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The future of the Sidmouth Air Show – the future of the Red Arrows

  • by JW

The RAF plans to be “the first net-zero air force by 2040”.

“The Red Arrows may be disbanded by the RAF over scandals.”


The day after last year’s appearance of the Red Arrows featured a piece on these news pages:

The future of the Sidmouth Air Show – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Last month, concerns were raised about the appropriateness of the Red Arrows appearing again:

The future of the Sidmouth Air Show: environmental impact – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Yesterday, this year’s appearance was cancelled at very short notice:

Engineering issues force Red Arrows to pull out of Sidmouth Air Show 2022

RAF Red Arrows cancel their 2022 display at Sidmouth. | Sidmouth Herald

It was announced this afternoon before the show that the Royal Air Force Aerobatics Team would not show up – reportedly due to engineering issues.

In pictures: Sidmouth Airshow stuns despite Red Arrows no-show | Local News | News | Sidmouth Nub News

Here’s the tweet referred to – together with a fair amount of comment:

(19) Graeme Muscat – Red10 on Twitter: “Unfortunately, due to a number of engineering issues, the @rafredarrows will not be able to perform at Sidmouth airshow and therefore will also not be @Exeter_Airport. We are extremely disappointed and can only apologise to everyone.” / Twitter

And within that tweet were references to the current ‘scandal’ rocking the Red Arrows:

Philip Ingram, co-founder of the Independent Defence Authority, which lobbies on behalf of service personnel and veterans, told The Times: ‘The way the pilots describe their flying successes further points to an unacceptably laddish culture. ‘If that is allowed from the outset and is something that is taken as normal behaviour it is a slippery slope to further bad behaviour.’

RAF head says Red Arrows scandal will be ‘addressed as a priority’ | Daily Mail Online

Head of RAF Sir Mike Wigston makes pledge after Red Arrows scandals | News | The Times

And this might even threaten the future of the group:

Red Arrows may be disbanded by RAF over claims of sex harassment, bullying and ‘drinking roulette’  | Daily Mail Online

As for the other controversy which is besetting the Red Arrows – last year they addressed the impact on the climate:

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, head of the service, has said he wants the RAF to be “the first net-zero air force by 2040”.

Red Arrows aircraft could use ‘green’ smoke in displays – BBC News

And from earlier this year, the Forces News put together a video to explain further:

As the largest CO2 emitter in defence, the Royal Air Force has committed to achieving net-zero by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the UK Government’s 2050 target. The RAF consumes close to four million litres of aviation fuel a year and while its aircraft are the focus of the drastic change needed, the RAF’s 36 stations must also undergo transformations. We’ve visited RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire to see the unique approach the RAF is taking to operate in a more sustainable way.

Climate Warriors: The RAF’s quest to be net-zero – YouTube

However, the likes of XR are not impressed:

Extinction Rebellion protest at Farnborough Airshow during Boris Johnson visit – recap – Surrey Live