A number of Typhoon and Hawk jets are currently over the North Sea near Hull conducting aggressor training.

This massive ‘dogfight’ is designed to simulate enemy forces and provide essential training to the RAF front-line units.

The Hawk T1 is used in a number of roles for the RAF. In this instance, the aircraft are being used by 100 Squadron, based at RAF Leeming, in the ‘aggressor’ role.

Recently however, the UK revealed plans to retire its entire fleet of 76 Hawk T1 trainer aircraft. This leaves only 28 Hawk aircraft in British service, the T2 variant. The Defence Command Paper, titled ‘Defence in a Competitive Age‘, states:

“The Royal Air Force will retire equipment that has increasingly limited utility in the digital
and future operating environment. This will include rationalising older fleets to improve
efficiency, retiring Typhoon Tranche 1 by 2025, and Hawk T1. We will enhance the new military flying training system with further investment in synthetic training that will deliver more capable pilots more quickly and more efficiently.”

Hawk T1 jets are used used in the aggressor role by No. 100 Squadron, it is unclear what will replace them.

Anyway, this role involves simulating enemy forces and providing essential training to the RAF front-line units. According to the Royal Air Force website:

“The Hawk T1 is used primarily in the aggressor role by 100 Squadron, who provide opposition forces for front-line training in addition to Close Air Support (CAS) simulation to Land units for currency training. The Hawk T1 is equipped to an operational standard and is capable of undertaking a war role. It has two underwing pylons cleared to carry AIM-9L Sidewinder air-to-air missiles or a telemetry pod for recording missions to enable post-flight debriefing. In the CAS training role it can carry up to eight 3Kg practice bombs.”

In addition, a Dassault Falcon 20 operated by Draken International is present. Below is a tweet from a previous exercise explaining how these aircraft operate.

Typically in many scenarios, Hawk jets support Dassault Falcon 20DC aircraft acting as long-range anti-ship bombers.

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Goldilocks
Goldilocks
2 months ago

So I’m guessing the T1’s will be replaced by by a mixture of T2’s and contracted companies with their planes?

Locking Nut
Locking Nut
2 months ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

That might be wishful thinking. Seems that at least part of the shortfall will be replaced by synthetic training.

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

You can bet that there are number of companies bidding for the aggressor role. Someone like Draken International for instance! The MoD has a sad history of outsourcing to companies that state they can beat the in-service prices. This is only the case for the first 3 years and then the costs start to ramp up. However, as the military has now got rid of that capability, trying to rebuild it from scratch is bloody expensive. The high start up cost dissuade the MoD from going any further, therefore they have to stay with the replacement company but paying through… Read more »

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Years ago the Hawks all had secondary Air Defence roles supporting the then F3’s carrying Sidewinders. Would like to see Draken be of any use in shooting war

DaveyB
DaveyB
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The Draken (Chobham) Falcons are start of the art electronic warfare aircraft. If the cack hit the fan, would they be used? I would like to think they would.

Heidfirst
Heidfirst
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Only 89 Hawk T1As were fitted for Sidewinder & were for point defense of RAF airfields from “leakers”. Nowadays, it is more likely to be a missile attacking the airfield, fired from a distance & Sidewinder not much use against that.
Iirc only 28 T1As still flying – equipping 100 Squadron + Red Arrows

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Heidfirst

i just want to see Red’s flying 9 Typhoons in diamond 9 😉, Blue Angles use f-18, Thunderbirds use f-16 so the best aerobatics team should have awesome jets there would not be a silent car alarm for miles and miles 😀

Marc burn
Marc burn
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

We have a few tranche 1 Typhoons we not even using and planning to lend to Malaysia I think it was give them to the Red Arrows

Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Heidfirst

My understanding is that the Red Arrows will continue to use the Hawk T1 until at least 2030. The T2 will be solely for training, it is the aggressor squadrons using the T1, one RAF and one FAA that will be disbanded.

expat
expat
2 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Draken do have different air frames as aggressors which is one plus side I guess. But the aggressors always seem to be low end aircraft which is fine but we need to train against peer air frames and 5th gen aggressors. A European red flag type event annually would make sense

Jason Holmes
Jason Holmes
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

I’ve seen Hunters flying around Leeming….

