Military Wiki

Tri-service badge of the United Kingdom's armed forces.

List of active United Kingdom military aircraft is a list of military aircraft currently in service with the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom.[1] For RAF aircraft no longer in service see List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force. For aircraft expected to enter service with the RAF in the future, see Future of the Royal Air Force.

Royal Air Force

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Number[2][3][4] Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Boeing Sentry Boeing.e3-d.sentry.underside.arp.jpg United States AEW&C AEW1 6 Airborne early warning and control aircraft. An additional aircraft has been withdrawn from use.[5]
Raytheon Sentinel Raf-sentinel-ZJ692-071023-27-16.jpg  Canada
United States
Battlefield Surveillance R1 5 ISTAR aircraft. Will be retained until suitable replacement is found.[6] The aircraft has multiple origins, the airframe was manufactured in Canada while the aircraft's electronics were developed in the United States.
Beechcraft Shadow Shadow R1 5(AC) Sqdn RAF Waddington this morning.jpg United States Battlefield Surveillance R1 5 ISTAR aircraft. 5th Shadow R1 delivered to RAF in December 2011.[7] A 6th Shadow will be delivered soon.[8]
Lockheed Martin Lightning II USMC-04075.jpg United States Fighter Aircraft 3 Initial batch of 48 announced. 1st operational squadron to stand up in 2016.[9] Decision on final orders to be made in 2015.[10] Aircraft jointly operated by the FAA and RAF.[11]
Eurofighter Typhoon Royal Air Force Eurofighter EF-2000 Typhoon F2 Lofting-1.jpg  United Kingdom Fighter Aircraft T3
Initially designed as an air superiority fighter, but additional ground attack capabilities are being introduced.
Panavia Tornado Tornado 7 (5824708543).jpg  United Kingdom Strike Aircraft GR4
112 The GR4A variant performs an additional reconnaissance role. The Tornado fleet will be retired in 2019 and will be replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon
Boeing Air Seeker RC-135 Rivet Joint 2008.jpg United States Signals Intelligence 1 The first out of three aircraft has been delivered.[12] The three Air Seeker's due to be delivered will fly in No. 51 Squadron RAF.
Britten-Norman Islander RAF Northolt 2009 BN Islander CC2 RAF.jpg  United Kingdom Surveillance Aircraft CC2A 3 Used for photographic mapping and light communications.[13]
Lockheed TriStar Tristar tanker zd952 view2 arp.jpg United States Tanker Aircraft K1
To be replaced by Airbus Voyager. Due to leave service by March 2014.[14]
Airbus Voyager New RAF Tanker Aircraft Voyager at the Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford MOD 45152973.jpg  France
Tanker Aircraft KC2
6 8 more on order, deliveries underway. IOC for passenger transport operations, with 9 aircraft to be in service for regular operations.[15] The aircraft are jointly operated by the RAF and the AirTanker consortium.
