Squadron Service - Royal Air Force

SquadronBase First DeliveryOperational Disbanded on Jaguar
II(AC) SqdLaarbruch26 Feb 197601 Oct 197631 Dec 1988 (to Tornado)
6 Sqd Coningsby01 Oct 1974n/k31 May 2007
14 SqdBruggen17 Apr 197501 Dec 197530 Nov 1985 (to Tornado)
17 SqdBruggen15 Aug 197501 Oct 197530 Mar 1985 (to Tornado)
20 SqdBruggen05 Jan 197701 Apr 197730 Jun 1984 (to Tornado)
31 SqdBruggen19 Dec 197501 Jul 197630 Oct 1984 (to Tornado)
41(F) SqdColtishall01 Oct 197601 Apr 197731 Mar 2006
54(F) SqdColtishall29 Mar 197401 Jan 197511 Mar 2005
226 OCU/16(R) sqdLossiemouth/Coltishall13 Sep 1973n/a11 Mar 2005

The Jaguar was the most important strike aircraft in the RAF's inventory from the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s, with 165 single-seaters and 35 two-seaters being procured. An additional three two-seaters were also purchased for use in test and evaluation units.

The largest user of the type was RAF Germany, which formed part of the 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force under SACEUR. It operated four squadrons of Jaguars for strike missions and one for reconnaissance duties.

In the UK, No 1 Group RAF Strike Command operated two strike and one reconnaisance squadrons assigned to the ACE Mobile Force. The Jaguar Operational Conversion Unit was located in the UK. As the Tornado became available, the Jaguar squadrons in Germany were re-equipped, but the UK-based Jaguar squadrons were not.

The RAF Jaguar GR.1 was considerably more sophisticated than the French Jaguar A, being equipped with one of the most advanced nav-attack systems available anywhere in the world at the time: NAVWASS. This piece of kit gave the Jaguar the ability to hit a pin-point target without needing to use a detectable radar system for navigation and target acquisition.

The first production Jaguar to reach the RAF was XX111, which arrived at RAF Lossiemouth on May 30th 1973 to begin the process of groundcrew training. The Jaguar Operational Conversion Unit (JOCU) has been established at the base in March 1973; initial pilot training was carried out at BAC Warton.

It is belived that T.2 XX136 from Boscombe Down was the first Jaguar to land at RAF Coltishall on June 21st 1973.

On September 13th 1973 the first deliveries to the unit arrived, in the form of XX114 and XX115, the seventh and eighth production aircraft. The JOCU was re-numbered as 226 OCU on October 1st 1974. At its height the OCU operated nearly fifty aircraft, in Squadrons 1 and 2.

The first operational Jaguar unit was No 54 (Fighter) Squadron. This formed at RAF Lossiemouth as No 54 (Designate) on March 29th 1974 under the command of Wg Cdr Terry Carlton. Some of the squadron's aircraft were borrowed from the JOCU, and others lacked the LRMTS nose and the RWR fin. By July 1st 1974 No 54 Squadron at RAF Coningsby had transfered its F-4 Phantoms to No 111 Squadron, at which point the 'Designate' caveat was dropped. The squadron relocated to RAF Coltishall with eight Jaguars (XX121, 719, 721-725 and 732) on August 5th 1974.

No 6 Squadron formed at Lossiemouth in September 1974 as No 6 (Designate) under the command of Wg Cdr John Quarterman. The other half of the squadron gave up its Phantoms on September 30th, allowing the unit at Lossiemouth to drop the 'Designate' caveat the following day. The unit moved to Coltishall on November 5th 1974 with six GR.1s (XX727, 730, 734, 735, 738, 740) and one T.2 (XX150). These incorporated all the latest modifications including the LRMTS nose.

The first production Jaguar T.2, XX136, was lost on November 22nd 1974 after an engine caught fire on its 236th flight. The aircraft crashed near Wimborne St Giles, Dorset. The two crew on board, W/Cdr Austin and Flt Lt Cruickshanks, ejected successfully.

No 54(F) Squadron was declared operational on the Jaguar on January 1st 1975, although it had taken part in NATO exercise "Bold Guard" in September 1974.

No 14 Squadron at RAF Bruggen received its first Jaguar, XX836, on April 7th 1975 and was declared operational on December 1st that year. The squadron received the last of the Batch 1 aircraft (XX751 - XX768) and operated these until the end of 1975 when the first Batch 2 aircraft became available. The Batch 1 aircraft were then transfered to the JOCU.

No 17 Squadron received its first Jaguar in June 1975 with the arrival of XX840. It also received the one hundredth aircraft assembled in the UK, XX818, on August 15th. Although declared operational on October 1st, the unit did not receive its full complement of fifteen GR.1s and two T.2s until February 1977.

T.2 XX831/W of 226 OCU crashed at Lossiemouth on April 30th 1975 after loss of control during an inverted run over the airfield while doing a display practice. The pilot ejected and was slightly injured.

During the early days of service, two-seat Jaguars were often flown with only one crew member on board, and it was common practice to connect the rear seat straps and tie them up with cord to stop them flailing around. However, in this incident the rear seat Personal Survival Pack (PSP) came loose and got stuck between the control column and the side of the console. Following this incident, seat aprons (a piece of material with connectors and clips) were manufactured, and fitted to two-seat aircraft when the rear seat was unoccupied.

No 31 Squadron got its first Jaguar in on December 19th 1975 with the arrival of XX968 from Warton, although its assigned T.2 (XX844) had been operating from Bruggen since the previous August. Over the next month a further eight aircraft arrived. The unit was declared operational on July 1st 1976.

On February 6th 1976 T.2 XX137/A, allocated to 226 OCU, crashed into the Moray Firth after it ran out of fuel owing to a leak in the low pressure system. The pilot ejected.

On October 1st 1976 No 41 (Designate) Squadron was formed at RAF Coltishall. The other half of the squadron continued to operate Phantoms until the end of March 1977. No 41(F) was declared operational in a reconnaissance role on April 1st 1977.

The first Jaguar fatality occured on July 2nd 1976 when GR.1 XX822 of No 14 Squadron crashed 15 miles west of Aldorn, West Germany. The pilot, Flt Lt T M Bushnell, was killed.

NATO exercise Teamwork 76 saw the loss of two more Jaguars and their pilots. On September 15th 1976 GR.1 XX735 from No 6 Squadron crashed near Eggebek, West Germany, killing Flt Lt G L Sheppard. Two days later GR.1 XX120 from No 54 Squadron crashed into the Kattegat off Samsoe Island, Denmark, killing Flt Lt P S West.

The first Jaguar for No II (AC) Squadron was XZ101 which arrived at RAF Laarbruch on February 26th 1976. Eleven more single-seaters and one two-seater arrived over the following two months. The squadron took over the RAF Germany reconnaissance role from the Phantom on October 1st 1976.

GR.1 XZ102/H of No II(AC) squadron crashed 10 miles northeast of Laarbruch, West Germany on December 14th 1976. The aircraft went into an uncontrolled roll immediately after takeoff, and the pilot (Bill Langworthy) decided to eject when he could see light above his head! The cause of the crash was a tailplane powered feedback control unit which had not been connected, which meant that once the tailplane moved it just kept going with nothing to tell it to stop: hence the uncontrolled roll.

