SPECIFICS
Role                  Military trainer aircraft
First flight        26 June 1954
Introduction     1955
Retired             1993
Status               mostly retired, some flown privately
Primary user     Royal Air Force
Produced           1958-1967
Number built     741
Developed from Percival Provost
Variants            BAC Strikemaster
ABOUT 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 26
June 1954, the prototype XD674 made its first flight from the factory
at
Luton Airport, flown by Dick Wheldon. The Air Ministry ordered
ten of the
Jet Provost T1.
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.

The T4 followed in 1961, fitted with a new
Viper engine, 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 The Jet Provost proved to be a
capable trainer. After successful acceptance trials of the T1 during
late 1955. The
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, now
relocated to
RAF Syerston, during June 1959, when deliveries
commenced from the
Hunting Aircraft factory at Luton Airport.
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 several flying training schools.

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 other flying training schools. 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.  
The Classic Aircraft Museum owns and
displays a
BAC Jet Provost Mk. 3A. (Shown here)
BAC Jet Provost Mk. 3A