Air Covers secures new RAF Typhoon contract

Posted on 16 October, 2020 by Advance 

Air Covers Ltd has won a competitive bid this summer to provide environmental protective covers for 147 RAF Typhoon aircraft.


The newly designed distinctive red covers for the RAF Typhoon Display Team.
Courtesy Air Covers

Air Covers also won the supply contract - with a new design - for the Typhoon Display Team.

Deliveries of the covers to RAF Coningsby have already started. A total of 50 complete sets have been dispatched to date, with a further 97 to follow. Each cupola cover is made at Air Covers’ facility in Wrexham, North Wales.
“We were delighted to have won this high profile contract during the lockdown,” said Air Covers’ Managing Director John Pattinson, acknowledging the business was one of six shortlisted companies bidding for the work.

John said: “Our mission has always been to reduce the maintenance burden and increase the availability of their aircraft. While we faced strong competition, our experience protecting European and Middle Eastern military fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters was a significant factor in the decision-making process.

“We were able to demonstrate to the RAF a complete understanding of the engineering needs and environmental threat.”

The Typhoon fleet will be protected with Air Covers’ full convection cooling cover technology. The cupola covers are 30% lighter than the aircraft’s incumbent covers, which were also creating a heat sink effect, raising cockpit temperatures above ambient.  The new covers, which have been successfully trialled and tested with three air forces (with similar combat aircraft) in Italy, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, are recognised as the only protective cover able to reduce cockpit temperature below ambient.  

The majority of the RAF Typhoon fleet will sport standard charcoal grey covers but the Typhoon Display Team aircraft, operated by 29 Squadron at RAF Coningsby, will wear distinctive red covers.  

The Team plays an important role in spreading the Royal Air Force and UK Defence message at home and internationally. In addition to protecting the aircraft at remote airfields around the world, the custom Air Covers’ product will play an important part in supporting this message when international air shows return in 2021.

Air Covers printed two alternative cover logos for the Typhoon Display Team, before sharing them on Instagram and Facebook and invited followers to vote for their favourite. “We had a great response from Typhoon fans, who were pretty unanimous on their favourite design. This has now been applied to the new Display Team covers.”
Air Covers Ltd, founded in 2006, makes protective covers for a wide variety of aircraft from Apache helicopters to commercial airliners. In 2019 the company supplied covers to 29 countries.

Customers include the military, emergency services, commercial and private aircraft sectors, the offshore industry and superyacht owners and operators.

A regular supplier to the UK MoD, Air Covers also provides covers to air arms in Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the Middle East, along with prominent commercial helicopter operators including Bristow, CHC and Babcock. In the corporate market Starspeed Helicopters, part of the Luxaviation Group and Luviair, are long-established customers.

Air Covers protects helicopter, fixed-wing aircraft or superyacht exterior and key component parts as required.  Its products reduce the cost of maintenance and increase aircraft availability, as well as improving safety.  Military field tests have shown exceptional user benefits.

Working closely with OEM and MRO engineering teams and private owners, Air Covers has laser scanned and 3D modelled every aircraft and designs protection for every potential user requirement.  A customer sends a photograph of their aircraft and the team sends back a 3D rendition exactly matching any unique airframe configuration.  Its CNC machines then cut out fabrics to create a fully customised product.  Working with laser technology has enabled Air Covers to significantly reduce delivery lead times.  All design and manufacture is carried out at its factory in Wrexham, North Wales.
In April this year the business, owned and headed by John and Sasha Pattinson, was recognised with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the most prestigious business awards in the UK.