On February 25th 1977 GR.1 XZ120 of No II(AC) squadron crashed into the North Sea off Nordholm, Denmark after losing contact during a formation join-up. The pilot, Flt Lt D G Stein, was killed.

The first aircraft for No 20 Squadron, XZ374, arrived at Bruggen from Warton on January 5th 1977, although the squadron did not officially reform until March 1st. It was declared operational one month later. This was the last Jaguar unit to form.

On June 14th 1977 GR.1 XX978/DM, assigned to No 31 Squadron, struck a house at Verden, West Germany. The pilot, Fg Off T V Penn, was killed.

On July 29th 1977 both 226 OCU crew on board T.2 XX148/M were killed when the aircraft crashed near Whittingham, Northumberland. They were Flt Lt Hinchliff and Fg Off R F Graham.

In September 1977 four Jaguars from No 31 squadron practised emergency landings and takeoffs from a new German autobahn being constructed between Bremen and Bremerhaven. A second series of tests was carried out a little later at Boscombe Down. Single and two-seaters were operated from a specially prepared strip with various obstacles such as rabbit holes and shallow ditches. The Jaguars did not have any problems in operating from this surface, thus proving the aircraft's flexibility.

On March 21st 1978 GR.1 XX971/DE of No 31 squadron crashed shortly after takeoff from CFB Lahr, West Germany after the No 2 engine failed. Despite jettisoning external stores and attempting an emergency landing, the pilot ejected successfully after speed and height had decayed such that he did not anticipate being able to make the airfield.

On April 27th 1978 T.2 XX149/N from 226 OCU, emerged from cloud in a steep inverted dive and crashed into a mountain near Banff, Scotland. The crew (Flt Lt C Everitt and Flt Lt J Rigby) ejected just before the impact but were both killed.

On June 6th 1978 GR.1 XX761 from the OCU was destroyed in a ground fire after an engine explosion. The cockpit was salvaged as 8600M.

On July 25th 1978 GR.1 XX823 of No 17 squadron flew into a hill near Cagliari, Sardinia while on an APC sorties from Decimomannu, killing the pilot, Flt Lt R J West.

On November 1st 1978 GR.1 XX759 from 226 OCU crashed near Selkirk, Scotland. The Ecudorian Air Force pilot was killed.

Jaguars from No 6 Squadron took part in a "Red Flag" exercise in Nevada in 1978.

In February 1978 No 41(F) Squadron became part of SACEUR's Strategic Reserve (Air), which involved regular deployments to northern Norway.

On July 18th 1978 GR.1 XX960/AK of No 14 squadron crashed at Islehorn, West Germany. The pilot ejected.

On March 26th 1979 T.2 XX147/BY from No 17 squadron crashed near Sudlohn, Borken, West Germany after suffering a birdstrike. Both crew ejected.

Number 1 Squadron 226 OCU disbanded on March 31st 1979.

On June 22nd 1979 XX142/G of 226 OCU crashed into the Moray Firth 10nm north of Lossiemouth. This was caused by loss of control while in inverted flight carrying out a loose article check for the spine panel anchor nut. Unfortunately the check was carried out at low level instead of the prescribed 7000ft. With full external tanks the C of G rapidly shifted forward, and the crew could not recover in time.

The frontseat student (Capt Rasmussen RDAF) initiated the ejection sequence but the aircraft struck the sea before the seat fired. The backseat staff pilot, Flt Lt John Skinner, ejected but drowned. This accident caused the introduction of a front canopy Liner Cutting Charge on T.2s to speed up the ejection sequence.

On November 23rd 1979 GR.1 XX762 of 226 OCU crashed 2000 feet up Beinn a'Chleigh mountain near Dalmally, Argyle, Scotland. The staff pilot Flt Lt Al Proctor ejected. Unfortunately, the weather made it impossible to find the crash site. When the site was located, it was discovered that the pilot had survived the ejection but his parachute had been caught by the wind, which dragged him down the mountain. During this he sustained a head trauma which rendered him unconscious. As a result he froze to death on the mountain.

On December 10th 1979 GR.1s XX749 and XX755 of the OCU collided during formation training over Lumsden, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The pilot of XX755, Flt Lt N Brown, was killed. The student pilot in XX749 ejected. The canopy failed to jettison because the firing link was not connected, so the seat passed through the canopy, injuring the pilot.

Jaguars from No 54(F) Squadron took part in a "Red Flag" exercise in Nevada in 1980.

On May 25th 1980 there was another mid-air collision, this time between XX961 and XX964, both from No 17 squadron, during a break for landing at RAF Bruggen. The pilot of XX961, Flt Lt J Cathie, was killed. The wreckage landed on the airfield. XX961 caught fire but the pilot was able to eject, the aircraft landing just outside the airfield.

On July 17th 1980 GR.1 XX817 of No 17 squadron crashed at Munchen-Gladbach in West Germany after a reheat fire caused by a fuel leak from the port LP fuel system. The pilot ejected and the wreckage landed close to houses at the edge of a wood.

RAF Jaguars took part in Exercise Mallet Blow 81/1 between January 12th and 16th 1981.

RAF Germany Jaguars took part in exercise Red Flag 81/2, which started at Nellis AFB on January 17th 1981 and lasted for 6 weeks. During this exercise GR.1 XX827/BM of No 17 squadron crashed on the Nellis ranges on February 12th. The aircraft was observed to pull up sharply, roll inverted and strike the ground with the engines in reheat. The pilot, Flt Lt D Plumbe, was killed.

On April 14th 1981 GR.1 XX973 of No 31 squadron crashed 4 miles north-west of Gutersloh, West Germany, after the aircraft entered an unrecoverable spin during an air-combat training sortie. The pilot ejected safely and the wreckage hit the ground 50m from a farmhouse.

On June 1st 1981 T.2 XX828/P of 226 OCU crashed 8 miles E of Kirriemuir, Tayside, Scotland after a birdstrike shattered the canopy. Fragments of the canopy were ingested by both engines, causing both to fail. The crew ejected successfully.

On July 17th 1981 GR.1 XX113 launched from RAF Abingdon on an air test following a major service. The aircraft carried out an uncommanded flight control movement (UFCM) when the port spoiler powered flying control unit (PFCU) extended to full travel caused by a loose object jammed in the PFCU feedback mechanism. The OCU staff pilot lost control and ejected near Malvern, breaking his ankle during the process. The loose object was never identified or recovered.

On July 24th 1981 T.2 XX916 operated by the ETPS was carrying out a NAVWASS assessment when it suffered a birdstrike which damaged both engines, and crashed into the sea. The pilot ejected safely. The backseater (Flt Lt S Sparks) ejected but mistakenly detached his personal survival pack (PSP) lanyard instead of the PSP's single-handed release connectors (SHRC), became tangled in rigging lines on landing in the sea and drowned.

July 31st 1981 saw the first flight of a Jaguar equipped with the Ferranti FIN 1064 INAS computer, which was 50% lighter and occupied one-third of its predecessor's space. Jaguars equipped with the new system were designated GR.1A and T.2A, and in 1983 No 54 squadron began to take delivery. Eight-nine aircraft were modified by the Jaguar Maintenance Unit at RAF Abingdon. Other modifications added were the ability to carry the ALQ-101 jamming pod and Phimat chaff dispenser on outer wing pylons, together with two ALE-40 flare dispensers scabbed onto the underside engine access panels. Provision to carry the AIM-9G Sidewinder was added. RAF Germany GR.1As had a five-shot flare/chaff dispenser which could be fitted in place of the braking parachute. All GR.1As and T.2As were eventually retrofitted with the Adour Mk104 engine, which gave a useful increase in thrust.

