Hawker Hunter at Yeovilton
The Hawker Hunter jet fighters are once again to be seen over the spring skies of Somerset. Stirring fond memories at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton. The aircraft were previously at the Air base in 2009 but the bright spring weather showed off the majestic lines of these sturdy old timers.
Hawker Hunter Aviation (HHA), who owns the Hunters, has deployed three of its aircraft from its home base of RAF Scampton to RNAS Yeovilton to participate in a Flag Officer Sea Training sponsored trial to find an alternative fast jet in the Aerial Support role for Royal Naval Sea Training. The Hunter detachment is scheduled to last until the end of March 2012. The Aerial Support task is currently undertaken by the MOD owned Hawk aircraft, simulating Missiles attacks, Fighter Bomber Attacks and Defensive Counter Air aircraft during Air Defence Exercise serials, as part of naval exercises with the Fleet. The Hunters will be augmenting the MOD Hawk’s and Falcon’s assets, demonstrating interoperability with the Navy’s FOST operations, also showcasing the enhanced performance of the Hawker Hunter aircraft.
It’s a welcome sight to see big powerful fixed wing aircraft back in the West Country skies, with the ability to fly quickly and fast to where the Fleet are training in the Plymouth or Portsmouth sea areas. By offering a variety of different aircraft profiles to the ships, the training efficiency and diversity has improved.
The Hunters operated at Yeovilton between 1972 and 1995. It served with the Fleet Air Arm for nearly 40 years. The Hunter's swept aesthetic looks makes it revered as perhaps the most graceful icon of Britain’s post-war aviation industry. On 7 September 1953, a modified first prototype broke the world air speed record, achieving 727.63 mph
Matt Potulski, Managing Director of HHA said, “The Hunter is providing fast and realistic training to augment the Hawk on certain exercises. It’s a good thing for the Navy and Fleet training”.