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The RAF at 100

Themed Collections

30 January 2018

Posted by Philip Mowbray

The RAF (Royal Air Force) and WRAF (Women's Royal Air Force) turn 100 on 1st April 2018 - a major milestone for the world's first independent air force. On this day, 100 years ago the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) merged together to form the RAF, which went on to play a major role in the Battle of Britain and the eventual victory of WWII.  A full history of which you can read about here

In celebration of the Centenary, you can find some of the most remarkable contemporary aviation images in connection to the RAF within our collection. This includes an incredible set of pictures titled 'Aviation Art Noir' by Picfair photographer Paul Biddles - a series of high-contrast, high-octane images of the fleet in action, ideal for a creative campaign. You will also find absolutely stunning images of RAF air shows throughout the UK and action shots of practices, drills and legacy flights of both vintage and modern aircraft. So to put you firmly in the pilot's seat, here is a round-up of some of our highlights.  

Flt Lt Ryan Lawton pulls his Eurofighter Typhoon into the vertical over RAF Coningsby during display work up. The shot presented here has inspired a series of works entitled ... Read more

Flt Lt Ryan Lawton pulls his Eurofighter Typhoon into the vertical over RAF Coningsby during display work up. The shot presented here has inspired a series of works entitled Aviation Art Noir. Read less

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Paul Biddles

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Head on with a Eurofighter Typhoon of the Royal Air Force.

Head on with a Eurofighter Typhoon of the Royal Air Force. Read less

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Lee Wilson

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Red Arrows synchro pair fly in front of the moon over RAF Scampton.

Red Arrows synchro pair fly in front of the moon over RAF Scampton. Read less

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Lee Wilson

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The Royal Air Force Red Arrows Display team during the 2006 season.

The Royal Air Force Red Arrows Display team during the 2006 season. Read less

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Paul Cullen

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As the Red Arrows transit from the darkness back into the light I couldn't help feeling that time had stood still and this was just pure escapism.

As the Red Arrows transit from the darkness back into the light I couldn't help feeling that time had stood still and this was just pure escapism. Read less

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Paul Biddles

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2016 Royal Air Force Typhoon display pilot in action.

2016 Royal Air Force Typhoon display pilot in action. Read less

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Lee Wilson

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A Eurofighter takes off from RAF Coningsby into the bleak winter sun.

A Eurofighter takes off from RAF Coningsby into the bleak winter sun. Read less

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Alexandra

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RNLAF F-16 Falcon climbing into the oncoming storm.

RNLAF F-16 Falcon climbing into the oncoming storm. Read less

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Keith Campbell

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Reflections of Afghanistan in the helmet visor...

Reflections of Afghanistan in the helmet visor... Read less

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Keith Campbell

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A Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon pulls a high G turn leaving vapour trails in it's wake, silhouetted by the sun against a wonderful sky.

A Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon pulls a high G turn leaving vapour trails in it's wake, silhouetted by the sun against a wonderful sky. Read less

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Lee Wilson

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A Hawk T1 operated by 208Sqn RAF Valley on a low level training sortie in Wales.

A Hawk T1 operated by 208Sqn RAF Valley on a low level training sortie in Wales. Read less

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Steve Morris

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A rare shot into the eye's of 'The Boss' Red 1 Squadron Leader David Montenegro.

A rare shot into the eye's of 'The Boss' Red 1 Squadron Leader David Montenegro. Read less

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Paul Biddles

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A Royal Air Force Regiment Tactical Air Control Party watch as a RAF Typhoon aircraft flies past them after utilising their laser designator to guide a weapon onto Garvie Island... Read more

A Royal Air Force Regiment Tactical Air Control Party watch as a RAF Typhoon aircraft flies past them after utilising their laser designator to guide a weapon onto Garvie Island within the Cape Wrath Range complex in Northern Scotland. Read less

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Andy Walker

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The Cold War interceptor at night.

