RIAT 2022 - Asia



Bahrain is the 57th country to have visited RIAT. 2022 saw them attend with 1 of their 2 C-130J Hercules aircraft. These 2 aircraft were once in service with the RAF. The Bahraini herc scheme looks fantastic, it is great in the right light. Both aircraft were sent to Marshalls Aerospace at Cambridge Airport following withdrawal from the RAF. Bahrain received its first C-130 in November 2018, with the second following in April 2020. Both fly with the Royal Bahraini Air Forces Air Transport Wing out of Shakir Air Base.


Japan is a relatively frequent visitor to the Royal International Air Tattoo, usually with its KC-767 aircraft. 2022 however saw them bring one of their Kawasaki C-2 aircraft from the 402nd Tactical Airlift Squadron at Iruma Air Base. Having made its RIAT debut in 2018, the C-2 was certainly a welcoming sight at the 2022 show. The C-2 was built to meet the Japanese Air Self-Defence Forces' needs after they had decided that the likes of the C-17, A400 & C-130 weren't quite right for them. There's no denying it looks like a miniature C-17! The aircraft will replace Japans fleet of C-1 aircraft. A reconnaissance version of the C-2 is also in service with Japan, known as the RC-2. It would be great to see one at a future RIAT, although, with the Skytanker theme for 2023, I think that, if anything, we can expect a KC-767. 


One nation you can always count on seeing aircraft from is Jordan. Usually bringing across their national display team, The Jordanian Falcons, as well as a C-130H Hercules as support. This year was no different. Considering The Jordanian Falcons fly 4 Extra 300 aircraft. They fly a thrilling display that is always a joy to watch. The fact that they attend every year considering the distance is fantastic. Their C-130s look great as well, in the standard camo usually adorned with a specially painted tail bringing just a little bit more colour to the static display.


Rumours had started relatively early into 2022 that The Republic of Korea Air Forces Black Eagles national display team would be embarking on a European tour, one that would see them visit the Royal International Air Tattoo for only the 2nd time, the first being in 2012. These rumours became a reality when one Thursday update from the RIAT Air Operations Team saw the announcement that the Black Eagles would be performing at RIAT as part of their European tour. June saw the arrival of the 9 aircraft into England via Boeing 747s, before being transported by road to MoD Boscombe Down for reassembly. 3 Korean C-130Js arrived at Boscombe Down with support for the tour. The team had 3 shows to attend in the UK, the Southport Airshow, RIAT, and the Farnborough International Airshow. RIAT, however, was the only show to get a full display... and what a display it was! The 8 T-50B aircraft were flown so incredibly well by the team. It was fantastic to see the jets and the team, the performance was one of the best of the show! They are welcome back anytime as far as I am concerned!


For the first time since 1993, when the nation sent 2 F/A-18C Hornets on delivery from the USA, the Kuwaiti Air Force attended the show, bringing along a shiny new 2-seat Eurofighter Typhoon straight from the factory in Italy. The aircraft was delivered to Kuwait in late September 2022. It's always great seeing fighters from rarer nations, so this was an awesome addition to an already great line-up. Kuwait has 28 Typhoons on order, with 6 having been delivered already. The commander of the 7th Squadron flew the aircraft to the show, 1 of 2 squadrons that are set to be receiving the aircraft, the other being the 18th Squadron. 


Another Asian regular at RIAT is the Royal Air Force of Oman, and like other nations, their participation tends to see them bring a C-130H Hercules. For 2022 however, they sent an Airbus/CASA C-295MPA Persuader, MPA meaning Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The Omanis operate 4 Persuader aircraft with 2 Squadron out of RAFO Muscat, or Muscat International Airport. A new type for me, the Persuader is certainly an aircraft I wouldn't mind seeing again. In the static park, the aircraft was parked in line with other nations' maritime surveillance aircraft.  


In September 2021, the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) took delivery of its first BAE Systems Hawk Mk167. In total, they operate 9 aircraft, but they aren't based in Qatar. No, these are flying with 11 Squadron (QEAF) out of RAF Leeming in Yorkshire as part of a joint program between the RAF and the QEAF. It is my understanding that these aircraft will remain in Yorkshire for the entirety of their service, training both Qatari and British pilots on the Hawk Mk167, or T2 as it's named in the UK. This isn't the only Qatari/British joint squadron, however.

12 Squadron out of RAF Coningsby currently trains Qatari pilots on the Eurofighter Typhoon. This is in support of the 24 Typhoons that the country has purchased from the UK. The RAF/QEAF sent a single 12 Squadron aircraft, which was aptly placed between both Hawks, a photo opportunity that I typically missed! 12 Squadron fly 8 Typhoon aircraft. At the time of writing this, all 8 aircraft are currently 4 months into their 6-month deployment to Qatar as part of Project Thariyat. They also provided Air Policing throughout the FIFA World Cup and are supporting the QEAF as they stand up their first Typhoon squadron.