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XX170's service history

Hawker-Siddeley Hawk T.1 XX170 was first flown from its manufacturer's airfield at Dunsfold, and was delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF) on 3rd March 1977. It was posted to RAF Valley, and having been finished in red and white training livery was issued to No.4 Flying Training School (4FTS). It was employed on the first ever Hawk pilot training course that summer, and remained in use on advanced flying training duties for the next ten years.
During the winter of 1988, XX170 was moved onto the strength of the Central Flying School (CFS) detachment at RAF Valley, and within eighteen months had been refinished into a new colour scheme consisting of a blue spine and tail and white cheat-line on the fuselage, with the remainder of the airframe sprayed red. Its next change of Unit occurred in late-1992, when it was issued to the newly formed 'component' Unit of 4FTS', RAF 234(R) Sqn, and it was issued the airframe code 'DS', reprising its former advanced flying training role.

During 1993, XX170 was placed on loan to the Defence Test and Evaluation Organisation (DTEO) at Llanbedr Airfield, home at the time to a small number of Gloster Meteor drones and the last airworthy de Havilland Sea Vixen. It was operated on trials work alongside the prototype Hawk T.1 XX154 in its former RAF 234(R) markings, often as a shepherd aeroplane for the pilotless Jinivik drones.
In the winter of 1998, XX170 was returned to the RAF due to an urgent requirement for serviceable Hawk airframes, and was issued to RAF 208(R), the successor to its previous RAF unit, at RAF Valley.

XX170's FRADU career

On 1st December 2000, XX170 was placed on loan to the Royal Navy from the RAF, as it arrived at RNAS Culdrose to join the Fleet Requirements & Air Direction Unit (FRADU). It was operated on taskings from Cornwall until July 2002, when it was ferried to RAF St Athan for maintenance, being returned to Culdrose six months later. It remained a FRADU airframe for the following ten years, although it spent considerable time on the ground following two separate bird-strikes, the first of which occurred during 2004, and the most recent incident in 2009 following a FRADU task flight.
During the late summer of 2012, XX170 returned to the air following the completion of repairs by an RAF team, and it was utilised on taskings until FRADU was stood down and succeeded by 736 Naval Air Squadron (736NAS) in June 2013.

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Post FRADU career

XX170 remained with 736NAS until December 2015, when it was swapped for another airframe and moved to RAF Valley for a transfer to RAF 208(R) Squadron. The airframe was later used in the official disbandment flypast of the Squadron on 1st April 2016, and later had a very brief period with RAF 100 Squadron at Leeming before moved to RAF Shawbury for long term store. It remains there today, it's flying career almost certainly over.

"The FRADU hangar Queen returns to her throne!"

- December 2020

[ Phil Stevens]
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