MILAVIA > Specials > Coltishall Jaguars Last updated: 30 March 2013
MILAVIA Military Aviation Specials

Photo Report : Coltishall Jaguars


Report by Andrew Philpott on RAF Coltishall's Jaguar fleet in 2005, all photos by author

RAF Coltishall was opened in May of 1940 and the field has a vibrant past. In World War II Coltishall was well known for its ace combat pilots flying the Hurricane. This aircraft was to play a major part in the Battle of Britain. Coltishall was also to be the first fighter Station to operate the English Electric Lightning. This being the first supersonic aircraft to enter RAF service. At present the field is still fully operational with Jaguars coming and going frequently.

When the jaguars moved in initially there were three flying Squadrons. These being, 6 and 54 Squadron performing the role of Fighter-Bomber and 41 Squadron specializing in Aerial Photography and Reconnaissance. The Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) of 16 (R) Squadron moved in shortly after from Lossiemouth. Their reasonability was to teach new pilots all the knowledge required for front line service in the Jaguar.

As many military aviation enthusiasts are already aware Coltishall is deemed for closure. The units of 16 (R) and 54 have already been stood down and the air frames have been transferred to the remaining Squadrons. The roles of the Jaguars are to be taken over by the new, fourth generation, multi-role combat aircraft, the Eurofighter Typhoon. The program is rapidly moving forward and one by one the air frames are being delivered to the units of 17 (R) and 29 Squadron. Because of Typhoon’s multi-role capability unfortunately for the Jaguar they are no longer considered cost effective and are being retired from service.

Is there a future for Jaguar personnel? Yes! Most will be transferred to other bases to learn new skills and trades, to keep other types flying and in good order. Aircrew if not taking an early retirement could possibly go through the "OCU" as do all new pilots. Once they've become type qualified they may continue front line service. The future of the field is unknown. Personally, I would like to see fast jets blasting out of Coltishall for years to come. We can only hope the history and pride of Royal Air Force Coltishall lives on.

The Jaguar will live on here. The images in this photo report are a tribute to all past and present personnel that makes Royal Air Force Coltishall what it is today.

The Sepecat Jaguar, loved by those who fly it.
This aircraft will be sadly missed by
spotters and airshow fans alike.

Special thanks to the Corporate Communications Officer and his assistants who made this possible.

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Report and photos by Andrew Philpott ( view portfolio )

First Published: 14 May 2005
Last Modified: 30 March 2013