List of active United Kingdom military aircraft

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Tri-service badge of the United Kingdom's armed forces.
For RAF aircraft no longer in service, see List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force.
For aircraft expected to enter service with the RAF in the future, see Future of the Royal Air Force.

This is a list of military aircraft currently in service with the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom.

Royal Air Force[edit]

Main article: Royal Air Force
Aircraft Origin Role Version Number[1][2][3] Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Boeing E-3D Sentry United States AWACS AEW1 6 Airborne early warning and control aircraft. A seventh aircraft has been withdrawn from use.[4]
Raytheon Sentinel Canada (airframe)/United States (systems) Battlefield surveillance R1 5 ISTAR aircraft. Will be retained until suitable replacement is found.[5] Will be kept in RAF service until at least 2018.[6]
Beechcraft Shadow United States Battlefield surveillance R1 6[7] ISTAR aircraft.[8]
Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II United States Fighter aircraft FGR1 4[9] 48 announced for carrier duties from 2016.[10] Decision on final orders to be made in 2015.[11] Aircraft jointly operated with the FAA.[12]
Eurofighter Typhoon United Kingdom Fighter aircraft T3
FGR4 variants will replace the Tornado fleet by 2019.[14]
Panavia Tornado United Kingdom Strike aircraft GR4
98[15] The GR4A variant performs an additional reconnaissance role. The Tornado fleet will be retired in March 2019.[16]
Boeing RC-135W Rivet Joint United States Signals intelligence R1 2 Two of three aircraft have been delivered and are operational. They will be flown by No. 51 Squadron RAF. The squadron is due to be fully operational by mid 2017.
Airbus Voyager Spain Tanker & Transport aircraft KC2
12[17] There are 2 KC2 and 6 KC3 aircraft plus four further currently unconverted planes. Two more to be delivered by the end of 2016 for a total of 14.[18] The aircraft are jointly operated by the RAF and the AirTanker consortium.
Boeing C-17A Globemaster III United States Transport aircraft C-17A-ER 8 Operated by No. 99 Squadron.
Airbus A400M Atlas Spain Transport aircraft C1 4[19] Total of 22 on order, deliveries started November 2014. A total of 7 aircraft are expected to have been delivered by the end of 2015.[19]
Lockheed C-130J Hercules United States Transport aircraft C4
The C4 (C-130J-30) is a stretched version of the C5 (C-130J), which adds 15 feet to the fuselage. Nine C-130J have been upgraded for extended range.[20] To be withdrawn from service by 2022, and replaced by 22 Airbus A400M Atlas.
British Aerospace 146 United Kingdom Transport aircraft CC2
The CC2 (-100 variant) is used predominantly for VIP transport and the C3 (-200QC variant) for tactical transport.[21] Operated by No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron A Flight.
Britten-Norman Islander United Kingdom Transport aircraft CC2B 3[15] Used for photographic mapping and light communications at RAF Northolt, also utilised in a passenger or freight configuration.[22]
British Aerospace Hawk United Kingdom Trainer aircraft T1
Hawk T1 and T2 are used at RAF Valley for fast-jet training with No 208(R) and No 4(R) squadrons. Additionally, the Red Arrows use the T1 at RAF Scampton. The T1A is used for weapons and tactical training with No 208(R) Squadron at RAF Valley, and by No. 100 Squadron at RAF Leeming for advanced fast-jet weapons systems officer training and operational support flying.
Beechcraft King Air United States Trainer aircraft B200
Used as an advanced, multi-engine pilot trainer by No. 45(R) Squadron, which is part of No. 3 Flying Training School based at RAF Cranwell, in Lincolnshire. Contractor owned.
Short Tucano United Kingdom Trainer aircraft T1 82[15] Operated primarily from No. 1 Flying Training School, at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, to provide basic fastjet flying training to RAF and RN student pilots and basic Weapon Systems Officer training. 43 of the airframes are in storage.[15]
Boeing Chinook United States Transport helicopter HC3
HC2/HC2As have been upgraded to HC4 standard.[15] The HC3s have yet to been upgraded to HC5 standard. A further 8 HC6 Chinooks are due to be delivered by December 2015.[23] A total of 60 Chinooks will be in service by early 2017.[24]
Westland Puma United Kingdom Transport helicopter HC2 24[25] The last of the 24 HC2 helicopter has completed its conversion with the remaining 7 HC1s already having been removed from service in December 2012.[26][27] Two of the HC2s are currently with QinetiQ at Boscombe Down for flight trials of the enhanced variant.[27]
Agusta A109 Italy Transport helicopter A109E Power Elite 1[28] Used predominantly for VIP transport. Contractor owned. Operated by No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron B Flight.
Bell Griffin Canada Utility helicopter HAR2 4 Used at RAF Akrotiri for search and rescue duties and support of the UN in maintaining the Buffer Zone. Contracted from FB Heliservices.
Westland Sea King United Kingdom Search and rescue HAR3
21 To be withdrawn in March 2016 following the phased contracting out of search and rescue services to Bristow Helicopters between 2015-17.[29][30]
General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper United States Battlefield surveillance 10 Predominantly employed as an ISTAR RPAS but is routinely equipped with Hellfire missiles and Paveway II laser-guided bombs, giving it a secondary hunter-killer role. Operated by 39 Sqn & XIII Sqn.[31]

Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve[edit]

Aircraft Origin Role Version Number Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Grob G115E Tutor Germany Trainer aircraft T1 119 Used for Elementary Flying Training by the 14 University Air Squadrons and 12 Air Experience Flights in UK. It is also used by the Central Flying School and for elementary Weapons System Officer training at the RAF College Cranwell. Contractor owned.
Grob Vigilant Germany Trainer aircraft T1 65 Used by the Air Cadet Organisation to give basic flying and gliding training to air cadets.
Grob Viking Germany Trainer aircraft TX1 81 Used by the Air Cadet Organisation to give basic flying and gliding training to air cadets.

RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight[edit]

Aircraft Origin Role Version Number Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Hawker Hurricane United Kingdom Fighter aircraft Mk IIc 2
Supermarine Spitfire United Kingdom Fighter aircraft Mk IIa
Mk Vb
Avro Lancaster
United Kingdom Heavy bomber B.I 1
Douglas Dakota United States Transport aircraft C.3 1
De Havilland Canada Chipmunk United Kingdom Trainer aircraft T.10 2

Fleet Air Arm[edit]

Main article: Fleet Air Arm
Aircraft Origin Role Version Number[32][33] Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II United States Fighter aircraft FGR1 4 To be operated by 809 Naval Air Squadron "The Immortals". First squadron flights from HMS Queen Elizabeth expected during 2018. 48 aircraft initially ordered for carrier operation and will be jointly operated with the RAF.
British Aerospace Hawk United Kingdom Trainer aircraft T1 17 Used for fast-jet training and target facilities as part of 736 Naval Air Squadron. Has been used for short range reconnaissance.
Beechcraft Avenger United States Trainer aircraft T1 4 Contractor owned and operated by 750 Naval Air Squadron for observer training.
Grob G115E Tutor Germany Trainer aircraft T1 5 The Grob Tutor is operated by 727 Naval Air Squadron and is used for Air Experience Flights. Contractor owned.
Westland Lynx United Kingdom Naval helicopter (ASW/ASuW) HMA8 28[3] To be replaced by the Wildcat starting 2015.
AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat United Kingdom Battlefield helicopter
Naval helicopter (ASW/ASuW)
The four AH.1 aircraft are operated by 847 NAS as part of the Commando Helicopter Force,[35] replacing 4 AH7s.
Orders have been completed for the extra HMA2 helicopters.[36]
EH Industries EH101 Merlin United Kingdom Naval helicopter (ASW)
Transport helicopter
Option exists to upgrade remaining eight HM1 to HM2 standard.[37] HC3/HC3A's officially handed over to the Fleet Air Arm.[38] First HC3/HC3A to undergo the marinisation upgrade to HC4/HC4A starting 2017, entire fleet complete by 2022.[39]
Westland Sea King United Kingdom Transport helicopter
Search & Rescue
All Sea Kings have an out of service date of 31 March 2016.[29] HC4's to be replaced by upgraded Merlin HC4/HC4A's. HU5's to replaced by a PFI with Bristow Helicopters.[30] ASaC7 capability to be replaced by Merlin HM'2 equipped with Crowsnest AEW&C.[40] Seven ASAC7's will remain in service until 2018.[41]
Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin II France Transport helicopter 2[42] Used in Flag Officer Sea Training to ferry instructors to vessels with minimal delay during periods of intense training.
Boeing Insitu ScanEagle United States Surveillance UAV 3[43] Procured as part of a Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) that runs out in 2017,[44] the vehicle is used predominantly on Type 23 frigates and RFA vessels.[45][46]

Royal Navy Historic Flight[edit]