On August 6th 1981 GR.1 XX972 of 31 squadron flew into the ground near Barnard's Castle, Northumberland. The pilot, Sqd Ldr R Matthews, did not attempt to eject.

RAF Jaguars took part in NATO exercise Amber Express, which was held in Denmark from September 12th to 22nd 1981.

NATO exercise Cold Fire 81, which took place between September 14th and 25th 1981, involved RAF Jaguars in a major test of their capabilities.

On October 21st 1981 GR.1 XX957 of No 20 Squadron crashed on approach to landing at Bruggen after the aircraft was struck by lightning. The port engine failed, but the pilot inadvertantly shut off fuel to the starboard engine, causing that engine to fail as well. The pilot ejected but suffered a spinal crush fracture.

Jaguar GR.1 XX758/18 belonging to No 226 OCU crashed 14 miles north-west of Dingwall, Ross & Cromarty, on November 18th 1981. The pilot, Fg Off A Crowther, was killed when the aircraft flew into a hillside during a snow storm.

On April 2nd 1982 GR.1 XX122 of No 54 squadron crashed into the Wash, killing the pilot, Capt Bjornstad RNoAF. He had failed to turn the Rad Alt on after takeoff, which under normal weather conditions would not have mattered.

Jaguar GR.1 XX963/AL of No 14 squadron was shot down on May 25th 1982 35 miles NE of RAF Bruggen, West Germany, by a live AIM-9L Sidewinder accidently fired from Phantom FGR.2 XV422 of No 92 squadron during a simulated combat exercise. The pilot (Steve Griggs) ejected safely. The Board of Inquiry determined that the master armament switch in the Phantom had not been taped in the "safe" position and the pilot inadvertently rendered one of the two main safely switches "live". The Phantom's pilot and navigator were court martialed and found guilty of offences of neglect, for which they received severe reprimands.

On July 11th 1982 GR.1 XX820 of No 31 squadron crashed on approach to RAF Bruggen after engines failure caused by the ingestion of the intake auxiliary air door hinge bolt. The pilot ejected successfully.

On September 13th 1982 Jaguar GR.1 XX760/AA of No 14 squadron crashed 11 miles north of Bonar Bridge, Sutherland. The pilot ejected after an engine caught fire.

Jaguar GR.1 XX768/BA of No 17 squadron crashed on September 29th 1982 near Heinsberg-Rauderath, West Germany, while on approach to RAF Bruggen. An engine caught fire, possible the result of a failure of the LP compressor. The pilot ejected.

On March 7th 1983 Jaguar GR.1 XZ376/BE of No 17 squadron crashed at RAF Tain, Ross & Cromarty, after the pilot lost control during a bomb toss manoeuvre. He ejected at 325ft. The canopy jettisoned but did not clear the aircraft. The seat passed through the canopy rendering the pilot unconscious. The aircraft was carrying two inert 1000lb bombs. The aircraft's drop tanks broke up in mid-air.

In March 1983 Jaguars of 41 Squadron took part in NATO exercise Cold Winter, operating from the Norwegian base at Bardufoss.

On April 19th 1983 GR.1 XX742 of No 6 squadron crashed into the North Sea 25nm from the coast after an uncommanded flight control movement. The pilot ejected but sustained a wedge fracture of the vertebrae. The aircraft's wreckage was not recovered. As a result of this accident a sonar location beacon was fitted to RAF Jaguars.

An incident on May 21st 1983 caused the deaths of six 41(F) squadron airmen.

On June 16th 1983 GR.1s XZ105 and XZ110, both of No II(AC) squadron, collided at Goose Bay, Canada during a break to land. Both pilots ejected.

On June 22nd 1983 GR.1 XX721 of No 54 squadron crashed 8nm south of Hahn AB, West Germany while on a weapon training sortie. Both engines flamed out after apparent fuel starvation, but the cause was never positively determined. The pilot ejected but suustained a wedge fracture of the vertebrae.

On September 19th 1983 Jaguar GR.1 XX114/02 of No 226 OCU crashed at RAF Lossiemouth after a birdstrike caused double engine failure. The pilot ejected.

T.2 XX915 operated by the ETPS crashed near Porton Down, Wilts on January 17th 1984. After an engine failure the pilot was attempting an emergency landing at Boscombe Down, but the second engine ignited leaking fuel from the No 1 engine and the aircraft crashed. The pilot ejected safely.

On February 7th 1984 GR.1 XX750 of No 6 squadron crashed on the Nellis ranges during a Red Flag exercise. The aircraft struck a desert ridge during a harsh threat evasion manoeuvre. The pilot, Flt Lt Jackson, did not attempt to eject.

No 20 Squadron RAFG converted from Jaguars to Tornadoes on June 30th 1984. No 31 Squadron followed suit on August 31st, No 17 Squadron on April 30th 1985 and No 14 Squadron on November 30th 1985. This left the reconnaissance Jaguars of No II(AC) Squadron as the only examples still based in West Germany.

Jaguar GR.1A XZ393 of No 54 squadron was written off on July 12th 1984, when it crashed into the North Sea off Cromer after colliding with Tornado GR.1 ZA408. The pilot ejected.

On August 22nd another GR.1A went down in the North Sea, this time it was XZ395 also from No 54 squadron. The pilot lost control after an uncommanded flying control movement during an ACT sortie, and ejected.

On April 1st 1985 GR.1 XZ388 of No 14 squadron flew into the ground near Celle, West Germany, after the pilot became distracted by fiddling with the radio. The pilot ejected, the canopy jettisoned as normal but shattered, the drogue gun fired but the bullet passed through the canopy frame which swung round and struck the pilot on the helmet, rendering him unconscious. He also sustained a broken ankle, bitten through tongue and crushed vertebrae.

On July 9th 1985 GR.1A XZ365 of No II(AC) squadron crashed on Bastenberg Hill, West Germany. The pilot continued VFR into IFR conditions. The aircraft struck the top of the hill, the pilot ejected and aircraft wreckage landed on a road in the valley floor beyond. The pilot was found negligent and removed from flying single-seat fast jets.

On October 7th 1985 GR.1A XX731 and GR.1 XX728, both from No 6 squadron, collided in mid-air over the Hartside Pass in Cumbria. The pilot of XX731 (Flt Lt L Stovin) did not attempt to eject and was killed. XX728's pilot managed to eject despite there being flames in the cockpit and the parachute withdrawal line being almost burnt through.

In July 1986 Jaguars of No II(AC) Squadron took part in the NATO TAM 86 at Kleine Brogel. In August No 54 Squadron Jaguars took part in the Tactical Fighter Meet held at RAF Waddington.

The only loss during 1986 was of GR.1A XX732/03 of 226 OCU, which crashed on Stock Hill, 11 miles SW of Hawick on November 27th. The USAF exchange pilot, Capt Bateau, was killed.

