(Photo source unknown. Please contact us if you deserve credit.)
Grandchild of the propeller-driven Hunting Percival Provost training
aircraft, and close sibling to the Jet Provost trainer, the two-seat,
jet-propelled BAC 167 Strikemaster multi-role attack aircraft was deemed especially
well-suited for advanced training, counterinsurgency, ground attack and reconnaissance
A direct derivative of the Jet Provost T Mk 5, the
Strikemaster was modified with an up-rated engine, wing hard-points, a strengthened
airframe, new communication and navigation gear, up-rated ejection seats, a revised fuel
system, and shortened landing gear.
Capable of operating from rough air strips, with dual
ejection seats suitable even for low-altitude escape, it was widely used by the air forces
of Botswana, Ecuador, Kenya, Kuwait, New Zealand, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South
Yemen and Sudan, and saw combat in Ecuador, Oman and South Yemen during its service life.
In its combat configuration the Strikemaster was fitted with two .303 machine guns,
each with 525 rounds of ammunition. With eight hard-points, the wings could carry an
external load of 3,000 lbs. of bombs, rockets or Napalm.
Of the 16 Strikemasters acquired by the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1972, use of
the aircraft was reduced from 1981 onward, after cracking was discovered in the main wing
structures. Turbulence and high usage were given as the probable cause. Considering the
necessary re-winging of the aircraft to be an unwarrantable expense, the RNZAF retired
them in 1994, replacing them with the Aermacchi MB339-CB. Similar problems with the
Strikemaster led the air force of Ecuador to ground their fleet of the aircraft for months
at a time while causes were identified and corrected, where possible.
The last new Strikemasters were built in 1984. In all, 146 were sold. While few, if
any, remain in active military service, many have been given new lives as refurbished
"warbirds" in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. The side-by-side
two-seater has a top speed of 518 mph and a maximum range of 1382 miles, making it an
attractive sport aircraft for those who relish such performance. [History
by Kevin Murphy]
name within the Royal New Zealand Air Force)
Engine: One 3410-pound thrust Rolls-Royce Viper Mk 535 turbojet.
Weight: Empty 6,195 lbs., Max
Takeoff 11,500 lbs.
Wing Span: 36ft. 10in.
Length: 34ft. 0in.
Height: 10ft. 2in.
Armament: Two 7.62-mm (0.3-inch) FN
machine guns, plus eight underwing hard-points with up to 3,000 pounds of rockets, Napalm
tanks, bombs, gun pods, reconnaissance pods, fuel tanks and/or gun cameras.