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.
October 2019Cover star of the October issue of AFM is the Su-24 – a type that was of significant operational value to the Soviet Union during the latter years of the Cold War, but which is still relevant today. The Fencer bomber/recce fleets still hold their place in Russian service and the ageing type has performed fairly well in the Syrian campaign, as Alexander Mladenov discovers.
Echoes of the Cold War are apparent in Sweden too, where we profile the Swedish Air Force’s first expansion in almost two decades. Elsewhere in Europe, Swiss Air Force planners are busy thinking about a replacement for their trusted F/A-18C/D Hornets, as Peter M Gunti reports.
Other fighter types this month include the Spanish Air Force Typhoon, as the air arm masters its swing-role capabilities, embarks on an ambitious upgrade programme and even eyes further orders. There’s also a report from Transylvania, where Câmpia Turzii air base hosted a Theater Security Package of US Air Force Reserve Command F-16s.
On the industry side, Vladimir Trendafilovski reports from the shores of the Black Sea, where the state-owned Odessa Aircraft Plant continues a long tradition of aircraft and engine repair and overhaul. In Latin America, meanwhile, this year’s F-AIR Colombia show was dominated by celebrations for the centenary of the Colombian Air Force.
Trainers new and old are featured in the form of the Polish Air Force’s M-346 advanced jet. We also begin a two-part review of the RAF Tucano’s retirement, as Derek Bower charts the history of the aircraft that helped to train most of today’s RAF frontline fast-jet pilots. Air Power Association President, Air Marshal (ret’d) Greg Bagwell CB CBE, continues the theme as he focuses on the aircrew element at the heart of every first-class air force’s training system.