UK’s iconic Red Arrows jets set to retire in 2030 may get a new lease of life

The U.K. government's macroeconomic projections indicate that military spending will be roughly similar to 1.9% of GDP during the next three years.
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The Red Arrows practicing their display maneuvers over RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus.
The Red Arrows practicing their display maneuvers over RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus.

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The U.K. Ministry of Defence (MOD) "has signed" a multimillion-dollar agreement with a private defense corporation for the development of the new fleet of Red Arrows jets. 

Through the £9 million (approx. U.S. $10.88 million) agreement, the MoD will have access to digital technical data and support that could lead to the development of a new generation of light military aircraft, according to a report published by MicroSoft Network (MSN) news on Saturday. 

"The aircrafts are expected to be the first fully British manufactured, designed and engineered military jets since the Hawk in 1976," sources told The Mirror.

"It's good to see we have finally started investing in and supporting British aircraft."

It was initially suggested that the Red Arrows may have had to fly non-native aircraft for the first time due to the renowned Hawks' anticipated retirement in 2030.

AERALIS - the new fleet developer 

UK’s iconic Red Arrows jets set to retire in 2030 may get a new lease of life
Red Arrows maneuver over RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, May 2008.

"AERALIS has developed the system to enable the company to develop a family of light military aircraft in shorter timescales and at reduced cost using a fully integrated digital approach to design, development, and certification," said AERALIS, an aircraft designer and manufacturer based in the U.K., claimed to be involved in the development of the new aircraft. 

"As such, MOD will use the learning from AERALIS's approach to reduce cost & risk for a range of other development programs, including U.K. Combat Air and the Future Combat Air System."

According to the Bristol-based developer, the aircraft is currently being developed by more than 135 workers.

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Although the new Red Arrows are anticipated to have the same fuselage and cockpit, the wings, tails, and noses will vary depending on whether they are designed to be flown remotely or with a pilot.

"This announcement shows how British engineering can provide a flexible and affordable approach on the global stage while making the Red Arrows cost-effective in times of challenging budgets," industry sources told The Mirror

"We are the only company in the U.K. taking this pioneering digital engineering approach as part of a new economic model that supports the development of more capable and ultimately affordable light military aircraft, marking an important milestone in the development of the first wholly British crewed aircraft since the 1970s," said AERALIS chief executive Tristan Crawford. 

Old Red Arrows to retire in 2030 

UK’s iconic Red Arrows jets set to retire in 2030 may get a new lease of life
Red Arrows pictured flying over Scotland.

The Britians renowned Red Arrows Hawk aircraft are scheduled for replacement in 2030.

Fighter jets like the Frontline Typhoon and F35-B Lightning II aren't considered appropriate successors for the compact, agile, and highly maneuverable Hawk, whose pilots pull off breath-taking 350 mph feats and fly in close formation just feet apart.

In 1965, when the Red Arrows were first organized, they flew the Folland Gnat, a two-seater then utilized for the RAF's advanced pilot training.

The U.K.'s Tempest program, which aims to construct a replacement for the RAF Typhoon, will also make use of the AERALIS technology.

Core U.K. defense spending is anticipated to return to the initial projections in the following years, totaling GBP48.4 billion ($58.5billion) in 2023 and GBP48.6 billion ($58.7 billion) in 2024, according to Janes, a global open-source intelligence company specializing in military, national security, aerospace, etc. 

The government's macroeconomic projections indicate that military spending will be roughly similar to 1.9 percent of GDP during the next three years.

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