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Supermarine Siskin F.1 - No.43 Squadron, RAF Fighter Command, 1956

The early 1950's was a difficult time for RAF Fighter Command. The obsolescent Meteor F.8 formed the mainstay of Fighter Command but it could barely catch the RAF's Canberra jet bombers and would have been hopelessly outclassed by MiG-15's if the Cold War had turned hot. But just at the time that Fighter Command should have been looking forward to receiving the modern swept-wing Hawker Hunter and Supermarine Swift fighters both programmes hit severe technical problems. especially the doomed Swift. Even before the decision to cancel the Swift fighter programme (taken in February 1955) the Air Ministry were looking for an 'off the shelf' purchase of an interim 'stop-gap' type and although the North American F-86 Sabre was procured in substantial numbers the desperately poor balance of payments situation with the US prevented further purchases.

Dassault had previously offered the Mystère IIC to the UK Government and had been turned down. But in November 1952 an RAF evaluation team were sent to Istres to evaluate the Mystère IV and submitted an enthusiastic report to the Air Ministry who decided to place an order for 200 Mystère IV's to be licence-built by Supermarine Aviation with Rolls Royce Tay engines. Entering service in March 1955 as the Siskin F.1 this fine aircraft was used by RAF Fighter Command until the early 1960's with the subsequent Siskin FGA.2 fighter-bomber serving in RAF Far East Air Force until 1970.

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