Royal International Air Tattoo Aircraft HighlightsTony Osborne
This year’s Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT), held at RAF Fairford, England on July 14-16, featured a wide range of exotic aircraft from around the world as it marked the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force. Although it is not a trade show, RIAT is increasingly being recognized as an event where industry can meet and greet senior air force delegations and show off the latest wares, as air services compete for the eye of the thousands of spectators. Among the aircraft taking part were Ukrainian Air Force Su-27 Flankers in the flying display, an Israeli Air Force Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds air demonstration team. Israel's air force had not attended RIAT for 17 years, and the Thunderbirds appeared for the first time in a decade. Joining a large U.S. Air Force contingent were an F-22 Raptor in the flying display and a B-2 Spirit performing a flyby in a Global Power exercise on July 16.