BAe 125 ZE395-125-1784.jpg  United Kingdom Transport Aircraft CC3 6 No. 32 Squadron RAF (Royal Squadron).
BAe 146 RAF BAe 146 ZE700.jpg  United Kingdom Transport Aircraft CC2
Two CC2's used for Royal Family. No. 32 Squadron RAF (Royal Squadron). Two 146–200 (C3) purchased for use as tactical transports.[16]
Lockheed Hercules (C-130J) Hercules C130J , Waddington - - 1139086.jpg United States Transport Aircraft C4
To be withdrawn from service by 2022, 10 years earlier than planned.
Boeing Globemaster III Royal Air Force C-17 August 2010.jpg United States Transport Aircraft 8 Deliveries started May 2001 with the eighth delivered in May 2012. First four originally leased.
BAE Systems Hawk Bae hawk t1 xx245 inflight arp.jpg  United Kingdom Trainer Aircraft T1
Single-engine advanced jet trainer and lead-in fighter trainer. More T2 under delivery.
Short Tucano Short tucano t1 zf210 flying arp.jpg  United Kingdom Trainer Aircraft T1 92 A two seat turboprop trainer.
Beechcraft King Air Beechcraft b200 superkingair zk453 arp.jpg United States Trainer Aircraft 10 Twin-turboprop advanced trainer.
Grob Vigilant Grob g109b zh268 motorglider arp.jpg  Germany Trainer Aircraft T1 65 A two-seat, self-launching motor glider used for Royal Air Force Air Cadets.
Grob Viking Glider Launch.jpg  Germany Trainer Aircraft T1 81 Glider used for Royal Air Force Air Cadets.
Grob Tutor Grob G 115E EA-3.JPG  Germany Trainer Aircraft T1 119 Elementary flying trainer.
Boeing Chinook Chinook hc2 za682 arp.jpg United States Transport Helicopter HC2
46 HC2/HC2A's being upgraded to HC4/HC4A standard, and the HC3's to be upgraded to HC5 standard. This upgrade program is called Project Julius. 14 HC6 aircraft on order.
Westland Puma Raf puma xw236 arp.jpg  United Kingdom Transport Helicopter HC1
A total of 24 Puma HC1 aircraft will be upgraded to HC2 standard. The 1st Puma HC2 has been delivered.[17]
AgustaWestland Merlin Ehi aw101 merlin zj123 arp.jpg  United Kingdom Transport Helicopter HC3
27 25 Merlin aircraft are to be upgraded and transferred to the Fleet Air Arm.
Agusta A109E ZR322 RIAT Bthebest.JPG  Italy Transport Helicopter 4 No. 32 Squadron RAF (Royal Squadron).
Bell Griffin Bell 412EP Griffin HAR2, UK - Air Force AN1560195.jpg  Canada Utility Helicopter HAR2 4 The Griffin HAR2 is operated at RAF Akrotiri and is apart of No. 84 Squadron. The aircraft's primary role is search & rescue, however they are also used for UN duties in maintaining the Buffer Zone which divide the Cypriot and Turkish forces.
Westland Sea King Sea King HAR3 XZ585 at RIAT 2010 arp.jpg  United Kingdom Search & Rescue HAR3
Capability to be replaced by civilian search & rescue fleet.
MQ-9 Reaper MQ-9 Reaper in flight (2007).jpg United States Battlefield Surveillance 10 XIII Squadron has been reformed operating 5 MQ-9s from RAF Waddington. No. 39 Squadron based at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada will return to UK during 2013, As of April 2013 they are operating in Afghanistan supporting coalition forces stationed there.[18]

