RAF Red Arrows

The Leader of the House of Commons has backed calls to debate the future of the Red Arrows, amid concerns regarding the display team.

The move from Andrea Leadsom comes after former Labour minister Diana Johnson pressed the government to offer assurances regarding future of the world-famous aerobatics display team, following the announcement that BAE Systems will be cutting nearly 2,000 jobs.

The Labour Party had previously made calls for the government to bring forward orders to replace the RAF fleet of Hawk aircraft, in a bid to provide more work for the British company.

Red Arrows
The Red Arrows have recently been demonstrating their skills on a five-week overseas deployment

Ms Leadsom said she would "absolutely support" the seeking of a parliamentary debate, stating that this could emerge via the Backbench Business Committee.

Speaking at the House of Commons, Ms Johnson asked Ms Leadsom:

"Could we please have a debate on the future of the Red Arrows?

"For decades, the Red Arrows display team has showcased the best of British aeronautical manufacturing around the world.

"The Hawk Trainers used by the Red Arrows and built at Brough, just outside Hull, have been due to go out of service in 2020." 

Red Arrows

Former lead pilot, Squadron Leader Jim Turner, had previously said that the jets would need to be replaced in 2018.

Ms Leadsom replied to the call for debate by saying:

"I think, like many members, we'd all pay tribute to the excellent displays put on by the Red Arrows - not least of which at the British Grand Prix in my constituency at Silverstone Circuit where they fly overhead every year, and I can actually see them from my garden."

"I think it's a fantastic sight and they do a brilliant job, so I would absolutely support the honourable lady and I'm sure she could speak to (Backbench Business Committee chairman Ian Mearns).

"I'm sure they'd be plenty of interest in such a debate."

A Ministry of Defemce spokesperson told Forces News:

“The Hawk T1 is due to remain in service until 2030. Therefore, there is no immediate requirement to replace the Red Arrows Hawk T1 aircraft. Consideration will be given to replacing the Hawk T1 downstream but no immediate decisions are required.”

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