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Home Base: Houston, TX
Operation: Western and Central  USA
Model: 167 Strikemaster
Wing Span:
36' 11"
Length: 33' 9"
Height: 10' 0"
Max Speed: 450 knots
Gross Weight: 11,500 lbs
Power Plant: Roll Royce Viper Mk. 535
Thrust: 3,400 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 609 gallons with underwing stores
Armament: 2 - 30 caliber machine guns mounted under the intakes and 3000 lbs on ordnance mounted on under wing pylons including additional guns up to 20 mil cannons carried in gun pods.

Robin Rice/Andy Anderson's BAC 167 Strikemaster "The Dragon"

Robin Rice and
Andy Anderson are the owners and operators of this beautifully restored BAC 167 Strikemaster that is available for airshows, flybys and film.

The original concept of the Strikemaster was as a result of the export success of the Jet Provost. The British Aircraft Corporation, based at Warton, began work on the design of this new type, which would be based on the Mk.5 Jet Provost. This aircraft would be able to perform both the training role and light attack duties, and be available at a price that smaller nations could afford, thus improving its chances in the export market. The project was originally labeled the BAC 166 and work began on producing an airworthy test-bed.

The prototype was rolled out of the Lancashire factory and it took its first flight on October 26, 1967. The comparisons with the JP T.5, which first flew a few months previously were clearly evident, but this aircraft had several additional features. The airframe was strengthened with armour put in place, an up-rated Rolls Royce Viper 525 engine capable of 3410 lbs of thrust was fitted, and eight stores hard-points were installed beneath the wings, enabling the Strikemaster to carry light armament and drop tanks. The fuel system layout was also revised and the landing gear was shortened to be more suitable for rough field operations, conditions that potential export customers were likely to encounter. Inside the cockpit there were several changes; comprehensive communications and navigational equipment was installed, as well as two up-rated Martin Baker ejection seats fitted. The type was also given a new official classification - the BAC.167. In a combat configuration the Strikemaster could be fitted with two .303 machine-guns, each with 525 rounds of ammunition. The eight hard-points enabled external loads such as 3,000 lbs. of bombs, rockets or Napalm to be carried underneath the wings.

With the first aircraft built and flying, work began by BAC to generate interest in the design, which would hopefully be followed by firm orders. Initial signs were good that the Strikemaster would be a success, with several nations showing interest.

It was decided by BAC that each country of sale would have its own variation or mark of Strikemaster. The Saudi Arabian Air Force were the first nation to place an order, for the Mk.80
version. This Air Force turned out to be the main export customer, they ordered 47 examples in total, spread over three batches, and were delivered between 1968 and 1977. The Air Force of South Yemen acquired four Mk.81 Strikemasters in 1969, and Mk.82s were delivered to the Sultan of Oman Air Force around the same time.

The Kuwait Air Force originally ordered the Mk.83, with deliveries commencing in 1970. After a career spanning some 15 years they were withdrawn in 1985 and traded back to British Aerospace (BAe). The surviving aircraft were flown back to Warton, using UK military serials (ZG805-813) and placed in store. In 1987 BAe sold the aircraft, now all completely rebuilt, to the Botswana Defense Force. Deliveries commenced the same year and were completed by the end of 1988. The Mk.83s stayed in service with the Air Force, until retirement in 1997.

Other customers included the Singapore Air Force, which ordered 16 examples of the Mk.84 Strikemaster in 1968 and delivered in 1969. Kenya received examples of the Mk.87 Strikemaster, and they stayed in service until being replaced by the BAe Hawk. The surviving aircraft were passed onto the Botswana Defense Force, where they served with the country's existing fleet of Mk.83s until retirement in 1997.

The BAC Strikemaster is able to operate from rough air strips, with dual ejection seats suitable even for low-altitude escape and set a world record for the number of repeat orders placed, and a total of 146 were used collectively by ten different nations. Examples in Oman, South Yemen, and Ecuador all saw combat during their service careers, with most of the Oman Air Force fleet sustaining battle damage. The type coped so well in such environments it soon earned a reputation for being a very tough aircraft.

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