PREVIEW: Royal International Air Tattoo 2018

Introduction: the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) is the world’s largest military airshow. Held over three days at RAF Fairford, the 2018 show will be the RAF’s main 100th anniversary event, attracting hundreds of aircraft from around the world. It will be held from Friday 13th-Sunday 15th July. The official website is airtattoo.com.

Visitor information: all three days will feature upwards of eight hours of flying displays for the first time. The Friday show will include an additional RAF100 flypast and Royal Review. Visitors can enjoy rehearsals and arrivals from the Park and View enclosures on Wednesday and Thursday, and the departures on Monday. The popular FRIAT “Mach 3” package allows access to the FRIAT grandstand from Wednesday to Monday. Many visitors choose to camp at nearby campsites for the entire week of the show to ensure they don’t miss any of the action!

Tickets: RIAT is a ticketed event. E-tickets can be purchased from the show’s official website, with standard ticket prices increasing incrementally from £45 to £55, with small discounts for multi-day ticket purchases. Under-18s go free. Further ticketing options are available, with access to exclusive enclosures or grandstands and food and beverage options, with upgrades starting at £30 and the most expensive options priced at over £500 per day. The popular FRIAT package – a firm favourite with spotters – sold out before the new year. Spectators can watch arrivals, rehearsals and departures from designated Park and View enclosures before and after the show, with tickets costing between £10 and £20 per day.

Tips: if traveling by car, aim to arrive before 8:00am to avoid queues. You will have to arrive at least this early if you want a crowdline spot. The blue entry gate is the best for those wanting to be near show centre. It is advisable to bring food and drink due to the cost of on-site offerings. Buying tickets early will save on cost. As the flying display will differ slightly between days, multi-day stays are recommended; with limited nearby hotel accommodation, camping near the show site is a must. RIAT has an official campsite south of the show area, but unofficial campsites such as the infamous Totterdown Hill Campsite under the display box or Townsend Farm Campsite under the approach path are cheaper and also offer an excellent view of the flying activities. Many of these campsites will sell out months in advance of the show.

2017 show: RIAT 2017 was the USAF’s official 75th anniversary show in Europe. It featured strong support from that air arm, not least the six F-16s of the Thunderbirds, F-22 Raptor and a surprise flypast by a B-2 Spirit. The USAFE mounted an additional flypast comprising several of the aircraft types they frequently operate. Other highlights included the UK debut of Couteau Delta, first British display on over a decade of the Midnight Hawks and a rare appearance of a Ukrainian Su-27 Flanker. It was widely considered one of the best RIATs so far this decade.

2018 show: this year’s show is all about the RAF’s centenary, and a major one-off anniversary spectacular has been promised. In fact, this year’s show is looking very much like any other Air Tattoo, although rare star items include the Canadian Forces CF-18 Hornet, Romanian MiG-21 LanceR and Ukrainian Su-27. In addition to regular RAF participation, the BBMF will perform their impressive Trenchard display and a large-scale flypast will be performed on the first day of the show, featuring over 50 aircraft. Other one-off commemorative displays have also been teased, but not confirmed. The static display is so far comparable in size to previous years, but boasts a particularly strong lineup of “heavies”. Keep up to date with the latest confirmations below!

Our coverage: we will provide live updates and photographs during the arrivals from Tuesday afternoon through to Thursday night. After the show, a written and illustrated report featuring photos from all three show days will be published. We will also be producing a 1-hour video report of the event, shot during the entire week, featuring interviews and cockpit footage. Visit our RIAT homepage for full details.

Confirmed aircraft:

Royal Air Force:

  • Red Arrows x9 Hawk T.1 (F)
  • RAF100 Royal Review aircraft TBC (FP)
  • Battle of Britain Memorial Flight x4 Spitfire, x2 Hurricane, Lancaster, Dakota (F)
  • RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team (F) TBC
  • Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4 (F)
  • F-35B Lightning II JSF (F) TBC
  • Chinook Mk.6 (F)
  • Grob Tutor (F/S)
  • A330 Voyeger KC.2/3 (S)
  • C-17A Globemaster III (S)
  • RC-135W Rivet Joint (S)
  • E-3D Sentry AEW.1 (S)
  • Sentinel R.1 (S)
  • A400M Atlas C.1 (S)
  • C-130J Hercules C.4/5 (S)
  • Eurofighter Typhoon FGR.4/T.3 (S)
  • Tornado GR.4 (S)
  • Hawk T.1/1A (S)
  • Hawk T.2 (S)
  • Phenom 100 (S)
  • King Air 350 (S)
  • Tucano T.1 (S)
  • SA330 Puma HC.2 (S)
  • H135 Juno HT.1 (S)
  • H145 Jupiter HT.1 (S)
  • Grob Prefect (S)
  • Grob Viking TX.1 (S)

Italian Air Force (AM):

  • Frecce Tricolori x10 AT-339A (F)
  • Eurofighter F-2000 Typhoon (F/S)
  • C-27J Spartan (F/S)
  • T-346 Master (F)
  • A-200A Tornado (S)
  • HH-101A Caeser (S)
  • HH-139A (S)

United States Air Force:

  • USAF Heritage Flight F-35A Lightning II & P-51D Mustang (F)
  • CV-22B Osprey (F/S)
  • B-52H Stratofortress (S)
  • B-1B Lancer (S)
  • C-17 Globemaster III (S)
  • KC-10 Extender (S)
  • KC-135R Stratotanker (S)
  • MC-130J Commando II (S)
  • HC-130P/N Hercules (S)
  • F-15E Strike Eagle (S)
  • F-15C Eagle (S)
  • HH-60G Pave Hawk (S)

