On April 22, a full 43 years after it entered RAF service, the South Wales Aviation Museum at St Athan took delivery of former Red Arrows BAe Hawk T1A XX263 from Cardiff University’s School of Engineering.
The stripped-out machine will now be rebuilt and painted back into the gloss RAF Aerobatic Team scheme.
The much-travelled jet was originally delivered in wrap-around camouflage to No 1 Tactical Weapons Unit at RAF Brawdy on April 11, 1979.
XX263 was sent to British Aerospace during the summer of 1983 to be modified to carry AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles for use in the air defence role.
Its varied life subsequently included a spell on loan to the Royal Navy, arriving at the Fleet Requirements and Air Direction Unit at Yeovilton in February 1995.
The summer of 2000 saw it entering the Hawk T1 fuselage replacement programme at St Athan, and after use by several further units it became the RAF’s 2010 Hawk display mount with No 4 Flying Training School.
The aeroplane was allocated to the Red Arrows in February 2012, flying with the team for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, before going into store at Shawbury. The now bare metal XX263 was moved to the Cardiff University School of Engineering in the summer of 2018 to act as an instructional airframe.