RAF Scampton's Red Arrows set for North America tour

Red Arrows Image copyright EJ van Koningsveld
Image caption The Red Arrows will tour the U.S. and Canada next year to promote Britain

The Red Arrows display team will hold a major tour of North America next year with a nine-week visit aimed at generating investment for Britain.

The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team will embark on its first major tour of the US and Canada in more than 25 years.

The display team is currently based at RAF Scampton near Lincoln, but that base is being sold by the MoD.

Ministers and military officials expect the red, white and blue displays will be watched by millions of people.

Pilots and other Red Arrows officials will also meet business leaders, visit schools and attend other engagements during the tour, which follows the RAF's 2018 centenary celebrations.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "After an incredible year celebrating RAF 100, it seems only fitting that the Red Arrows prepare to illuminate the skies of our closest allies in 2019.

The tour will promote the government's "GREAT" campaign, which was launched to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and raise the profile of British culture and business abroad.

Air Vice Marshal Warren James, the senior RAF officer responsible for the Red Arrows, added: "The deployment of the Red Arrows will demonstrate the global reach and capability of the RAF and our continuing support of the United Kingdom's defence and commerce industries."

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