In 1987 there were two losses within 6 days. GR.1 XZ116/D of No 41 squadron went down on June 17th after colliding with Tornado GR.1 ZA493 of No 20 squadron in the Borrowdale Valley six miles south of Keswick, Cumbria. The Jaguar pilot, Flt Lt Andrew Mannheim, was killed. The subsequent enquiry was able to establish that from the relative routes of each aircraft and terrain masking, it would have been very unlikely that either crew would have seen each other before the accident and in time to take avoiding action.

GR.1A XZ386/05 of 226 OCU went down on June 24th 3 miles southeast of Builth Wells, Powys, after the pilot, Flt Lt I Hill, lost control. He was killed.

Jaguar T.2A XX834 of Np 6 squadron crashed near Hahn AFB, West Germany, on September 7th 1988, when it struck power lines. The backseater, a USAFE F-16 exchange pilot, successfully ejected, but the pilot, Flt Lt S P Nelson, was killed when his seat hit the steep side of the valley.

The last operational RAF Germany Jaguar sortie was flown on December 16th 1988 by the C/O of No II(AC) Squadron.

On April 16th 1989, GR.1A XZ359 was destroyed when it crashed into cliffs at Lumsdaine Beach, 2.5nm WNW of St Abbs Head. The pilot (Sqn Ldr PV Lloyd) had continued VFR into IFR conditions. The aircraft impacted 100 feet from the top of 500 feet cliffs and the pilot was killed instantly.

On January 9th 1990 Jaguar GR.1A XZ108 collided with Tornado GR.1 ZA394 over the Spadeadam weapons range in Northumberland. Despite losing 2 feet of its port wing tip, the Jaguar was recovered to RAF Leeming. The Tornado crashed near Hexham, and both crew-members sustained major injuries when they ejected.

Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2nd 1990, No 6 (Composite) squadron, comprising crews from all three squadrons plus the OCU, was formed at Coltishall under the command of Wing Cdr Jerry Connoly. Thirteen aircraft were prepared for the deployment by the application of a desert camoflage described as 'Desert Sand ARTF', which had a distinctly pinkish hue.

On August 11th 1990 twelve aircraft departed RAF Coltishall for Thunmrait in Oman. Four of the aircraft carried the BAe reconnaissance pod on their centreline stations. The following airrcaft were in the initial deployment: XX112, XX719, XX741, XX970, XX974, XZ115, XZ355, XZ357, XZ363, XZ369, XZ372 and XZ396. XX766 remained at Cotishall.

The RAFO Jaguar squadons were also based at Thumrait, thus simplifiying maintenance. However, distances in the theatre eventually caused the Jaguars to relocate to Muharraq International Airport in Bahrain in mid-October, where they needed less tanker support.

Jaguar GR.1A XZ387 crashed into the Solway Firth 5 miles off Southerness Point on September 12th 1990, killing the pilot Flt Lt J Marsden. The aircraft was one of four preparing for Operation Granby.

On September 15th 1990 Jaguars took part in a 168-aircraft flypast over London to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

The original twelve aircraft send to the Gulf were not ideally suited to desert operations, and another batch of aircraft was prepared for deployment. These aircraft carried what were known as "Granby Stage 3 Upgrades". The aircraft's Adour engines were modified to produce higher turbine temperatures (and thus more thrust). The ARI-18223 radar warning receiver was upgraded to Sky Guardian 200-13PD standard, giving the aircraft an improved capability to detect scanning pulse-Doppler radars at long range, and a Vinten colour HUD video recorder was added, replacing the mono wet film arrangement.

Over-wing rails were fitted to allow the carriage of the AIM-9L Sidewinder (reportedly these rails were purchased from the RAFO). The aircraft also carried the modified ALQ-101(V)-10 jamming pod, MkXII Mide 4 IFF and an ARC-164 Have Quick frequency-hopping UHF radio. Radar-absorbing material was applied to wing leading edges and engine intakes, and windscreens were coated with a thin gold film to reduce radar reflections.

No 41(Composite) squadron under the command of Wing Cdr Bill Pixton was formed to take the modified aircraft. Seven of them (XX725/T, XX733/R, XZ119/Z, XZ358/W, XZ364/Q, XZ367/P and XZ375/S) arrived at Muharraq on October 23rd and the other five (XX748/U, XX754, XX962/X, XZ118/Y and XZ356/N) arrived on November 2nd.

Jaguar GR.1A XX754 flown by Flt Lt Keith Collister crashed in Qatar on November 13th 1990. The pilot was killed when the aircraft hit a ridge in the desert. XZ106/O was brought in as a replacement. This loss appears to have caused a change of tactics for the Jaguar force, by increasing the operating altitude of the aircraft. This took them out of range of AAA and shoulder-fired SAMs, and also required some weapon changes. Retard tails on bombs were replaced with free-fall fins, and BL755 cluster bombs was replaced by CVR-7 rocket pods. Paveway II laser-guided bombs were trialled but not used by Jaguars during the conflict.

The Jaguars flew their first combat mission on January 17th 1991, using CVR-7 rockets against targets in Kuwait. On January 19th around 35 Jaguar sorties were flown.

On January 18th operations centered on vehicles, barracks and a storage complex in the Kuwait area. The next day's tasking led to attacks on SAM sites and artillery targets. Some aircraft received fragmentation damage.

On January 20th, two early morning attacks were flown, but bad weather then prevented ant further missions until the 22nd, when a number of aircraft eventually attacked an enemy ammunition store.

On the 23rd a successful attack against a heavily defended artillery and an anti-aircraft site was carried out. Later, operating with USAF F-16s, a series of attacks were carried out against another artillery target near the one attacked earlier.

On the 24th interdiction missions against artillery and SSM sites were carried out, each aircraft carrying 4 1000lb bombs. All aircraft hit their targets and returned to base.

Two Jaguars on standing patrol were wrongly tasked to intercept two Iraqi Mirage F.1s! This order was corrected quite quickly. Four aircraft flew an anti-shipping patrol, armed with CVR-7 rockets, but no targets were detected.

On the 25th, bad weather again disrupted operations. Several sorties were launched against an artillery site, but only one aircraft was able to deliver its weapons. Other aircraft flew anti-shipping patrols, and one pair damaged a barge with an HE strafe.

On January 26th the Jaguars attacked a Silkworm anti-shipping missile battery in Kuwait, and an artillery site, scoring direct hits.

On the 28th, Jaguars attacked an SSM site and barracks in Kuwait, with both targets being hit. An artillery site next to the SSM site was also hit. Also, a number of SUCAP missions against an oil platform were flown using the CBU-87 cluster bomb for the first time.

On January 29th, further attacks were mounted against Silkworm sites, this time using CBU-87s. Four fast patrol boats were attacked by aircraft on SUCAP patrol with CVR-7 and 30mm cannon, disabling four of them.

On January 30th two Jaguars sank three Polnochney C-class landing craft with CVR-7 rockets and 30mm cannon fire. Others destroyed a command bunker south of Kuwait City, and an artillery battery north of the city.

On the 31st aircraft attacked a logistics site, and a second raid was mounted on a Silkworm site. Two aircraft on SUCAP were tasked to attack vehicles on the main highway west of Kuwait City. This resulted in the destruction of a ZSU-23/4 AAA vehicle and an SSV.

On February 1st Jaguars were tasked to attack a support site, which they did with BL755 cluster bombs and 1000lb bombs. Another mission was flown against a SAM site, with one pilot reporting a good hit, while a second reported a hit on an artillery battery near the primary target.

