A start date has been confirmed for the historic Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (the Red Arrows) tour of the USA and Canada.

The Red Arrows will fly to North America for the Western Hawk 19 tour after taking part in the Royal International Air Tattoo, at RAF Fairford, from 19 July to 21 July. They will travel across the two nations with a view to promoting trade and co-operation in support of the UK’s prosperity agenda.

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said:

The Red Arrows are an international symbol of Britain and this landmark event will generate a significant amount of investment. It is only right that, after more than a decade away, they return to the home of our closest defence ally.

Previous tours, which include China, Greece, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan and Bahrain, have led to the UK gaining as much as ten times in sales and investments as the cost of the tour.

The Red Arrows will display at several US air shows and areas with strong UK links – the first time they have done so in more than a decade.

Wing Commander Andrew Keith, Officer Commanding, Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, said:

One of the key roles of the Red Arrows is to support UK interests overseas and this major tour to North America will provide an important opportunity to both showcase the best of British and highlight the strong relationships we have with the US and Canada.

The deployment will build on the recent successful Red Arrows tours to China, the Far East and Gulf regions and the team is already preparing extensively – to present a safe, memorable and visually-exciting formation display to new audiences across the Atlantic.

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster also has issued his own written statement saying:

On 21 October 2018, the Secretary of State for Defence announced that the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (the Red Arrows) will fly the flag for Britain, both in the skies and on the ground during a tour of North America in summer 2019. This tour will be called Western Hawk 19.

As well as displaying at a range of shows across North America the Red Arrows will also attend engagements promoting the Government’s GREAT campaign, visit local schools, meet with business leaders and showcase the very best of British culture. Western Hawk 19 will showcase our excellence, professionalism and proud heritage in education, engineering and technology to our allies. It will also demonstrate the global reach and capability of the RAF and our continuing support of the United Kingdom’s defence and commerce industries.

The tour of North America will also be an opportunity to celebrate and strengthen our incredible relationship with the US and Canada.

I can now announce the planned tour dates. The Red Arrows will fly at the Royal International Air Tattoo from 19 July to 21 July 2019. After a short period of maintenance and leave for Red Arrows personnel, they will depart the UK at the end of July and will tour North America until after the end of the UK display season. While the Red Arrows will not be displaying in the UK for the latter part of the 2019 UK display season, the RAF’s other display assets including Typhoon, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the Falcons Parachute Team will continue to keep the RAF in the public eye during this period. Their air display participation will be carefully prioritised to deliver maximum impact. Local communities will have the opportunity to bid for participation of the Red Arrows in their area in the 2020 display season in the normal manner.