An incredible image of a pair of F-35B stealth fighter jets, taken from the ‘open’ loading ramp of a plane flying alongside, is among the photos shortlisted in the RAF Photographic Competition.

© UK MOD Crown Copyright 2016

Captured by senior aircraftman Tim Laurence over the east coast of England, ‘Strikes of Lightning’ (above) is among nine shots chosen from 645 submitted by professional and amateur photographers in the RAF.

‘The debut of F-35B Lightning II in the UK was one of the most popular stories of the year,’ said Laurence who took the photo on 1 July.

‘I chose this image out of a sequence of shots as the position of the aircraft as they break was the most dynamic.

‘The aircrafts were flying over the North Sea and I was [standing] on the open ramp of a KC-130J Hercules.’

The finalists also include a stunning photo of the Red Arrows performing their famous ‘diamond nine’ formation in Greece. A sprightly RAF police dog called ‘Baco’ leaping from an RAF police car is also in contention for this year’s Peoples Choice award, which gives the public the chance to vote for their favourite shots.

Commenting on this year’s entries, Royal Photographic Society president Walter Benzie, who was also one of the competition judges, said: ‘I’m full of envy because we’ve been seeing some superb photographs taken in situations and positions that normally ordinary photographers never get the opportunity to access.’

Fellow judge Luke Brighty, picture editor at the Metro, said: ‘There’s been a very high standard this year, with a massive amount of pictures whittled down to this very small number. Overall I’m very impressed by the entrants.’

Photographer Emma Cattell was also part of the selection panel. She said: ‘The standard was high across the board, highlighting the many roles available in the service for both men and women.’

Cattell added: ‘Also, in a very male dominated arena it’s nice to see that 42% of photographers in the RAF are women.’

The website for the People’s Choice vote is due to go live this evening at
www.raf.mod.uk/photo-of-the-year-2016.

The public vote closes at 23.59 on 11 September 2016.

The other winners, to be announced on 16 September 2016, will feature awards in the following categories:

• The Judge’s choice RAF image of the year
• Photographic section (professional photographers only)
• Technical/Engineering (professional photographers only)
• RAF Operations & Exercises (professional photographers only)
• Current RAF equipment (professional photographers only)
• Sports (professional photographers only)
• Personnel (professional photographers only)
• Open video (open to all personnel)
• Open image (open to all personnel)
• The Mallett Student Trophy (RAF basic training students at the Defence School of Photography only)
• Amateur military (non-professional photographers only)
• RAF Photographer of the Year

[All image credits: © UK MOD Crown Copyright 2016]

SCA-Official-20160422-447-108 SAC Adam Fletcher (Fletch) Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team Photographer (RAFAT) Aged 34 and born in Derby, Fletch attended both Kilburn Infant and Primary Schools, before moving to John Flamsteed Community School and finally South East Derbyshire Collage to complete his education. Prior to the RAF, Fletch worked as a photographer for the Derby Evening Telegraph until joining up in 2004. Before the Red Arrows, Fletch has enjoyed postings to RAF Northolt, RAF Cottesmore and RAF Wittering, serving as a RAF photographer all over the world and on deployments to HMS Manchester, Iraq and Afghanistan. Arrival Loop The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (RAFAT), The Red Arrows pull up for the arrival loop into diamond. Flying at 6 feet apart at 320 MPH to start their 24 minute display. The images was taken during a photo chase while the team were deployed on Ex Springhawk in Greece Photographic Section RAFAT RAF Scampton Lincolnshire LN1 2ST Email: adam.fletcher108@mod.uk For further information please contact the RAFAT PR Manager Mr Andrew Morton 01522 733381

By SAC Adam Fletcher

Ever wondered what it takes to become a Royal Air Force Police Dog Handler? We invited Corporal Richie Butler who has been a Royal Air Force Police dog handler for 9 years, and is currently employed at RAF Northolt in the General Police Duties section to tell us more. He has been working with his current dog, Air Dog (AD) Eron, for 3 years. They conducted a 6 month tour of the Falkland Islands together, where they worked alongside the General Police Section and Royal Falkland Island Police, and were employed to carry out public order patrols, scent tracking and open area property search. To become a Police Dog Handler within the RAF, you firstly have to attend a Basic Police Course at the Defence Police School, Portsmouth, followed by a 3 week Patrol Dog Handlers Course. This involves basic dog handling techniques, safety procedures, canine first aid and rules of engagement training. Following a minimum of 3 years on Patrol Dog duties, a handler may apply to specialise by completing a further 9 week Service Police Dog Handler course. All dog courses are conducted at the Defence Animal Centre, Melton Mowbray. The training for all specialisations of Military Working Dog can take months at a time, with continuous training being conducted on a daily basis for the duration of their working career. Hundreds of dogs are trained each year and are sourced from all over the world. AD Eron was procured from Holland and is a 5 year old German Shepherd. Corporal Butler finds his job incredibly rewarding and said: “Every day is different, you are never bored. Dog handling is based on trust, it’s like working with a friend, and you have to be able to trust your partner to do their half of the job. The dog becomes a part of your life and family very quickly.” Image of Air Dog Baco exiting an RAF Northolt Police Car via the window. Images by Cpl Lee Matthews

