SEPECAT Jaguar T.2A: Feline Teacher

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Introduction: The Jaguar is often remembered for its role as being the RAF’s main supersonic ground attack aircraft of the Cold War, as well as its service in trouble spots ranging from Iraq to Bosnia. However, it is often forgotten that the aircraft was initially intended to be purchased as a trainer, with the strike role being secondary.

Background: In the early 1960’s, it became clear that the trainer aircraft being purchased at the time would not be able to keep up with the next generation of aircraft set to enter service with the RAF. Aircraft were becoming faster and more technologically advanced and the trainer aircraft of the time, these mainly being the Folland Gnat and Hawker Hunter T.7, would need replacement by the early to mid-1970’s. The Air Staff decided that the next generation trainer would be supersonic, and be fitted with variable geometry wings, in order to provide docile handling traits in most flight regimes. Many drawing offices put forward their designs for this requirement, now designated AST.362, including the Folland Fo.146 and Fo.147, the Hawker Siddeley HS.1173 and the many variants of the BAC P.45 family.

Description: However, at this point political developments were beginning to sideline these designs. It was beginning to become clear in many circles that the UK, as with many other European countries, were beginning to find it difficult to develop a wide range of aircraft to suit their needs. This would mean that they would have to collaborate in order to build aircraft for their requirements, and keep jobs and experience in their respective countries. At around the same time the RAF drew up AST.362, the French were looking into a similar requirement. A formal memorandum was signed in 1965, with the British purchasing the Breguet Br.121, and the French purchasing the British-designed AFVG strike aircraft, an ancestor of the Tornado. Initially, the RAF intended to order 150 trainers, with the French taking a mixed fleet of 75 trainers and 75 strike variants. However, these plans were soon changed due to changing requirements and costs. The French found that the trainer was too large, and would collaborate with Germany to create the Alpha Jet. The British would take a similar route, and develop a smaller, slower and cheaper trainer: the BAE Hawk; the jump in capability between the Jet Provost and the Jaguar was simply too big. The RAF would switch their order to 165 Jaguar S strike aircraft and 35 Jaguar B trainers. The concern had also switched to bolstering up frontline units, with the Jaguar replacing the Phantom FGR.2 in the ground attack role, allowing those aircraft to be used in air defence.

Service: On 30th August 1971, the prototype Jaguar T.2 trainer, B-08, XW566, was flown for the first time, with the first production aircraft following two years later. The T.2 was provided with full navigation and attack systems, but lacked the LRMTS, RWR and IFR capabilities of the GR.1, otherwise, they were fully combat capable. Fourteen T.2s were upgraded to T.2A standard, receiving the FIN 1064 inertial navigation system. Some T.2As were also given the ability to carry the TIALD laser designation pod. The Jaguar T.2s was handled by No.2226 OCU at RAF Lossiemouth, before becoming No.16 (Reserve) Squadron in 1991, remaining as such until the Jaguar was ultimately retired in 2007. Some aircraft would also be distributed to squadrons to keep pilots current.

Performance:

Spoiler

General characteristics

Crew: 2

Length: 16.83 m (55 ft 3 in) (A and S) with minor variations dependent on nose configuration; 17.53 m (57.5 ft) (B and E) with minor variations dependent on nose probe type (AAR or pitot)

Wingspan: 8.69 m (28 ft 6 in)

Height: 4.89 m (16 ft 1 in)

Wing area: 24.18 m2 (260.3 sq ft)

Aspect ratio: 3.12

Empty weight: 7,000 kg (15,432 lb) typical, (dependent on variant and role)

Gross weight: 10,954 kg (24,149 lb) full internal fuel and 120 rpg

Max takeoff weight: 15,700 kg (34,613 lb) with external stores

Fuel capacity: 4,200 L (1,100 US gal; 920 imp gal) internal, with provision for three 1,200 L (320 US gal; 260 imp gal) drop tanks on inboard and centreline pylons

Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour Mk.102 afterburning turbofan engines, 22.75 kN (5,110 lbf) thrust each dry, 32.5 kN (7,300 lbf) with afterburner

Performance

Maximum speed: 1,350 km/h (840 mph, 730 kn) Mach 1.1 at sea level

1,699 km/h (1,056 mph; 917 kn) Mach 1.6 at 11,000 m (36,000 ft)

Landing speed: 213 km/h (132 mph; 115 kn)

Combat range: 815 km (506 mi, 440 nmi) hi-lo-hi (internal fuel)

575 km (357 mi; 310 nmi) lo-lo-lo (internal fuel)

1,408 km (875 mi; 760 nmi) hi-lo-hi (with external fuel)

908 km (564 mi; 490 nmi) lo-lo-lo (with external fuel)

Ferry range: 1,902 km (1,182 mi, 1,027 nmi) with full internal and external tanks

Service ceiling: 14,000 m (46,000 ft) [144]

g limits: +8.6 (ultimate load +12)

Time to altitude: 9,145 m (30,003 ft) in 1 minute 30 seconds[144]

Wing loading: 649.3 kg/m2 (133.0 lb/sq ft) maximum

Thrust/weight: Adour Mk.102: 0.422

Adour Mk.104: 0.464

Adour Mk.811: 0.486

Take-off run: 580 m (1,900 ft) with typical tactical load

Take-off run to 15 m (49 ft): 940 m (3,080 ft) with typical tactical load

Landing run from 15 m (49 ft): 785 m (2,575 ft) with typical tactical load

Landing run: 470 m (1,540 ft) with typical tactical load

Armament

Guns: 2× 30 mm (1.181 in) calibre DEFA cannon with up to 150 rounds/gun

Hardpoints: 7 (4× under-wing, 2× over-wing and 1× center-line) with a capacity of 10,000 lb (4,500 kg), with provisions to carry combinations of:

Rockets: 8× Matra rocket pods with 18× SNEB 68 mm rockets each

Missiles: 2x AIM-9G/L Sidewinders

Bombs: general purpose bombs, BL.755 family cluster bombs, Paveway II

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Conclusion: I believe that this would be an interesting addition to the British tech tree as a premium, squadron or event vehicle for the UK. It should be easy to add considering that the French have their twin-seater already, so it’s just a case of giving it a different weapons load and paint scheme.

Sources:

Spoiler

“Teach for the Sky: British Training Aircraft since 1945” by James Jackson

“British Secret Projects 2: Jet Bombers since 1949” by Tony Buttler

Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft 1980-81

SEPECAT Jaguar

Thunder & Lightnings - SEPECAT Jaguar - History

https://www.airforce-technology.com/projects/sepecat-jaguar/#:~:text=Jaguar%20aircraft%20performance,service%20ceiling%20is%2014%2C000m.

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Maybe as a squadron or event vehicle.

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