The UK 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 released today, 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 and famous as display aircraft by the Red Arrows. However the Express reports that the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team have been saved from the axe in a defence review to be published in the week commencing March 22.

“Though Ministry of Defence insiders have confirmed that the iconic team will not be felled next week, RAF sources insisted its days were numbered unless other streams of financial support could be found urgently. The Red Arrows has arranged a raft of sponsorship deals with some blue-chip brands, ranging from BAE, Barbour and Breitling to Land Rover and Rolls Royce, worth just under a million pounds in total.”

This defence review was previously described by Boris Johnson as the largest review of its kind since the Cold War.

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What are the Red Arrows going to fly? Answers on a postcard.

Mark F

Place postcard on a flat surface and fold in half, fold into a diamond shape, bend ends downward to act as wings. Paint red. Repeat 8 more times.




T1 will be kept for the Reds – not sure how big the pool will be

Paul T

One (very) slight positive – 76 is a good fleet size to Cherry Pick the best Examples for the Reds surely ?.


They not good AKA LIKE Harriers airframe hours is a issue. No more Hawk upgrades BAEs could pull their extended flight hours. UK needs a new jet trainer.



3 years away from non combat duty.

do the job you take the shilling for.

and ever since that prat attacked Shoreham bypass air displays in the UK have lost RAF SUPPORT due to insurance

Daniele Mandelli

and ever since that prat attacked Shoreham bypass”

Sorry, I had to laugh at that! Desperate as it was. Sorry.

Daniele Mandelli

So, 736 NAS days are already numbered. I thought maritime aggressor role would then pass to 100 Sqn but if Hawk is going?

Any chance of a Hawk T2 order HMG? For our factories, RAFDT, and 100 Sqn?

Paul T

Think we have still ( just ) got the Capability to Manfacture the T2,can’t see any hope of any Orders though.


Unfortunately the factory that built the hawk, was redundant at Christmas, the government never stepped in.


BAE Systems Brough closed the shop floor at the end of 2020 due to a cease in manufacturing of the Hawk. Doubt they will ever be manufactured again unfortunately.

Paul T

Could they not be built at Warton ?.


Although Warton do the final assembly Brough manufactured most of the sub assemblies and parts. Warton don’t have the same machines or capability to do what was done at Brough. Everything can be done but it’s at what price I suppose.


So Daniele – does this mean 100 sqn will also be cut?


What does this mean for the aggressors? If Typhoon T1 and 100 SQN Hawks go, we have zilch aggressor aircraft? I wonder if some private company will buy the Hawks and the aggressor role is outsourced

Glass Half Full

Aggressors seem to be increasingly going to commercial operations. It makes sense as their fleets can be used more efficiently flying against multiple countries’ air forces, which reduces training cost for air forces. They can also bring in less familiar aircraft to operate against.

There may also be a pilot suitability aspect, not all in service pilots make good trainers/educators as part of an aggressor fleet. Good job for retirees from air forces to leverage their experience.

Daniele Mandelli

Sounds like it!

Daniele Mandelli

LUSTY! You’re back. I did wonder mate. Good to see you post.


Hey, mate. Yes, the pamphlet brought me out of the woodwork. At least now we know where all the toilet paper went last year: it was used to write this diatribe.


So what aircraft will fast jet training be done in?


American ones…


Lot of commercial companies being established for training.

James Fennell

Hawk T1s are not used for fast jet training, T2s are. They are used as aggressors and for the Red Arrows. The Red Arrows are in the paper, they speak of using enhanced syntetic training too. Simluators.


Thank you

Robert Crutchlow

They should have been considering the purchase of more P8 MPA . The underseas and surface threat to UK surface forces is greater than it ever was. Their vulnerability is a critical factor when you consider the ships and aircraft at sea. Protection is paramount considering the investment already made.

John Hartley

If anyone at MoD/HM Treasury had been awake, we could have bought cheaply the 12-13 updated Hawk MK63, that were donated by UAE to Jordan & Jordan did not need, so they put them up for sale.


From the document
7.45. We will retire the E-3D Sentry in 2021, as part of the transition to the more modern and more capable fleet of three E-7A Wedgetail in 2023. The E-7A will transform our UK Airborne Early Warning and Control capability and the UK’s contribution to NATO. The nine P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will help to secure our seas. The introduction into service of the 16 long-range Protector remotely piloted systems will be the backbone of persistent, multi- spectral surveillance, with the ability to strike and act decisively against our potential adversaries around the globe


7.41. The Royal Air Force will continue to grow its Combat Air capacity over the next few years as we fully establish all seven operational Typhoon Squadrons and grow the Lightning II Force, increasing the fleet size beyond the 48 aircraft that we have already ordered. Together they will provide a formidable capability, which will be continually upgraded to meet the threat, exploit multi-domain integration and expand utility. The Royal Air Force will spiral develop Typhoon capability, integrate new weapons such as the UK-developed ‘SPEAR Cap 3’ precision air- launched weapon and invest in the Radar 2 programme to give… Read more »

Nigel Collins

48 F35-B by 2025 (no actual additional numbers mentioned) minus Typhoon Tranche 1’s and T1’s=cuts with a promise of more to come in the future (2030)?


More than 48 they say… 49!

