Almost a decade since a RAF Harrier appeared in an Air Tattoo flying display, the type will be making a very welcome return this summer.

The Spanish Navy EAV-8B Harrier II+ from  9 Squadron will display as part of the Air Tattoo which takes place on 19th-21st July at RAF Fairford in the Cotswolds. The aircraft is based at Rota Naval Base and operates from the Spanish Navy’s amphibious assault ship, Juan Carlos I.

Until the arrival of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II, the Harrier had been unique amongst frontline fast jets in being able to take off and land vertically, fly backwards, sideways and rotate on the spot. Its gravity defying aerial displays were regularly among the highlights of the airshow’s flying programme.

Spanish Navy Harriers last visited in the Air Tattoo in 1994 in the form of first generation AV-8S and TAV-8S Matadors. In 2010, a RAF Harrier GR9 performed its final Air Tattoo display prior to retirement. Spain remains one of only a handful of nations that continue to operate the Harrier with Italy and the United States (US Marine Corps).

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Andy Armstrong said: “The chance to see a flying Harrier is always a hugely welcome one, and we at the Air Tattoo are delighted the Spanish Navy will be participating at RIAT 2019, especially in this NATO 70th Anniversary year.”

“The Harrier has been a major part of NATO since it first entered RAF service 50 years ago and its attendance will be an important part of our tribute – as well as offering a spectacular flying  display”

In addition to featuring exciting aircraft from the globe, this summer’s Air Tattoo will feature a wide range of entertaining and interactive activities in its critically acclaimed Techno Zone, Vintage Village and RAF Experience.

Tickets fro the airshow, which is staged annually in support of the RAF Charitable Trust can be purchased only at or by calling 01285 713456. Tickets for Friday 19th July come with a £10 money of merchandise voucher if booked before 31st January. All accompanied under-18s go free.