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XX315's initial service history

Hawker Siddeley Hawk T.1 XX315 was delivered to the Royal Air Force on 28th July 1980. Painted in an RAF wraparound camouflage colour scheme and coded '315' on its tail fin, the aeroplane was issued to RAF Brawdy where it joined No 1 Tactical Weapons Unit (1TWU). Operated on training duties. XX315 remained in service until late 1984, when it was ferried to British Aerospace for modifications that would allow it to carry AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, and therefore enable it to be utilised in a air defence role should the need arise. It was returned to Brawdy in January 1985 as a Hawk T.1A, and re-entered service with shadow squadron RAF 234(R), later swapping its camouflage colours for an air defence grey paint finish. It served out the rest of the decade with 1TWU aside from standard periods on the ground for maintenance and overhauls.

In September 1992, following the closure of RAF Brawdy both RAF 234(R) Sqn and XX315 moved to 4FTS at Valley, with that Unit taking on the tactical weapons training role. It remained in service at this airfield as aeroplane 'DA' until the shadow squadron itself was disbanded on 1st April 1994.

XX315's FRADU career

XX315, now surplus to the Royal Air Force's Hawk requirements at the time was placed on loan to the Royal Navy. Still painted in full RAF colours it was ferried to RNAS Yeovilton on 6th February 1995. It then commenced service with the Fleet Requirements & Air Direction Unit (FRADU), and initially operated alongside the now dwindling Hawker Hunter airframes for a short time before that type was formally withdrawn. On 30th November 1995, XX315 was ferried to RNAS Culdrose in preparation for the move of the FRADU to Cornwall, which officially took place the following day. It retained its grey colours and 'DA' coding until February 1997, when it was ferried to St Athan to undergo major maintenance and a subsequent paint refinish into the new standard RAF gloss black training paint scheme. XX315 returned to FRADU in June 1997, sporting ROYAL NAVY lettering and insignia on the fuselage and fin.
The aeroplane remained in use as a FRADU platform, aside from a short spell on the ground between January and February 1999 for airframe modifications, until December 2000, when it was moved to St Athan to take its place in the RAF Hawk Fuselage Replacement Programme (FRP). As with many airframes, once this process had been completed XX315 was placed in store pending a new Unit allocation.

Return to the RAF

XX315 was reintroduced into Royal Air Force service during the autumn of 2001, and was issued to 4FTS at Valley. It was operated initially without any Squadron markings, but RAF 19(R) Sqn chequerboard colours were eventually applied on the rear fuselage. Employed on tactical weapons training duties with the Squadron, it has remained active with it until mid-2011, aside from the customary periods of maintenance and refinishes.
The aeroplane was eventually absortbed into RAF 208(R) Squadron's pool at RAF Valley, and had its Unit markings applied, and remained in use until January 2016, when it was ferried to RAF Shawbury for long term store.
It remains there today.

- December 2020

[ Richard Parkhurst]

[ Geoff Wakeham]

[ Kevin Slade]
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