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XX169's service history

Hawker Siddeley Hawk T.1 XX169 was assembled at Dunsfold in Surrey, and was delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF) on 29th January 1977. It was one of the first Hawk airframes delivered to RAF Valley for use with No 4 Flying Training School (4FTS) on advance flying training duties. Painted in red and white livery, with the last three digits of its serial applied on the nose and tail fin, XX169 was employed on the first ever pilot training course over the summer of 1977 using the Hawk platform. It continued to be utilised in this role for the next fifteen years, operating from RAF Valley throughout.
On 1st September 1992, XX169 was issued to one of the newly reformed 'shadow' Squadrons within 4FTS; RAF 234(R) Sqn at Valley, but its time with this Unit lasted a little over twelve months as it was one of nine Hawk airframes transferred to No.6FTS at RAF Finningley. Freshly refinished into a red/white/blue training livery, with the RAF Finningley station crest applied on the intakes, XX169 was used for Navigator flying Training until late 1995, when it was returned to RAF Valley. This was due to the impending closure of RAF Finningley, and 1FTS and its fleet of Shorts Tucano platforms taking over 6FTS' training role.

XX169 was re-introduced into the 4FTS training programme at RAF Valley and was issued to its component squadron RAF 74(R) for weapons training. Later passed to the second weapons training component Squadron; RAF 19(R) Sqn, XX169 was withdrawn and ferried to RAF St Athan for maintenance during early 1999. It was returned to Valley a few months later, and was issued to the final 4FTS 'shadow' Unit; RAF 208(R) Sqn, responsible for the advanced flying training part of the training syllabus. XX169 received full squadron markings; the yellow/blue bars on the fuselage and emblem on the nose, and was employed, aside from spells under maintenance, with RAF 208(R) Sqn for the next six years.

In June-2006, XX169 was transferred to RAF 19(R) Sqn at RAF Valley and returned to the weapons training role. Full Squadron markings, including the small yet spectacular serpent emblem on the tail and a blue/white chequerboard along the rear fuselage were applied. It remained in use for the next three years.

XX169's FRADU career

During July 2009, XX169 was placed on loan to the Fleet Air Arm, and it was ferried to RNAS Culdrose to join the Fleet Requirements & Air Direction Unit (FRADU). It was initially operated in full its RAF 19(R) Sqn livery from its new home, though the chequerboard markings were removed during a subsequent period of maintenance. The RAF 19(R) Sqn serpent emblem remained untouched throughout the rest of its FRADU career, which also included spells on loan to the Navy Flying Standards Flight (Fixed Wing) - NFSF(FW) at RNAS Yeovilton.

On 17th May 2011 XX169 was ferried to RAF Shawbury for long-term store, and due to the airframe requiring a major overhaul due to its high fatigue life and large amount of airframe flying hours it has sat idle ever since.

- December 2020

[ Adam Cutler]

[ Rich Pittman]

[ author]
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