On the morning of February 2nd, an attack was carried out on an ammunition target with CBS, with many aircraft reporting hits. A SAM site was also attacked with CBUs and 1000lb-ers.

On February 3rd two more SAM sites were attacked with 1000lb bombs. Later in the day a raid was launched against an artilley position. Hits were made but haze prevented other aircraft acquiring their targets. Therefore a SAM site was attacked and destroyed instead.

On February 4th a 2-wave attck were successfully carried out against a barracks and support complex.

In the following days tasking involved attacking artillery positions and targets of opportunity. Weather conditions continued to cause problems with operations.

On February 9th there was a two-wave attack on an entrenched storage area using cluster bombs, with very effective results. Later that day there was an attack on a multiple rocket launcher, but the results were inclusive. The 10th saw raids against an artillery battery and Silkworm site, while the 11th saw successful attacks on artillery and missile units, using CBU-87s.

The following two days saw aircraft sucessfully attacking a multiple rocket lancher vehicle park, a comminications post and artillery positions with 1000lb bombs.

Jaguar reconnaissance operations didn't get properly underway until February 11th. Two aircraft were used, one carrying a Vinten LOROP pod and the other a standard BAe pod with an F126 survey camera.

On the 14th artillery positions were attacked, supported by the two recon jets.

On the 15th saw further attacks with CBU-87s against command posts, vehicles and artillery positions.

On the 16th morning reconaissance missions were flown, which located a number of artillery pieces, tanks, and a command bunker.

On the 17th poor weather caused the cancellation of most of the day's planned missions. The next day a logistics site was attacked with CBU-87s and 1000lb bombs.

On the 19th missions were flown against artillery targets in the KTO, which were successfully attacked despite extensive smoke in the area. Reconnaissance missions produced no usable imagery because of haze and cloud. On the 20th, poor weather prevented attacks on a rocket artillery position, but a secondary fuel storage facility was successfully hit. Later in the day the rocket launchers were successfully attacked.

The weather again interfered with operations on the 20th, when CBU-87-armed Jaguars were unable to attack their nominated rocket artillery position. However, they achieved good hits on their secondary target of enemy fuel storage sites and revetments. Later in the day the primary target was attacked again.

On the 21st, self-propelled guns and main battle tanks were located by a reconnaissance mission, and another sortie attacked a rocket artillery system with CBU-87s.

On the 22nd smoke from the oil well fires prevented an attack on enemy artillery systems, but a second mission was successful with 12 hits on the primary target and four on the secondary.

On the 23rd artillery positions were attacked with 1000lb bombs in two separate attacks, and a recon mission was flown near the Iraq/Kuwait border.

The next day (24th) saw the start of the ground offensive. The morning Jaguar sortie attacked enemy positions with all aircraft reporting hits. Other attacks were called off because of the proximity of friendly troops. Some recon missions were flown.

On the 25th, 26th and 27th poor weather saw all missions aborted. However, by then the coalition had declared a ceasefire.

During Desert Storm the JagDet flew 618 sorties, of which battlefield air interdiction accounted for the vast majority. 750 454kg bombs, 385 CBU-87s, 8 BL755 cluster bombs and 608 CVR-7 rockets were expended, along with 9600 rounds of 30mm ammunition. Just under 922 combat hours were flown, with no losses, although five aircraft took minor battle damage. A servicability rate of 98% was achieved. The aircraft returned to Coltishall on March 12 and 13th 1991.

On August 29th 1991 Jaguar T.2A XX843/GT was destroyed following a mid-air collision with Cessna 152 G-BMHI over Carno, Powys. The Cessna pilot and Jaguar pilot Wg Cdr J Marden were killed. Subsequently the Cessna was found to have been operating in a military low-flying area without permission.

Eight RAF Jaguars deployed to Incirlik AB in Turkey in early September 1991 to provide reconnaissance support to operation Provide Comfort in northern Iraq. This operation was set up to provide a safe area for Iraqi Kurds, and also to police the Air Exclusion Area above 36° North. Although No 41 Squadron was the only dedicated Jaguar reconnaissance squadron, personnel from Nos 6 and 54 Squadrons also supported the deployment. Each Squadron performed two months in Turkey before being relieved, and this continued until February 1993 when Harriers took over the deployment.

In March 1992 the Jaguars at Incirlik clocked up 1000 sorties and 2000 flying hours.

In April 1992 the final Jaguar (XZ399) passed through the servicing unit at RAF Abingdon.

Only three months after ending its deployment to Turkey, the Coltishall Jaguar wing was again mobilised. Twelve aircraft were despatched to Gioia del Colle in Italy on July 12th 1993 as part of a NATO force made available to support UN operations in the former Yugoslavia. The following aircraft were sent: XX970/EH, XX974/GH, XZ104/FM, XZ109/EN, XZ112/GA, XZ113/FD, XZ114/FB, XZ118/FF, XZ356/EP, XZ362/GC, XZ373/GF and XZ394/GN. The aircraft had the "Gulf mods" of boosted engines, Mk XII IFF, a second UHF radio and overwing Sidewinders, and radar-absorbent material had been applied to the wing, pylon and fin leading edges. Eight of the aircraft were configured for Close Air Support missions, and the other four carried the BAe recon pod. The numbers were subsequently reduced to 5 CAS and 3 recon aircraft.

As in Turkey, the three Coltishall Jaguar squadrons took turns holding the deployment for two months at a time. By early February 1994 No 6 squadron had the deployment, and the Jaguar force had completed more than 750 sorties, totalling 1400 flying hours. About 300 sorties were reconnaissance missions. About 400 personnel were supporting the Jaguars at any one time.

In 1993 Number 226 OCU RAF took on the numberplate of Number 16 (Reserve) Squadron.

An additional four RAF Jaguars were sent to Gioia on February 11th 1994 following a UN deadline for the Bosnian Serbs to remove heavy weapons from around Sarajevo, which expired on February 20th.

On September 22nd 1994 two 41 Squadron Jaguars and an A-10 were involved in an action against a Bosnian Serb T55 tank inside the heavy weapons exclusion zone round Sarajevo. The Jaguars each dropped a 454-kg bomb and the Thunderbolt strafed the tank with 30mm cannon fire. On November 21st two 54 Squadron Jaguars dropped 454-kg bombs in a mission against Udbina airfield.

Six Jaguar GR.1As of No 41 Squadron took part in NATO exercise Strong Resolve in Norway between February 20th and March 10th 1995.

In a ceremony at A&AEE Boscombe Down on February 24th 1995 the first Jaguar GR.1B (XX748/GK) equipped with a TIALD (Thermal Imaging and TV Airborne Laser Designation) pod was handed over to the RAF. This was the result of Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) 41/94, issued in June 1994, to provide ten single-seat and two two-seat Jaguars with an onboard laser designation capability for use in Bosnia.

The following aircraft, in addition to the first, were upgraded: XX725, XX733, XX738, XZ369, XZ375, XZ767, XX835, XX143 (T.2B) and XX962 (T.2B). XX725 and XX962 made their first flights over Bosnia on May 27th 1995.

On June 21st 1995 GR.1A XZ373 of No 54 squadron crashed into the Adriatic Sea while on a sortie from Gioia del Colle. The US exchange pilot ejected successfully.

