Cold War ops with a Jaguar
On Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, The Centre Of Aviation Photography (COAP) in partnership with the Bentwaters Cold War Museum (BCWM) organized a unique sunset and nightshoot with a 1960s SEPECAT Jaguar fighter aircraft. The SEPECAT Jaguar is an Anglo-French aircraft originally used by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the French Air Force in the close air support and nuclear strike role. This aircraft was designed and developed jointly by Breguet of France and the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) who together established the joint venture SEPECAT for this purpose. One of the mail roles why this jet was designed, was to attack enemy tanks. During the Cold War, if the Soviet Union had invaded West Germany, Jaguars would have been used to protect Western Europe from their bases in the United Kingdom and Germany. Between April 1975 and June 1984, SEPECAT Jaguar fighter jets were stationed at RAF Brüggen, approximately 43 kilometers west of Düsseldorf on the Dutch-German border. After the Cold War, RAF Jaguars took part in the first Gulf War in 1990 and 1991, carrying out dozens missions. In addition to the United Kingdom, Jaguars were also used by France, Ecuador, Nigeria and Oman. A total of 573 Jaguars were built and they are still used today by the Indian Air Force.
The Jaguar that was used during this photo shoot (XX741) was purchased by the Bentwaters Cold War Museum in 2009 and performed its first flight in October 1974. Altogether, the Jaguar XX741 logged 4260 flight hours and in 1993 this aircraft was the official RAF Jaguar display jet. During its operational life, this jet was part of the 226 OCU squadron at RAF Lossiemouth and the 6th squadron at RAF Coltishall. XX741 made its last operational flight in January, 1994. This very well organized photo shoot took place at RAF Bentwaters which is located about 130 kilometers northeast of London. RAF Bentwaters was used by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, and by the United States Air Force (USAF) during the Cold War. For several decades, RAF Bentwaters was home to the U.S. 81st Tactical Fighter Wing that operated North American F-86A Sabre, McDonnell Douglas F-4D Phantom II and Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter aircraft. In 1993, this airfield was closed and is now known as "Bentwaters Parks". During this photo shoot, several scenarios with the SEPECAT Jaguar were simulated including crewmen wairing chemical warfare gear (NCB).
The author and photographer would like to thank the Bentwaters Cold War Museum and the Centre Of Aviation Photography (COAP) for this fantastic photo shoot!
Text & photos: Kris Christiaens