Airforces - Typhoon school

(Jacob Rumans) #1
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http://www.airforcesmonthly.com #361 APRIL 2018 // 9

ALTHOUGH THERE
has been no official
confirmation, informed
sources report that QinetiQ
retired its Alpha Jet fleet
at MOD Boscombe Down,
Wiltshire, on January 31.
The move is believed to
be part of a major renewal
of the QinetiQ fleet, which

has resulted in orders
for various new types of
aircraft and helicopters.
The Alpha Jets, along with
QinetiQ’s Hawk T1s, are
being replaced by two
PC-21s, the first of which
made its maiden flight
at Stans, Switzerland,
on January 15 (see First

flight for new QinetiQ
PC-21, March, p9).
Four Alpha Jets, all fully
instrumented, were used
by QinetiQ for the Empire
Test Pilots’ School fixed-
wing course, captained
by pilot students, who
studied the aircraft’s
performance, stability

and control and flying
qualities. QinetiQ acquired
a total of 12 ex-Luftwaffe
Alpha Jets, which were
delivered to Boscombe
Down between December
1999 and January 2001
and allocated serials
ZJ645 to ZJ656. Only six
(ZJ645, ZJ646, ZJ647,

ZJ648, ZJ649 and ZJ651)
were flown by QinetiQ,
while the remainder were
stored at Boscombe to
act as spares sources.
Of the operational
examples, ZJ648 and
ZJ649 were retired some
time ago and placed in
storage. Dave Allport

New King Airs delivered for Shadow upgrade
TWO SECOND-HAND
Hawker Beechcraft
B300C King Air 350C
aircraft recently joined the
RAF’s No 14 Squadron
at RAF Waddington,
Lincolnshire. Both are
currently standard civilian-
configured aircraft, but are
due to be modified with the
intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance (ISR) mission
systems that will bring them
up to Shadow configuration.
They comprise 2009-
built G-DAYP (c/n FM-29,
ex N6029S) and 2013-built
G-GMAD (c/n FM-54, ex
N51154), both of which

have been acquired through
Farnborough, Hampshire-
based Gama Aviation. The
older example arrived at
Waddington on September
29 last year, then departed
again on October 3 for
Kidlington, Oxfordshire,
for painting. It returned
on November 16 in an
overall drab green colour
scheme and was still flying
with the unit, unconverted,
as of late February.
The second aircraft,
G-GMAD, was operating
with No 14 Squadron by
last October, although
its exact arrival date is

unconfirmed. It currently
retains its previous civilian
colours. It was delivered
from Waddington to Gama
Aviation on January 23,
presumably to be prepared
for Shadow conversion. The
main portion of this work will
be at Raytheon’s facility at
Broughton, North Wales.
Plans to acquire three
additional Shadow R1 ISR
aircraft to join the five already
in service were announced
as part of the Strategic
Defence and Security Review
published on November
23, 2015. In addition to
the two new acquisitions

above, the third Shadow
conversion will be G-LBSB
(c/n FM-55), which was
delivered to 14 Squadron on
July 30, 2013, as a standard
King Air 350C and since
then has been operated on
behalf of the MOD by Gama
Aviation for crew training
of Shadow pilots. This
was delivered to Gama at
Farnborough on October 2
last year, making test flights
from there on November
14 and January 17 before
delivery to Raytheon at
Broughton on January


  1. It is currently still at
    Broughton and was test


flying on February 13 and 15.
Although security
considerations mean that
details of the equipment
fit on the RAF Shadows
are sparse, it is known that
incremental upgrades are
under way on the fleet –
see Upgrade for Shadow
R1 fleet, November 2017,
p9. This will eventually lead
to a Shadow R2 variant


  • all of the current fleet
    and new deliveries will
    then be modified to this
    standard. Under current
    plans, the type is expected
    to remain in service until at
    least 2030. Dave Allport


ALMOST FOUR decades
after it was delivered to
the RAF, the last of the
original fleet of Hawk T1s
delivered to the Red Arrows
has finally been retired.
The aircraft, Hawk T1A
XX227, performed a final
formation flight with the
Red Arrows at the team’s
RAF Scampton base in
Lincolnshire, on February
16, after which it was
withdrawn from use.
This particular Hawk was
originally delivered to the
RAF on July 14, 1978.
After preparation, it joined
the team on February 6,


  1. By the time of its
    retirement, it had flown 8,
    hours and made 13,
    Above: Hawk T1A XX227 taxiing out at RAF Scampton for its fi nal formation aerobatic sortie before retirement. Red Arrows landings. Dave Allport


Boscombe


Down Alpha


Jets retired


Last of original Red Arrows Hawks withdrawn


Jamie Hunter
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