[History of the Strikemaster] [Return to known survivors table]

'425' was the last of the many, well the last Strikemaster.
It was intended to fulfil one part of a contract to supply 10 to Sudan. However, due to an arms embargo only three of the aircraft got delivered. Three completed airframes were kept at Warton and occasionally flown, before being sold to Ecuador Air Force a couple of years later. The remaining airframes were unfinished, and all the major components that had been built were placed in storage at British Aerospace's Bournemouth factory.

During 1984, the SOAF (Sultan of Oman's Air Force) lost one of its Strikemaster aircraft in a flying accident, and it later placed an order for a replacement aircraft with BAe (British Aerospace). A new aeroplane was constructed using various stored components left over from the embargoed Sudan and other previous orders. The end result was a complete Strikemaster without a set construction number or date. Strikemaster Mk.82A '425' was born, with the airframe taking on its military identity as its construction number.

'425' was ferried to Oman by two serving SOAF pilots in the summer of 1986. On arrival the aeroplane commenced service with 1 Sqn. based at RAFO Masirah, alongside the Air Force's other Strikemaster airframes. It remained in service until the type was decommissioned in 1999.
425 was later ferried to RAFO Seeb(N) - Seeb North, and employed as an instructional airframe with the AFTC (Air Force Technical College) with four other Strikemasters. The remainder of the Strikemaster fleet was dispersed and most became gate guardians at various RAFO airfields. All the aircraft at Seeb(N) were kept as 'live' training aids, but with all cartridges from the seats, canopy, and pylons removed.

In late 2004, following a considerable amount of negotiations UK-based North Wales Military Aviation Services acquired 425. Its engineers dismantled the aeroplane, and had it shipped back to the UK by sea. It arrived in the UK in January 2005, and was moved by road to NWMAS' base at Hawarden.
Restoration began immediately, and just six months later following intense work by the NWMAS engineers 425, now registered G-SOAF, was returned to the air. It made its UK debut at Waddington airshow in the static display, and followed up with appearances at Fairford and RNAS Yeovilton. During 2007 it attended several events, including Kemble where it participated in the flying display, and these appearances continued into 2008.

During 2009, G-SOAF became one of the founder airframes of the newly-formed Team Viper, a four-ship Strikemaster display team made up of owners/pilots spread across the UK. SOAF appeared with the team at every commitment throughout the airshow season, and looks set to continue as a permanent fixture in 2010.

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