UK operations of the Sepecat Jaguar are to end far sooner than expected, with the Royal Air Force revealing that training activities with the type are to stop on 30 April. The Jaguar will be formally retired from service on 25 May, several months earlier than previously expected, and all flying will cease by the end of next month.

In an unusually public act, the boss of the RAF’s last frontline unit to fly the type announced the news yesterday on the website frequented by military pilots. “I have announced to the members of 6 Sqn that the Jaguar out-of service date is to be brought forward to 30 April,” said officer commanding Wg Cdr John Sullivan. “All operationally oriented training will cease on this date and the Jaguar will no longer be a deployable force element".

©Jamie Hunter/Aviacom

A series of retirement events are planned to take place at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire from 29 June-1 July, as Sullivan says: “I do not consider it feasible to organise an event to celebrate 33 years of stalwart service with only five weeks notice.”

The UK Ministry of Defence confirmed the news on 25 April and said: "Many Jaguar personnel will re-deploy to the [Eurofighter] Typhoon Force ahead of their planned dates and be part of the work-up for operational deployment of the aircraft." The RAF’s last Jaguar GR3s and T4 trainers have played a key role in preparing air defence pilots for operations with the Typhoon, which will achieve multi-role status in mid-2008.

Click here to read Craig Hoyle's special report on the Typhoon: