PICTURE: Royal Air Force retires last Dominie trainers

London
Source:
This story is sourced from Flight International
Subscribe today »

The UK Royal Air Force's 55(R) Sqn has performed its last operational flights with the Hawker Siddeley 125 Dominie, bringing to an end more than 45 years of service with the type.

Six Dominie T1s performed a final flypast at their home base at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire on 20 January. In all, 22 of the Rolls-Royce Viper-engined 125-2-series aircraft were delivered to the service between 1964 and 1966, says Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

 
© Geoffrey Lee/Planefocus

"The cancellation of the [BAE Systems] Nimrod MRA4 and a reduction in the number of [Panavia] Tornado GR4s has resulted in the RAF ceasing any further weapons system officer (formerly navigator) training," the service says. It has also removed the need to train new sensor operators "for the next few years", it adds.

 
© Flyer1 gallery on flightglobal.com/AirSpace

Longer term, a replacement for the Dominie will be acquired via the UK Military Flying Training System programme. Potential candidates include the Cessna Citation Mustang being promoted by a BAE-led team, and undisclosed platforms being offered by rival contenders Cobham/EADS Cassidian and Elbit Systems.

Operations with six younger 125-700B airframes assigned to the service's 32 (The Royal) Sqn at RAF Northolt are to continue. These were delivered in 1983-4, says MiliCAS.

The Dominie's retirement comes just over a month after the RAF and Royal Navy halted operations with their BAE Harrier GR9 ground-attack aircraft, and shortly before the air force's last Tornado F3 fighters and Nimrod R1 electronic intelligence aircraft will leave use. Both types will be retired on 31 March.