By Cpl Lee Matthews  

The "Securing the Skies" Display team from Coningsby perform a crossover manoeuvre during their 2015 display at RAFC Cranwell Families Day. The display team consists of a Typhoon and Spitfire aircraft. Unless otherwise stated, images by Gordon Elias, Team Leader, Photographic Department, RAF College Cranwell, Sleaford Lincolnshire NG34 8HB.

By Gordon Elias

A fireman from RAF Shawbury fire and rescue department extinguishing flames on the station aircraft simulator located on the perimiter of the airfield. The simulator can be used to create many different aircraft fire scenarios in a controled environmentBy Ian Forshaw

Twenty-five years since the Royal Air Force helped liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's forces, an RAF Tornado GR4 has been painted in iconic Gulf War 'desert pink' paint scheme to honour the aircraft type's almost continuous operational service since then. The 'desert pink' Tornado, number ZG750, arrived at RAF Marham on the 30th March. The aircraft carries 11 'battle honours' on its tail, recalling the Tornado's almost continuous service on operations worldwide since 1991. This image was taken at night on the north east HAS Site at RAF Marham. Engineers were continuing to work on the aircraft throughout their night shift in preperation for scheduled maintenance. This maintenance would be vital in ensuring the Jet is fully serviceable for several public events it is due to make an appearance at. SAC Rose Buchanan is an RAF Photographer and is currently based at RAF Marham. She joined the RAF in 2014 to pursue an adventurous and fulfilling career in the military. Following completion of the Defence Photographer course at RAF Cosford in September 2015, she began her first posting at RAF Marham. Air Vice-Marshal Gary Waterfall, who is responsible for RAF strike aircraft as Air Officer Commanding 1 Group RAF, said: "The Royal Air Force can look back at Tornado's service on Operation Granby with great pride. In the 25 years since the Gulf War, Tornado has proven itself again and again to be a formidable strike aircraft with an enviable operational record; today it continues to serve the nation in the fight against Daesh." The Tornado was introduced into RAF service in 1979, and has been updated throughout its life to keep up with the changing requirements of the modern battlefield. Today's Tornado GR4s carry improved precision guided weapons including the Paveway IV laser- or GPS-guided bomb and brimstone missiles, as well as cutting-edge RAPTOR and litening III surveillance and targeting pods. RAF Marham was delighted to welcome the arrival of the unique and ico

By SAC Rose Buchanan

2015-07-22. The Solent, Southern England, United Kingdom. Pictured: A 27 Sqn Chinook makes a hard bank over The Solent during a Aircraft Handling Exercise to assess the development of new Pilots and Aircrew. As part of a 2-day Training Exercise, 27 Sqn, based out of RAF Odiham flew several sorties over Southern England and the Channel to assess the handling standards and flying abilities of their Aircrew and Pilots. Operating the Mk4 Chinook, the crews participated in several scenarios, including confined spaces landing, flying over the sea, low level flight and underslung loads. These sorties incorporated formation flying, which enabled Service air-to-air photography and experience flights for station personnel. SAC Nicholas Egan is an RAF Photographer currently based out of RAF Odiham, Hampshire. He joined the Royal Air Force in 2011, and following his time at the Defence School Of Photography at Cosford, was posted to Aldergrove Flying Station in Northern Ireland. Following his two years spent in Northern Ireland, he was posted to RAF Odiham in January 2015. Photographers details: SAC Nicholas Egan. Photographic Section | RAF Odiham | Hook | Hampshire | RG29 1QT 01256 367289 |

By SAC Nicholas Egan

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Sgt Mike Fellows graduated with other members of his multi engine advanced rotary wing course 155 from the defence helicopter flying school RAF Shawbury. Mike is now a qualified weapons systems operator (crewman) going on to fly the puma helicopter. He is seen with his very happy daughter Ivy Fellows

By Ian Forshaw

Shay Woods is a civilian contractor based at JFC Wyton, he has been a Photographer for the last 8 years working across the world in a broad range of photographic disiplines. RAF Falcons take to the sky performing aerial acrobatics to a packed crowd at RAF Henlow families day. I used a number of layers within the images to build up depth and texture within the smoke this was done through multiple uses of the camera RAW file. Family fun day, with RAF Falcons supported by RAFA, CYMA petrolium RAF Benevolant fund and airshow

By Shay Woods

[All image credits: © UK MOD Crown Copyright 2016]