On August 1st 1995 the RAF Jaguar detachment at Gioia de Colle was replaced by Harrier GR.7s of No 4 Squadron. In their two-year deployment the Jaguars accumulated over 5000 hours of flight operations. By September this had increased to 6088 hours in 4029 sorties.

In August 1995 10 GR.1As from No 41 Squadron took part in exercise Air Warrior #95-11, flying out of Nellis AFB, Nevada.

On August 30th 1995 NATO launched Operation Deliberate Force against the Bosnian Serb air defence system. Two RAF Jaguar GR.1Bs took part in the missions, in which they provided TIALD laser designation for 48 Paveway II LGBs dropped by RAF Harriers on 19 targets. The operation ended on September 14th.

The first "Jaguar 96" (XX738) made its first flight in January 1996.

On January 23rd 1996 Jaguar GR.1B XX733/ER crashed on take-off from RAF Coltishall. The Board of Inquiry determined that the accident happened because the pilot (Flt Lt Greg Noble) forgot to engage afterburners at the start of the take-off run. As a result the aircraft's undercarriage struck the top of the raised net barrier, causing the aircraft to crash and catch fire, killing the pilot.

On March 5th 1996 a detachment of nine RAF Jaguars (of Nos 41 and 54 Squadrons) deployed to RNorAF Bardufoss to take part in exercise Battle Griffin. Some sorties involved live weapons training with 454kg bombs and CVR-7 rockets.

On July 24th 1996 GR.1A XZ362/GC of No 54 squadron crashed 20 miles from Eielson AFB, Alaska, during DACT with a F-16 during exercise Cope Thunder. The pilot ejected safely.

On September 18th 1996 T.2A XX143 of No 16(R) squadron crashed on takeoff from RAF Lossiemouth after an engine caught fire. The student pilot shut down the wrong engine and jettisoned his drop tanks onto Lossiemouth golf course and beach, which exploded in a massive fireball. The pilot ejected milliseconds before impact with the sea.

The first five Jaguar 96s began flying from Gioia del Colle on March 24th 1997.

On November 29th ten GR.1As and two T.2As of No 41 Squadron deployed to Egypt, the first time that RAF aircraft had been there since 1956. The squadron was the guest of No 222 Tactical Fighter Brigade flying F-4E Phantoms. During the two-week deployment about 90 sorties were flown.

During the same period No 54 Squadron visited Oman, where they performed TIALD and ground-attack training flights with RAFO Jaguars.

Jaguars took over the RAF commitment to NATO operations in Bosnia in February 1997, when six GR.1As of No 41 Squadron flew to Gioia del Colle. As before, the three Jaguar squadrons shared the deployment in rotation.

In early November 1997 No 41 Squadron deployed to Bardufoss in Norway to take part in exercise Snow Goose.

On November 24th 1997 nine Jaguars (including XX970/EH, XZ104/FM, XZ366/FS and XZ398/FA) left Coltishall for Thumrait in Oman, where they had been scheduled to take part in exercises with the SOAF. Increased tensions with Iraq meant that the Jaguars would have been well-placed to move north in the event that air strikes had been required. In the end, they were not.

On April 6th 1998 the six GR.1Bs supporting UN operations in Bosnia were withdrawn from their base at Gioia del Colle and returned to the UK.

Following Serbian "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo, eight RAF Jaguars were deployed to Gioia del Colle on June 12th and 13th 1998. These were XX119/GD, XX737/EE, XX767/EE, XX970/EH, XZ115/FC, XZ363/FO, XZ364/GJ and XZ369/EF. Four aircraft took part in NATO exercise Determined Falcon over Albania and Macedonia. The Jaguars returned to Coltishall by July 2nd, having been replaced by Harrier GR.7s.

Jaguar XZ399 made its maiden flight as the Trials Installation aircraft for the Jaguar 97 program on August 4th 1998.

Jaguar GR.3 XZ108/GL of No 54 squadron crashed into the North Sea off north Norfolk on September 3rd 1998. The pilot (from No 41 Squadron) lost control during a 2v1 ACM sortie and ejected. He was rescued by helicopter.

At least four Jaguars flew to Turkey in September 1998 to relieve Tornado GR.1s on Operation Warden. They are believed to be XZ115/FC, XZ118/FF, XZ107/FH , all of No 41 Squadron, and XZ367/GP of 54 Squadron. All are Jaguar 96(R) models.

Over the weekend of October 2nd and 3rd 1998 RAF Coltishall was host to a variety of events to mark the Jaguar's 25 years of service with the RAF.

Jaguar 96 XZ103 made an emergency landing at Edinburgh airport on November 16th 1998. The pilot declared PAN after a multiple birdstrike near the Otterburn range. The aircraft was damaged but was repaired and put back into service.

Jaguar 97 XZ399 was handed over to the RAF for Military Aircraft Release trials on January 28th 1999.

The following Jaguars were believed to be deployed on Operation Warden duties in March 1999: XZ106/FR, XZ113/FD, XZ115/FC and XZ367/GP.

In October 1999 six Jaguars from No 41 squadron deployed to Miroslawiec air base in Poland to take part in Exercise Jade Fusion with Polish Air Force Su-22 "Fitters".

Group Captain Alan Hudson, the station commander at RAF Lossiemouth, was forced to eject from Jaguar GR.3 XZ381/D over the Moray Firth on October 20th 1999, after the aircraft suffered a complete failure of both its hydraulic systems.

As at November 19th 1999 the following Jaguar GR.3s were on Operation Warden: XZ115/FC, XZ113/FD, XZ355/FJ and XZ106/FR.

The first Jaguar GR.3A (formerly Jaguar 97) was delivered to No. 41 squadron on January 17th 2000.

The following Jaguar GR.3s departed Coltishall on May 7th 2000 for exercise "Maple Flag" : XX112/EA, XX119/GD, XX720/GB, XZ103/FP, XZ104/FM, XZ106/FR, XZ357/FK, XZ363/FO, XZ398/FA and XZ400/GR.

On May 31st 2000 RAF Jaguars GR.1A XX745/GV and T.2A XX832/EZ collided somewhere over the North Sea. Both aircraft were able to recover to RAF Leuchars. The two-seater suffered wing and tail damage, and the single-seater damaged its nose.

RAF Coltishall held its annual "Families Day" on July 1st 2000 to make the base's 60th anniversary. This was preceeded by a photocall on June 30th, at which Polish Air Force Fitters were the star attraction.

No 16(R) Squadron took up residence at RAF Coltishall on July 20th 2000, when the following Jaguars arrived there: GR.3s XX117/A, XX974/B, XX752/D and XZ377/EG; T.4s XX139/T and XX846/V.

On October 27th 2000 Jaguar GR.1A XZ111/GO of No 54 Squadron, flown by No 6 squadron pilot Flight Lieutenant Brendan "Torch" Clarke of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, crashed five miles north-east of Dumfries. Flt Lt Clarke had taken off from Coltishall and was flying a low-altitude training mission, when his Jaguar swallowed "a lot" of seagulls and both engines flamed out. Clarke ejected successfully after steering the aircraft away from anything that looked like habitation. The aircraft came down on a hillside and burst into flames. No one on the ground was hurt.

