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Originally designed by Beagle Aircraft until they ceased trading, the Bulldog was a basic side-by-side trainer developed for military applications and featured a full aerobatic capability. The rights to the aircraft were acquired by Scottish Aviation (Bulldog) Limited who were later acquired themselves by British Aerospace. The first order for the type came from the Swedish Air Force and Army who ordered a combined 78 aircraft in total between 1971 and 1972 who operated the Bulldog as the SK61, these were retired in 2001. In addition to Sweden and the UK, the Bulldog was ordered by nine other nations and is believed to be still in service with Lebanon and Kenya.
Over 130 Bulldogs were built for the RAF where it entered service in 1975 as a basic trainer. In addition to being used by the various flying schools of the RAF and Fleet Air Arm, the type also equipped the University Air Squadrons which were later renamed as the Air Experience Flights. The Bulldog was retired from RAF service in 2000 following the introduction of the Grob Tutor as its replacement.
The example joining the static display at RIAT 2023 was the development prototype for the Bulldog and during its long career it became the only Bulldog produced to be armed with weapons.
Photo Credit: Duncan Chase