The Royal Air Force Acrobatic Team is celebrating its 50th birthday today, unveiling a new tail fin design – the most significant change to the look of the team’s aircraft ever.
Known as the Red Arrows, the jets have kept their trade-mark red and white fuselage but have been given a tail fin upgrade, newly featuring a Union flag.
The new design, by Air Media Centre at RAF High Wycombe, combines features of two planes previously flown by the acrobatic team. The Red Arrows had originally flown Gnat jets but switched for the BAE System’s Hawk in 1980.
"The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, are extremely proud of our heritage and we hope that this tail fin design brings with it a sense of pride for both past members of the team and for members of the public to share in,” said Squadron Leader Jim Turner.
"I wanted a design created that reflected the very British soul of the Red Arrows while keeping it simple and achievable in terms of both time and cost,” he said, explaining the entire redesign would take too long and be too costly.
During its 50th display season, running from end May until the end of September 2014, the team is expected to show their skills at 85 events in nine countries.
"The Red Arrows captures both the spirit of British excellence and the quality of its engineering and I hope we are able to continue inspiring young people to join the Royal Air Force in the future," Turner concluded.