Thunder & Lightnings

SEPECAT Jaguar - Survivor XX741

GR.1A XX741 - Bentwaters Cold War Museum (taxiable), Bentwaters Airfield, Suffolk

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Jaguar GR.1A XX741 at Bentwaters Cold War Museum, 13th May 2023; Jake Wallace

First flight 4th October 1974. Entered service with 226 OCU at Lossiemouth in November 1974, XX741 went on to serve with 54 Squadron at Coltishall before transferring to 6 Squadron. Part of the initial deployment of jets ot Thumrait in Oman in August 1990 prior to the commencement of Operation Granby (the first 'Gulf War'), XX741 returned to the UK before the war began and thus did not see action. She was the display jet for the 1993 airshow season. She finished her career with 226 OCU / 16 (R) Squadron back at Lossiemouth, and her final flight was from Lossiemouth to Shawbury on 31st January 1994. She was disposed of to Everett Aero at Sproughton, Suffolk on 18/11/2005 and then acquired by the Bentwaters Cold War Museum in October 2009.

The involvement of several ex-Jaguar ground crew at this point changed the plan of a cosmetic restoration to something a little more ambitious, and when a pair of Adour engines became available, things became even more ambitious. The result of many years of hard work and scrounging parts was that in August 2019 XX741 moved under her own power for the first time in 24 years. The team, however, were not yet satisfied - and Bentwaters has a nice big clear runway... so in March 2020, with a lot more careful work and preparation, her Adours roared to full power with reheat and she carried out two fast runs on the runway, including a brake parachute deployment. Congratulations to Al Vernon and his team at BCWM for bringing a Jag back to life!

She has since carried out a few more practice runs, with a first public showing in November 2021 being sadly curtailed by a faulty battery, though the ensuing re-enactment of a tactical evaluation exercise in the dark was fabulous. However, since this event she has carried out a couple of fast taxi runs to the public throughout 2022 and 2023 with more events hopefully being planned for the near future.

Information on this page current as of 05/06/2023, last updated by Jake

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