Aircraft Origin Role Version Number Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Hawker Sea Hawk United Kingdom Fighter-bomber FGA6 1
De Havilland Sea Vixen United Kingdom Fighter-bomber D.3 1
Hawker Sea Fury United Kingdom Fighter-bomber FB11 1
Fairey Swordfish United Kingdom Torpedo bomber Mk.I/II 2
de Havilland Chipmunk United Kingdom Trainer aircraft T10 1

Army Air Corps[edit]

Aircraft Origin Role Version Number[32][33] Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Britten-Norman Islander United Kingdom Command and control AL1 4[15] Light aircraft used for airborne reconnaissance, command and communications.[47]
Britten-Norman Defender United Kingdom Command and control AL2
Military version of Islander
Westland Apache United Kingdom Attack helicopter AH1 50[48] 16 of the Army's 66 Apache helicopters have been mothballed, leaving 50 in operational service.[48]
Westland Lynx United Kingdom Battlefield helicopter AH9A 21[3] The AH9As were upgraded to have the same engine as the Wildcat for improved performance and parts commonality.[49] They are due to be retired in 2019, with the last AH7s retired in July 2015.[50]
AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat United Kingdom Battlefield helicopter AH1 21[51] A total of 34 aircraft have been ordered, 4 in the LAH configuration to be operated by the Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing.[36]
Bell 212 Canada Battlefield helicopter AH1 8 Used in the jungle areas of Belize and Brunei.
Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin II France Special forces 5 Used by No. 658 Squadron AAC in support of the United Kingdom Special Forces attached to the Special Air Service.[52]
Westland Gazelle United Kingdom Reconnaissance AH1 34[3] The MOD has launched a process to extend the planned Out of Service Date to 31 March 2018.
Thales Watchkeeper WK450 United Kingdom Battlefield surveillance 30 ISTAR UAV.[53] Operated by 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery.

Defence Helicopter Flying School[edit]

Aircraft Origin Role Version Number Note
Bell Griffin Canada Training helicopter HT1 11 Contractor owned
Eurocopter AS350 Squirrel France Training helicopter HT1 34[54] Contractor owned

Empire Test Pilots' School[edit]

Aircraft Origin Role Version Number Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Saab JAS 39 Gripen Sweden Fighter aircraft JAS 39B 1[55] Leased from SAAB Aviation AB.
Avro RJ United Kingdom Jet airliner RJ70
Beagle Bassett United Kingdom Experimental CC1 1[56] Variable Stability System.
British Aerospace Hawk United Kingdom Trainer aircraft

Advanced Stability Training and Research Aircraft.
Short Tucano United Kingdom Trainer aircraft T1 2
Agusta A109 Italy Military helicopter A109E Power 2[55]
Westland Gazelle United Kingdom Military helicopter HT2
Westland Lynx United Kingdom Military helicopter AH7 1[58]

Ministry of Defence[edit]

As well as the military services a number of defence contractors operate military aircraft on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

