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XX240's service history

Hawker Siddeley built Hawk T.1 airframe XX240 at its Dunsfold factory, and it was delivered to the Royal Air Force (RAF) on 27th October 1978.
It was first posted to RAF Valley, where it was allocated to No.4 Flying Training School (4FTS), and painted in red and white colours with the last three digits of its serial applied on the nose and tail tin. It was operated as an advanced flying training airframe for the next fourteen years, aside from spells away from the airbase for maintenance and storage.
During late 1992, XX240 was moved to RAF Finningley and re-issued to No.6FTS, which was in the process of replacing its Jet Provost T.5s with Hawk airframes. Still painted in red/white colour scheme, albeit now with a blue spine and fin, XX240 was used as a navigational trainer for the next three years. In late-1995, with the imminent closure of RAF Finningley, 6FTS and its airframes were moved to RAF Valley and were all subsequently absorbed into the 4FTS fleet.

During 1996, XX240 was officially reallocated to RAF 74(R) Squadron (Sqn), a component unit of 4FTS responsible for advanced weapons training.
Its stay with the Unit, as aeroplane 'TX' was brief, as less than a year later it was issued to RAF 19(R) Sqn, yet it still fulfilled a similar training role. During 1999, it completed the full set of component Squadrons within 4FTS, by being reallocated to RAF 208(R) Sqn, responsible for advanced flying training duties. Its time with this Unit lasted less than 12 months, as it was withdrawn prior to being placed on long-term loan to the Royal Navy.

XX240's FRADU career

On 14th December 2001, XX240 arrived at RNAS Culdrose to join the Fleet Requirements & Air Direction Unit (FRADU). Full ROYAL NAVY lettering was applied on the rear fuselage, as it was introduced into the FRADU fleet. It remained in service with the Fleet Air Arm, until it was ferried to RAF St Athan on 10th October 2005, in preparation for a major overhaul to take place. It did not return to Culdrose upon completion of this work, instead being returned to the RAF.

Return to the RAF

From April 2006, XX240 was operated with 4FTS without any component squadron markings, but by the beginning of 2007 it had gained full RAF 208(R) Sqn insignia, with blue/yellow bars on the rear fuselage and emblem on the nose. It was employed on advance training duties until April 2008 when it was taken out of service.

Back to FRADU!

The aeroplane arrived at RNAS Culdrose from RAF Valley on 28th April 2008, and was immediately re-introduced into FRADU service.
Just nine months later however on 27th January 2009, it was ferried to RAF Shawbury and placed in storage, but was well maintained pending a return to service in the future.
On 17th May 2011 XX240 was moved to RNAS Yeovilton, which was at the time FRADU's temporary base, as a replacement for XX169.
It was operated on some sorties prior to moving back with the Unit to Culdrose on 3rd June 2011.

During June 2013, the FRADU Unit was stood down, and its fleet transferred to the newly reformed 736 Naval Air Squadron (736NAS) at RNAS Culdrose, and the aeroplane continues to fulfil taskings that have been associated with FRADU for the past 40 years, alongside its Navy training sorties.

[ Mike Hall]

[ Richard Woulfe]

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Post FRADU career

XX240 adopted full 736NAS markings and fleet number in early 2014, becoming aircraft '840' complete with a 'CU' on the tail fin. It remained with the Unit until July 2017, when it was ferried to RAF Shawbury for storage.
It remained there until February 2020, when it was moved by road to Newquay where it will be used by the Joint Aircraft Recovery Training Squadron (JARTS) for its annual exercise on the airfield.
For the remainder of the time, it will be displayed at the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre (CAHC), joining a few other ex-FRADU airframes in the collection.

- December 2020

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