Touchdown Aviation
military aviation photography - reports - publications - video
EF2000 Typhoon

EF2000 Typhoon

The Typhoon will provide the RAF with a multi-role combat aircraft with the ability of air-superiority fighter but also a potent precision ground attack platform.

This highly capable & extremly agile aircraft is powered by two Eurojet EJ200 turbofans which can reach up to speeds of Mach 2 and at 65,000ft.
Tornado

Tornado

The Tornado was jointly developed by the United Kingdom, West Germany and Italy. Developed and built by Panavia, a tri-national consortium consisting of British Aerospace, MBB of West Germany, and Alenia Aeronautica of Italy. The Tornado's maiden flight was on August 14 1974 as the Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA). The first British prototype XX946 (P-02) first flight took place on 30th October 1974.
Harrier (withdrawn)

Harrier (withdrawn)

The Harrier's ancestry began with the Hawker Siddeley P.1127. Design began in 1957 by Sir Sydney Camm, Ralph Hooper of Hawker Aviation and Stanley Hooker (later Sir Stanley) of the Bristol Engine Company. Rather than using rotors or a direct jet thrust the P.1127 had an innovative vectored thrust turbofan engine and the first vertical takeoff was on 21 October 1960. Six prototypes were built in total.
Hawk

Hawk

The Hawk first flew in 1974, and entered RAF service two years later both as an advanced flying trainer and a weapons training aircraft. It first entered service in April 1976 replacing the Gnat T.1 and Hunter T.7 at RAF Valley.
Hawks are used to teach operational tactics such as air-to-air and air-to-ground firing, air combat and low-level operating procedures to pilots destined for the 'fast-jet' squadrons.
Jaguar (withdrawn)

Jaguar (withdrawn)

Thursday 20th December 2007 was a historic day as XX833, the only flying UK military registered Jaguar left in service, took its last flight, marking the end of an era for Jaguar flying in UK. The QinetiQ owned Jaguar T2A, which was operated in conjunction with the MOD as part of the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre (ATEC) operation at MOD Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, was undertaking trials flights after which the airframe ran out of hours.
Alpha Jet

Alpha Jet

In the late '90 the Empire Test Pilots School needed some more airframes to supplement its fleet, Fast Jet Test Squadron at Boscombe Down needed some more aircraft for continuation training and Llanbedr needed some aircraft for chase. QinetiQ (formally known as DERA) evaluated several options and chose to buy some ex-German Air Force Alpha Jets to fill these requirements.
Meteor

Meteor

The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter, making its maiden flight on 5th March 1943. It was also the Allies first operational jet. Designed by George Carter, it was the culmination of development work on turbojet engine design between Sir Frank Whittle’s firm, Power Jets Ltd and the Gloster Aircraft Company which began in November 1940.
Andover

Andover

The Hawker Siddeley Andover (HS 780) is a twin engine transport aircraft developed from the HS 748 airliner. It was named after the Avro Andover, a biplane transport aircraft used by the Royal Air Force between the wars, and RAF Andover where trials were partly carried out.
BAC1-11

BAC1-11

The British Aircraft Corporation One Eleven, more commonly known as the BAC-111, was designed as a short-range jetliner intended to replace the Vickers Viscount turboprop airliner. The original design was conceived by Hunting Aircraft during 1956 as the Hunting 107. In 1960 Hunting Aircraft, along with Vickers-Armstrong, Bristol and English Electric were merged to form the British Aircraft Corporation.
Bae 125

Bae 125

The HS125 CC3 is operated by No 32 (TR) Squadron, at RAF Northolt. The Squadron operates six Series 700B aircraft in the Royal or VIP transport and communication roles. The standard operating crew for each aircraft consists of two pilots and one cabin attendant. The HS125 CC3 regularly provides a passenger service to the Royal Family, Government ministers and senior military officers.

Bae 146

Bae 146

The BAE 146 CC2 is operated by No 32 (TR) Squadron, at RAF Northolt. The Squadron operates two BAE 146s in the Royal or VVIP transport and communication roles. The standard operating crew for each aircraft consists of two pilots, two cabin crew and a ground engineer.
Basset CC2

Basset CC2

Variable stability training at the ETPS (Empire Test Pilot School) is currently done by a Beagle Bassett CC2. The twin piston aircraft has proved a versatile training platform, which can change it's features to simulate simple instabilities in the airframe such as bigger or smaller control surfaces, or wing dihedral.
Beech 200