In mid-May 2001 the first Jaguar GR.3As with the Jaguar Reconnaissance Pod began to take over from No 41(F) squadron GR.3s flying on Operation Resinate (North) at Incirlik AB, Turkey. The JRP, which replaces the wet-film Vincon pod, uses an electro-system to store data on video tape. The introduction of the GR.3A and JRP was described as "highly successful", with imagery being exploited within 6 minutes of the aircraft taxying off the runway.

Jaguar GR.3 XZ363/FO, assigned to 41(F) squadron RAF, crashed in Alaska on July 25th 2001 during a routine training sortie from Eielson AFB as part of exercise Cope Thunder. The pilot of the aircraft, Flt Lt Jason Hayes of 54(F) squadron, was unfortunately killed in the accident.

Jaguar GR.3 XZ398 appeared with special markings at the Leuchars airshow on September 15th 2001 to commemorate the 85th Anniversary of No 41(F) squadron.

In October 2001 the following were current with Operation Resinate in Turkey: XX119/GD, XX729/EL, XX748/GK and XZ369/EF.

in November 2001 RAF Jaguar pilot Sqn Ldr Jex Milne, from No 54 Squadron, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions during seven operational flying sorties over northern Iraq in March 2001.

In January 2002 the following were current with Operation Resinate in Turkey: XX738/GG, XX767/GE, XZ355/FJ and XZ369/EF.

The first Jaguar GR.3A to be re-engined with the uprated Adour Mk106 turbofan, XZ400/GR of No 54 squadron, was officially handed over on January 28th 2002. The Mk106 is more reliable than the Mk104, and has lower operating costs. Although intrinsically more powerful than the Mk104, the Mk106 will effectively be derated in the Jaguar in order to save the maximum amount of money. The remaining sixty-one aircraft covered by the contract are all scheduled to be upgraded by the end of 2005.

Nine RAF Jaguars arrived at CFB Cold Lake on May 25th 2002: XZ385/PC, XZ366/PS, XX752/FC, XZ399/EJ, XX724/GC, XZ364/GJ, XZ107/FH, XZ112/GA and XZ392/FP.

Jaguars at Graf Ignatievo Eight RAF Jaguars flew into Graf Ignatievo air base, near Plovdiv in central Bulgaria on August 19th 2002, for a two-week exercise ("Lone Cat") with the Bulgarian Air Force. The Jaguars flew missions each day with their Bulgarian hosts, dropping practise bombs on a nearby range and familiarising the Bulgarian pilots with NATO procedures and tactics. The aircraft involved were GR.3As XX729/EL, XZ107/FH, XZ112/GA, XZ364/GJ, XZ356/GF, XZ366/FS, XZ392/PF, plus one T.2/T.4.

On February 6th 2003 the British Defence Secretary announced the deployment of 75 RAF aircraft to the Gulf region, including reconnaissance Jaguars. In the event no Jaguars were deployed, as the Turkish government had banned the use of its airbases for the attack on Iraq. Operation "Resinate North" had seen four Jaguars deployed to police the northern no-fly zone in Iraq. When Operation "Telic" started, the four Jaguars at Incirlick returned to RAF Coltishall, where they remained for the duration of hostilities in a pool of aircraft ready for deployment if required.

On May 8th 2003 an RAF Jaguar suffered an in-flight problem with one of its new Adour Mk106 engines. The pilot managed to recover to RAF Coltishall. The incident resulted in a temporary grounding of Mk106-powered Jaguars, which was not lifted until May 27th.

The following Jaguar GR.3As arrived at Goose Bay on August 21st 2003: XX119/GD, XX725/GU, XX752/FC, XX767/GE, XZ112/GA, XZ391/EB.

To mark the 30th anniversary of the delivery of the first Jaguars to the RAF, a flypast over Norwich and RAF Coltishall took place on Friday 19th September 2003. The following RAF Jaguars participated:

Jaguars T.4 XX841/PQ, T.4 XX139/PT and GR.3 XX766 (the latter with "30 YEARS JAGUAR" Special Marks) acted as whips, airspares and photoships.

No 6 Squadron marked its 90th anniversary on January 30th 2004. As it has never been disbanded, it is regarded as the senior squadron in the RAF. To celebrate the anniversary a Families Day was held at RAF Coltishall on May 15th 2004.

As a result of defence cuts announced on July 21st 2004, the RAF's Jaguar fleet will be withdrawn from service earlier than previously planned, and two of the squadrons will not reform on the Typhoon. Under the new plan, No 54(F) Squadron and No 16(R) Squadron will de-activate in April 2005 and No 41(F) Sqd in April 2006. No 6 Squadron will then transfer to RAF Coningsby and RAF Coltishall will be closed. No 6 Sqd will give up its Jaguars by October 2007.

Friday March 11th 2005 saw the formal disbandment of two of RAF Coltishall's four Jaguar units, numbers 16 (Reserve) and 54(F) Squadrons. Both squadrons have long and distinguished histories, but appear unlikely ever to be seen again. Aircraft and personnel were absorbed by the remaining two squadrons.

Sunday March 13th saw 54 Squadron's standard laid up in Norwich Cathedral, symbolising the unit's long association with north Norfolk. 16 Squadron's standard was laid up on Sunday March 20th at a memorial service in the Cathedral at St Omer, France, where it was formed in 1915.

On March 26th 2005 nine GR.3As departed RAF Lyneham for Nellis AFB and Red Flag: XX724/EC, XX737/EE, XX970/EH, XZ104/FM, XZ107/FH, XZ337/EP, XZ360/FN, XZ366/FC and XZ385/FT.

On August 10th 2005 a court martial fined Squadron Leader Robert Jackson, who was based at RAF Coltishall, £2500 after flying his Jaguar so low during a stunt that his wing clipped a floodlight tower. The incident occured at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in July 2004.

Permission had been granted for Jackson and two other pilots to "buzz" the airfield, with the intention of thanking ground crew before leaving for the UK. But instead of the expected 500ft flypast, Jackson was flying as low as 60ft when his wing tip smashed into the tower. He was able to retain control of the aircraft. The cost of repairing the damage was said to be £63,000.

Exercise "Excalibur", a joint RAF/USAF Training Engagement Initiative, took place at the Wainfleet and Holbeach Air Weapons Ranges over 17th and 18th August 2005. Flight Lieutenant Alex "Tenno" Tennent from 41(F) Squadron came first in the 10 degree Low Altitude High Drag Bomb competition, and Flight Lieutenant Mike "Sooty" Sutton, also from 41(F), came second in the 45 degree High Altitude Release Bomb competition.

On 19th August 2005 41(F) squadron began APC Cyprus 05, which lasted until September 2nd. After that the squadron went to Nancy for a French exchange from September 29th to October 7th, and to Poland for Excercise "Uhlan Barbara" from November 10th to 21st.

On October 10th 2005 Flight Lieutenant Matt D'Aubyn, the last ever RAF pilot to be trained on the Jaguar, graduated from No 41(F) Squadron Jaguar Training Flight at RAF Coltishall.

Flt Lt D'Aubyn joined the RAF in October 2001. Following his Initial Officer Training at the RAF College Cranwell, he was posted to No 1 Flying Training School at RAF Linton-on-Ouse in the Vale of York during May 2002 to start his Basic Flying Training on the Tucano.

