(Image: Ben Salter; decommissioned SEPECAT Jaguar XX845)
Amid the stark, windswept beauty of Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula lies an old wartime airfield which ceased regular operational flying decades ago. Though Predannack Airfield remains in use as a relief landing ground for RNAS Culdrose, a collection of derelict planes and helicopters reveal the facility’s main function: that of training ground for the Royal Navy’s firefighters.
It may look like an abandoned aircraft graveyard, but these ex-RAF and Fleet Air Arm airframes are still very much in use. Some have stood quietly on the weed-strewn World War Two dispersals on the south side of Predannack for years. Others, like the decommissioned SEPECAT Jaguar pictured here, are more recent additions.
The Jaguar T4, serial number XX845, is used to simulate an undercarriage failure on landing, its nose-wheel partially retracted to create a surprisingly photogenic pose. This aircraft first flew in August 1975 and was delivered to the RAF later that month. After 30 years of operational flying, the well-worn jet was retired in 2005 to St Athan for spares recovery. She then spent several years as a ground instructional airframe at Cosford before moving to Predannack by road in 2009.
(Image: Ben Salter)
The Jaguar T4 is a twin-seat training version of the Anglo-French attack aircraft, which remained in RAF service until 2007 and flew operational combat missions as part of Operation Granby during the 1991 Gulf War. A good number of the UK’s SEPECAT Jaguar fleet escaped scrapping after being withdrawn from service, and many remain in storage or in use as ground trainers.
Urban Ghosts has visited the Predannack aircraft graveyard in a previous article (here), but this is the first time we’ve taken a closer look at a specific jet. Jaguar XX845 is missing her tail fin, forward cockpit canopy and an assortment of panels and parts. But aside from that, the airframe is relatively intact.
(Image: Dave Taskis)
Situated near Mullion close to the southernmost point of mainland Britain, Predannack Airfield opened in 1941 as a base for Hawker Hurricane night-fighters defending the port towns of southwest England. It was also ideally located to serve as an emergency landing ground for battle-damaged bombers returning from targets in occupied Europe.
After World War Two, the airfield was used as an experimental flight test facility by Vickers-Armstrongs before entering a period of care and maintenance and ultimately finding use with the Royal Naval School of Flight Deck Operations.