Swiss Air Force:

  • PC-7 Team x9 PC-7 (F)
  • F-18C Hornet (F)

French Air Force:

  • Couteau Delta x2 Mirage 2000D (F)
  • Dassault Rafale C (F)
  • Alpha Jet E (S)

Royal Jordanian Air Force:

  • Royal Jordanian Falcons x4 Extra 300LX (F)
  • C-130H Hercules (S)

Spanish Air Force (EdA):

  • Patrulla Águila x7 C-101 Aviojet (F)

Belgian Air Force:

  • F-16MLU Fighting Falcon (F)
  • Agusta A109BA (F)
  • ERJ-135/145LR (S)

French Navy:

  • Dassault Rafale M x2 (F)
  • ATL2 Atlantique (F)

Royal Canadian Air Force:

  • CF-188A Hornet (F)
  • CC-177 Globemaster (S)
  • CC-130 Hercules (S)
  • CH-146 Griffon (S)
  • CP-140 Aurora (S)

Ukrainian Air Force

  • Su-27P Flanker (F)
  • Su-27UB Flanker (S)
  • Ilyushin Il-76 (S)

Romanian Air Force:

  • MiG-21 LanceR-C (F)
  • C-27J Spartan (S)

Polish Air Force:

  • F-16C “Tiger” (F)
  • Su-22 Fitter (S)

Slovenian Air Force:

  • PC-9M Swift (F/S)
  • L410UVP Turbolet (S)

Swedish Air Force:

  • JAS-39C Gripen (F/S)

Czech Air Force:

  • JAS-39C Gripen (F)
  • L-159 ALCA (F)

Turkish Air Force:

  • F-16C “SoloTurk” (F)

Finnish Air Force:

  • F-18C Hornet (F)

Hellenic Air Force:

  • F-16C Block 52 “Zeus” (F)

Finnish Army Aviation:

  • NH90 TTH (F/S)

Royal Navy

  • Hawk T.1 (S)
  • Merlin HC.3 (S)
  • Merlin HM.2 (S)
  • Sea King ASaC.7 (S)
  • Wildcat HMA.2 (S)
  • Avenger T.1 (S)

German Air Force

  • A400M Atlas (S)
  • C-160D Transall (S)
  • EF2000 Typhoon (S)
  • Tornado IDS (S)

Royal Netherlands Air Force

  • C-130H Hercules (S)
  • F-16 AM/BM (S)
  • CH-47D Chinook (S)
  • AH-64D Apache (S)

Army Air Corps:

  • Britten Norman 4000 (S)
  • Wildcat AH.1 (S)
  • Gazelle AH.1 (S)

Royal Danish Air Force:

  • F-16C Fighting Falcon (S)
  • C-130J Hercules (S)

Royal Australian Air Force:

  • E-7A Wedgetail (S)

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation:

  • C-17 Globemaster III (S)

Austrian Air Force:

  • C-130K Hercules (S)

Pakistan Air Force:

  • C-130E Hercules (S)

Royal Air Force of Oman:

  • C-130J Hercules (S)

Lithuanian Air Force:

  • C-27J Spartan (S)

Slovak Air Force:

  • C-27J Spartan (S)

Royal Norwegian Air Force

  • F-16AM/BM (S)

Estonian Air Force

  • Antonov An-2 (S)

French Army:

  • SA330 Puma (S)

German Navy:

  • EC-135 (S)

Royal Netherlands Coast Guard

  • Dornier Do-228

Civilian:

  • Great War Display Team x5 WWI aircraft (F)
  • Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron Vampire T.55 & Vampire FB.52 (F)
  • Airbus A400M (F)
  • Embraer KC-390 (S)
  • M-346 Master (S)
  • Hunter Mk.58 (S)
  • Gloster Meteor (S)
  • Folland Gnat T.1 (S)
  • Jet Provost T.3 (S)
  • Jet Provost T.3A (S)
  • Jet Provost Mk.5 (S)
  • Avro C.19 Anson (S)
  • SC-7 Skyvan (S)
  • Percival Pembroke C.1 (S)
  • Spitfire Mk.Vc (S)
  • Hawker Fury (S)
  • OV-10B Bronco (S)
  • Bulldog T.1 (S)
  • Max Holste Broussard (S)
  • Westland Whirlwind (S)
  • Bristol Sycamore (S)
  • Flying Bull Bo.105 (S)
  • RAF Be2 (S)
  • AW189 (S)
  • DCH-1 Chipmunk (S)
  • TB20 Trinidad (S)
  • Tecnam P2008 (S)
  • Tecnam Sierra (S)
  • Cessna 152 (S)
  • PA-28 Cherokee (S)
  • S-6 Coyote (S)
  • Sling S4 (S)
  • Miles Magister (S)
  • Avro Tutor (S)
  • DH.82 Tiger Moth (S)
  • Auster Mk.5 (S)
  • Gulfstream G450 (S)
  • Gulfstream G550 (S)
  • Gulfstream G650 (S)
  • Dornier Do-228 (S)
  • Diamond DA-20 Katana (S)
  • Ikarus C42a (S)
  • EV-97 Eurostar (S)
  • Eurofox (S)

  (F) – Flying     (S) – Static      (FP) – Flypast     (F/S) – Flying & Static      (M) – Mock-up      (SP) – Support   (R) – Rides    (?) – Participation unknown     “TBC” – not officially confirmed     “aircraft” – Cancelled