Boeing Platforms Take Centre Stage at Waddington International Airshow
Combat ISTAR focus of show as Royal Australian Air Force Wedgetail Meets Royal Air Force AWACS
July 02, 2012 - Tens of thousands of people from all over the United Kingdom and further afield descended on Royal Air Force (RAF) Waddington for the annual two-day Waddington International Airshow 2012 in Lincolnshire, England. Display teams from 18 nations were in attendance along with the chiefs of the Royal Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force, The UK Minister for International Security Strategy Gerald Howarth and the Earl of Wessex, His Royal Highness Prince Edward, who had recently visited the troops from RAF Waddington out in Afghanistan. Combat ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) was a major theme of this year’s show. For the first time, the air show was the stage for 2Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing E-7A Wedgetail aircraft to meet their more experienced counterparts of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Boeing E-3D AWACS 8Squadron.
“It has been a great opportunity for our personnel to learn more about how British Forces operate and utilise their airborne warning and control system capability in real world scenarios,” said RAAF Commanding Officer of Number 2 Squadron Wing Commander Paul Carpenter in a briefing. “We may have the new kit, but they have the experience.”
The role of Combat ISTAR plays an important part in modern Air Power, and was highlighted during recent operations in Libya. Combat ISTAR is at the very heart of RAF Waddington which is home to the UK AWACS.
Other Boeing aircraft present were the New Zealand Air Force 757, the British Army Air Corps Apache, the Swiss Air Force F/A-18 Hornet and the Royal Air Force Chinook, of which the latter two took second and third prize in the Best of Show flight display respectively.
“The main purpose of the event is to increase public awareness and understanding of the RAF and its role today,” said Mike Kurth, Managing Director, Boeing Defence UK, from the flight line. “As one of the key shows for our UK customer, it’s important that we support the show in any way we can. After all, they’re the reason we’re here.”
Since its inaugural year 1995, the Waddington International Airshow has grown in size and popularity and is regularly attended by over 140,000 visitors. Military air crews from around the world participate in both flying and static displays of which Boeing aircraft are regularly featured.