HAWKER SIDDELEY HAWK T.1A XX205

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XX205's initial service history

Hawker-Siddeley Hawk T.1 XX205 undertook its first flight from Dunsfold, and was delivered to the Royal Air Force on 30th June 1978.
It was initially issued to No.1 Tactical Weapons Unit (1TWU) at RAF Brawdy and was operated on the 16-week/64-sortie pilot training syllabus for the remainder of the decade. The fleet code '120' was applied to its wraparound camouflage paint scheme, prior to XX205 appearing at the 1978 SBAC Farnborough airshow. At the show it proudly showed off the type's under-wing stores and possible armament capabilities to generate overseas sales for the company.

During August 1980, XX205 was one of six Hawk T.1s transferred from Brawdy to RAF Chivenor, where they would form the basis of 2TWU's Hawk fleet. Issued to RAF 63(R) Squadron (Sqn), a 'shadow' Unit within 2TWU, it was operated from Devon, aside from periods of downtime for maintenance, until 1985 when it was withdrawn and sent to British Aerospace for airframe modifications. This would allow it to carry AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and assume an air defence role in times of national emergency. It was returned to RAF Chivenor during November that year, sporting the RAF air defence grey colour scheme and was officially reclassified as a Hawk T.1A platform.
Three years later, XX205 was passed to the second 'shadow' Squadron at RAF Chivenor; RAF 151(R) Sqn and was coded 'V' during its time with the Unit. XX205 then became a part of the newly reformed No.7 Flying Training School (7FTS) in September 1992 at Chivenor, following the disbandment of 2TWU and the transfer of its role to RAF Strike Command. RAF 151(R) Sqn was also stood down as a result of this move, with RAF 92(R) being reformed in its place. This 'new' Unit gained all the former RAF 151(R) Sqn airframes in the process, for its 'new' weapons training role. This 'shadow' squadron remained active until it was disbanded on 30th September 1994, following the transfer of its training role to RAF Valley. Its remaining aeroplanes, all now redundant, were placed in store pending a transfer to another Unit.

XX205's first FRADU career - see here for images of this period

On 9th February 1995, XX205 arrived at RNAS Yeovilton to join the Fleet Requirements & Air Direction Unit (FRADU) on loan to the Royal Navy from the RAF. It was operated in its former Chivenor colours, complete with blue fin until later that summer, when it was ferried to RAF St Athan for a paint refinish into the RAF standard gloss black training finish. Returned to FRADU at RNAS Yeovilton on 12th October 1995, it was operated on taskings for the next month prior to FRADU's move to RNAS Culdrose during December.
XX205 was then operated from Cornwall for the next four years, its spell with the Unit ending in December 1999, when the airframe was moved to RAF St Athan to be re-sparred.

Back to the RAF

Declared serviceable in the latter part of 2000, XX205 was re-introduced into RAF service when it joined RAF 208(R) Sqn at Valley. Unit markings applied, the aeroplane was operated on advanced flying duties.
During the spring of 2005, XX205 was selected to be one of the two official RAF display Hawk airframes, and received a unique painted fireball effect finish on its nose, and a large lion emblem was applied on the tail. It was seen at several events both in the UK and abroad during the summer airshow season.
In 2006, XX205 was refinished again into another special colour scheme for the forthcoming summer display season, this time to mark the 90th anniversary of RAF 208 Sqn. It sported an oversized blue/yellow Unit emblem along the fuselage.
A year later its paint scheme was changed again, with a large red/white pattern and Royal Air Force lettering applied for its appearances at RAF airshows up and down the UK.
Following three years 'on the circuit' XX205 was not selected to be the display airframe in the spring of 2008, and instead was reverted back to standard RAF black training colours. It had left RAF 208(R) Sqn and was re-assigned to RAF 100 Sqn at RAF Leeming before the end of that year.

Return to FRADU

Its stay at Leeming was brief, as during January 2009 XX205 was placed on loan to the Royal Navy, and it rejoined the FRADU at Culdrose. Three months later, the aeroplane was ferried to RAF Cranwell where it received special Fly Navy 100 markings on the airframe spine and tail fin, and it still sports the remnants of these markings today.

In June 2013, FRADU was unofficially disbanded following the reform of 736 Naval Air Squadron (736NAS) at Culdrose.
XX205 and the entire fleet of Hawks were immediately absorbed into the new Unit, continuing to fulfil the taskings that FRADU has long since been associated with, in addition to its new role within the Fleet Air Arm.

- January 2015



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