About Craig Hoyle

Author Archive | Craig Hoyle

VC10 560.jpg

Tanker pain looming for RAF?

These are worrying times for the UK Royal Air Force, with the service facing major upheavals to its air transport and air-to-air refuelling inventories over the next 18 months. By the end of this year, the last of the UK’s Lockheed Martin C-130K Hercules will be retired from use, while the replacement Airbus Military A400M won’t start […]

Continue Reading
side 560.jpg

Grrreat Grizzlies!

Now here’s something that you don’t see every day: pictures showing all five of Airbus Military’s A400M development aircraft “turning and burning” together. The company just released a couple of images showing its entire “Grizzly” fleet getting ready to take off from Toulouse, France, and I’m guessing that air-to-air shots might also be following before too long […]

Continue Reading
Vulcan 560.jpg

Silica gel mishap grounds Vulcan bomber

Oh dear, it’s bad news for the world’s last flyable Avro Vulcan, with two of XH558′s Rolls-Royce Olympus engines having been destroyed during an incident on the ground on 28 May. Things of course go wrong on classic aircraft, but initial indications point to the mishap at Robin Hood airport (which serves Doncaster and Sheffield and […]

Continue Reading
A400M 560.jpg

A400M has rough time during landing trials

While attending Airbus Military’s Trade Media Briefing in Toulouse last week, I watched A400M development aircraft “Grizzly 2″ setting off on its way to performing the type’s first unpaved runway landing trials at Cottbus-Drewitz airport in Germany. The company today issued a brief press release and one picture from the trials activity, and stated that the […]

Continue Reading
ags 560.jpg

NATO AGS and the Anglo-French contribution

NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) programme has got off the ground at last, with 13 nations having agreed to fund the acquisition and initial operation of five MP-RTIP-equipped Northrop Grumman Block 40 Global Hawks. Signed on the sidelines of NATO’s Chicago Summit, the AGS deal is worth $1.7 billion. That’s a major investment to make […]

Continue Reading
Hawk KSA 560.jpg

Saudi spending spree reaches trainer fleet

Yesterday saw the confirmation of an impressive 102-aircraft programme to equip the Royal Saudi Air Force with a new-generation pilot training fleet from 2014. Brokered under a new agreement between the Saudi Arabian and UK governments, the deal includes 22 BAE Systems Hawk advanced jet trainers and – as revealed exclusively by my colleague Stephen Trimble […]

Continue Reading
Voyager.jpg

UK’s next A330 tanker ready for conversion

Yesterday I wrote from Airbus Military’s Getafe site near Madrid about a change of conversion plan for the UK’s next (and fifth) A330 Voyager tanker/transport, and lo and behold, look what I saw taking to the air in Toulouse today, but the very same aircraft. Airbus expects the “green” widebody to arrive in Getafe towards […]

Continue Reading
MSN2 560.jpg

Grizzly 2 heads for unpaved runway trials

Airbus Military’s A400M development aircraft “Grizzly 2″ just took off from Toulouse, France on its way to performing the type’s first unpaved runway trials. The aircraft is now en route for Cottbus, Germany, where it is expected to stay through the rest of this week. First on the agenda will be making landings on a grass […]

Continue Reading
Adam Duffield 560.jpg

It’s anniversary time; bring forth the gaudy tail art

It’s anniversary time in the UK, with several Royal Air Force units in the process of marking the centenary of their formation; originally as part of the Royal Flying Corps. Coningsby-based 3 Sqn commemorated its own milestone over the weekend, with a specially-painted Eurofighter Typhoon certainly bringing a bit of colour to proceedings (the stunning image […]

Continue Reading
f-35b 560.jpg

Explaining the UK’s F-35 variant switch: a Top 10 guide

The UK government has finally ‘fessed up to having got its plans spectacularly wrong on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter/Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier combo, which means that it now loves the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) B-model once more (Lockheed Martin image of aircraft BK-1 below). I wrote about the announcement as the Ministry of Defence’s […]

Continue Reading