|Jet Provost T.3A|
|Primary Use||Military Ab Initio Trainer|
Aircraft Background Edit
The Jet Provost was the worlds first Ab Initio training aircraft to enter service. Many countries had researched into the idea of a single aircraft to take students from first flight to specific training, but none had done it as well as Percicval did when they made the Jet Provost T.1 in the 1950s. The RAF initially ordered 9 Jet Provost T.1s to try out before then placing an order for 201 Jet Provost T.3s. The aircraft was a huge success and the RAF found that many pilots were achieving first solo flight much sooner then before. Throughout its life the Jet Provost had many enhancements made and a combat version was developed too which was sold to a number of countries worldwide.
The Jet Provost T.1 was initially developed in response to the Air Ministry's desire for a new jet trainer. Until this point the RAF had been using piston engined trainers so due to the increasing popularity of jet powered fighters a jet powered trainer was becoming more and more necessary. Percival made their first Jet Provost as an inexpensive jet trainer to meet the Air Ministry's requirements and in 1954 the first prototype flew at Boscombe Down. The test flight impressed the RAF due to its superb handling and its side-by-side layout prompting an initial order of 9 aircraft.
The Jet Provost T.2 was a development of the T.1 which saw many improvements made. Instead of making new aircraft Percival, now under the name Hunting Percival, took an existing T.1 airframe and modified it to try out new features. One such feature was a hydraulic undercarriage which replaced the original long undercarriage. Another was a more powerful version of the Hawker Siddley Viper engine. The T.2s weren't just for company testing though. Other air forces around the world tested the T.2s to decide if the all-through jet trainer was the way to go, most notably the Portuguese Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force. In total 4 T.2s were made, 2 of which were registerd to Hunting Percival, 1 was a demonstration aircraft with an even more powerful version of the Viper engine and the final was given a 'B' class registration.
The T.3 was the version that saw the most orders by the RAF. After the success of the T.1 the RAF placed an order for 201 T.3s so they could replace the piston engined trainers they had been previously using. Following the developments of the T.2, the T.3 had many enhancements over the T.1 such as a redesigned cockpit to improve visibility, a new undercarriage to shorten that of the T.1, the same Viper engine used in the T.2 and strengthened wings which allowed for tip tanks to be added. The first T.3 was delivered to the RAF in 1958 at Boscombe Down where RAF test pilots conducted tests to ensure it was working fine. Once approved, the 201 T.3s were built and delivered over 4 years and remained in service for 30 years taking students from first flight to role specific training quicker then before.
In the 1970s BAC, who now owned Hunting Percival, decided to make an enhanced avionics package for the T.3 which would help keep the aircraft up to date. A total of 70 T.3s were given the upgrade and officially re-designated T.3As.
In 1960 Hunting Percival decided to start development on a new version hoping the RAF would want to order more Jet Provosts in the future. Like the T.2, the T.4 initially used airframes of its predecessor for development, although this time the aircraft would become a production version. The T.4 was more or less a T.3 but with a bigger engine. The first version was delivered to Boscombe Down for testing in 1961 and impressed the RAF enough for an order of 185 to be made, with the first aircraft being delivered later that year. The more powerful engine gave the T.4 more flexibility in training then the T.3 meaning some of them were used to replace the T.3 in certain roles. Unfortunately though, the T.4 suffered from airframe problems and was retired from service much earlier then expected.
In 1964 Hunting Percival, now a part of the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), began work on a new version to both replace the T.4 and to help the RAF begin high altitude training, something that put a lot of strain on pilots at the time due to the lack of any pressurisation. The T.5 was, again initially developed using airframes of the previous version. The same engine was used in the T.5 but the airframe was redesigned. The nose was extended to allow for a pressurisation system to be implemented and the cockpit had another re-design to make it slide diagonally upwards instead of straight backwards making the whole aircraft look a lot different to its predecessors. The wings were also strengthened again to allow even bigger tip tanks then before to be fitted. The first T.5 was delivered in 1967, again for testing at Boscombe Down, and a total order of 110 T.5s were made following the testing. Following the early retirement of the T.4, the T.5 had to take on more responsibilities and in 1973 BAC were prompted to make an avionics upgrade, just like with the T.3. A total of 94 of the 110 T.5s were upgraded to T.5A status and would remain in service for another 15 years before finally being retired for a new generation of trainers.
In 1988 the RAF decided that the turboprop powered Embraer Tucano would be a better trainer then the aging Jet Provosts and so the process of phasing out the Jet Provosts began. The version of the Tucano used was built under license by Shorts aircraft to make the aircraft better suit the RAFs needs, thus reducing the necessity of the Jet Provost further. By 1991 the last of the Jet Provost squadrons phased out its aircraft in favour of the Tucano and by 1993 the career of the worlds first Ab Intio jet trainer had officially ended. During its lifetime over 500 Jet Provosts had been manufactured, some of which were T.5s sold overseas under the designation T.55. A combat version, the Strikemaster, was developed from the T.5 and also sold abroad to a number of air forces.
X-Plane Development Edit
A model of the T.3A is currently in development. While the model has been developed enough to allow it to fly and a rough cockpit has been made, there is still much to work on, including the cockpit canopy and the main airframe.
The default livery has yet to be finalised, but is likely to be XM479 which is currently civilian owned and based at EGNT Newcastle.