Defence Helicopter Flying School

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Number Note
Bell Griffin Bell 412EP Griffin HT1 of the RAF at RIAT 2010 arp.jpg  Canada Training Helicopter HT1 11 This aircraft is based at RAF Shawbury and at the Search and Rescue Training Unit at RAF Valley.
Eurocopter Squirrel Dhfs eurocopter as.350bb squirrel ht1 arp.jpg  France Training Helicopter HT1 32 Based at RAF Shawbury.[19]

RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Number Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Hawker Hurricane Hawker Hurricane LF363 2a (6116238658).jpg  United Kingdom Fighter aircraft Mk IIc 2
Supermarine Spitfire Spitfire - RIAT 2010 (5005122622).jpg  United Kingdom Fighter aircraft Mk IIa
Mk Vb
Avro Lancaster Avro Lancaster 02 (5968829500).jpg  United Kingdom Heavy bomber B.I 1
Douglas Dakota Douglas Dakota C.3, United Kingdom - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) JP7167919.jpg United States Transport aircraft C.3 1
De Havilland Canada Chipmunk Chipmunk 1 (9015801584).jpg  United Kingdom Trainer aircraft T.10 2

Fleet Air Arm

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Number[20] Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Lockheed Martin Lightning II F-35B after vertical landing.jpg United States Fighter aircraft 3 Aircraft jointly operated by FAA and RAF. First squadron flights from HMS Queen Elizabeth expected during 2018.
Beechcraft Avenger Beechcraft b200 superkingair zk453 arp.jpg United States Trainer Aircraft T1 4 This aircraft is used as an twin engine advanced trainer. They replaced the Jetstream T2 aircraft in 2011.
BAE Systems Hawk BAE Hawk T1A (3758154368).jpg  United Kingdom Trainer Aircraft T1 14 Used for training and target facilities. Has been used for short range Reconnaissance[21]
Grob Tutor Grob G 115E EA-3.JPG  Germany Trainer Aircraft T1 5 The Grob Tutor is apart of 727 Naval Air Squadron and is used for training.
Westland Lynx Royal Navy Lynx 318.jpg  United Kingdom Maritime Helicopter (ASW/ASuW) HMA8
37 AH7 is an attack helicopter. To be replaced by 28 Wildcat.
AgustaWestland Wildcat A2669-UnitedKingdom-Wildcat-ZZ413-RIAT2013.JPG  United Kingdom Maritime Helicopter (ASW/ASuW) HMA2 4 [22]
Westland Sea King Sea King HAS6 taking off from HMS Illustrious (R06) 2002.jpeg
 United Kingdom Transport Helicopter
Search & Rescue
To be replaced by 25 RAF Merlin upgraded to HC4 standard.
Will be replaced by civilian SAR fleet in 2016.
To be replaced by spare FAA Merlin HM1 refitted with equipment from the Sea King ASaC7.
AgustaWestland Merlin Westland.eh101.merlin.fairford.arp.jpg  United Kingdom Maritime Helicopter (ASW) HM1
30 Merlin HM1 to be upgraded to HM2 standard. The first 5 have been delivered to the Royal Navy.[23]
Eurocopter Dauphin US Navy 111006-N-FI736-003 ailors unload supplies from a Royal Navy AS-3645N Dauphin helicopter on the flight deck of the guided-missile destroyer .jpg  France Transport Helicopter 3 FOST support.

Royal Navy Historic Flight

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Number Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Hawker Sea Hawk HAWKER SEA HAWK FGA.6 WV908.jpg  United Kingdom Fighter Bomber FGA6 1
Hawker Sea Fury Hawker.sea.fury.folded.arp.jpg  United Kingdom Fighter Bomber FB11 1
Fairey Swordfish Swordfish (7582559196).jpg  United Kingdom Torpedo Bomber Mk.I/II 2
de Havilland Canada Chipmunk Chipmunk mk22 wd347 arp.jpg  United Kingdom Trainer Aircraft T10 1

Army Air Corps

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Number[2][20] Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Britten-Norman Islander  United Kingdom Reconnaissance AL1 7 Also has a limited use in transporting personnel.[24]
Britten-Norman Defender Britten-Norman Defender AL.2.jpg  United Kingdom Reconnaissance AL2
9 Also has a limited use in transporting personnel.
AgustaWestland Apache Westland apache wah-64d longbow zj206 arp.jpg United States
 United Kingdom
Attack Helicopter AH1 66 The AgustaWestland Apache is a licence-built version of the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter.
Westland Lynx ZD284 RIAT Bthebest.JPG  United Kingdom Battlefield Helicopter AH7
The Westland Lynx is a battlefield utility helicopter although it has been used for both anti–tank and reconnaissance operations. The addition of door gunners has allowed Lynx to operate in the very close air support role. The AH7 aircraft are going to be replaced by 34 Wildcat. The AH9s have been upgraded to AH9A standard.[25]
AgustaWestland Wildcat AgustaWestland AW-159 Lynx Wildcat AH1 - Chris Lofting.jpg  United Kingdom Battlefield Helicopter AH1 5 5 Lynx Wildcats have been delivered out of a total order of 34. The aircraft is due to enter operational service in 2014.[22]
Bell 212 ZK206 A a Bell 212HP AH Mk.1 (4567707862).jpg United States Battlefield Helicopter AH1 8 Used in the jungle areas of Belize and Brunei.
Eurocopter Dauphin ZJ780 (8490634574).jpg  France Special Forces 5 8 Flight Army Air Corps attached to SAS. A fifth aircraft was added to the fleet because of the security commitments the SAS had to fulfill the London Olympics.[26]
Westland Gazelle GazelleAH1 Ahlhorn May1983.jpeg  United Kingdom Reconnaissance AH1 23 Capability to be replaced by Watchkeeper UAV.
Elbit Hermes 450 US Customs and Border Protection unmanned aerial vehicle.jpg  Israel Battlefield Surveillance 12 ISTAR UAV. Entered service in 2008. Due to be replaced by Watchkeeper. Is currently in use in Afghanistan.
Watchkeeper WK450 WATCHKEEPER.JPG  United Kingdom
Battlefield Surveillance 54 ISTAR UAV. Entered service in 2011 and currently on operational trials with the Royal Artillery.[27] 54 were ordered.[28]

