Two Royal Air Force Hawk T2s from RAF Valley have conducted a low-level training sortie through the iconic Mach Loop.
The Mach Loop is a low-flying area (LFA) mapped out for routine operational low-flying training by fast jets and Hercules transport aircraft of the RAF and other allied nations.
Low-flying is a vital skill to the RAF pilots – they train to master it as it will be used when they eventually find themselves flying the Typhoon or F-35 on a frontline squadron.
Images posted by the RAF, showed the aircraft as took on the circular path through the Welsh valleys – a route that provides an ideal location to train in the art of low flying.
It is an essential skill that is practised by fixed-wing aircraft between 100ft and 250ft – an altitude at which a pilot might fly in a combat scenario.
Officially known as the Machynlleth Loop, the Mach Loop allows pilots to carry out tactical air combat manoeuvres, tight turns and bends, in the challenging terrain of a mountainous valley.
The US Air Force, which refers to the same route as The Roundabout, also uses the area for training as the loop has become known as an unrivalled space in which to fly for six minutes or more at top speeds for an uninterrupted run of low altitude/high speed flying through the twists and turns of a steep valley.
It is one of the few places in the world where this can be carried out in controlled, protected airspace and terrain.