Jet Provost T5 XW325 (G-BWGF)

A short history of the T5

During the mid-1960s the RAF increased its emphasis on high-altitude training, and this showed up a weakness in the Jet Provost T.4. The aircraft were not pressurized placing severe physical strain on the aircrews.

In 1964 Hunting-Percival then being a part of BAC (British Aircraft Corporation) responded to this problem and began work on a new pressurized version as a private venture. The company utilised the last two T.4s of the large RAF order placed previously (XS230 and XS231) and began to convert these into the prototypes for the new version, the Jet Provost Mk.5.

Following three years of work, which began at Luton but was moved to BAC's Warton factory in 1966, the prototype T5 XS230 undertook its first flight on 28 February 1967. Powered by the Rolls Royce Viper 201, the same as used in the T.4, XS230 looked cosmetically different from its T.4 sisters. The cockpit hood was re-designed and the front fuselage took on a more bulbous shape to accommodate the necessary pressurized cockpit. The canopy slid upwards at an angle, instead of back, the wings were strengthened to carry bigger tip tanks, and a new improved cockpit avionics package was installed. Sister prototype XS231 was built to identical standards, but was fitted with a more powerful Viper engine, capable of 3000lbs of thrust, and was placed on the UK civil register as G-ATAJ. Both the aircraft were sent to Boscombe Down for tests and evaluation by the MoD.

The first production example was XW287 and it was the first T.5 to enter RAF service, being handed over to the Central Flying School based at RAF Little Rissington on 3 September 1969. The T5 then went on to replace the remainder of Provost T4's then still in Service.

In 1988 the RAF made a final decision on the Jet Provost's replacement, the Shorts Tucano T.1, a turboprop aircraft. This initiated the winding down of the RAF Jet Provost fleet, but it took some time before the last example was finally retired from the training syllabus. 6FTS and 1FTS were the last to retire their Jet Provosts. The 20th September 1993 the curtain was finally brought down on the Jet Provost's RAF career. It spanned some 38 years, saw 500 examples being produced and helped earn the flying wings of hundreds of trainee pilots.

XW325 history

Jet Provost T5 XW325 spent the majority of her service career at RAF Finningley as a NavEx trainer. After sale by the RAF XW325 was purchased by Global aviation and transferred to Humberside Airport, where she was civilianised and issued with a CAA Permit to Fly. After several owners XW325 was purchased by NEWMAC and hangared and is now maintained by Horizon Aircraft Services at MoD St Athan. XW325 has recently been repainted into her original 6FTS marking's. This aircraft is available for airshows and flight training.

BAC Jet Provost T5 technical data

Crew: Two Engine: One Armstrong Siddeley Viper Mk-202 turbojet, 2,500 lb (11.1 Kn) each
Thrust: 3000 lbs static thrust
Wingspan: 35 ft 4in (10.77 m)
Height: 10 ft 2 in (3.10 m)
Length: 34 ft 0 in (10.36 m)
Empty Weight: 4888 lbs
Max Speed 382 knots at 25,000 ft
Ceiling: 36.750 ft
Range: 900 nm
Internal armament: Nil