Beech 200

March 2003 saw the retirement of the Jetstream from RAF service and these were replaced by the Beech 200 King Air in the multi-engine training role at RAF Cranwell. The Beech King Air B200, is a twin-engine turboprop monoplane, which first entered RAF service in 2004. It is used as an advanced, multi-engine pilot trainer by No 45(R) Squadron, which is part of No 3 Flying Training School based at RAF Cranwell, in Lincolnshire.
C-17 Globemaster III

C-17 Globemaster III

In July 1998, the Goverment Strategic Defence Review detailed a requirement for an aircraft capable of deploying the Joint Rapid Reaction Force. The aircraft would need to carry outsize loads such as helicopters and large military vechicles. On 16th May 2000, it was announced that the proposed Airbus A400M would provide the UKs strategic airlift requirements, but as a stop gap measure, four C-17A Globemaster III would be leased.
C-130 Hercules

C-130 Hercules

The first C-130K (Hercules C1) first flew on 19th October, 1966 and the type entered service with 242 Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Thorney Island in Hampshire on 1st August, 1967. Following training of the first crews, number 48 Squadron based at RAF Changi (Singapore) became the first operational Squadron in October 1967. Within a year numbers 24, 30, 36, 47and 48 Squadrons had all been equipped with Hercules C1 aircraft.
Dominie (withdrawn)

Dominie (withdrawn)

The Dominie T1, which has been in RAF service since 1965, is the military training version of the Hawker Siddeley 125 twin-jet business aircraft. A total of nine aircraft are operated by No 55(R) Squadron at the RAF College Cranwell where they are used to train weapon systems officers and operators, air engineers and air loadmasters in systems management, air leadership, decision making and teamwork
Harvard

Harvard

The North American T-6 Texan was a single- engine advanced training aircraft used initially to train pilots of the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC), the United States Navy, the Royal Air Force and many other air forces of the British Commonwealth during World War II.
Islander

Islander

The RAF operate three marks of the Britten-Norman Islander. These aircraft form the Northolt Station Flight at RAF Northolt, near London and are flown in a classified surveillance role and perform electronic intelligence gathering.
Nimrod

Nimrod

The Nimrod has been the Royal Air Force's primary Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) since the early 1970s, when it replaced the piston-engined Avro Shackleton. The RAF uses two Nimrod variants: the MR2 variant in the Maritime and Reconnaissance role; the R1 variant in a reconnaissance and electronic intelligence gathering capacity (ELINT). The Nimrod is an extensive modification of the de Havilland Comet, the world's first jet airliner.
PA-31 Navajo

PA-31 Navajo

The Piper Navajo Chieftain variant saw service with the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, replacing their fleet of De Havilland Devon aircraft in the light transport role, along with the Armament & Aircraft Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire. The RAE aircraft wore the serials ZF520 to ZF522 and were later sold on the US civil market in the late 1990s. ZF622 still soldiers on with QinetiQ at Boscombe Down.
PC-9

PC-9

BAE Systems at Warton Airfield has two based Pilatus PC-9 aircraft, which are used for instructor training to fulfill overseas contracts. The PC-9 is a more powerful evolution of the PC-7. It retains the overall layout of its predecessor but has very little structural commonality with it. Amongst other improvements, the PC-9 features a larger cockpit with stepped ejection seats and also has a ventral airbrake.
Sentinel

Sentinel

In December 1999, Raytheon Systems Ltd was awarded a contract for the development of the UK Ministry of Defence airborne stand-off radar (ASTOR). The system, which includes five Bombadier Global Express business jet aircraft fitted with a derivative of the Raytheon ASARS-2 radar, is an airborne battlefield or ground surveillance radar system for operation with the Royal Air Force and the British Army.
Sentry

Sentry

In December 1986, with no signs of improvement in the Nimrod AEW3 radar trials, the entire programme was finally cancelled, leaving 8 Squadron to carry on with its six remaining Shackletons. The U.K Government finally announced the aircraft's successor in 1988 in the form of the Boeing E-3D, or Sentry AEW1 as it would be known to the RAF.
Tristar

Tristar

The L-1011 Tristar, built by Lockheed-California Co, first flew on 16th November 1970 and went on to be a very successful airline design. Following the Falkllands War, the RAF purchased nine Lockheed L-1011-500 Tristars to bolster the long range transport and tanker roles. Six airframes were purchased from British Airways and three from the american airline Pan Am.
Tucano

Tucano

Originally designed by the Brazilian aerospace company Embraer, the Tucano was selected in 1985 to replace the Jet Provost as the RAF basic trainer. The development and production contract was awarded to Shorts of Belfast under licence. The first squadron aircraft was delivered in June 1988.The development and production contract was awarded to Shorts of Belfast under licence. The first squadron aircraft was delivered in June 1988.

