A former Red Arrows aerobatic jet has been unveiled as the new ‘gate guardian’ at RAF Scampton, distinguishing the home of the UK’s famous aerobatics team.
The Hawk aircraft – well-known as the type flown by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team – is situated adjacent to the Station Headquarters.
It was unveiled by RAF Scampton’s Station Commander, Wing Commander Michael Harrop, and representatives drawn from across the base this afternoon.
The retired jet is RAF Scampton’s new gate guardian – a traditional RAF tribute celebrating the past, present and future roles of an airfield.
Wing Commander Harrop said: “It’s fitting that a Red Arrows aircraft is here now, showing and celebrating what has been the history of RAF Scampton, what is certainly its present day and what will be one of the Station’s roles into the future.”
The Red Arrows jet is the third gate guardian during the airfield’s long history.
The first was an Avro Lancaster, known as S-Sugar, which was in place between 1960 and 1970, before being relocated to RAF Museum Hendon.
Another Lancaster, Just Jane, became the gate guardian in 1973, spending 10 years at the entrance to RAF Scampton.
RAF Scampton has a rich history of aviation and stands on the site of a First World War Royal Flying Corps landing field, originally called Brattleby.
The station has remained in operation almost uninterrupted ever since and has provided an airfield for fighters in the First World War, bombers during the Second World War and V-force Avro Vulcans during the Cold War.
XX306 – Factfile
- RAF Scampton’s gate guardian, XX306, was one of the Red Arrows’ original Hawk T1 jets delivered to the team – a so-called founder aircraft.
- The BAE Systems Hawk succeeded the Folland Gnat as the aircraft type flown by the team after the 1979 season.
- XX306 was made at the then British Aerospace plant at Dunsfold and handed over to the Royal Air Force on May 23, 1980.
- Painted in the Red Arrows’ famous livery, the aircraft also featured a smoke and dye pod – a modification on the standard Hawk. This equipment allows the team to produce the beautiful red, white and blue smoke trails seen in a display.
- The jet spent two months at RAF Valley before flying to RAF Kemble – the Red Arrows’ previous home – and joined the Squadron on July 3, 1980.
- It was retired from the aerobatic team on October 20, 2012, having last been used in a display on September 26.
- Total flying time for XX306 - 7,378 hours and 15 minutes
- Total number of landings - 13,007