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
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
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
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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