Fleet Air Arm Patch Blue Herons Hunter Aerobatic Team FRADU RN
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Fleet Air Arm Patch Blue Herons Hunter Aerobatic Team FRADU RN

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Fleet Air Arm FAA Patch Blue Herons Hunter Aerobatic Team FRADU Fleet Requirements And Air Direction Unit RN Royal Navy RNAS Yeovilton 1976 Embroidered on twill cut edge 98mm by 75mm three and thirteen sixteenth inches by three inches.

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Unit History 1972 2013

Fleet Requirements and Air Direction Training Unit FRADTU was formed at RNAS Yeovilton on 1st December 1972 from the merger of the Fleet Requirements Unit FRU and the Air Direction Training Unit ADTU run by Airwork Services Ltd at Hurn Airport to provide simulated ship attacks airborne early warning AEW exercises fighter controller training and helicopter fighter affiliation training with Hunters Canberras and Sea Vixens. The word Training was dropped from the Units title becoming FRADU in 1973. FRADUs pilots and engineers are all ex-military with varying fast jet backgrounds. Sea Vixens were retired in February 1974.

In 1975 FRADU set up the Blue Herons FRADU created the first ever civilian aerobatics team using military aeroplanes and first dislayed on 6 September 1975 at RNAS Yeoviltons Air Day continued to fly at air displays winning trophies at the International Air Tattoos of 1976 and 1977
until the winter of 1980 when the team was withdrawn due to FRADUs busy work schedule. The Blue Herons were briefly reformed in 1984 and 1986 for displays at RNAS Yeovilton and at RNAS Culdrose Air Days.

Following competitive tender in 1983 the contract for the managing and staffing of FRADU was won by Hurn based Flight Refuelling Ltd FRADU replaced its Canberra T 22 and T 4s with Falcon 20 jets which commenced RN operations in 1985 with the last Canberra T 22 leaving RNAS
Yeovilton on 20 September 1985. FRADU retained its Canberra TT 18 untill withdrawn in November 1992.

On 4 April 1994 FRADU received its first Hawk at RNAS Yeovilton becoming operational at the end of 1994. FRADUs Hunters were withdrawn in May 1995 and in December 1995 FRADU moved to RNAS Culdrose and the contract is operated by Serco Defence and Aerospace. Two Hawks are permanently detached at RNAS Yeovilton for the Naval Flying Standards Flight Fixed Wing and although flown by Fleet Air Arm pilots are still maintained by FRAs engineers. FRA retained the operation of the fleet of Dassault Falcon 20 aircraft from both Bournemouth and Teesside
airports for ship attack exercises. FRADUs Hawks often operate from bases in Mainland Europe as well as the UK including deployments to France Spain and Portugal as well as RAF Kinloss and RAF Waddington. 

This patch dates from 1976









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