The Cold War interceptor at night. Read less

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Paul Biddles

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The finale of 2017 display season for Flt Lt Ryan Lawton produced some stunning angles of his Eurofighter being taken to the limit.

The finale of 2017 display season for Flt Lt Ryan Lawton produced some stunning angles of his Eurofighter being taken to the limit. Read less

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Paul Biddles

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riveted fuselage panel on vintage british military aircraft

riveted fuselage panel on vintage british military aircraft Read less

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Nelson Art

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Flt Lt Ryan Lawton makes an impressive enterance to his display at RAF Cranwell!

Flt Lt Ryan Lawton makes an impressive enterance to his display at RAF Cranwell! Read less

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Paul Biddles

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A dark edit of a Panavia Tornado head-on

A dark edit of a Panavia Tornado head-on Read less

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Cathy Lovell

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Ex-RAF Lightning XR728 in the shadows.

Ex-RAF Lightning XR728 in the shadows. Read less

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Keith Campbell

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RAF red Arrows on display at RAF Cosford, performing one of there many breaks in their full display

RAF red Arrows on display at RAF Cosford, performing one of there many breaks in their full display Read less

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simon akerman

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Raf Tornado Jet plane coming in to land at dusk

Raf Tornado Jet plane coming in to land at dusk Read less

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Daniel Slattery

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Eurofighter Typhhon pilot climbs away from the runway.

Eurofighter Typhhon pilot climbs away from the runway. Read less

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Lee Wilson

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Synchro leader of the Red Arrows dives in for an opposition pass with smoke billowing into the moody skies of Lincolnshire!

Synchro leader of the Red Arrows dives in for an opposition pass with smoke billowing into the moody skies of Lincolnshire! Read less

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Paul Biddles

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Getting ready for departure at RAF Fairford

Getting ready for departure at RAF Fairford Read less

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Mark Pritchard

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EE Lightning XR728 under the glow of night at Bruntingthorpe.

EE Lightning XR728 under the glow of night at Bruntingthorpe. Read less

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Paul Biddles

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The ghosted figure of a young fighter pilot stands next to his EE Lightning F.3 of 111 Squadron.

The ghosted figure of a young fighter pilot stands next to his EE Lightning F.3 of 111 Squadron. Read less

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Paul Biddles

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An Army Air Corps Apache AH1 arrives at RAF Northolt for a Gas N Go

An Army Air Corps Apache AH1 arrives at RAF Northolt for a Gas N Go Read less

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Steve Lynes

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The last two remaining airworthy Lancaster bombers in the world take to the skies on a UK tour remembering the role of the men from Britain and the Commonwealth who served in Bo... Read more

The last two remaining airworthy Lancaster bombers in the world take to the skies on a UK tour remembering the role of the men from Britain and the Commonwealth who served in Bomber Command during World War Two. Read less

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Sam Smith

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This picture was almost 4 years in the making. I knew what I wanted to get, but waiting for a clear sun, with no clouds & a jet to time it perfectly.

This picture was almost 4 years in the making. I knew what I wanted to get, but waiting for a clear sun, with no clouds & a jet to time it perfectly. Read less

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Viv Porteous

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This was taken at the Bristol Balloon Festival. It was an unusual angle & ensured I was on the flight line, to get this.

This was taken at the Bristol Balloon Festival. It was an unusual angle & ensured I was on the flight line, to get this. Read less

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Viv Porteous

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F4 Phantom on static display at RIAT '16 RAF Fairford.

F4 Phantom on static display at RIAT '16 RAF Fairford. Read less

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Steve Thomas

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During the Glasgow Commonwealth Games opening Ceremony the Red Arrows flew over Celtic Park.

During the Glasgow Commonwealth Games opening Ceremony the Red Arrows flew over Celtic Park. Read less

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Caitlyn Stewart

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Spitfire flying into the evening golden hour commemorating 75th anniversary of Battle of Britain

Spitfire flying into the evening golden hour commemorating 75th anniversary of Battle of Britain Read less

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Paul Elliott

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