Squadron Aircraft - Supersonic Jets

Dates Aircraft
(wikipedia links provided)
Comments/Quotes from Operational Record Books
31 Jul 1992
18 Apr 2008
Panavia Tornado F3
30 Jun 1976
Jul 1992
McDonnell Douglas
Phantom FGR 2
Jul 76: "No 56 (Fighter) Squadron was re-equipped with Phantom FGR 2 Night/All-weather fighters at Royal Air Force Coningsby on 30 Jun 1976."
3 Sep 1971
29 Jun 1976
English Electric
Lightning Mk.6
Sep 71: "On the 3 Sep the first pair of No 74 (F) Sqn's Mk 6 Lightnings arrived from Singapore."29 Jun 76: Squadron disbanded.
Jul 1968
Jan 1975
English Electric
Canberra T.4/B.2
Target Facilities Flight (TFF)Jul 68: "The T4 Canberra WH 861 joined us during this month, and the work up has started in preparation for operational duties."

Oct 71: The squadron complement of aircraft is now six F Mk 6, six F Mk 3, one T Mk 5 and the two Canberras of the Squadron Target Facilities Flight.

Jan 75: "The 2 TFF Canberras were flown back to Wattisham, and from there to West Raynham."

Mar 1965
Aug 1972;
Jan 1975
29 Jun 1976
English Electric
Lightning Mk.3
Mar 65: "... during March the Squadron has received four aircraft [Lightning Mk.3] ... The Squadron was declared non-operational on the last day of the month at the commencement of the Mk.3 re-equipment."Apr 65: First entry of Lightning Mk.3 hours.

Dec 65: "Of most interest was the first phase of a Lightning versus Hunter trial carried out at medium altitude. Provided an element of surprise was achieved the Lightning could be manoeuvred into position to fire a missile, but with G.C.I. assistance the Hunters had a fair chance of survival.  The eventual kill rate was approximately 20% by the Lightning, and as expected the Hunters were unable to get into an attacking position."

Sep 71: "Five of the Squadron's Mk III Lightnings were returned to the MU at RAF Leconfield on the 14th, 15th and 17th"

Aug 72: "On 17 Aug 72, 56 Squadron flew a four-ship formation led by OC 56 in the squadron's last Mk 3 aircraft, to mark its imminent departure from the Command" [no indication of when it actually left; no further listings of "F3" hours]

Feb 75: "The squadron is now to have a mixed fleet of 9 Mk 6, 3 Mk 3 and 2 T5 aircraft."; renewed indication of Lightning Mk.3 hours.

29 Jun 76: Squadron disbanded.  Reformed in Coningsby with Phantom FGR 2s.

Dec 1965
29 Jun 1976
English Electric
Lightning T.5

Dec 65: "The T.4 became unserviceable early in the month, and with the arrival of the T.5 it was decided to prepare the ageing two seater for despatch."; first indication of Lightning T.5 hours. Reformed in Coningsby with Phantom FGR 2s.
Jan 1963
Apr 1966
English Electric
Lightning T.4
Jan 63: First indication of Lightning T.4 hours

Apr 66: Last indication of Lightning T.4 hours

14 Dec 1960
Jun 1965;
May 1966
Oct 1966
English Electric
Lightning Mk.1A
Dec 60: "The first aircraft, XM. 172, was flown in on December 14th by Squadron Leader Peter Hillwood R.A.F. (Retd), a member of the Squadron during the Battle of Britain.  By the end of the month, a total of three aircraft had been delivered."

Jan 61: First entry of Lightning Mk1A. hours; "The Squadron Commander, Squadron Leader J.R. Rogers ... was fittingly the first Squadron pilot to fly the Lightning on 3rd January."

Jul 61: "The flying effort this month was again directed at the continued conversion of the Squadron to the Lightning, and on the 14th July, the Squadron was declared operational."

Jun 62: "It is with great pleasure that the Squadron is able to record that it now has three modified Lightnings. Since the air tests were completed, these aircraft have been used solely on the flight refueling trials."

Feb 63: "Most of the aircraft have now been painted in the squadrons aerobatic livery of red spine and tail and red leading edges of wings and tail plane. One aircraft is fully modified for smoke ... The only outstanding modification is to the batteries.  This will enable engine starts to be accomplished without the use of large external power units."

Jun 65: Last entry of Lightning Mk.1A hours. Last remaining Mk.1 listed as Cat 3.

May 66: New indications of "F.1" hours.

Oct 66: Last entry for "F.1" hours.

Information taken from raf.mod.uk website, National Archives and, with kind permission, the 56(R) Squadron archives.  UK Crown copyright.