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CAPE TOWN JETS: Strikemaster

Strikemaster"The obvious appeal of the Jet Provost as a highly developed and economical trainer prompted BAC to do what Hunting, the company that had originated the design, had lacked the funds to achieve: development of the type into a multi-role tactical aircraft able to fly both pilot training and weapon training sorties, and also, should the occasion demand, go to war in the light attack and tactical reconnaissance roles. Via the BAC.145, sold to the Sudan as virtually an armed version of the pressurized Jet Provost T.Mk 5, BAC developed the BAC.167 Strikemaster by installing a more powerful version of the Viper engine and increasing the number of stores hardpoints to eight. The airframe had been strengthened several times in the course of the development of the Jet Provost and BAC.145, and in the BAC.167 it was locally reinforced yet again to make it virtually unbreakable in tactical use under even the harshest conditions.

StrikemasterFeatures include short landing gear units for operation from rough airstrips, fuel housed in integral and bag tanks in the wings and in fixed tip tanks, hydraulically operated spoiler/airbrake surfaces above the wings, manual flight controls, a pressurized and air-conditioned cockpit with a side-by-side pair of Martin-Baker Mk PB4 ejector seats, and comprehensive navigation and communications equipment which some customers have upgraded to include EW (electronic warfare) installations.

Strikemaster cockpitThe first Strikemaster flew in October 1967 and the Strikemaster Mk 80 series entered service a year later. Customers include Ecuador, Kenya, Kuwait, New Zealand, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sudan and South Yemen. The final batch of new Strikemaster Mk 90 aircraft were delivered to the Sudan in 1984, assembly of this batch having been relocated from Warton to Hurn. Many of the Strikemasters have seen prolonged active service: for example, all 20 of the Sultan of Oman's Strikemaster Mk 82 and Mk 82A aircraft have sustained battle damage. The Strikemaster has a reputation for almost Russian toughness and longevity under the most austere of circumstances, and most still have a useful career ahead of them." (The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes; The Development and Specifications of all Active Military Aircraft; Bill Gunston; ©1995 Aerospace Publishing Limited)

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