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XX175's initial service history

Hawk T.1 XX175 was built by Hawker-Siddeley at its Kingston-Upon-Thames factory, and was test flown from its Dunsfold airfield on 16th June 1977. Following the mandatory test flights, it became one of the first Hawk airframes to enter RAF service at Valley, Anglesey with No.4 Flying Training School (4FTS). Painted in the standard training livery of white upper surfaces and red lower surfaces with its serial number '175' applied on the fin and underneath the front cockpit, it is likely that XX175 was utilised in the first training course on the type. This lasted 22 weeks, and involved the students flying 75 hours of dual and solo flying, and an additional 21 hours tuition on the Hawk simulator.
XX175 remained at RAF Valley for the next 15 years employed on training duties, ending its time based in Wales as a part of the Central Flying School (CFS) fleet, during such time it was finished in an attractive red colour scheme with a white cheat-line and blue spine and tail fin.

Following the 1992 Options for Change paper and the cuts to the UK Defence budget, the RAF and its aeroplanes subsequently underwent restructuring. No.2 Tactical Weapons Unit (2TWU) based at RAF Chivenor was transferred to RAF Support Command and was renumbered as No.7FTS. During late 1992, XX175 was transferred from Valley and was re-issued to RAF 19(R) Sqn, which was one of two 'shadow' squadrons setup within the 7FTS Unit. It retained its CFS colour scheme and was operated from Devon for the next eighteen months, during such time RAF Chivenor became the target of further planned cuts and was scheduled for closure in 1995.

XX175's FRADU career

With the gradual reduction of RAF 19(R) Sqn's fleet, XX175 was released and placed on loan to the Royal Navy.
It was ferried to RNAS Yeovilton on 6th April 1994, and became the first BAe Hawk to enter Fleet Air Arm service, with the Fleet Requirements & Air Direction Unit (FRADU) as a replacement aircraft for a retiring Hawker Hunter. The aeroplane retained its RAF livery, and was issued the FRADU fleet number '872', although this was never actually applied on the airframe. It was operated from Yeovilton until 20th November 1995, when it was ferried to RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, due to the imminent move of the FRADU to the Cornish base the following month. Its career with the Unit only lasted a further six months, as it was moved to RAF Shawbury for storage on 26th April 1996.

Return to the RAF

During 1997, XX175 was sent to RAF St Athan for a complete rebuild, and upon completion was re-introduced into RAF service at Valley with RAF 208(R) Sqn, part of 4FTS. It remained in use helping to provide advanced flying training to the next generation of RAF and Fleet Air Arm pilots until the summer of 2003, when it was again placed in long-term store at Shawbury.

Back to FRADU!

XX175 returned for its second stint with FRADU during late 2005, and was operated in the black training livery but with ROYAL NAVY lettering and emblem applied to the airframe. During this period, it was used by the Black Seahawks FRADU display team and appeared at events at Fairford, Yeovilton and Culdrose. Its time with the Royal Navy ended in early 2008, when it was returned to the RAF.

Current spell with the RAF (including a short loan spell with FRADU!)

With all Royal Navy lettering and emblems removed, XX175 re-commenced service with 208(R) Sqn. XX175 did return for its final stint with FRADU during mid-2009, operating from Culdrose on loan from Valley for a short time before returning back to its training duties.

During June 2010, XX175 was ferried to RAF Shawbury for long-term store where it remained, , aside from a very short stint back at RAF Valley in 2014, for the rest of its RAF career.

[ Robert Turner]

[ Geoff Wakeham]

[ Dave Burrow]

[ author]

XX175's civilian life

On 14th August 2017, XX175 was moved by road to St Athan under private ownership, and came under the care of Horizon Aircraft Services. It was rotated between hangared and external store for the next three years, when it was bought by Jet Art Aviation, at Selby. It left by road to its new home in October 2020.

- December 2020


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