BAe Hawk T.1
Folland Gnat T.1
First taking to the air in 1974, the HS.1182 Hawk has proved to be one of the most successful British aircraft of all time, remaining in production for over 44 years with more than a thousand built.
Although originally designed as a twin seat trainer, it has seen considerable export success in both double and single seat forms as a fighter and ground attack aircraft with over 18 foreign operators using the Hawk at some time. The US Navy also uses the carrier capable Goshawk variant, with tail hook and strengthened undercarriage for advanced carrier landing training of new USN and USMC pilots.
Operationally, both Malaysian and Zimbabwean Hawks have both seen air to ground combat
against insurgent forces. During the mid-
For this build I have used the modern Airfix mould, which is an easy and satisfying build. This is the gift set issue, which contains decals for the 2015 display season colour scheme featuring a large Union Flag on the tail fin.
All pictures on this page © gengriz 2018
Have a look at many more RAF aircraft models on my Friends and Allies pages
The Red Arrows are possibly today’s most visible public face of the RAF, recognised internationally as a symbol of the United Kingdom. Widely considered to be the best aerobatic display team in the world, they were formed in 1964 to replace a number of separate RAF display teams, initially using the Folland Gnat trainer (inherited from the RAF Yellowjacks display team) as their mount.
In 1980 “The Reds” undertook their first display season using the new British Aerospace (Hawker Siddeley HS.1182) Hawk T.1 aircraft, continuing to use this aircraft for the next 18 years. Their aircraft are flown by 9 operational RAF pilots who volunteer (and are selected) for a rolling 3 year tour with 3 pilots replaced each year. An 85 strong ground support team of engineers and logisticians, known as “the Blues” travels with the display team to ensure aircraft serviceability.
The Folland Gnat was originally developed as an ultra lightweight fighter, but whilst the Indian Air Force and Finnish Air Force used Gnats enthusiastically in this role, lightweight fighters did not sit well with contemporary RAF doctrine (think Javelin instead).
However the capabilities and potential of the Gnat were recognised, so instead the
RAF encouraged development of a slightly larger 2-
The first RAF aerobatic team to use the Gnat was the Yellowjacks in 1964. One year later they were reformed as the Red Arrows, who continued to use the Gnat until replaced by the Hawk in 1979
This is a significantly older Airfix mould; my records suggest it was first issued in 1964, although this particular one dates from the late 1990s.
Desperately crude and lacking any form of detail, it has since been replaced by a superb modern kit that beats this one hands down.
However, I never could bring myself to bin a perfectly good kit…….
Since 1918, the RAF has been at the forefront of British military operations and remains one of the most advanced and effective aerial warfare forces in being. Perhaps best known for the sterling efforts of “the few” during the Battle of Britain, RAF Coastal Command, Bomber Command and Transport Command made no less of a contribution to final victory and their successors have continued that tradition of service to the present day in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Falklands to name but a few active operational deployments.
2018 sees the 100th Anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force. The world’s oldest independent air arm, the RAF was created on 1st April 1918 by combining the 3,000 aircraft of the Royal Naval Air Service with just over 1,200 from the Army’s Royal Flying Corps to create what was, at that time, the largest air force in the world.
The Real thing at RIAT a few years ago. Sadly, I believe that this is G-
A preserved Gnat at the RAF Museum Cosford