More Jaguars leave Cosford as Typhoon readied to arrive

Famous ‘Spotty Jag’ among recent instructional airframe departures

The famed ‘Spotty Jag’, specially painted SEPECAT Jaguar GR3A XX119, left RAF Cosford in early December. Given its spectacular colour scheme on the occasion of the strike jet’s retirement from RAF service in 2007, the aircraft was the last to fly in air force hands, being delivered by air to Cosford on 2 July that year. It was used thereafter for ground instructional purposes, being among the Jaguars kept in taxiable condition for use by No 238 Squadron — formerly the Line Training Flight — as an aid in training aircraft marshallers. When the employment of live aircraft for this task was replaced entirely by synthetic methods, XX119 stayed at the Shropshire base with No 1 School of Technical Training, part of the Defence College of Technical Training. It is now bound for RAF Lossiemouth, Moray, where the aircraft will be preserved by No 6 Squadron, the last operational unit with which it served.

The unmistakeable 'Spotty Jag', GR3A XX119, being taken apart at Cosford during early December.
The unmistakeable 'Spotty Jag', GR3A XX119, being taken apart at Cosford during early December. CROWN COPYRIGHT

XX119 is one of several Jaguars to have been moved from Cosford to other locations in recent months. A few weeks earlier, on the evening of 18 November, the ever-growing Ulster Aviation Society collection at Long Kesh, Lisburn received GR1 XZ389. During June 2023 it was announced that three Defence College of Technical Training Jaguars, including XZ389, were to be sold off. In the autumn an unknown buyer acquired the airframe, and work soon started on dismantling it. Then the buyer changed their mind, whereupon work stopped. The UAS had meanwhile been successful in acquiring GR1 XX967. With XZ389 already in transportable pieces, the UAS was offered that example instead of XX967.

Jaguar GR1 XZ389 being readied to leave Cosford on 17 November.
Jaguar GR1 XZ389 being readied to leave Cosford on 17 November. RAYMOND BURROWS

Meanwhile, Cosford will soon be receiving a more modern instructional aid in the form of Eurofighter Typhoon development aircraft DA4 (ZH590), which is being dismantled at IWM Duxford. This ends the long-running saga whereby the Typhoon had been earmarked for the Newark Air Museum, only for the Ministry of Defence to put that process on hold. To quote a joint IWM/RAF statement, “It is a condition of all MoD donations that they be given first refusal should IWM choose to deaccession and dispose of an aircraft. In the case of the Typhoon DA4 the MoD have been consulted and have found a new home for the aircraft as a ground training aid at RAF Cosford. Whilst we understand there may be disappointment that the aircraft is not being transferred to Newark Air Museum, the new home for the Typhoon offers continued public benefit through its training of RAF engineers of the future.”

Dismantling of Typhoon DA4 under way at Duxford on 28 November.
Dismantling of Typhoon DA4 under way at Duxford on 28 November. DAVID WHITWORTH