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Historic images released by MoD to mark Royal Air Force centenary
06 April 2018

WAAF plotters at work in the underground Operations Room at HQ Fighter Command, Bentley Priory, NW London. A senior officer studies the unfolding events from the viewing deck above - photo: MOD Crown Copyright 2018 ©

To mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force, the world's first independent air force, the (UK) Ministry of Defence have brought together a series of impressive photographs, showing the development of the Service, and its people, across the years. The images in the collection, offer an amazing insight into the RAF, showing snapshots of the people and equipment that have enabled successful operations from the air over the last century.
Harland Quarrington the MOD's Chief Photographer offered his thoughts: 'This was truly a challenging but hugely rewarding task, often it proved massively difficult to identify the history of an image. In many cases a tail number, or Squadron crest would be the only clues, but we stuck at it and with the help of our RAF friends managed to finalise this wonderful package - we are very proud of the results and of the Royal Air Force.'
Here we publish with grateful thanks to the MOD media service and the Air Historical Branch a representative selection of the pictures showing the first half century of the RAF.

Squadron Commander EH Dunning attempting to land his Sopwith Pup (N6453) on the flight deck of HMS Furious for the second time on 7 August 1917, five days after his first success - photo: MOD Crown Copyright 2018 ©
A De Haviland Mosquito FB.VIs of 248 Squadron attacking a German 'M' Class minesweeper and two trawler-type auxiliaries in the mouth of the Gironde River, off Royan, France, on 12 August 1944. Bombs can be seen straddling the vessel, which later blew up - photo: MOD Crown Copyright 2018 ©
The Coronation Review of the Royal Air Force by HM Queen Elizabeth II celebrating her coronation earlier that year - photo: MOD Crown Copyright 2018 ©
For the 20th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 1960, a unique line-up of RAF fighters from the Battle of Britain to the present day (in 1960) - photo: MOD Crown Copyright 2018 ©


New Shetland radar to better protect UK's northern airspace
26 January 2018

A new Royal Air Force radar facility reinforcing the UK's ability to track unidentified military or civilian aircraft will be powered up ready to operate soon, the head of the RAF heard today (26 January).
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, visited the site of the new £10m Remote Radar Head facility, at Saxa Vord, Unst, Shetland, to inspect its progress. "Right at the tip of Shetland, Saxa Vord is a very remote site, so I am extremely grateful to the team who have been working hard through the cold of winter, with snow and 120 mph gales, to ensure that the construction has remained on schedule." (See illustration).
This radar will improve RAF and NATO understanding of the airspace north of Britain and further out across the Norwegian Sea, improving the UK's sovereign capability at a time of heightened Russian military activity (See illustration). It will see the island return to the role it performed during the 1960s and '70s, when the site was used as an early warning radar on NATO's northern flank.


MarineFields and Inmarsat sign MOU
12 June 2017

On 7 June it was reported that MarineFields and Inmarsat had signed an MOU to partner in investigating how sea traffic management and satellite connectivity can make port calls more efficient for all stakeholders through improved information sharing, situational awareness, optimised processes, and collaborative decision making.
It is understood that the joint effort will be focused on providing a marketplace for port call optimization services resulting in just-in-time operations and shortened turn-around times.
Perseus PortCDM will connect the various stakeholders involved in, or related to, sea transport, including vessels, shipping companies, ports, terminals, and hinterland operators.
The aim of the project will be to focus on enhanced standardised data sharing,and enable third party providers to bring new and innovative services to keystakeholders in the maritime industry.


UK Government to support new runway at Heathrow
25 October 2016

On 25 October in a major boost for the UK economy the government announced its support for a new runway at Heathrow – the first full length runway in the south-east of the country since the Second World War. The scheme will now be taken forward in the form of a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) for consultation, it is understood. The government’s decision on its preferred location, which will be consulted on in the New Year, underlines its commitment to keeping the UK open for business now and in the future and as a hub for tourism and trade.


Urgency of London & UK's airport expansion
03 September 2014

Commenting on the Airports Commission's decision of 2nd September to reject the plan for a Thames estuary airport, Richard Threlfall, KPMG's UK head of infrastructure, building and construction, said, "The Thames estuary option, for all concerns raised, is a radical and visionary solution to the real capacity and connectivity problem. We have been talking about the capacity issues since the 1960s and we could still be talking about this in 2060. From a business and economic perspective, the conversation has gone on long enough and a decision on the solution needs to be made."


page last revised Dec 5, 2017