Army Historic Aircraft Flight

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Number Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Auster AOP.9 Auster.aop9.tw511.arp.jpg  United Kingdom Reconnaissance AOP9 1
de Havilland Canada Beaver  Canada Reconnaissance AL1 1
de Havilland Canada Chipmunk  United Kingdom Trainer Aircraft T10 1
Saro Skeeter  United Kingdom Reconnaissance AOP12 1
Bell Sioux XT131 RIAT Bthebest.JPG  Italy Training Helicopter AH1 1
Aerospatiale Alouette XR379 Alouette AH.1 of the Army Historic Flight (4013943973).jpg  France Utility Helicopter AH2 1
Westland Scout  United Kingdom Utility Helicopter AH1 1

Empire Test Pilots' School

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Number Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
JAS 39B Gripen Etps jas39b gripen arp.jpg  Sweden Fighter Aircraft 1 Leased from Saab/Swedish Air Force.
Avro RJ100 A2790-UnitedKingdom-RJ100-QQ101-RIAT2013.JPG  United Kingdom Jet airliner RJ100 1
Beagle Bassett  United Kingdom Experimental Aircraft CC1 1 Variable Stability System.
Hawker Siddeley Hawk  United Kingdom Trainer Aircraft
Experimental Aircraft
Advanced Stability Training and Research Aircraft.
Short Tucano  United Kingdom Trainer Aircraft T1 2
Agusta A109E Power ZE416-A109-ETPS-1494.jpg  Italy Military Helicopter 2
Westland Gazelle  United Kingdom Military Helicopter HT2
Westland Lynx  United Kingdom Military Helicopter AH7 2
Westland Sea King  United Kingdom Military Helicopter HC4 1

Ministry of Defence

As well as the military services a number of defence contractors operate military aircraft on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

Aircraft Photo Origin Role Version Number Note
Fixed-wing aircraft
Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet Alpha jet zj646 arp.jpg  Germany 4 QinetiQ, Boscombe Down.
Eurofighter Typhoon ZJ700-Typhoon-007.jpg  United Kingdom 2 BAE Systems, Warton for trials and development.
Gloster Meteor T.7 (Mod) Gloster meteor of martin baker wl419 arp.jpg  United Kingdom 2 Martin Baker Aerospace, Chalgrove for ejector seat trials.
Hawker Hunter F58 HawkerHunter-ZZ191-690.jpg   Switzerland 2 Hawker Hunter Aviation, used as airborne targets for naval trails and exercises.
Hawker Hunter T8B  United Kingdom 1 Hawker Hunter Aviation, used as airborne targets for naval trails and exercises.
North American Harvard  Canada 1 QinetiQ, Boscombe Down for trials and photographic chase aircraft, active in military service since 1944.
Panavia Tornado  United Kingdom GR4A
BAE Systems, Warton for trials and development.
BAE Systems, Warton for trials and development.
Agusta A109E  Italy 1 QinetiQ Boscombe Down.
Westland Sea King Mk 4X  United Kingdom 1 QinetiQ, Boscombe Down.

See also


  1. "UKDS 2013"
  2. 2.0 2.1 "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 31 Jan 2012 (pt 0002)". Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  4. Military Aircraft, Hansard 17 July 2013
  5. "Out of Service British Military Aircraft". Demobbed. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  6. "Sentinel R1/ASTOR". RAF. 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  9. UK set to procure first F-35 Lightning II squadron
  10. Brooke-Holland, Louisa (12 April 2013). "The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - Commons Library Standard Note". Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  13. "Islander BN2T CC Mk2". RAF. 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  15. [1]
  16. Ex-TNT BAe 146s enter conversion for Royal Air Force
  19. "FB Heliservices Ltd. clocks up 250,000 Flight Hours with Eurocopter AS350 BB ‘Squirrel’ Fleet as Defence Helicopter Flying School celebrates 10th Anniversary – Eurocopter, an EADS company". Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 02 Nov 2011 (pt 0002)". Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  22. 22.0 22.1
  24. "Defender – British Army Website". 1989-03-10. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  25. "Lynx AH9A Upgrade Program and Lynx Wildcat « Fast Air Photography". 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  27. Editor, Unmanned (2011-09-11). "Watchkeeper flies to new endurance record | Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) News". Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  28. Michael A. Taverna (28 February 2011). "Watchkeeper Gets New Delivery Date". Retrieved 5 March 2011. 

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