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.
February 2020Last year marked Peru’s centenary of military aviation and February AFM pays tribute to the Peruvian Air Force with an extensive Force Report, including photography from Katsuhiko Tokunaga. Expect Fulcrums, Frogfoots, Mirages and more…
You’ll also find other charismatic fast jets in this month’s reports, including a public farewell to the Japan Air-Self Defense Force’s final F-4 Phantom IIs at Hyakuri and the veteran adversary F-5s of VFC-111 ‘Sundowners’ at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida.
Air arms in profile include an update on the Ukrainian Navy’s single aviation unit, which has recently received new rotary and fixed-wing equipment, and from Royal Jordanian Air Force facilities, where AFM contributor Elio Viroli undertook an exclusive visit.
On the operational side, there’s coverage from trouble spots around the globe, with the first of a two-part feature from the Central African Republic by war correspondent and Africa specialist Al J Venter, a report on the US military withdrawal from Syria and an assessment of People’s Liberation Army air power in Hong Kong.
There’s also transport action in the shape of the C-130 Hercules – workhorse of the Argentine Air Force – and coverage of the Italian Air Force’s 31° Stormo, which fulfils a niche transport role, undertaking operations for national agencies and the Vatican.
AFM marks ten years of Rafale flight demonstrations with an air-to-air photo sortie, while European exercises are now back in full flow, including Ocean Sky at Gando air base on Gran Canaria and the Swiss Air Force’s deployment of F/A-18 Hornets to RAF Leeming in the UK.
Other regular features include Intel Report on the continued modernisation of the United Arab Emirates’ military, while Air Marshal (ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB CBE examines the current status of airborne nuclear deterrence and explains how it still offers several advantages over other strategic delivery systems.
As usual, you’ll also find all the latest coverage of attrition and military aviation news from around the world.