|Whilst many people still refer to RAF Cosford its correct name is DCAE Cosford. The DCAE standing for Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering.
The Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering is responsible for phase 2 and phase 3 training of all the aeronautical engineers of the UK Armed Forces.
The training is delivered across five sites with DCAE Cosford as the Headquarters.
At DCAE Cosford the training is conducted by No 1 School of Technical Training (No1 SofTT) which is made up of the Aerosystems Training Wing (ATW) and Military Training Wing (MTW).
The Aerosystems Training Wing is responsible for providing training for avionic systems, weapons training, aircraft maintenance, survival equipment, airframe and propulsion systems using both simulated and instructional airframes.
The instructional airframes are aircraft that have been removed from active service but continue to serve a useful purpose by allowing trainees to gain valuable physical experience. Many of the airframes at DCAE Cosford are kept in running condition to teach line training and for the students to become accustomed to working around live aircraft.
My first stop on the visit was the Mechanical Training Squadron’s building. The building contains a large number of Jaguar GR1s, a small number of Jet Provosts, jet engines (mostly from the Jaguars) and the GenFly simulated airframes.
The GenFly Simulator pictured above was taken on a previous visit in 2007. It wasn’t possible to take photos of the GenFly on this visit as they were being used by overseas students. For more information on the GenFly visit the manufacturer’s website – Generic Flying Controls Trainer (GenFly)
You may also note that each GenFly has a military registraion. The one pictured is ZJ697.
The next building is the newly built Avionics building that is used to train students on avionics, weapon and survival systems. It houses a mix of Jaguars, Tornados and Sea Kings as well as a number of ejector sites and inert weapons.
Almost all the Jaguar GR3As housed here are ex 6 Sqn airframes and were flown into DCAE Cosford in July 2007. All of them had been signed by the last pilot and by the ground crew.
I had visited DCAE Cosford shortly after the first batch of Jaguars had arrived so I had the opportunity to photographed the messages left on the airframes. When I checked to see if the messages were still there I noted some of the panels had been replaced . I assume that the messages have been preserved. If anyone can confirm this please give me an e-mail.
Moving on to the hangers where the airframes are stored that are used to teach the students to line training. Most of the airframes are Jaguars and Jet Provosts but there are a few Tornados, Harriers and helicopters.
Again, 6 Sqn Jaguars are the most interesting with XX119 or ‘The Spotty One’ standing out the most. It was painted to mark the end of Jaguar in RAF service and the disbanding of 6 Sqn. It was designed by Sgt Al Vernon (6 Sqn) and painted by Jaguar cars. It features the 6 Sqn flying canopener symbol on the side and the squadron badge of every squadron to serve with the Jaguar in the RAF on the tail.
Both Sgt Al Vernon and Wg Cdr John Sullivan have their names on the nose of the aircraft and it has the code AI to mark the money donated by Aircraft Illustrated magazine to the cost of the respray.
Originally XX112 [EA] had been chosen to be painted as it was the OC 6’s aircraft but since 6 Sqn deployed to UAE as the project was starting XX119 was chosen instead.
Another notable 6 Sqn airframe is the ‘Desert Pink’ special. XX725 had served on Operation Granby (the first Gulf War) and had been painted desert pink and had nose art in the form of Johnny Fartpants (a character from Viz magazine). Since no one wanted to bring that bit of artwork back a new piece was designed using the Flying Canopeners symbol. Sadly the panel is no longer on the airframe, hopefully it is preserved somewhere.
In the next hanger was Jaguar GR1 XX110 [EP] still in original Desert Pink from Operation Granby and with ‘Baghdad or bust’ nose art.
This concluded my visit to DCAE Cosford and my chance to once again catch up with Jaguars before they complete disappear.