After completing his BFT, he was posted to the NATO Flying Training Programme in Canada for his Advanced Flying Training where he flew the Hawk Mk 115. On the successful completion of the latter, he was posted back to the UK and to RAF Coltishall in April 2005 for conversion onto the Jaguar.

After 6 months with No 41(F) Squadron JTF he has successfully completed the course and has since been posted to No 6 Squadron at RAF Coltishall.

A total of 1038 students have passed through the RAF Jaguar training programme, of which 841 were new pilots converting onto the aircraft for the first time. Prior to the first course at Lossiemouth in May 1973, a number of pilots were trained to fly the Jaguar by BAC; they went on to become the core of Instructor Pilots with No 226 Operation Conversion Unit at RAF Lossiemouth.

The following Jaguars departed Coltishall for Lajes and Red Flag at Nellis AFB on January 14th 2006: XX723/FF, XX729/EL, XX767/FK, XZ114/EO, XZ115/ER, XZ113/FD, XZ355/FJ, XZ377/EP and XZ394/FG.

Most of the aircraft which had gone to 'Red Flag' arrived back at Coltishall on 11th/12th March.

No 6 Squadron (12 aircraft) departed Coltishall for its new home at Coningsby on 29th March 2006.

On March 31st 2006 No 41(F) squadron disbanded at RAF Coltishall, but reformed the next day as No 41(R) squadron at RAF Coningsby - the number plate of the Fast Jet & Weapons Operational Evaluation Unit.

There was a fly-past at Coltishall by nine Jaguars from Coningsby on the 31st The serials were XZ115/ER, XZ109/EN, XX738/ED, XX748/EG, XZ114/EO, XX767/FK, XX723/FF, XZ392/EM and XX725/FE. The airspare was XZ399/EJ and the photo-ship was XX752/EK.

ON April 1st 2006 the following Jaguars got airborne in the late afternoon: XZ117/FB, XZ391/ET, XX847/EZ , XX835/EX and XZ103/FP. However, XZ112/GW developed an electrical fault at the end of Runway 22 as it was trying to start its take-off run (thus ensuring that the last aircraft to leave Coltishall would be a Jaguar, on April 3rd). Four of these Jaguars did a 4-Ship "Missing Man" fly-past before joining with the fifth aircraft and departing to Coningsby.

All flying activities at RAF Coltishall ceased on April 10th 2006.

Ten Jaguar GR.3As departed Coningsby on April 21st 2006 for Akrotiri and Oman with ASCOT callsigns . They were XX723/EU, XX725/EE, XX738/ED, XX748/EG, XX752/EK, XZ109/EN, XZ115/ER, XZ117/ES, XZ392/EM and XZ399/EJ.

Nine Jaguars left Coningsby for Jordan on August 30th 2006: XX119/EB, XX729/EL, XX738/ED, XX748/EG, XX840/EY, XX847/EX, XX970/EH, XZ109/EN and XZ398/EQ. They were joined later by XX723/EU. All aircraft returned to Coningsby on September 15th 2006.

Pre-production Jaguar S07/XW563, which had been displayed as the gate guard at RAF Coltishall, has been relocated to the grounds of County Hall in Norwich. The aircraft is a memorial to more than thirty pilots and ground crew in the Jaguar force. Maintenance will be carried out by former Jaguar technicians who were keen to volunteer their time.

On March 11th 2007 No 6 Sqd embarked on their last overseas operational deployment to Al Dhafra in Oman, where they are believed to have taken part in Exercise Iron Falcon. Five aircraft returned on April 14th (XX112/EA, XX738/ED, XX748/EG, XZ399/EJ and XZ398/EQ) and the other two (XX752/EK and XX970/EH) on April 25th 2007.

On April 25th 2007 the UK MoD announced that the ten remaining Jaguars operated by No 6 Squadron were to be withdrawn from service on April 30th 2007, with No 6 Squadron disbanding on May 31st 2007. After 33 years of service was it appropriate to give 1 week's notice of the end of flying operations?

However No 6 Squadron did the aircraft proud with excellent flypasts on April 30th (see picture) at various locations on the last two days of operations.

The aircraft which took part in the flypasts were XX112, XX119, XX724, XX729, XX748, XX752, XX835, XX847, XX970, XZ103, XZ392 & XZ398, with XX840 as the chase plane.

Five GR.3As were flown into Cosford on May 18th 2007: XX729, XX738, XX748, XX847 and XZ398. Eight more followed on June 13th: XX112, XX724, XX752, XX840, XX970, XZ103, XZ392, XZ399. This left XX119, XX725 and XX835 (T.4) at Coningsby.

Number 6 Squadron officially disbanded at Coningsby on May 31st 2007.

An enthusiast's day was arranged for June 29th 2007 to mark the end of the Jaguar in RAF service, and also the disbandment of No 6 Squadron. XX119 had been painted specially for the occasion, XX835 carried specially painted drop tanks, and XX725 started engines and taxied out of its HAS. It also carried special 'The Flying Canopeners' nose art.

The last three Jaguars were flown to DCAE Cosford on July 2nd 2007. This left T.2B XX833 as the remaining flying Jaguar in the UK.

XX833 flew the final Jaguar sortie ever in the UK on December 20th 2007.

The QinetiQ-owned Jaguar T Mk 2A was operated in conjunction with the MOD as part of the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre (ATEC), For its last flying day it was piloted by Sqn Ldr Andy Blythe, and accompanied by Wg Cdr Paul Shakespeare, both from the Fast Jet Test Squadron (FJTS), based at MOD Boscombe Down.

At around 11:30 the aircraft took off from its home base for a medium level flight, routed via RAF Coltishall, RAF Coningsby and BAE Systems Warton locations (each with a long Jaguar heritage), doing a slow and fast fly past at each. It then overflew RAF Marham, where a number of former Jaguar engineers are now based, before returning to Boscombe Down. Then at around 15:00, XX833 took to the air for the final time with a low level flight around Wales prior to an overflight of St Athan, eventually returning to Boscombe Down for a final flypast before landing at around 15:45.

XX833 was manufactured by British Aerospace at Warton as a two-seat operational advanced trainer, and was delivered to the RAF on February 20th 1975. It was transferred to RAE Farnborough in February 1989, then to MoD Boscombe Down in April 1994 and finally became a QinetiQ asset in July 2001.

On retirement, XX833 had flown around 4700 sorties, clocked up over 5335 flying hours with more than 7690 landings. In its 12 years of service at Boscombe Down the aircraft flew 1070 hours, suffered five bird-strikes, one lightning strike, consumed nine engines (with an average life of 122.33 hours each), and carried out over 864 sorties.

Although the Jaguar was retired in 2007, the RAF retains six aircraft which are maintained in airworthy condition (although their afterburners have been removed), and which are periodically powered up as part of training courses organised at RAF Cranwell.

During early October 2009 Jaguar GR.1A XX965 received the markings of 16 Squadron, complete with a large yellow Saint on the tail. The application of 16 Sqdn markings was taken following the assignment of this unit designation to the adjacent Grob Tutor operation at Cranwell on 1 October 2008. The other four aircraft are to receive similar markings of previous Jaguar operators. Former T.2 ZB615 (ex-ETPS) is also part of the Flight.

<<< Squadron Service - Nigeria Top Squadron Service - Oman >>>

© David Hastings