UK accelerates Hawk T1 retirement plans

Plans to retire the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) British Aerospace (BAe) Hawk T1 fleet have been accelerated.

Hawk T1A [MOD Crown Copyright/Sgt 'Matty' Matthews]
Aside from the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, No 100 Squadron at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire is the sole remaining Hawk T1 unit in operational service. MOD Crown Copyright/Sgt 'Matty' Matthews

The move comes after the British government set an initial retirement date of 2025 in the UK Defence Command Paper, which was publicly released on March 23, 2021. However, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has since confirmed that the out-of-service date (OSD) for the type will now be March 31, 2022, although the likelihood is that they will stop flying the platform before then.

At present, the type is primarily used in the aggressor role by No 100 Squadron at RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire, although two examples are also used in support of test and trials work at MOD Boscombe Down, Wiltshire. In addition, the T1 has been famously used by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team (RAFAT), the Red Arrows, since 1979. The team will continue to fly the Hawk T1 until 2030.