People will get the chance to to say farewell to the Royal Navy’s Hawk T1 jets in a final flight across Devon and Cornwall, before the veteran aircraft are retired from service.
They will fly around the coast today, March 24, for the last time.
Based out of Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose at Helston, the fast jets have been a mainstay for decades in training Royal Navy and NATO ships in air defence.
The jets have been used by the RAF for 40 years and the Royal Navy’s aircraft date from the 1990s. They were first based at RNAS Culdrose in 1994 and were incorporated into the re-formed 736 Naval Air Squadron in 2013.
Lieutenant Commander Jason Flintham, the commanding officer of 736 Naval Air Squadron, said: “It has to be acknowledged that this is a sad day for everyone involved with the Hawks, but we should not lose sight of the significant contribution these aircraft have made to defence.
“I think it’s fair to say that the Hawks jets have been the outstanding workhorse of the military.
“They’ve been used by 736 Naval Air Squadron to train Royal Navy and NATO frontline assets since 2013. We’ve used them to train ships’ companies against incoming aircraft or to simulate missile attack, as well as training Royal Navy fighter controllers.
“Of course, it’s not just about these superb aircraft. A squadron is comprised of the men and women whose professionalism and dedication makes the squadron a success and deliver its defence aims.
"We thank everyone who has served over the years, including those in industry and the military.”
It was announced in the Integrated Review last year that the Hawk T1 was to be retired across defence, with the exception of the Red Arrows, and it was decided 736 Naval Air Squadron would be decommissioned at the end of March 2022.
Two jets will take off from RNAS Culdrose and fly up to Plymouth, before turning around and flying clockwise around Cornwall. They will then depart for RAF Shawbury.
Approximate timings for the jet flights
3.30pm Hawks depart Culdrose and head towards Plymouth
3.40 pm Tregantle (western edge of Plymouth)
3.43pm St Austell
3.54pm St Ives
Depart up coast of Devon.