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RAF100 - July reflections

Centenary of the Royal Air Force 
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. Below, you'll find the reflections and stories we shared during July. 

55/100 - Two Typhoons together

 

Image of two Typhoons together
 
To mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force, we have helped to reunite the Hawker Typhoon with its modern day namesake, the Eurofighter Typhoon.
 
Working alongside the RAF Museum, which owns the last remaining example of the Second World War fighter, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the team at RAF Coningsby we have brought the aircraft back to the Lincolnshire base.
 
The aircraft's return follows a four-year loan to a museum in Canada and it will now be displayed at RAF Coningsby alongside the latest Typhoon, the leading multi-role combat aircraft which will serve in the frontline of the RAF for decades to come.
 
Group Captain Mike Baulkwill, Station Commander at RAF Coningsby said: "Standing alongside a modern Typhoon, it is a potent example of the duties undertaken by the RAF since 1918, and a reminder that similar tasks are being carried out by RAF Typhoons in the Middle East today."
 
The return of the Typhoon, which was designed and built by our predecessor company, Hawker Aircraft, reunited 3 (F) Squadron which today operates from Coningsby with the original Typhoon it operated during the Second World War.
 

54/100 - Exceeding expectations

 
Graphic shows John Derry
 
Every fast jet which leaves our production facilities have been tested by our highly-skilled team of test pilots, dedicated to ensuring the safety and performance of every aircraft.
 
These test sorties see our pilots, supported by a team of flight test engineers, push the envelope of what an aircraft can achieve, prepared for every eventuality.
 
Such dedication has its place throughout the history of our business, not least in John Derry, a former RAF pilot working as a test pilot for De Havilland.
 
In 1948 during a flight in a DH108 Swallow, a single seat jet engine research aircraft designed to investigate low and high-speed flight characteristics, Derry became the first Briton to break the sound barrier.
 
However, the achievement came as something of a surprise to the pilot who had been wresting back control of the aircraft during a shallow dive as part of a test sortie.
 
The test apparatus was switched off during the flight, meaning the record could not be verified, but this did not prevent the eager Press from hailing Derry as Britain's first supersonic pilot.
 
De Havilland's test flying team was behind the team which delivered aircraft, including the Mosquito which operated during the Second World War, which were operated by the RAF.
 

53/100 - Part of the family

 

Image for story 53
 
Forever remembered as the home to the Royal Air Force's 617 Squadron, The Dambusters operating Avro Lancasters, RAF Coningsby is part of our heritage.
 
The station opened in 1940. Within three years hard runways were laid and Coningsby became the home of the bomber force and its Lancasters. 
 
Ten years later the first jet aircraft, the English Electric Canberra were based there, swiftly followed by Avro Vulcans and eventually the Tornado F3. 
 
Today, we work alongside the RAF delivering Typhoon Total Availability Enterprise (TyTAN), a ground-breaking approach to support which is reducing the operating costs the Eurofighter Typhoon fleet at both Coningsby and Lossiemouth.
 
TyTAN will deliver around £500m of savings to be reinvested in the aircraft.
 

52/100 - Preparing for Lightning

 
Image for RAF100 story 52
 
Our team at RAF Marham have played a leading role in creating the facilities which are now home to the UK's F-35 Lightning fleet.
 
Working as part of a joint force alongside the RAF, Ministry of Defence and our industry partners Lockheed Martin and Balfour Beatty, we are creating the maintenance, training and operational nerve centres for the Lightning force.
 
The first of these facilities, the Lightning Operations Centre, was opened ahead of schedule, providing a headquarters for RAF, MoD and industry to work side-by-side to ensure the successful operations of the fleet.
 
Later this year, the maintenance and training facilities will open as part of a major investment in the station.
 
This activity builds on our long-standing relationship with the RAF on the Norfolk base where we’ve worked together to ensure the availability of its Tornado force.
 
As RAF Marham hosts its annual Families' Day event on June 26, we look forward to working together to deliver a bright future at RAF Marham.
 

51/100 - Planes, trains and more planes

 

Image showing woman climbing into a cockpit
 
When it comes to esprit de corps, no story demonstrates it more than that of the female ferry pilots in Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) during World War II.
 
Women, who weren’t permitted to fly for the RAF at the time, made a critical contribution to the war effort by delivering new and repaired aircraft to pilots on the frontline.
 
They were responsible for delivering aircraft, including the iconic Spitfire, famous for its role in the Battle of Britain. 
 
Some single-handedly flew heavy bombers such as the Lancaster before jumping on a train back to the factory to repeat the process again - a true testament of the tireless spirit of everyone involved in the war effort.
 
During the conflict, the factories operated by English Electric in Preston and Samlesbury, Lancashire, were used to assemble Handley Page Hampden and Halifax bombers, which were also delivered to the frontline.
In total, 770 Hampdens and more than 2,000 Halifax were produced with a peak delivery rate of 81 aircraft a month in February 1944.
 
Today, our site in Samlesbury remains a crucial hub of aircraft production with our F-35 Lightning programme on target to support peak production of 160 jets per year by 2023.
 

50/100 - Case White

 
Case White with Archie Neill

RAF100

 
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 

 
Image of simulator
 
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

 
Image for RAF100 story 48
 
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

 
Factory of the future

RAF100

 
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 

 
Image taken at Farnborough International Airshow 2018
 
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

 

Image for story 45
 
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 

 
Image taken at RIAT 2018
 
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

 
Innovation where it counts

RAF100

 
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

 
London Flypast

RAF100

 
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.
 
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

 

Image shows child looking at an aircraft
 
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

 
The Red Arrows

RAF100

 
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.

 


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