U.S. integration at the Royal International Air Tattoo 23

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Symantha King
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

The U.S. Air Force brought over 12 aircraft and 100 Airmen to participate in the Royal International Air Tattoo at Royal Air Force Base Fairford, United Kingdom, July 14-16.

Known as the world’s largest military airshow, the event allowed the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa to integrate and engage with more than 25 nations and 200,000 spectators.

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., and USAFE-AFAFRICA Commander Gen. James Hecker also engaged with numerous military leaders from across the globe during the three-day event.

“At this year's Royal International Air Tattoo, we're honored to showcase the strong bond between the United States and our Allies and Partners,” said Hecker. “Seeing the vast amount of military aircraft here, you can see that it’s not just collaboration, but integration that is key to peace and security.”

The F-35 Lightning II from the 48th Fighter Wing was showcased throughout the event, as well as F-35s from the Royal Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force. This involvement highlights the importance of the F-35 across Europe, as well as the future of fifth-generation airpower and interoperability in the region.

Similarly, the B-52H Stratofortress from the 2nd Bomb Wing participated in the airshow, demonstrating the Air Force’s ability to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe in support of our NATO Allies and Partners. The B-52 arrived in theater on July 12, 2023, and conducted refueling missions with the Turkish Air Force, followed by Joint Terminal Attack Controller training with Hungary.

The Royal Air Force also highlighted military air-to-air refueling at RIAT with this year’s operational theme SKYTANKER23. A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing was integrated in this display, including an aerial demonstration in celebration of 100 years of U.S. air refueling.

Also appearing at RIAT were two more U.S. fighters, the F-15E Strike Eagle and the F-16 Fighting Falcon, as well as the C-21, C-37, C-17 Globemaster III, and WC-130 Hercules. Additionally, the U-2 Dragon Lady was on display, plus two special operations aircraft, the CV-22 Osprey and MC-130J Commando II.