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XX316's service history

Hawker Siddeley built Hawk XX316 for the Royal Air Force (RAF), and after the necessary flight tests was delivered to its owners on 26th August 1980. Finished in standard camouflage with the last three digits of its serial number applied on the tail, the airframe was issued to No.1 Tactical Weapons Unit (1TWU) at RAF Brawdy.
It was operated on training duties until being withdrawn and moved to British Aerospace (BAe) in October 1984, for upgrades to take place that would allow it to carry AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and be employed as an air defence asset in times of natural crisis. It was returned to Brawdy on 22nd February 1985, officially re-designated a Hawk T.1A, and was later refinished into RAF air defence grey livery. It served out the remainder of the decade, aside from a short period of maintenance at RAF Abingdon, with 1TWU's component Unit, RAF 79(R) Squadron (Sqn).

Following the closure of RAF Brawdy XX316 was moved to RAF Valley in October 1992, to became one of the founder airframes of RAF 74(R) Sqn, a Unit that had been reformed as a part of No.4 Flying Training School (4FTS). Its stay was brief however, as it was moved onto RAF Chivenor to became part of RAF 234(R) Sqn, an element of 7FTS, to continue in the weapons training role as airframe 'DF'.
Two years later, following another RAF Station closure 7FTS was disbanded, and the former RAF 234(R) Sqn airframes were moved to RAF Valley to join RAF 208(R) Sqn, another component unit within No.4FTS. It retained its 'DF' identity throughout its time with the Unit, which came to an end in early 1998 as it was re-issued back to RAF 74(R) Sqn. Now painted gloss black, with the squadron's Tiger emblem applied on the fin, XX316 was operated on weapons training duties until this Unit was disbanded in 2000. It was subsequently re-issued to RAF 19(R) Sqn at RAF Valley, where it remained in use in the training role until December 2007, aside from short periods spent on maintenance and away at RAF St Athan for a major overhaul.

XX316's FRADU career

XX316 was ferried to RAF Leeming to undergo the Mode S upgrade, and upon completion was placed on loan to the Fleet Air Arm. It was ferried to RNAS Culdrose to join the Fleet Requirements & Air Direction Unit (FRADU) in February 2008, and immediately introduced into service. Between March and June 2011 it was detached to RNAS Yeovilton, and was the final Culdrose Hawk to leave the base on 6th June.

It remained in use with FRADU until June 2013, when the FRADU fleet became part of the newly reformed 736 Naval Air Squadron (736NAS) at RNAS Culdrose.

[ Robert Starling]

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Post FRADU career

XX316 continued in service with 736NAS, and had full 736NAS markings and fleet number in the summer of 2014, becoming airframe '849' with a 'CU' shore code applied on its fin.
It remained in use at Culdrose until a move to RAF Leeming occurred in October 2017, where it joined the based RAF 100 Squadron, but curiously seemed to keep its 736NAS livery and fleet number!

During June 2019 it was ferried to RAF Valley to undergo deep maintenance, and it has yet to emerge.

- December 2020

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