XX343 was built by British Aerospace at Dunsfold and Brough. XX343 was delivered new together with XX341 and XX342 to the Empire Test Pilots School’s (ETPS) fleet and was eventually based at Boscombe Down. ETPS used the aircraft for fast jet, continuation, and spin training. For this reason the standard T1 weapons system including gun sight was removed and replaced with a spin panel and telemetry in both front and rear cockpit.
Circa 1995 the aircraft under command of an ETPS instructor and a rotary wing student crashed during take off from runway 23 at Boscombe. The aircraft became unstable during the take off run crossing the edge of the runway. The crew eject safely with minor injuries and the aircraft eventually came to rest towards the end of runway 23. There was no fire, but the airframe was extensively damaged having shed both wings and the tail surfaces. After the Board of Enquiry the remains were passed to the then fledgling Boscombe Down Aviation Collection (BDAC).
The aircraft was extensively spares salvaged by the RAF and BDAC then decided that only the front section of the airframe could be of further use, so the wings and tail section were scrapped. The cockpit and nose section were then stored outside until June 2005 when a further assessment was carried out. As a result of this assessment it was decided that the cockpit section should be rebuilt to display condition.
The starboard side of both cockpits has been extensively rebuilt using non-standard materials including primary and secondary structure and re-skinning, likewise the upper and outer surfaces of the port intake and the lower and outer surfaces of the starboard intake and the fuel tank covers have been repaired.
BDAC—Old Sarum Airfield Museum