When 6 Squadron RAF was disbanded at RAF Coningsby on 31st May 2007 this marked the end of the SEPECAT Jaguars operational life with the RAF but not the end for the SEPECAT Jaguar in RAF service.
The aircraft were shortly afterwards flown in several batches to start their new lives as ground instructional airframes with 238 Squadron No 1 School of Technical Training part of the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering (DSAE) based at Cosford Shropshire.
Several of the Jaguars were kept in running condition by 238 Squadron in order to provide students with the ability to handle “live” aircraft in a safe, supervised environment prior to leaving for their new Squadrons. This has been the case since late 2007 however; on 31st August 2016 these remaining aircraft were retired from service and set to join the rest of the Jaguar fleet as static training airframes within No 1 School of Technical Training.
To mark this significant event with the kind permission of the Commanding Officer Group Captain Mark Hunt and the RAF Museum 150 aircraft enthusiasts and members of the press were invited to DSAE Cosford to witness and document the final engine run and taxi runs of the SEPECAT Jaguar in RAF Service.
The four aircraft (2 x single seat GR3A and 2 x two seat T4) were fired up and taxied before the assembled photographers before being parked up next to two further GR3A examples allowing the photographers to get up close and personal with the aircraft, then finally the aircraft were restarted and taxied back to their hangar under a traditional farewell water arch provided by the stations fire service.
The airframes on display were:
GR3A XX119 AI aka Spotty (Taxi)
GR3A XX725 KCF aka Sandy (Taxi)
GR3A XX738 ED (Static)
GR3A XZ117 ES (Static)
T4 XX835 EX (Taxi)
T4 XX847 EZ (Taxi)
The “Pilots” for the final days operations were:
Sgt Matt Swales
Sgt Gavin Sheffield
Cpl Jim Coupe
Mr Paul Bennett
Sgt Swales told us “ Apart from being a huge perk of the job, operating these aircraft gives the students valuable experience in handling live aircraft” Swales went on “It’s a great privilege which we will all miss greatly it’s the end of an era”
Details of DSAE Cosfords work training the RAF’s engineers of the future can be found here: http://www.raf.mod.uk/rafcosford
A full set of photos from this event can be found here: http://www.cliffibell.co.uk/p562609236
Cliff Ibell Images would like to thank OC DSAE Cosford Group Captain Mark Hunt for allowing the event, Sqn Leader Chris Wilson and his team for organizing this even and Karen Crick RAF Museum Cosford for arranging access.