It is fairly well accepted these days that the Jaguar emerged from a British requirement for a tactical attack aircraft and a French requirement for
an advanced trainer. In fact in the very early days this situation was completely the opposite. The first British moves towards what became the Jaguar
centred on AST 362 which was issued in 1962 and called for a replacement for the Gnat and Hunter advanced trainers.
France’s first move came the following year with a requirement for a light tactical aircraft to replace such as the Mystere IV in the ground attack
role. It was noted however that despite the different roles the size and performance objectives called for were the same and so in 1964 it was
announced that a joint project for a light strike aircraft and advanced trainer was to be developed for the French Air Force, RAF and Royal Navy.
BAC tried to revive its VG work with its early proposals by at first designing a scaled down single seat version of the Vickers 589 (see post above on
VG) and later the BAC P.45, while in France Breguet fell back on its experience with the 1001 and 1100 Taon family light fighter prototypes in its
design of the Br 121.
Here is the original swing wing BAC P.45 proposal which clearly infuenced the later Tornado more than it did the Jaguar.
Meanwhile here is the Breguet 121 which clearly relates to the Jaguar and also Hawker Siddeley’s attempt to muscle in on AST 362 with its
attractive HS.1173 design
BAC then dropped its VG proposals when it appeared the AFVG would satisfy that need and designed a new agile supersonic combat wing and tail for the
P.45 based on its TSR 2 work.
After several visits between Warton and Villacoublay a format was reached whereby the new wing and tail of the BAC P.45 were to be matched to the
fuselage of the Br 121, in this form the new aircraft was named Jaguar and is seen here as proposed in 1966-67. This is the starting point for the
actual Jaguar we have today.
A short while after this the Royal Navy withdrew from the Project and the RAF requirement began to shift toward a strike aircraft to replace the F-4
Phantom and Hawker Hunter. As the weight and complexity of the Jaguar grew in response to this change of requirement both Britain and France launched
completely new trainer projects which later emerged as the BAe Hawk and the Alpha Jet and this aspect of the Jaguar was forgotten about with all 2
seat Jaguars subsequently being conversion trainers for the single seater variant. The British version of the Jaguar also became more complex and
acquired systems such as LR/MTS and RWR which gave the UK Jaguar S version a distinct visual appearance by comparison with the simpler French Jaguar
Original Jaguar A;
Jaguar GR.1 (S) in RAF service;
Despite the RN withdrawal the French Navy maintained an interest in the type with the Jaguar M, this version finally being cancelled in the early
The Jaguar International was an export model developed by BAC from the RAF Jaguar and was the first version to sport the overwing missiles later
adopted by the RAF. This was the model initially supplied to India, who has since developed upgrades for the type indigenously.