Andrew Deacon

The big cut in fast jets really came in 2019 when the last 40 odd tornados retired with the expectation they would gradually be replaced by new f35’s , this review will probably result in similar number of fast jets in 2026 as now: 2020 ( re linked spreadsheet) Typhoon 139 + f35 18 = 157 2026 Typhoon 107 + f35 48 = 155 Nb: 107 is total of t2 and t3 typhoons so there must still have been 32 t1’s in 2020 despite a reduction in 14 from prior year which suggests the figure of 24 bandied about was… Read more »


i dont see how we can maintain 7 squadrons of typhoon (+ocu+oeu) with only 107 airframes. i think you’ll see 7 cut to 5 but perhaps with 4 more f35b


4 f35b squadrons in total

Andrew Deacon

Agreed, it seems unlikely but the document seems to suggest that’s still the plan.
It might be briefly 7 until the 2nd f35 squadron is formed and then drop back to 6.

Last edited 23 days ago by Andrew Deacon

Reduce the number of aircraft per squadron. Easy!


my thinking as well Juilian


Newsnight last night reporting that 2 Typhoon squadrons would be cut

John Hartley

7.39 “The Army is retiring its oldest Chinook helicopters”. Has anyone told the AAC or RAF this? A typo?


Not a typo….its in the Army section. Doesn’t give you any confidence does it. Bunch of incompetents!

John Hartley

Sorry H, I had not spotted you had already posted on it.

Daniele Mandelli

Yep, I picked up on that too.


Hi Farouk-how will the RAF manage 7 sqns of Typhoons with the early retirement of the tranche 1s? So very light on the numbers to achieved this.
Very concerned around statements of intent to get ore than 48 F35- means nothing should me the money!

James Fennell

Loyal Wingman is coming – the paper is useless at decribing how unmanned can increase mass unfortunately – written by a committee of Rock Apes. You can expect each manned fast jet to partners with 2-3 UCAVs by 2030.

Last edited 22 days ago by James Fennell
The Big Man

further investment in synthetic training that will deliver more capable pilots more quickly

Makes me think of Aliens when the Marines are in the drop ship on the way to fight:

Ripley : How many drops is this for you, Lieutenant?
Lieutenant Gorman : Thirty eight… simulated.
Private Vasquez : How many *combat* drops?
Lieutenant Gorman : Uh, two. Including this one.

Is that what synthetic means?


Haha! Massive hankering to watch Aliens now! Considering all the cuts coming our way, it reminds me of another line just as their weapons get taken away… “What are we supposed to use man… harsh language?”.
[email protected]


Quote ‘the Army is to retire its oldest CH47 Chinook helicopters’. Funny that, I thought they were operated by the RAF. Still, the MOD should know or did I miss something. Looks like all the C130Js will go without any replacement by A400s. That was inevitable after spending millions on new wing box sections for them. What a priceless bunch of buggers!
This is just a whole load of cuts rubbed down with the word digital.

Last edited 23 days ago by Herodotus
Yorky M

Spot on. Well said.

What a priceless bunch of buggers!
This is just a whole load of cuts rubbed down with the word digital”.


They spent 8+ million on 1 Sentinel just before it was scrapped….in the knowledge it was getting axed!

captain p wash

28 Hawks, 90 Typhoons, 48 F35B’s……. Christ, can we even afford that many ? reckon we need another review.


Maybe we could sell some of the Hawks to smaller air forces like the Irish Air Corps and make a few pound


If I’m honest this call isn’t to much of an issue to me, as the RAF want to do most flight training on simulators, and the old T1s, while useful in a role as an aggressor (private companies can do it) it’s old, and not relevant to the RAF training needs. The 28 T2s hopefully will be enough……hopefully


a year or two ago, trainee pilots were sent to 100 sqn for training since the 2 T2 squadrons at Valley did not have the capacity. 28 T2s is not enough, there is no reserve, they are flogged! I was hoping for a modest order of advanced hawks to serve in the aggressor role and as a lower-tech bomb truck…can’t cost that much!


Hmm, no one can deny the Hawk T1’s are getting on and have been living on borrowed time but typically fuzzy talk here of simulators and commercial operators instead of any concrete plans.

I imagine fast-jet training may just about cope with the 28 Hawk T2’s and a lot of synthetic training, whilst the aggressor role will be filled by some sort of chartered, PFI deal and the Red Arrows will have to hope they find sufficient sponsorship to buy and run a new fleet.

Will probably in-turn spell the end for RAF Leeming sadly.


Hawk T2 New Build ??? Does the RAF want a 3o year old design as a trainer ???.
Hawk T2 didnt meet the requirements to go up against RED HAWK.

But there seems to be cooling towards using American equipment since old Joe Pissed of the English.

RAF has failed its fast jet training programme, NAO report is damming with contracts to private firms to train, transport programs pilots.

IF as we are told the F35 really has a 20-1 ratio then we dont need 3 planes for one pilot to fly…


i think the problems are sorted now and the program is working…

John Hartley

Old Joe will be in the Ronald Reagan home for the bewildered, before the mid terms.


So wiki lists the UK as having 98 hawks, retiring 76 leaves 22 for the red arrows, RAFCAM…

Daniele Mandelli

Ha! The Aviation Medicine Flight! So they too will be goners?

Mian Zahid Mahmood

Sad To See The RAF Wither Like This

John Hartley

If the Australians retire their reasonably new Hawks for T-7 Redhawks, perhaps the UK could buy the Hawks?