JAACTU Griffon F.1

Started by AeroplaneDriver, November 19, 2021, 04:23:38 PM

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"Red Air" training arrangements for the UK armed forces in late 2021 were, to say the least, in a shambles.

The 2019 cancellation of the ASDOT program to provide contractor supplied "Red Air" left the UK to soldier on with 100 Sqn and 736 NAS providing the Aggressor role in aging and increasingly irrelevant Hawk T.1s. 

Then the announcement that all Hawk T.1s would be withdrawn from service by March 2022 left the MoD desperately searching for a civilian contractor once again. 

There was growing concern among the RAF that any contractor would still be operating aging airframes such as the A-4 or in a best case scenario, the F-16.  With even the F-16 (in its earlier guise at least) becoming less and less relevant in modern air combat there was a worrying view that a 20th century platform would be used to simulate a 21st century threat. 

In December 2021 SAAB stepped into the mix with a novel proposal for the MoD. They offered to lease 36 Grippen C/D airframes that were being phased out of Swedish service.  The Gripen had already been proposed during the ASDOT competition, but now SAAB offered an AESA radar and an improved EW fit to simulate a realistic near-peer or peer-on-peer threat. And in a unique twist they proposed a combat capable fleet crewed by RAF/RN pilots that could be used to supplement UK Air Defence needs, as the Meteor long range AAM was already integrated into the Grippen. 

This proposal gave the UK full control of a capable, modern 4.5 Generation Red Air fleet while at the same time easing the load on the already overworked and shrinking Typhoon fleet, all while being able to maintain a very high level of skill and readiness among combat pilots across multiple fleets. 

The contract was signed in June 2022 with the first Gripens, now rechristened the Griffon F.1, arriving at RAF Leeming in February 2023. All aircraft were maintained at Leeming in the Joint Advanced Air Combat Training Unit pool, but operationally were crewed by pilots from 100 Sqn and 736 NAS, as well as 74 Sqn which was stood up to operate 12 Griffons in an auxiliary air defense role, with the Aggressor role being primary. 

This one is still a while away from fruition as I just ordered the Kittyhawk Gripen kit today.  Hopefully it gives me a nice project for the Christmas break. The inspiration was a thread on a UK military aviation forum where people "in the know" were commenting on how good the Gripen  would be in the much needed Red Air role. 
So I got that going for me...which is nice....

Old Wombat

Has a life outside of What-If & wishes it would stop interfering!

"The purpose of all War is Peace" - St. Augustine

veritas ad mortus veritas est


Decals my @r$e!