Lincolnshire’s Red Arrows aerobatic display team have launched a 50-day count-down to a momentous tour of North America.
From August to October this year, the Red Arrows will be embarking on ‘Western Hawk 19’, a programme of shows and events across 18 major cities in the US and Canada.
The 10-week tour marks the largest and most ambitious deployment overseas by the Red Arrows in 25 years.
Led by Antony Phillipson, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America, they will be joined by Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox and Defence secretary Penny Mordaunt during separate legs of the trip.
Tours by the RAF Scampton-based team are usually treated as a promotional tool for British industry - particularly defence - as well as delighting their international aviation fans around the globe, taking in such iconic landmarks as Niagara Falls and Mount Rushmore.
Making the announcement Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox said: “The Red Arrows are an iconic symbol of what makes Britain great. By sharing the experience, skill and spirit brought by their air and ground crews, we will once again demonstrate why the special relationship between our nations continues to endure.”
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt added: “The United Kingdom shares a longstanding and special defence relationship with both Canada and the US. Sending our world-famous RAF Red Arrows to demonstrate the best of British offers a clear indication of the UK’s global ambitions and will provide a unique opportunity to deepen our partnerships with two of our closest allies.”
The Red Arrows have performed almost 5,000 times in 57 countries since 1965, and the tour this summer will be the largest deployment to North America in a generation.
Throughout the tour there will be an integrated programme of trade missions and business engagement, involving the display team and ground crew.
The UK and US have a $240bn-a-year trade relationship. One million people are employed in each other’s countries and the US is the UK’s single largest export market.
Key North America tour dates (subject to change):
August 5: Red Arrows depart RAF Scampton
August 7: arrive in Canada - Halifax
August 13: Gatineau Airshow, Greater Ottawa, Canada
August 22-25: New York
August 25-27: Washington, DC
August 28: Niagara Falls
August 31 – 2 September 2: Toronto Airshow
September 16-17: Denver, Rocky Mountains
September 24-26: Vancouver
October 1-2: San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge
October 9: Mount Rushmore
October 15: return to RAF Scampton