The Hawker Hunter, one of the most successful combat aircraft built in Britain, celebrated the 25th anniversary of its maiden flight on Tuesday (20 July).
GV PAN Royal Air Force base sign "RAF Brawdy" PAN TO Base buildings
GV PAN Hawker Hunters fly in formation over air base
MVs Hawker Hunter taxis to stop on runway (2 shots)
MV Test pilot of first Hawker Hunter, Neville Duke, steps down from cockpit and greeted by Group Captain Howel
MV Photographers and cameramen look on, as Neville Duke cuts anniversary cake (4 shots)
MV Mechanics at work on aircraft engine (2 shots)
GV Aircraft hanger with Hawker Hunters parked inside
GV Hawker Hunter flies over air base PAN TO Hawker Hunters parked on runway (2 shots)
Because of the ease with which the Hawker Hunter can be stripped, replaced piece by piece and then reassembled, it can be kept going well beyond the 20 years usually considered the average lifespan for a combat jet. A number of countries still use the aircraft in the front line of their forces including Abu Dhabi, Chile, India Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Oman, Peru, Qatar, Rhodesia, Singapore and Switzerland.
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Background: The Hawker Hunter, one of the most successful combat aircraft built in Britain, celebrated the 25th anniversary of its maiden flight on Tuesday (20 July). The occasion was market by a special celebration at the British Royal Air Force (RAF) base at Brawdy in Wales.
SYNOPSIS: RAF Bradway is a tactical weapons unit and there are 60 Hunters stationed there. Pilots practise tactical sorties at the base before they pass on to fast new jets like the Jaguar. There are 17 more Hunters stationed at another base in Wales and small detachments in Gibraltar and at Laarbruch in West Germany.
The test pilot on the maiden flight in 1951 was Squadron leader Neville Duke and he was back at Brawdy for this week's celebrations. The Hunter became best known to the British public in the 1950's as the machine used by the RAF Black Arrows aerobatic team. The group had the distinction of being the only team to loop 22 aircraft in close formation.
It's the Hunter's versatility that's made it popular with air forces around the world. The aircraft can be easily reconditioned and there is now an enormous second hand market in Hunters. In fact, the manufacturers, Hawker-Siddeley, lament they cannot re-open the production line.