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 months ago
Reply to  Goldilocks

Hope so ,however do get the impression MOD looking to use more flight simulators to save money but this can’t make up for real air to air combat .

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I would say modern simulation can offer a far wider variety of scenarios then a Hawk can. And you can now link together pilots sat at different camps. They even have simulators on-board the QE so the F35 crews can practise highly demanding scenarios, before going up and doing it for real.

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Spot on. It also saves airframe life and operating cost.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Wont disagree with the sim comment, but as you know, the MOD places a high premium on ‘actual hands on trg’ it always has..

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Royal Navy had a Flight simulator prior to W11 for torpedo training. based up in Scotland @ to stop pilots plunging into the sea.

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Johan

A Torpedo Bomber Trainer has survived (just) at HMS Jackdaw, an airfield near Crail, Scotland, that was used for training by No.785 Squadron during WW2. It is “now mostly turned over to small industrial/storage use. But, in a field of sheep scoffing turnips, is the torpedo trainer.” (quote and image by Ben Cooper) The figure in the photograph provides a guide to the scale of this trainer.

farouk
farouk
2 months ago

With the move towards Loyal wingman type UAVs, I do have to ask, will any such CUAV be able to out perform a manned aircraft when it comes to dog fighting? or will the phrase:
‘Ye Cannae Change the Laws of Physics’

prevail

Last edited 2 months ago by farouk
spyintheskyuk
spyintheskyuk
2 months ago
Reply to  farouk

I think we know what side the laws of physics will be on in any manned/unmanned engagement unless somebody can change the laws of physics.

Andy a
Andy a
2 months ago
Reply to  farouk

Not yet but astechnology increases then drones will soon out reform humans as they aren’t limited by biology

Steve
Steve
2 months ago

Apart from radars etc Typhoons have same engines/ etc don’t they, so should retire all the Hawk T1’s and used T1 Typhoons as aggressors (real match up) also the Red Arrows (use Hawk T1’s) so really good aggressors amazing display team and good reserve force if the Sh!t ever really hit the fan 🙂

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The Red Arrows will continue with the Hawk until at least 2030.

Andy a
Andy a
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

They like the aggressors to have different platforms usually

Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

No there is a lot of major changes and avionics packages, their poor radar and power supply mean they are like a GR3 v GR9 Harriers, they cannot use the current supply of Missile system that RAF stock so need an older stock missile, and this order has been canceled.

Peter S
Peter S
2 months ago

We seem to be working the Typhoons hard. Are they really expected to last until Tempest arrives in the late 2030s?
Germany is buying new Typhoons to replace their Tornadoes. Given the likelihood that the F35 buy will come nowhere near the total originally planned to replace Harrier and Tornado, will we not have to do the same? I can’t find any mention of this in any of the recent defence papers.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Plenty of hours on Typhoon, and fatigue isn’t really an issue as the aircraft are designed to be worked hard. Typhoon is designed for sustained 9G performance without overstressing the airframe. It’s not like the Tornado day’s.

Warren
Warren
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Very true, but its the operating costs per hour that will be the real killer.

Peter S
Peter S
2 months ago
Reply to  Warren

True. You get to a crossover point where it becomes cheaper to replace than to repair. But to retain that option we need to keep the production line open. With perhaps 20 years before Tempest is ready, we are expecting a lot from a small number of airframes.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

If we only purchase some 70-80 F35s out of the original estimate of 138, then we are effectively cutting our numbers. I have also seen nothing to indicate a further purchase of Typhoons. If we did, it would likely impact on final F35 numbers, so a cut it will be….

Challenger
Challenger
2 months ago

Don’t think there are 76 Hawk T1’s in service. Wiki says it’s just over 50. Even then some must surely be in storage? Don’t need that many for the aggressor work and the Red Arrows.

Agree with some of the other comments. Instead of rushing to scrap all of the Typhoon T1’s I’d much rather see 20, or even just a dozen sprayed black and used as aggressors for 10 years to get more service out of them.

