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XX165's initial service history

Hawk T.1 XX165 was built by Hawker-Siddeley and it was flight tested at Dunsfold during the summer of 1976. It entered RAF service on 6th December 1976 at RAF Valley, where it was issued to 4 Flying Training School (4FTS). Painted in red under surfaces with white upper surfaces, and the last three digits of its serial number applied under the cockpit, XX165 was employed on the first Hawk pilot training course, held for a small detachment of RAF instructors from the Central Flying School (CFS). During the summer of 1977, the first advance flying training course took place at 4FTS, and XX165 remained in service at Valley for the rest of the decade.

During the mid-1980s, XX165 received a slight change to its colour scheme, when its spine and tail was refinished blue, and it continued in use with Valley aside from periods on the ground for maintenance and overhauls. On 5th October 1992, XX165 was absorbed into RAF 74(R) Sqn, as part of 4FTS, and it was issued the fleet code 'TM' and the Unit's Tiger head emblem on the tail fin. It continued its training role, this time engaged on weapons instruction until being withdrawn in early 1994.

XX165's FRADU career - see here for images of this period

On 9th April 1994, XX165 arrived at RNAS Yeovilton after it was placed on loan from the RAF to the Royal Navy. It would join the Fleet Requirements & Air Direction Unit (FRADU), that was gradually withdrawing its Hawker Hunter airframes in place of surplus Hawks. XX165 retained its RAF colour scheme, but had its serial number '165' applied just under the front cockpit, and the lettering 'ROYAL NAVY' added above its serial number on the rear fuselage. It was used for FRADU taskings from Yeovilton until it was ferried to RNAS Culdrose on 23rd November 1995, pending the FRADU's move to Cornwall the following month. It continued in service in Cornwall until it was ferried to RAF Shawbury for storage on 10th October 1996. It remained in reserve for the Fleet Air Arm until early 1999, when it was moved to RAF St Athan for overhaul.

Return to the RAF

Now refinished in standard RAF black training livery and following the completion of its service, XX165 did not return to Culdrose.
Instead it was absorbed into the RAF 208(R) Sqn fleet of Hawk airframes in use at Valley, where it was operated on advanced flying training duties as part of 4FTS until August 2002.

A second spell with FRADU

XX165 was then returned to FRADU at Culdrose and reunited with its ROYAL NAVY lettering, but was this time applied underneath its serial. It was operated on FRADU taskings for the next five years, until following another Hawk airframe reshuffle it was returned to the RAF in the winter of 2007.

Further RAF service

The airframe was allocated back to RAF 208(R) Sqn upon its return to RAF Valley, and Unit markings were applied to the airframe as it recommenced flying training duties.

Back to FRADU for probable retirement

With the withdrawal of Hawk T.1A XX331 from the FRADU fleet, XX165 was placed on loan once more to the Royal Navy, and it returned to RNAS Culdrose during June 2011.
Given its airframe state (as a Hawk T.1) and airframe hours, it looked likely to spent the remainder of its flying life with the FRADU. This was proven, as on 28th March 2012 XX165 was ferried to RAF Shawbury for long-term store, and it did not fly again.

[ Mike Hall]

[ Liam Daniels]

[ author]

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Post FRADU career

In mid 2017 the airframe, now minus its wings, was moved by road to Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, and aside from a short spell at RAF Wittering, it remains there today, acting as a source of spares for the two airworthy examples based on the airfield.

- December 2020


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