There has been a further accident involving an RAF Hawk T1A trainer jet, a type which operates extensively over the Celtic country and the safety record of which the Celtic League has consistently raised concerns over.
In the latest incident an aircraft attached to the RAF aerobatic team, The Red Arrows, crashed, near Bournemouth Airport today as yet there is no detail relating to the possible injuries.
The Celtic League first raised concerns about the aircrafts safety record in the 1980s following a series of fatal crashes including one on the Isle of Man in which two aircrew died.
Many years later following another fatal accident in Cumbria the MOD admitted that it would not carry out safety modifications recommended at that time.
The Hawk has had a chequered history in RAF service. The type was `rewinged’ in the 1980s due to fatigue problems. This procedure was undertaken when, in service terms, the airframe was comparatively young. Also in the 1980s there was a fleet wide modification to the turbofan in the engine and since that time other airframe modifications have been undertaken.
Approx 25% of the aircraft delivered to the RAF have been lost due to attrition and in 2002 the Celtic League called for more openness from the MOD over its safety record.
The RAF Hawk fleet has been grounded several times including February 1997, after cracks were found in a hydraulic control unit, and, most recently, July 2010 when there were problems with the ejector seat system.
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J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information