Red Arrows mark 60th anniversary

The iconic Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team is commemorating its diamond anniversary with special artwork on each of the Hawk jets and an exciting new nine-aircraft display routine.

Sixty seasons of dynamic displays inspiring millions of people is being celebrated by the Red Arrows this year together with the unveiling of special artwork that will be carried on each of the team’s distinctive Hawk jets.

A new nine-aircraft show is part of plans for the milestone season, featuring manoeuvres not seen for a generation in the Red Arrows’ display routine, which changes each year.

overseas tour by the team, staged later this summer, to help mark the centennial of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Squadron Leader Jon Bond, who will be the Team Leader – flying as Red 1 – for the first time in 2024, said: “The whole of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team is focussed on celebrating 60 display seasons in the best way possible – performing the Red Arrows’ trademark Diamond Nine formation in our diamond year, for families to enjoy across the United Kingdom and further afield.

“Having been to many airshows as a child, I hope our new team and exciting show will have the same impact on those watching in 2024 as it did on me as a young person – to be inspired through what teamwork can achieve and spur a lifelong passion for aviation.

“I encourage families and individuals of all ages and backgrounds to join with us in this Diamond Season, especially by attending brilliant events and sharing their fantastic pictures online – of this summer’s displays and flypasts, as well as those carefully kept from yesteryear.

“We’ve already been inundated with well-wishes and messages, letting us know how much people are excited by the prospect of the new display at airshows this season.”

Flying high
The Red Arrows formed in 1964, as an amalgamation of previous RAF teams, with a first public performance at Little Rissington in May 1965 – heralding the inaugural display season.

Since then, almost 5,000 shows have been completed in 57 countries in front of hundreds of millions of people and at everything from country fairs and major airshows to international events and state occasions.

The anniversary artwork, applied on the side and tailfin of the team’s aircraft, acknowledges the Diamond Season and includes outlines of two Red Arrows Hawk jets, trailing patriotic colours.

Squadron Leader Bond said: “The logos are a subtle, yet stylish, nod towards the team’s heritage but are also a reminder that our aim is very much to inspire for the future.

“For example, many of the events we’ll be part of this year will bring people together to encourage individuals to look at the importance of the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths and the role they play in powering the work of the RAF.”

Preparations for the new season are underway at the team’s home base of RAF Waddington, with the first nine-aircraft formation of the year flown earlier this year during a training sortie – bringing back an iconic shape not seen since 2021.

It is expected the first public show of the 2024 campaign will be in late May. UK and mainland European displays are expected to be staged in May, June, July, the first half of August and early October.

Dates for these shows – coordinated by the RAF’s Events Team – will be released shortly.

Maple Hawk tour
The tour to Canada, named Maple Hawk, will not take place until the second half of August and follows an invitation made by the Royal Canadian Air Force.

There will be a combination of flypasts, ground engagements and displays, with appearances at established airshows including:
• Air Show Atlantic – Greenwood, Nova Scotia
• Canadian International Air Show – Toronto, Ontario
• Airshow London – London, Ontario
• Aero Gatineau-Ottawa – Quebec

Wing Commander Adam Collins, Officer Commanding of the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, said: “The Red Arrows are excited, and honoured, to return to Canada in 2024 to help celebrate the centennial of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

“The visit will highlight the strength of the long and enduring partnership between the United Kingdom’s military and Canada’s Armed Forces.

“Whether at home or overseas, we’re looking forward as a team – especially to the prospect of meeting countless people, performing our new Diamond Season display and creating many memories and great moments at airshows and events.”

For more information on events, visit the website:
and social media channels

Photographs: MoD/Crown Copyright 2024

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