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UK "Aggressor" Squadrons to be disbanded - replacement?


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I've only just learnt that 736 NAS (FRADU replacement) is to be disbanded this year and 100 Sqn will be disbanded in 2027. These were due to be replaced by Air Support to Defence Operations, however, this has been cancelled.

 

Is anyone aware of what is meant to replace the aggressors? The Navy Hawks always seem busy around here, so I assume they are doing something (presumably useful). It could make a good amount of sense to transfer/sell the Hawks to a civvi contractor and have them provide the support.

 

Ben

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736 will stand down and decommission on 30 September. In the short term No.100 Squadron will take over 736's tasking and 1,700 annual flying hours to carry it out, no doubt swelling its complement with some of 736's Hawks. Unless the squadron wishes to spend most of those flying hours in transit from Yorkshire to the south coast and back it will have to create a detachment at Culdrose to undertake those duties.

 

736 recently moved its HQ to a newly rebuilt hangar on B site at Culdrose, which no doubt took large sums of money. They've been there for five minutes and are now disbanding. That's about par for the course. :wacko:

 

As for long term, there are a number of companies out there who will doubtless like to tender for the work. Be interesting to see what aircraft they intend to carry it out with.

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Civil registered Hunters maybe? Hang on a moment.... Didn't FRADU have Hunters? 

Won't be much left in terms of UK military flying units soon. 

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Draken International is probably in a good place now, having recently purchased all of Cobham's flying operations -which include the Falcon 20s operating out of Hurn and Teesside. It will be able to demonstrate that it can safely operate ex-military jets, having done so for quite a few years now on similar tasks under contract to other countries.

 

And for the curious, Draken's fleet elsewhere currently comprises thirteen Skyhawks, 23 Aero L.159s, 22 Mirage F.1s, 25 MiG-21s and twelve Atlas Cheetahs. Some of the Skyhawks are based in France, and it has purchased another 25 Mirage F.1s from Jordan.

 

 

Edited by Truro Model Builder
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Ooh, very good point!

 

That actually makes VERY good sense, if a civilian contractor is able to provide more diverse threat simulation.

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2 hours ago, wellsprop said:

Ooh, very good point!

 

That actually makes VERY good sense, if a civilian contractor is able to provide more diverse threat simulation.

more diverse? most of those planes are based in the US for contractor work there. Don't count on large a mixed fleet incl. Mirage/ Cheetahs for Royal NAVY work(although I like the idea :D )... if the Hawks where fine until now....  

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Draken -or whoever wins the eventual contract- could well look to buy Hawks (not necessarily from RAF stocks) to fulfil it, but I would expect whichever platform is used to be entirely subsonic. Which may still mean Skyhawks of course...

 

If it is ex-RAF Hawks they would need to maintain a base in Cornwall or Devon. The reason FRADU originally moved from Yeovilton to Culdrose was because the Hawk T.1, which relies on internal fuel only, has a much shorter range than the Hunter GA.11 with four external 100-gallon tanks. Airwork or SERCO or whoever it was that ran FRADU at the time found that they could not maintain an adequate flight time on tasking.

 

Of course, a different type could well mean operating from Yeovilton again.

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On 3/2/2021 at 10:33 AM, Truro Model Builder said:

Draken International is probably in a good place now, having recently purchased all of Cobham's flying operations -which include the Falcon 20s operating out of Hurn and Teesside. It will be able to demonstrate that it can safely operate ex-military jets, having done so for quite a few years now on similar tasks under contract to other countries.

 

And for the curious, Draken's fleet elsewhere currently comprises thirteen Skyhawks, 23 Aero L.159s, 22 Mirage F.1s, 25 MiG-21s and twelve Atlas Cheetahs. Some of the Skyhawks are based in France, and it has purchased another 25 Mirage F.1s from Jordan.

 

 

I agree, I remember recently seeing a Skyhawk on Flight Radar 24 somewhere. Checked it out and it was Draken. 

 

Also came across Hunters off the coast of California obviously doing something with the USN. 

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The original Hawk T1 OOS date was between 2018 and 2020 so I guess they have been on borrowed time! Be nice to see what the (Civi) replacement is (if any).

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I work for Cobham which has just been purchased by Draken, so the Middle Wallop 212s’ are being rebranded for when flying starts again.

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15 hours ago, speedy said:

I work for Cobham which has just been purchased by Draken, so the Middle Wallop 212s’ are being rebranded for when flying starts again.

 

I suspect the same will happen with the Squirrels and Griffins at Newquay.

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10 hours ago, Truro Model Builder said:

 

I suspect the same will happen with the Squirrels and Griffins at Newquay.

Yep it will, also Cyprus and Brunei.

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How long until our entire armed forces are contracted out?
 

What a terrible time to be an aircraft enthusiast. Probably going back solely to birdwatching soon.

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How many flying hours are left on the Hawks? As I understand it, many have had new wings and rear fuselage at some point.  They may not be an attractive buy for Draaken or whoever. Who is shedding low(ish) time Hawks at the moment?

