Monday, August 15, 2011

Aeroguide 31 - Sepecat Jaguar Mks 1-4

AS THESE words are written, in the summer of 2005, the last remaining Jaguar squadrons in the Royal Air Force are beginning their run-down prior to disbandment. The aircraft has served the country well, both as a highly potent attack aircraft and as a very effective reconnaissance platform, for over thirty years; indeed, the decision to withdraw it from front-line service has more to do with cost-cutting than any perception of the aircraft's obsolescence. When it retires, in December 2006 under present plans, the last remaining Battle of Britain airfield will also, apparently, close and the history of the RAF's presence at one of the most famous (and picturesque) fighter bases will be brought to an end: the ghosts of Douglas Bader, Bob Stanford-Tuck, 'Sailor' Malan, 'Johnny' Johnson and 'Cat's-Eyes' Cunningham may well stalk emptiness. For its close-up photographs, this new Aeroguide revisits No 54 Squadron, whose aircraft formed the principal subject of Aeroguide 2, published in 1983; the aircraft are upgraded and finished in a different colour scheme, but externally they are almost identical in appearance�an aerial here a missile rail there �as can be deduced by comparing the 1983 photographs with those taken in 2004.