IRIS II at Gan - Handley Page Hastings
Handley Page Hastings IRIS RAF Aviation Art Print Painting by Artist Chris French FGAvA
After the Formation of the RAF's Central Signals Establishment (CSE) inlate 1946, a new unit was formed at 90 (Signals) Group HQ, Medmenham. This wasthe Inspectorate of Radio Installation Services, IRIS for short. The IRIS wastasked with the global supervision of all RAF Air Traffic Control (ATC) andradio communications. It would operate one aircraft only and this would bebased at RAF Watton. The aircraft was used to calibrate approach systems andnavigation aids, involving at least two days of continuous flying checkingevery approach imaginable to the airfield being inspected. Often the aircraftwould be away from Watton for a number of weeks travelling as far as the MiddleEast, Africa and the Far East.
In May 1950 the Lancaster was phased out and replaced by Handley PageHastings TG560 "IRIS II". This aircraft was later replaced by anotherHastings C.2, WJ338 "Iris III" operated by 115 Squadron which in turnwas replaced by an Argosy E.1 "IRIS IV", the last in the"IRIS" series.
The painting depicts "IRIS II" HastingsTG560, having just arrived at RAF Gan in the Maldives in the late 1950s. Only40 miles from the equator, Gan is a very small, remote island in the IndianOcean and the RAF base there was used primarily as a staging post andrefuelling stop between the Middle East and the Far east. It is now GanInternational Airport.