Resulting from an Anglo-French specification of 1965 for a STOL advanced/operational trainer and tactical support aircraft, the SEPECAT Jaguar first flew in prototype form on 8 September 1968. The RAF bought 165 GR.Mk 1 single-seat and 35 T.Mk 2 two-seat aircraft. Some 14 of the latter were upgraded to Jaguar T.Mk 2A standard with the Fin1064 nav/attack unit and Adour Mk 104 engines, while the GR.Mk 1 also received the Mk 104 engines and was subsequently modified to Jaguar GR.Mk 1A standard with FIN1064 and provision for AIM-9 air-to-air missiles on underwing (later overwing) pylons.
The Jaguar fleet has since undergone a series of major upgrades which now make the aircraft one of the most useful in RAF service. These updates, prompted by the type's stunning performance during Desert Storm, have resulted in the GR.Mk 3A single-seater with TERPROM terrain-reference navigation system, a helmet-mounted sight, a glass cockpit, and full thermal imaging airborne laser designator and ASRAAM capability. Some 40 single-seaters and seven two-seaters will be brought to full GR.Mk 3A/T.Mk 4A standard, and all feature Adour Mk 106 engines offering 10 per cent more thrust but reduced operating cost.
The RAF's Jaguar force remains centered on Nos 6, 41 and 54 Sqns at RAF Coltishall, Norfolk. France bought 160 single-seat Jaguar As and 40 two-seat Jaguar Bs. A far more austere warplane in French service, the Jaguar is in the twilight of its career with the country, but did fight in the 1991 Gulf War.
Jaguar exports have been of the Jaguar International which is similar to the Jaguar GR.Mk 1/T.Mk2. Ecuador, Oman and Nigeria all fly Jaguars as front-line equipment, while India remains by far the largest Jaguar operator and continues to build the type under licence. Indeed, HAL has built the Jaguar IM with Agave radar and Sea Eagle missiles specifically for Indian use. Oman upgraded six of its Jaguars to a standard similar to GR.Mk 3A.
In 2005 French Jaguars were replaced by Dassault Rafale multi-role fighters.