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XX330's service history

XX330 was built by Hawker-Siddeley Ltd as a Hawk T.1 for the Royal Air Force (RAF), and was painted in a 'wraparound' camouflage colour scheme.
It was delivered to the RAF from Bitteswell airfield on 16th December 1980, and three weeks later was issued to No.2 Tactical Weapons Unit (2TWU) at RAF Chivenor. Operated on training duties for the next two years, XX330 was then withdrawn and ferried back to British Aerospace (BAe), renamed from Hawker-Siddeley, for upgrade to T.1A specification. This would allow the airframe to carry AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and be deployed in a limited air defence role if required. It was returned to the RAF at Chivenor on 12th December 1983, and was subsequently issued to 2TWU's component unit RAF 151(R) Sqn, gaining the airframe identity letter 'D' in the process. XX330 remained at Chivenor, eventually being refinished in an air defence grey finish, for the remainder of the decade.

Following the 1992 options for Change paper and its cuts to the UK Defence budget, the RAF and its aeroplanes underwent restructuring. 2TWU was disbanded at RAF Chivenor, with No.7 Flying Training School (7FTS) resurrected in its place, along with two component squadrons that would operate within the organisation. XX330 was passed to RAF 92(R) Squadron, keeping its 'D' identity and its weapons training role until October 1994, when 7FTS' role was merged with that of No.4FTS at RAF Valley.
The Chivenor airfield was closed down, and all its based aeroplanes were moved to RAF Valley for re-assignment to a new Unit.
XX330, still wearing its air defence grey colour scheme and 'D' code was re-issued to RAF 208(R) Squadron, and was operated on pilot training duties. Later recoded 'DE', the airframe was refinished in the gloss black RAF training aircraft livery that was becoming standard at the time, and was moved onto the strength of RAF 19(R) Squadron, another element of 4FTS during 1997, where it subsequently served for two years.

On 18th March 1999, XX330 was on the move once more to another new Unit, RAF 100 Sqn at RAF Leeming, responsible for providing Fast Jet Weapon Specialist Training for the RAF. The airframe was issued the identity 'CL' and the 100 Sqn skull-and-crossbones emblem was also applied on the fin, as XX330 remained in use for the next three years prior to entering deep maintenance at RAF St Athan in February 2003.
Six months later it was reintroduced into RAF service, and was returned to Valley to rejoin RAF 19(R) Sqn, and three years later was back with 208(R) Sqn. During 2007, it spent a short time on loan with BAE-Systems at Warton as a refresher training aircraft for pilots returning from overseas ground tours, before being moved to RAF Leeming in January 2008 to receive the Mode S Avionics upgrade.

XX330's FRADU career

Following the completion of the work at Leeming in February 2008, XX330 was placed on loan to the Royal Navy, and it was ferried to RNAS Culdrose to join the Fleet Requirements & Air Direction Unit (FRADU). However on its first task flight it suffered a bird strike, which forced its grounding whilst repairs were carried out. This took some time as priority was given to other aeroplanes, but XX330 was eventually flown again during 2010, and became an active member of the FRADU fleet. During March 2011, it began a minor star service at Culdrose, and returned to the fleet as a serviceable airframe at the start of 2012.

In June 2013, XX330 was absorbed into the newly reformed 736 Naval Air Squadron (736NAS) fleet at Culdrose, which will now carry out the FRADU taskings.

[ Tristan Barratt]

[ author]

[ Moses Anahory]

Post FRADU career

XX330 remained with 736NAS at Culdrose, aside from a short spell with 208(R) Squadron at RAF Valley in 2015, until June 2017, where it was moved to RAF Shawbury for storage, where it remains today.

- December 2020

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