BAC Jet Provost

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Jet Provost
Jet Provost (9710998092).jpg
Jet Provost
Role Military trainer aircraft
First flight 26 June 1954
Introduction 1955
Retired 1993
Status mostly retired, some examples flown privately[1]
Primary user Royal Air Force
Produced 1958–1967
Number built 741
Developed from Percival Provost
Variants BAC Strikemaster

The BAC Jet Provost (originally built by Hunting Percival) was a British jet-powered trainer aircraft used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1955 to 1993. The Jet Provost was also successfully exported, serving in many air forces worldwide.

Design and development[edit]

In the 1950s the RAF issued a requirement for a new dedicated jet training aircraft. Hunting Percival developed the Jet Provost from the piston-engined Percival Provost basic trainer. On 16 June 1954, the prototype XD674 made its first flight from the factory at Luton Airport, flown by Dick Wheldon.[2] The Air Ministry ordered ten of the Jet Provost T1.

The prototype Jet Provost T.1 with the initial longer undercarriage at the Farnborough Air Show in 1954

In June 1957, an order was placed for the first 40 of the developed Jet Provost T3, featuring a more powerful Armstrong Siddeley Viper jet engine, ejector seats, a redesign of the airframe, and a shortened and strengthened version of the retractable tricycle undercarriage. Percival built one example used purely for structural tests throughout the development stages, giving the designers valuable research into what could be achieved with the basic design. In total, 201 T3s were delivered between 1958 and 1962.

Jet Provost T52 of the Iraq Air Force at the Farnborough Air Show in 1964

The T4 followed in 1960, fitted with a more powerful variant of the Viper engine and first flown on 15 July, and this was followed by the pressurised T5 in 1967.

The T51 was an armed export version, sold to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Kuwait and Sudan. It was armed with two 7.7-mm (0.303-inch) machine guns. The T52 was another export version sold to Iraq, South Yemen, Sudan and Venezuela, with the same armament as the T51. The T55 was the final armed export version which was sold to Sudan.

A more heavily armed variant of the airframe was developed as the BAC Strikemaster.

Operational service[edit]

Operational Jet Provost T3 of No.6 Flying Training School, RAF, in 1967
Operational Jet Provost T.5 of No.6 Flying Training School in 1977
Preserved Piston Percival Provost T1 and BAC Jet Provost T5a, in formation

The Jet Provost proved to be a capable trainer. After successful acceptance trials of the T1 during late 1955 at No. 2 Flying Training School at RAF Hullavington, the RAF formally accepted the type in 1957. The first production version was the T3, powered by the Viper 102, and this entered service with No. 2 FTS, now relocated to RAF Syerston, during June 1959, when deliveries commenced from the Hunting Aircraft factory at Luton airport. The T3 was also operated by Central Flying School at RAF Little Rissington, the Royal Air Force College at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire, and by No. 1 Flying Training School at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire, 3FTS at RAF Leeming, Yorkshire, 6FTS at RAF Acklington, Northumberland, and 7FTS at RAF Church Fenton, Yorkshire.

The later T4 was fitted with the more powerful Viper A.S.V. 11 of 2,500 lbs static thrust and first flew on 15 July 1960. It quickly entered service with the units listed above.

The T5 variant was further developed and fitted with the Viper 201 and cockpit pressurisation. These developments encouraged the RAF to utilise the Jet Provost in a number of different roles besides basic training. With a top speed of 440 mph, excellent maneuverability, mechanical reliability and low operating costs, the Jet Provost was utilized as an aerobatic aircraft, air warfare and tactical weapons training as well as advanced training. The first T5 made its maiden flight on 28 February 1967 and deliveries from BAC's Warton factory commenced on 3 September 1969. Operators of the T 5 included the RAFs Central Flying School and No. 1, No. 3 and No. 6 Flying Training Schools.[3]

Besides service with the RAF, the Jet Provost found success in export markets. Jet Provosts were withdrawn from RAF service in the early 1990s and replaced by Short Tucanos. The Jet Provost remains popular among enthusiasts and being an inexpensive jet, many are now in private hands. Some are flown at airshows, whilst roughly equal numbers are maintained in ground runnable condition at various locations, mainly in the United Kingdom.

ex-RAF BAC Jet Provost T3A in private ownership


Model Number built Manufacturer Comments
Jet Provost T1 12 Hunting Percival Initial production batch for the RAF.
Jet Provost T2 4 Hunting Percival Development aircraft only.
Jet Provost T3 201 Hunting Aircraft Main production batch for the RAF.
Jet Provost T3A (70) Hunting Modified T3 with improved avionics for the RAF.
Jet Provost T4 198 BAC Variant with more powerful engine for the RAF.
Jet Provost T5 110 BAC Pressurised version for the RAF.
Jet Provost T5A (94) BAC Converted T5 with improved avionics.
(Jet Provost T5B) (13) BAC Unofficial designation: a T5 fitted with tip-tanks used for navigator training.
Jet Provost T51 22 Hunting Aircraft Export version of the T3 (12 built for Ceylon, four built for Sudan, and six built for Kuwait).
Jet Provost T52 43 BAC Export version of the T4 (20 built for Iraq, 15 built for Venezuela, eight built for Sudan).
Jet Provost T55 5 BAC Export version of the T5, built for Sudan.
BAC Strikemaster 146 BAC Ground attack version of the T5.
ex-RAF BAC Jet Provost T5 lands at RAF Fairford, England, in 2008
ex-RAF Hunting Percival Jet Provost T3a on display at Kemble Air Day 2008, England


  • Iraqi Air Force received 20 T52s, 15 of which survived the 1991 Gulf War.
 South Yemen
  • South Yemen Air Force
 United Kingdom

Specifications (T Mk. 5)[edit]

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1971–72 [8]

General characteristics



  • Guns: 2× 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine guns (Mark 55)
  • Rockets: ** 6× 60 lb (27 kg) or
    • 12× 25 lb (11 kg) or
    • 28x 68 mm SNEB rockets in four pods
  • Bombs:
    • 4× 540 lb (245 kg)

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ Warbird Alley entry
  2. ^ Flight International 13 June 1958, p. 795.
  3. ^ Thetford, pp. 91–95
  4. ^ UK Civil Aviation Authority Aircraft Register – Entry for former Singapore AF Jet Provost T52 registered G-PROV
  5. ^ Andrade 1982, page 192
  6. ^ History of G-PROV
  7. ^ "Jet Provost T52 registered G-JETP." UK Civil Aviation Authority Aircraft Register. Retrieved: 3 July 2010.
  8. ^ Taylor 1971, p. 181.
  9. ^ "Hunting (BAC) Jet Provost" Warbird Alley. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  10. ^ with tip tanks.
  • Clarke, Bob. Jet Provost: The Little Plane With The Big History. Stroud, UK: Amberley Publishing Plc, 2008. ISBN 978-1-84868-097-5.
  • "Jet Provost T.3". Flight International, Vol. 73, No. 2577, pp. 795–799.
  • Taylor, John W.R. "Hunting Jet Provost and BAC 167." Combat Aircraft of the World from 1909 to the present. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1969. ISBN 0-425-03633-2.
  • Taylor, John W.R., ed. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1971–72. London: Janes's Yearbooks, 1971. ISBN 0-354-00094-2.
  • Thetford, Owen. Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918. Putnam & Company Limited. ISBN 0-370-10056-5.

External links[edit]