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.
June 2020Anthony Pecchi’s extraordinary capture of an Uzbek Air Force Su-25 Frogfoot unleashing a salvo of S-24 heavy unguided rockets against a ground target is the subject of the June cover. For this issue, AFM was granted unique access to the various bases of the rarely photographed Central Asian air arm, which remains one of the least-known among all the former Soviet Republics.
Other fascinating air arms in the spotlight include the Lebanese Air Force, which granted exclusive access to its bases at Hamat, Rayak and Beirut-Rafic Hariri, and the Croatian Air Force, with a profile of the recent detail changes to its order of battle.
Among the individual units profiled in the June edition are Esquadra 301 – the famous ‘Jaguares’ squadron of the Portuguese Air Force, which flies the multi-role F-16AM/BM – and VMFT-401 ‘Snipers’, an adversary squadron that’s part of the US Marine Corps Reserve, operating the venerable F-5N Tiger II from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona.
Reports from the cutting edge of modern military aerospace technology encompass the Italian Air Force’s HH-101A combat search and rescue helicopter, with an overview of operations at Cervia, plus the Israeli Air Force’s F-35I Adir – the IAF was the first F-35 operator to expose the type to combat and is looking forward to receiving a dedicated flying testbed as it adds more indigenous equipment to the stealth fighter.
Our combat report this month brings coverage of the French-led campaign in the Sahel, where AFM met and flew with British, French, German, Spanish and US air units involved in the war against terror in Niger and Mali.