Tutor

Tutor

The Tutor is a cost-effective, modern elementary training aircraft. The combination of easy handling characteristics and good performance make it very suitable for its training role. The Grob 115E, known by the RAF as the Tutor, is used for Elementary Flying Training by the 14 University Air Squadrons and 12 Air Experience Flights throughout the UK. It is also used by the Central Flying School and for elementary WSO training at the RAF College Cranwell.
VC10

VC10

The Vickers VC-10 airliner was built by Vickers Armstrong (aircraft) Ltd and first flew on 29th June 1962. The airliner was designed to operate long distance routes at high subsonic speeds and be capable of hot and high operations.

The aircraft was in production from 1962 to 1970 with 54 airframes being produced in total. It served with numerous world airlines.
A109 Hirundo

A109 Hirundo

Three Agusta 109E Power helicopters are operated by No 32 (The Royal) Squadron, at RAF Northolt. These aircraft replaced the Twin Squirrel in 2006 in the VIP transport and Communication roles. The A109 is operated by a single pilot. In early March 2006 RAF pilots underwent conversion to type training at AgustaWestland’s Vergiate facility in Italy and at Sloane Helicopters in the UK.
Chinook

Chinook

The RAF operates the largest fleet of Chinook Support Helicopters after the US Army, with a total of 34 HC2s, 6 HC2As and 8 HC3s (the HC3 has yet to enter operational service). The Chinook Wing, which forms the heavy-lift element of the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC), is based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire. Odiham supports three operational squadrons, No 7 Squadron, No 18 Squadron and No 27 Squadron, and the Operational Conversion Flight.
Gazelle

Gazelle

The Rotary Wing Test Squadron (RWTS) is a tri-service UK military organisation based at MOD Boscombe Down, Wiltshire. Primarily, the squadron is responsible for test and evaluation of rotary wing aircraft and equipment.
The unit operate three Gazelle aircraft. They are used for continuation training and trials work as well as instruction use by ETPS.
Griffin

Griffin

The Griffin HT1 is used as an advanced flying-training helicopter at the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) at RAF Shawbury, in Shropshire, and the Search and Rescue Training Unit (SARTU) at RAF Valley, in Anglesey. There are eleven aircraft in service; eight are based at RAF Shawbury and three are based at RAF Valley. The Griffin HT1 is a military twin-engined helicopter derived from the civilian Bell Textron 412EP helicopter
Lynx

Lynx

The Rotary Wing Test Squadron (RWTS) is a tri-service UK military organisation based at MOD Boscombe Down, Wiltshire. Primarily, the squadron is responsible for test and evaluation of rotary wing aircraft and equipment. The unit operate one Lynx AH7 aircraft.
Merlin

Merlin

The Merlin HC3 and HC3a are operated by No 28 (AC) Squadron and 78 Squadron at RAF Benson. 78 Squadron was re-formed on 3 Dec 07 to allow for the increase in aircraft after the purchase of the 6 Danish Merlin HC3a earlier in 2007. The Merlin is the first of a new generation of advanced, medium support helicopters for the RAF.
The Merlin is able to carry a diverse range of bulky cargo.
Puma

Puma

The Puma HC1 first entered service in 1971, and the RAF currently has a fleet of 33 aircraft available to the front-line Support Helicopter Force. The aircraft are operated by No 33 Squadron, which is based at RAF Benson, and by No 230 Squadron, which is based at RAF Aldergrove, in Northern Ireland.
Sea King

Sea King

The Westland Sea King HAR3 Search and Rescue helicopter entered RAF service in 1978, it replaced the Wessex HC2 in the SAR role in 1996. The Sea King provides 24-hour cover around the UK and the Falkland Islands throughout the year. Each squadron maintains a 15-minutes readiness state during daylight hours and a 45-minutes readiness state during the hours of darkness.
Squirrel

Squirrel

The Squirrel HT1 is used by the Defence Helicopter Flying School (DHFS) at RAF Shawbury, in Shropshire, for Single Engine Basic Rotary Wing (SEBRW) training with No 660 Squadron and Single Engine Advanced Rotary Wing (SEARW) training with No 705 Squadron. The DHFS selected the Squirrel helicopter, manufactured by Eurocopter, as a replacement for the Gazelle when the School became operational in 1997