Always dubious whether the constant desire to contract everything out actually leads to significant savings in the long run.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

Only about 30 in active service across 100sqn, the Red Arrows, and the 736 NAS. Red Arrows will continue until at least 2030 with the Hawk.

Lusty
Lusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Challenger

The latest number was 37 in active fleet management, with a total of 70 in the MoD’s inventory.

Last edited 2 months ago by Lusty
Johan
Johan
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

The Issue with the Typhoon T1s is they at such a disadvantage over T 3s/4s and need AEW control to engage as an aggressor. its this baseline that the F35bs had a Kill ratio of 15 to 1 over. because of the Radar’s in the T1s is so far behind.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

Not all the T1s are used.

Reds will remain with some, contractor aircraft will I hope replace the Hawks of 100 Sqn as aggressor role is needed.

The Hawk cut doesn’t bother me much. The Hercules cut does.

Lusty
Lusty
2 months ago

One hopes recent events will highlight the importance of a large transport fleet. Off the top of my head, commitments include: 1). Supporting the evacuation in Afghanistan. 2). (Potentially) supporting the population of Haiti with disaster-relief efforts, 3). Supporting the delivery of vaccines to UK overseas territories and those in need, 4). Maintaining the UK-South Atlantic airbridge while assisting with troop support/SAR activities in the South Atlantic, 5). Supporting OP. Shader, 6). Supporting UK training exercises, 7). Supporting deployed troops/ships/aircraft, 8). Voyager tanker support to Typhoons. I could go on. Imo, HMG should retain the Hercules airframes. If they want… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Evening mate.

Your insightful comments on the River B2 thread are back. The Trolls lost.

Lusty
Lusty
2 months ago

Evening mate. I noticed; pleased to see it!

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago
Reply to  Lusty

Great commentary Lusty- a sound and prudent approach. You should consider sticking your hand up as the next MOD!

Lusty
Lusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Thanks, chap. I’ll wave my wand and magic up a few frigates, destroyers and helicopters while I’m there. 🙂

Klonkie
Klonkie
2 months ago

I wouldn’t be surprised if Spain looks to buy the retiring Tranche1 Typhoons from the UK and possibly Germany . They have a need to start replacing their F18 fleet. I think they will be hard pressed to afford brand new Tranche 3+ Typhoons.

expat
expat
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

I’m surprised India aren’t interested in T1s from various European nations. It gives them immediate 4th Gen aircraft which they desperately need and they could run an upgrade program like the ‘Darian’ mods for their Jaguars or their revision to the Hawk which is Hawki I believe.

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Airbus are modifying the Spanish T1s to a pseudo T2/3 standard, which started in 2019. They are replacing the forward bulkhead the radar is mounted to along with other frame modifications. They are modifying and reconditioning their 15 Tranche aircraft. So they will leave the factory with zero airframe hours. i.e. a brand new aircraft effectively. The modification to the radar mount bulkhead will allow it to mount the Captor-E radar.

See below link:

Spain receives first upgraded Tranche 1 Eurofighter fighter jet (airforce-technology.com)

klonkie
klonkie
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

cheers for the info Dd.

Marked
Marked
2 months ago

It will be replaced with nothing as usual. Training our pilots will take a capability holiday. We’ll be left with pilots fitted for but not with top class training.

Fogwarts
Fogwarts
1 month ago

One thing you can’t do ‘synthetically’ is pull G in a sim….
A Centrifuge only rotates…

Karl
Karl
1 month ago

Makes sense for a contractor to take on the role. Works well everywhere else.

Johan
Johan
1 month ago

Now i found some deep Buried RAF information regarding the Retirements of the Tran 1/2 Typhoon, the T1 Hawks and the E3s. Typhoon Tran 1s were being used for Air defence operations only but needed amraam long-range Missile but couldn’t fire the Meteor due to software and Radar limits. also required support from AEW due to Radar issues again. Hawk T1s are so basic they offer so little apart from Basic jet Hours, But £ Per Mile is getting close to limit and as soon as they need deep maintenance. also Need AEW to operate in the Air defence Role.… Read more »