Photo: Winner of the 2019 Category A – Current Equipment was SAC Chris Thompson-Watts, who shot this split break by a pair of Hawk T2s from RAF Valley in Wales.
With over 1,000 images and 30 hours of video to choose from, judges for the 2019 Royal Air Force Photographic Competition were spoilt for choice.
The results are now in, and AFM is happy to present some of the entrants in the Current Equipment category, highlighting the variety of types in service with the air arm. Judging took place at the Royal Air Force Museum London and a panel of three industry professional judges decided which ones make the cut.
Judging this year’s competition were: Jim Hedge, picture editor at the Guardian; freelance photographer Edmond Terakopian; and the Press Association’s Martin Keene.
The best nine images are chosen by the three judges before they are opened up to the public online, who decide which of the images will win the ‘Peoples’ Choice’ category.
1st – SAC Chris Thompson-Watts, Photo ACSSU Split break – Two Hawk T2s take flight over North Wales. The flight involved Hawks from both No IV (Army Co-operation) Squadron and 25 (Fighter) Squadron, following the split to form two squadrons, to meet demands in the UK Military Flying Training System (UK MFTS) and the increase in demand for fast jet pilots.
2nd – Cpl Matty Matthews, ACSSU, RAF Halton So Many Snacks, So Little Time – This image was captured while sat on the back of the ramp of a C-130J Hercules. The aircraft was taking part in a airborne delivery training sortie that dropped loads ranging from 100kg to a tonne, over Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Upon completion, the aircraft then linked up with a Voyager to complete some low-light air-to-air refuelling over the West Coast of England. AFM readers may recognise it from our recent feature on the special forces support work of No 47 Squadron.
3rd – Senior Aircraftman Edward Wright, ACSSU, RAF Halton Back in the Saddle – This photo shows a Royal Air Force No 27 Squadron Chinook helicopter from RAF Odiham flying in formation with two US Marine Corps CH-53E Super Stallions in Arizona. Two Chinooks from No 27 Squadron, RAF Odiham, Hampshire, deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, to take part in a twice-a-year training a development programme known as WTI (Weapons and Tactics Instructor). The course aims to develop aircrew – both pilots and NCOs – to an instructional level. It is conducted in the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) building. Read more about the deployment here.
Highly Commended – Mr Steve Lympany –RAF Brize Norton New Kid On The Block – The image shows the first RAF F-35B air-to-air refuelling sortie from a Voyager tanker in the UK. The F-35 took fuel from an RAF Voyager from No 10 Squadron, based at RAF Brize Norton on October 16 last year.
December 2019Recent months have seen European F-35 operators notch up a series of important milestones. This month’s cover story marks Italy becoming the first operator to deploy the fifth-generation jet on a NATO Allied Air Command mission, defending Icelandic airspace.
Meanwhile, we bring the latest on the UK Lightning Force’s next meaningful steps towards re-establishing a British carrier strike capability, with a report on the WESTLANT 19 deployment. Other notable Lightning II events include delivery of a first operational Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35A to Leeuwarden Air Base.
At the other end of the technological scale is the Su-22 swing-wing strike aircraft. While it may be obsolescent by today’s standards, 35 years ago it provided Poland with a technological leap comparable only with its subsequent purchase of F-16 fighters. Piotr Butowski assesses the current status of NATO’s last surviving Fitters.
Newer equipment among former Eastern bloc operators is also featured, including a report on Croatia’s OH-58D Kiowa Warriors and their crews as they approach full operational capability. Meanwhile, Hungarian Gripens took part in 50 live scrambles during the 50th rotation of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission this summer, and AFM joined them as they patrolled the skies of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
On the industry side, Arie Egozi examines Israel’s latest developments in ‘smart’ standoff weapon systems, as the Israeli Air Force seeks to counter threats developing close to the country’s borders and further afield.