 

Trevor

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Not sure, but it can't be many.

 

I imagine a further issue is the lack of spares availability. 2030 has been mentioned as the date by which a hawk repalcement will be needed for the Reds.

 

I struggle to see anyone wanting to take on a small amount of old hawks. If anything, it may be good news for the Red Arrows if the aggressor hawks are no longer flying.

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Are BAE Systems still building Hawks for export? If not are there any possible realistic replacements for the Red Arrows Hawks? 

 

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1 hour ago, Timbo88 said:

Are BAE Systems still building Hawks for export? If not are there any possible realistic replacements for the Red Arrows Hawks? 

 


Nine red Typhoons!
 

Or better still, nine grey ones with 56 Sqn Firebirds checkerboard tail fins.

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1 hour ago, Timbo88 said:

Are BAE Systems still building Hawks for export? If not are there any possible realistic replacements for the Red Arrows Hawks? 

 

Nope.

 

Qatar had their final delivery of hawks at the end of 2020. BAE SYSTEMS have ended manufacturing of military aircraft at Brough. 

 

The big issue is the loss in skill of all the fitters, machinists and manufacturing engineers that will no longer be working on the aircraft - a lot will probably leave the company. Its near impossible to get that experience back.

 

The Red Arrows question deserves its own thread! Although I fear it will be a somewhat depressing thread... 

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3 hours ago, Timbo88 said:

Depressing indeed. Do we even make  complete aircraft in this country any more?

 

It's all relative.

 

The company I work for designs and makes complete aircraft with sub assemblies from all over the world - they've been doing that (to a lesser or greater extent) since 1948. Even before then, huge amounts of parts came from the US. None of the aircraft I work on have been solely designed or built in the UK and that's for aircraft dating back to 1959 - the aerospace industry is just too big and complex to describe in terms of single countries.

 

After all, the first aircraft to be flown in Britain was designed and flown by an American, the first person to fly the Channel was Louis Bleriot and The Royal Flying Corps flew French designed SPAD aircraft in the First World War. Britain's co-operation with many countries is what places it as one of the aerospace world leaders.

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9 hours ago, Lord Riot said:

Nine red Typhoons!
 

Or better still, nine grey ones with 56 Sqn Firebirds checkerboard tail fins.

The Firebirds Lightnings are well remembered. Typhoon would be an expensive airplane to use on an airshow circuit and I'm doubtful that would happen. By 2030 maybe the RAF will have decided to buy the T-7A trainer from the U.S. as the basic RAF trainer or as a lead in trainer for the Typhoon. Pure speculation, mind you, but it's interesting to think about.

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The Typhoons will never be used for a display team - the fuel consumption is too high and fatigue life too low to have 9 aircraft displaying.

 

The Hawk T1 was in service as a trainer for at least 30 years, I expect the Hawk T2 to get at least 30, probably 40 years (fairly typical) - that takes them to almost 2050, I don't expect to see a Hawk repalcement much before that.

 

I highly doubt the aggressor squadrons will ever be resurrected in their current form. Its much, much easier to subcontract traning/threat simulation. 

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I guess the next best thing to the RAF having a proper aggressor squadron would be something like this:

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/30557/air-force-hires-seven-companies-in-long-awaited-mega-adversary-air-support-contract

 

Would be pretty cool having 20 or so ex-military F-16s or Hunters or Mirages, etc painted in various bad guy camo flying from Leeming or similar ...

 

Is it really that much cheaper for Govts to pay these kind of high value companies contracts for this rather than having their own military unit?

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1 hour ago, Lord Riot said:

Is it really that much cheaper for Govts to pay these kind of high value companies contracts for this rather than having their own military unit?

 

I'd like to know too. I doubt it's entirely possible to get an accurate answer, ultimately, the MoD would probably pay a fixed price contract for a company to provide a service. 

 

If the military were to provide the same service, you have to factor in all the extra costs of owning and maintaining a fleet larger than you need (to ensure enough is serviceable at any one time), you then end up paying a lot of people a lot of money to do a specialised role (operating obselete aircraft), that you may only utilise occasionally. On top of that, you have to pay for a base for them and you provide them with subsidised accommodation and services. It makes sense to do this if you have a huge fleet, but if you're operating a handful of aircraft, its not good value for money. 

 

The same is true for maintenance (and to some extent always has been). The MoD/military often only does it's very front line servicing, much of the servicing is carried out on a contract basis with civil companies (or the aircraft manufacturer).

 

Im going to avoid naming any companies/aircraft/units, however, I know that all the servicing (other than the front line inspection) is carried out by the aircraft manufacturer for one of the types the UK operates. The civilian maintainer also has had a 100% serviceability record for the operational aircraft for the past 5 years. 

 

The UK used to carry out its own servicing for this aircraft, but they found they were paying to train aircraft fitters/inspectors who would then just take the civilian maintainer course and join a civi company instead. From what I've seen, it works incredibly smoothly and there are civi and MoD staff literally working together side by side - the civis can be deployed too, much like they were in the military.

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