Aircraft Origin Role Version Number Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Eurofighter Typhoon United Kingdom Fighter aircraft 2 BAE Systems, Warton for trials and development.
Panavia Tornado United Kingdom Strike aircraft GR4A
BAE Systems, Warton for trials and development.
Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet Germany Trainer aircraft 4 QinetiQ, Boscombe Down.
Gloster Meteor United Kingdom Fighter aircraft T.7 (Mod) 2 Martin Baker Aerospace, Chalgrove for ejector seat trials.
Hawker Hunter United Kingdom Fighter aircraft F58
Hawker Hunter Aviation, used as airborne targets for naval trials and exercises.
North American/Noorduyn Harvard Canada Trainer aircraft 1 QinetiQ, Boscombe Down for trials and photographic chase aircraft, active in military service since 1944.
Agusta AW109 Italy Military helicopter AW109E 1 QinetiQ Boscombe Down.
Westland Sea King United Kingdom Military helicopter Mk 4X 1 QinetiQ, Boscombe Down.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b House of Commons Hansard Written Answers ( 17 July 2013
  2. ^ House of Commons Hansard Written Answers ( 17 Mar 2014
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m House of Commons Hansard Written Answers ( 15 December 2014
  4. ^ "Out of Service British Military Aircraft". Demobbed. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  5. ^ "Sentinel R1/ASTOR". RAF. 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  6. ^ "Farnborough 2014: UK announces GBP1.1 billion in defence projects". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  7. ^ House of Commons Hansard Written Answers ( 4 July 2013
  8. ^ "Raytheon touts future roles for RAF's at-risk Sentinel R1". 2012-04-17. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  9. ^ Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft:Written question - HL2709, (, 6 November 2014
  10. ^ "UK set to procure first F-35 Lightning II squadron". 2013-04-29. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  11. ^ Brooke-Holland, Louisa (12 April 2013). "The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - Commons Library Standard Note". Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Farmer, Ben. "Dambusters to get new F-35 Lightning II fighter". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  13. ^ "Manufacturing Fault Suspends Typhoon Deliveries to Germany, Italy, Spain". Defense News. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  14. ^ MoD to speed up Typhoon upgrade for Iraq campaign "The MoD announced earlier this year it planned to fit the missiles to Typhoons by 2019 so they can take over the Tornados ground attack duties when the jets retire that year.", Telegraph. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Military Aircraft:Written question - 225369 (House of Commons Hansard),, 25 February 2015
  16. ^ "Tornado GR4 upgrade" 16 July 2014
  17. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Voyager fuel costs, A400M levy top UK MoD overspend". 2013-01-10. Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  19. ^ a b A400M Atlas delivers the goods for RAF,, 16 March 2015
  20. ^ Reed Business Information Limited. "RAF Hercules get extended-range upgrade". Retrieved 3 July 2015. 
  21. ^ BAe 146s enter conversion for Royal Air Force,, 18 Jun 2012
  22. ^ "RAF Northolt - aircraft". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  23. ^ a b First Chinook HC.6 helos for RAF arrive in the UK,, 14 January 2014
  24. ^ "South Coast jobs boost with £420m defence contract". Ministry of Defence. 17 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  25. ^ "Login - AirForces Daily". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  26. ^ Puma HC2 Training Continues With Qinetiq,, 2013
  27. ^ a b Training Now Underway On Upgraded RAF Puma HC2s,, 2013
  28. ^ Life in 'The Royal' Squadron,, 10 June 2013
  29. ^ a b UK MoD issues Sea King helicopter support contract,, 28 December 2012
  30. ^ a b Britain’s Next Search-and-Rescue Helicopters: Civilian Contractors,, 24 July 2013
  31. ^ UK cheers the Reaper UAV,, 16 Jun 2008
  32. ^ a b "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 02 Nov 2011 (pt 0002)". Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  33. ^ a b "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 31 Jan 2012 (pt 0002)". Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  34. ^ "Future Aircraft in Fleet Air Arm". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  35. ^ 847 Naval Air Squadron,
  36. ^ a b UK Royal Navy primed to receive first Lynx Wildcat,, 12 Dec 2012
  37. ^ Britain’s AW101 Merlin Helicopters: Upgrading the Fleet,, 19 October 2014
  38. ^ Royal Air Force Hand Over Merlin To Royal Navy,, 1 October 2014
  39. ^ Royal Navy Continues Preparations For Ex-RAF Merlins,, 2014
  40. ^ "Crowsnest AEW project to costup to 500mn". 2013-09-05. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  41. ^ "UK extends Sea King ASaC.7 life out to 2018". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  42. ^ Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm - SA365 Dauphin - Individual Aircraft,
  43. ^ X-men take to the Cornish skies, Royal Navy, 25 November 2014
  44. ^ Think Defence. "Royal Navy Scan Eagle Contract Extension". Think Defence. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  45. ^ Royal Navy gets Eagle eyes in £30m deal for unmanned planes,, 20/06/2013
  46. ^ "Royal Navy ready to launch ScanEagle operations",, 16 January 2014
  47. ^ "Defender – British Army Website". 1989-03-10. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  48. ^ a b UK mothballs quarter of Apache fleet with end of Afghan ops,, 19 March 2015
  49. ^ "Lynx AH9A Upgrade Program and Lynx Wildcat « Fast Air Photography". 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  50. ^ British Army Air Corps retires Lynx AH7 helicopter,, 03/08/15
  51. ^ "AgustaWestland funded for FASGW integration on Wildcat". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  52. ^ Tim Ripley (10 December 2008). "UK Army Air Corps received Dauphins". Jane's Defence Weekly 45 (50): 10. 
  53. ^ "UK's Watchkeeper UAV inches towards release to service". Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  54. ^ "UK selects Affinity to conduct fixed-wing training under UKMFTS". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  55. ^ a b c d e Empire Test Pilots' School - Our Fleet and Facilities,
  56. ^ Royal Air Force - Bassett CC2,
  57. ^ Royal Air Force - Gazelle,
  58. ^ Royal Air Force - Lynx,

External links[edit]