On Monday 2nd July 2007, the final Jaguars in Royal Air Force touched down at RAF Cosford, destined for storage and usage as technical training airframes. At the beginning of the year it was expected the RAF Jaguar fleet would be retired in October. However, the powers that be felt it prudent to push this forward by several months to July. To mark the occasion, 6 Squadron, the final operators of the Jaguar in the Royal Air Force, painted three Jaguars in special markings. They also held a Photocall for a limited number of enthusiasts, the aim to allow these airframes to be seen to mark the passing of the type. Following the retirement of the final RAF Jaguars at Cosford on Monday 2nd July 2007 only two Jaguars are now left flying. These two are flown by QinetiQ and should soldier on until the original October date before also being retired. This is one breed of Cat that will be missed in the skies.
The Sepecat Jaguar was devised in the 1960s. It was felt a dedicated training aircraft was required to prepare pilots to fly the supersonic attack aircraft that were to be operated in the late 20th century. This is where the Jaguar derived from. Due to the potential high financial costs of such a project the British and French decided to co-operate and produce a joint design which could then be used to prepare their pilots adequately for the high power frontline jets.
Gradually however it was realised that the project was going to be too expensive for both air forces to operate. The design however wasn’t discarded as at the same time as work was going on both air forces still had ageing fleets of strike aircraft so it was decided the design would be an ideal replacement for these.