NEWS: Nimrod replacement may finally be on the horizon

10930885_713821595404981_1967185526330261729_nAfter nearly four years since the retirement of the Nimrod MR.2 maritime patrol aircraft and the cancellation of the advanced Nimrod MRA.4 the RAF may finally get back its fixed wing anti-submarine and maritime patrol role. According to the Daily Express newspaper plans are currently on the table for a £2bn investment in up to twelve new aircraft most likely the American Boeing P-8 Poseidon which will be delivered over the coming years.

The newspaper adds that the increased presence of Russian submarines around UK waters was one of the driving forces behind the decision to finally acquire a Nimrod replacement. The lack of a long range maritime patrol aircraft led to the embarrassing situation of Britain having to ask its NATO allies for help in locating a Russian submarine around Scottish waters last year. The need for a replacement has led to wild speculation and rumours including a report claiming that the Japanese offered the RAF their Kawasaki P-1.

The MoD has stated that a review of submarine detection capabilities will be reviewed later this year.


DotR on YouTube – McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG.1

For my second video I decided to make a video on the first aircraft I ever fell in love with – the McDonnell Douglas Phantom FG.1.

DotR on YouTube – Vickers Valiant B.2

The second mini-documentary on Defence of the Realm’s YouTube page concerns the Vickers Valiant B.2. This video is a bit more adventurous than the last one incorporating video not just pictures. This is more of what I had in mind when starting the YouTube page.

If you would like to read the original article on the Vickers Valiant B.2 then CLICK HERE.

Gloster E28/39 at the Jet Age Museum

A collection of pictures of the Gloster E28/39 replica on display at the Jet Age Museum in Gloucestershire.
History: The Jet Age Museum
Photos: Tony Wilkins

Powered by inventor Frank Whittle’s first jet engine the E28/39 was designed and built by the Gloster Aircraft Company. Its official first flight was at RAF Cranwell on 15 May 1941, but it had already left the ground during taxiing trials at Gloster’s Brockworth airfield on 8 April. The E28/39 at the Jet Age Museum is a full-size fibreglass model, assembled from mouldings produced by the Sir Frank Whittle Commemorative Group and paid for by the Reactionaries – former colleagues of Whittle – and a generous grant from Tewkesbury Borough Council.

Gloster Javelin FAW.9 XH903 at the Jet Age Museum

A collection of pictures of Gloster Javelin FAW.9 XH903 on display at the Jet Age Museum in Gloucestershire.
History: The Jet Age Museum
Photos: Tony Wilkins

XH903 was the 65th of 85 Javelin FAW7s built by the Gloster Aircraft Company under contract Acft/11329/CB7(b) of 19 October 1954. It was completed in early 1959 and was delivered from the Gloster factory at Hucclecote on 27 February to RAF St Athan. After service acceptance checks with 19 MU it was assigned to 23 Squadron at RAF Coltishall and detached to RAF Horsham St Faith on 1 May.

XH903 came back to Gloster’s Moreton Valence factory on 1 June 1960 for changes to systems and equipment and replacing the Sapphire Sa7 engines with the reheated Sa7R . Now completed as a Javelin FAW9, it was delivered to St Athan on 5 January 1961 and on 14 February to 33 Squadron at RAF Middleton St George. Ten days later it went to RAF Leuchars on loan to 29 Squadron, returning to 33 Squadron on 3 March.

In October 1962, 5 Squadron, then flying the Javelin FAW5, began to convert to the FAW9 variant and took on charge most of 33 Squadron’s aircraft, including XH 903. Re-equipment was completed by 21 November and coincided with the Squadron’s move from RAF Laarbruch to RAF Geilenkirchen and assignment to 2 ATAF, XH 903 gaining the code “G” at this time.The aircraft flew with 5 Squadron until 20 September 1963 when it suffered a Cat3 accident. This resulted in its withdrawal from use until repairs were completed , the aircraft returning to 5 Sqn on 10 April 1964.

On 7 October 1965 5 Squadron disbanded as a Javelin unit and XH903 was flown to 27 MU at RAF Shawbury on 15 October for storage. It was struck off charge on 2 December 1966 and allocated to RAF Innsworth for display on 23 August 1967, receiving the maintenance serial 7938M.

Gloster Meteor F.8 WH364 at the Jet Age Museum

A collection of pictures of Gloster Meteor F.8 on display at the Jet Age Museum in Gloucestershire.
History: The Jet Age Museum
Photos: Tony Wilkins

WH364 served with 601 Squadron between 1952 and 1957, then with the station flights at Safi, Takali and Idris. It last served with 85 Squadron, retiring in 1971 and going on the gate at RAF Kemble the following year. Twenty years later it was bought by Eddie and Paul Brown of Meteor Flight, but when they abandoned plans to get it flying again it was bought by former Gloster test pilot and Jet Age patron Peter Cadbury for the museum. Initially stored at Kemble, where it was restored for us by a team led by Paul Brown, it now has pride of place in the museum’s display hanger, Gloucestershire Airport, wearing its 601 Squadron red and black tail stripes.

MOVIE – The Flying Lesson

A truly beautiful short film about a woman who wants to honour her pilot-grandfather by going up for a flight in the same De Havilland Tiger Moth trainer that he did. Aided by the distinctly old fashioned instructor known as Douglas she experiences the feeling of a true stick-and-rudder aircraft – the closest any of us will get to flying like a bird.

Well made, moving and featuring stunning in-flight footage of the Tiger Moth this is a must-see for fans of a true British aviation icon.