Heritage Collection, a regular feature at the show, charts the history of our business in the design, build and support of training and combat aircraft.
From the BE.2, which formed the backbone of the Royal Flying Corps before World War, in the earliest days of flight, through the training and combat aircraft of the past 100 years to the Folland Gnat and Hawker Hunter, the training and combat aircraft operated by the RAF during the Cold War.
The collection includes aircraft used to train pilots, and aircraft that played a pivotal role in some of the most historic battles fought at home and abroad.
It is an opportunity to reflect on the remarkable history of human courage and skill, and the story of British leadership in aircraft engineering and technology.
44/100 - By Royal Appointment
A century of air power took to the skies with the opening of the Royal International Air Tattoo, one of the world's leading air shows, at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. The show is a highlight in the aviation calendar and attracts over one hundred thousand visitors and aircraft from around the world. BAE Systems is proud to be a headline sponsor.
Following on from the national celebration for RAF100 in London on 10 July the Air Tattoo is staging the international celebration with air forces from around the world coming together for a ‘global salute’ to RAF100. This includes a fly-past of RAF aircraft past and present with Tornado GR4, Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning.
With three full days of flying, visitors will see RAF 100 themed displays including a diamond nine of Typhoons, Tornado GR4, F-35 Lightning, and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster bomber as a special tribute to 617 Squadron “The Dambusters”. All these aircraft link back to our enduring partnership with the RAF.
The show was opened in the presence of HRH The Duke of Kent and HRH Prince Michael of Kent by a Royal Review of aircraft and a parade of the newly presented Queen's Colour to the RAF, a symbol of respect to military service.
43/100 - Innovation where it counts
In August 2016 we began an innovative 10 year partnership with the UK Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force to transform Typhoon support.
The Typhoon Total Availability eNterprise (TyTAN) arrangement introduced new ways of working to reduce the costs of operating the fleet at RAF Conningsby and RAF Lossiemouth by more than a third. This innovative new approach also enables savings to be reinvested to develop new Typhoon capability enhancements.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, Chief of Air Staff, describes the work as operating with "unparalleled levels of openness and trust". He explains: "In what is a first for defence, TyTAN has released over £500m in savings which are being recycled into the delivery of Typhoon future capability programmes. To me and my operational commanders, TyTAN is delivering the right aircraft with the right capability, at the right time, and for the right cost."
42/100 - RAF100 Flypast
100 RAF aircraft will today fly over London and Southern England to celebrate the centenary of the Royal Air Force. Beginning in Suffolk at 12.45, the largest display ever staged by the RAF will pass across Colchester and Chelmsford before flying over Buckingham Palace at 13.00, and then Heathrow, with one of the world's busiest airports shutting down for 20 minutes for this once-in-a-lifetime event. The RAF Red Arrows aerobatics display team - flying the BAE Systems Hawk T1 - will bring the event to an end in their usual show-stopping style.
In a year when 'celebrate, commemorate and inspire' is the ambition of the RAF, we are proud to see so many of our aircraft, past, present and future, take part in the flypast. From icons of World War II (Avro Lancaster, Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane) through to those which form the backbone of today’s RAF (Typhoon, Tornado and Hawk), and the new F-35 Lightning which is joining the frontline in securing our skies.
41/100 - Petwood Hotel
This extract is from a visitors' guestbook at The Petwood Hotel, Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire. During World War II the hotel was used as the Officer's mess by a number of squadrons from the Royal Air Force airfields nearby. This included 617 Squadron - or ‘The Dambusters’ as they became known – who flew the Avro Lancaster, built by one of our predecessor companies.
Today, the squadron has been stood up as the UK's first F-35 Lightning squadron based at RAF Marham, Norfolk.
The extract reads: "Lest we forget the sacrifice of our brave young men, and the knowledge and expertise of our famous engineers and inventors, who gave our lads the ability to allow us to live our lives the way we do today. God bless them one and all.”
Today the hotel is home to the RAF's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, bringing its unique history to life with a collection of memorabilia. It is a destination for many people around the world who come to remember and celebrate the bravery, skill and ingenuity of the RAF, and those who worked alongside it to support the war effort.
40/100 - The 10 year old in all of us
The roar of a Typhoon, the skill of a pilot at the controls of a Hawk advanced jet trainer, or the sight of pilot in their flying suit, the aircraft and personnel of the RAF have the ability to inspire.
The aim of the RAF100 centenary celebrations is to not just remember and honour the RAF’s achievements and sacrifices, but also inspire the next generation of pilots and engineers.
George Martin, a former Air Commodore with the RAF now a member of our team delivering maintenance support to the UK's F-35 Lightning fleet, explains: "Even after almost 40 years in the RAF and having seen thousands of aircraft operate across the world, whenever I hear the roar of a jet engine or am just alongside an aircraft being prepared for flight, the 10 year old inside me comes to life and just buzzes with excitement”.
"I don’t think this feeling ever leaves you, whether you only have an occasional contact with aircraft or have a full career living out your childhood dream. Inside the RAF or now working alongside the RAF this continues to be a truly fantastic privilege."
To help the RAF celebrate, commemorate and inspire, we are taking part in their UK Aircraft Tour. This sees RAF aircraft past and present – including a full-scale replica of our Typhoon jet - visit major cities across the country.
This weekend, people will be able to get up close and personal with the RAF’s leading multi-role combat aircraft as the Tour arrives in Central London. Members of the public will also be able to use virtual reality headsets to put themselves inside the cockpit of a Typhoon as it weaves through its famous Mach Loop, a low-level flying route used by RAF pilots.
39/100 - The Red Arrows
As icons of skill and precision go, you would be hard pushed to find better than the Royal Air Force's aerobatic display team, The Red Arrows.
The ‘Reds’ first flew in May 1965 with a team of seven pilots each flying the Gnat, an aircraft produced by Folland Aircraft, one of our predecessor companies. The team conducted almost 1,300 displays in the Gnat before switching to the BAE Systems Hawk Trainer Jet in 1979. The Hawk’s manoeuvrability and turn handling was a big factor in this decision.
Since then the team has been a hallmark of British quality, performing to audiences worldwide, including at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games, when their fly past was watched by a television audience of more than one billion.
The ‘Reds’ have also toured the globe as international ambassadors for the UK including a worldwide tour in 1995-96 which saw them perform in front of almost a million people in Sydney on Australia Day 1996.
In 2016 the team visited 17 countries in the Middle East and Far East. During this nine-week deployment they covered more than 20,000 miles and visited China for the first time. This was part of the UK's GREAT campaign, promoting the best of British innovation, technology and creativity.