caption=Buccaneer S.2B with Sea Eagle missiles
Blackburn Aircraft Limited Hawker Siddeley
first flight= 30 April 1958
introduced= 17 July 1962
Royal Air Force South African Air Force
variants with their own articles=
The Blackburn Buccaneer was a British low level strike aircraft serving with the
Royal Navyand the Royal Air Force. Designed and initially produced by Blackburn Aircraftit was later known as the Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer when Blackburn became a part of the Hawker Siddeleygroup.
Design and development
In the early 1950s the
Russian Navyintroduced the Sverdlov class cruiserinto service. Light cruisers by World War IImeasure, they were nevertheless fast, effectively armed, and numerous. They presented a serious threat to the merchant fleets in the Atlantic, similar to the German pocket battleships of the war, but in far greater numbers and over 25% faster. To counter this threat the Royal Navydecided to counter the Sverdlovs not with a new ship class of their own, but a new specialised strike aircraft employing conventional or nuclear weapons. Operating from their fleet carriers and attacking at high-speed and low-level, they would offer a solution to the Sverdlov problem.A detailed specification was issued in June 1952 as Naval Staff Requirement NA39, calling for a two-seat aircraft with folding wings, capable of flying at Mach 0.85 at 200 ft, having a combat range of over 400 nm, and carrying a nuclear weapon internally. Based on the requirement, in August 1952 the Ministry of Supplyissued specification M.148T, and the first responses were returned in February 1953. [ [http://www.spyflight.co.uk/buccaneer.htm Blackburn Buccaneer] , spyflight]
Blackburn's design by B. P. Laight, Project B-103, won the tender. Due to secrecy, the aircraft was called BNA (Blackburn Naval Aircraft) or BANA (Blackburn Advanced Naval Aircraft) in documents leading to the obvious nickname of "Banana Jet". (Other sources have described the initial project title as 'ARNA,' 'A Royal Navy Aircraft,' with Blackburn ARNA quickly becoming 'Banana'.)
The Buccaneer was a mid-winged, twin-engined monoplane with a crew of two seated in tandem under a sliding canopy. To meet the demands of the specification the Buccaneer featured a number of advanced design features. The fuselage was
area ruled; meaning it was designed to reduce drag at transonicspeeds. This gives rise to the characteristic curvy "Coke bottle" shape. It featured a variable incidence tailplane that could be trimmed to suit the particular requirements of low-speed handling or high-speed flight. At the low-levels and high speeds traditional bomb baydoors could not be opened safely into the air stream, therefore doors were developed that rotated into the fuselage to expose the payload. This was also useful in assisting ground-level access.
The small wing of the Buccaneer was suited to high-speed flight at low level. Such a wing, however, did not generate the
liftthat was essential for low-speed carrier operations. Therefore, the wing and horizontal stabiliser were "blown" by bleeding compressor gas from the engine through surface vents. A consequence of the blown wing was that the engines were required to run at high power for low-speed flight in order to generate sufficient compressor gas for blowing. Blackburn's solution to this situation was to provide a large air brake. The tail cone was formed from two leaves that could be hydraulically opened into the airstream to decelerate the aircraft. The nose cone and radar antennae could also be swung around by 180 degrees to reduce the length of the aircraft in the carrier hangar. This feature was particularly important as contemporary British aircraft carriers were small.
The first Buccaneer model, the S.1, was powered by a pair of
de Havilland Gyron Juniorturbojets producing 7,100 pounds of thrust. Green, 1964. p. 430.] This mark was somewhat underpowered, and as a consequence could not take off fully laden with both fuel and armament. A temporary solution to this problem was the "buddy" system; aircraft took off with a full load of weaponry and minimal fuel and would sortie with a Supermarine Scimitarthat would deliver the full load of fuel by aerial refuelling. This was not an ideal solution however, as the loss of an engine during take-off could have been catastrophic, and the Gyron Junior gave a poor range due to high fuel consumption. The long term solution was the S.2, fitted with the Rolls-Royce Speyturbofan, providing 40% more thrust with a greatly reduced fuel consumption. The engine nacelles had to be enlarged to accommodate the Spey, and the wing required minor aerodynamic modifications as a result. The S.2 Buccaneer had completely replaced the S.1 by November 1966.
With the introduction of the Martel
air-to-surface missile, some Mark 2 aircraft were converted to carry it, and became S.2D. The remaining aircraft became S.2C. Sixteen aircraft were built (and fifteen delivered) for the South African Air Forceas the S.50, S.2 aircraft with the addition of Bristol SiddeleyBS.605 rocketengines to provide additional thrust for the "hot and high" African airfields.
Fleet Air Arm's fixed-wing operations ended in 1978, 62 of the 84 Buccaneer Mark 2 aircraft were transferred to the Royal Air Force(RAF) as S.2A. These joined 26 aircraft that had been built by Blackburn's successor, Hawker Siddeleyfor the RAF as the S.2B. These aircraft were not navalised and, like the S.2A, had RAF-type communications and avionics equipment.
British aircraft were given upgrades. Self-defence was improved by the addition of the AN/ALQ-101 ECM pod, chaff and flare dispensers and the Sidewinder missile. RAF low-level strike Buccaneers carried what was known as "retard defence"; four 1,000 pound retarded bombs internally that could be dropped to provide an effective deterrent against any following aircraft. They were able to operate the AN/AVQ 23E Pave Spike laser designator pod for Paveway II guided bombs and act as target designators for other aircraft. From 1986
No. 208 Squadron RAFused them with the Sea Eagle anti-ship missile.
There were no dual control trainer versions of the Buccaneer constructed. As a consequence, the Buccaneer OCU utilised Hunter T7s with modified controls to simulate the cockpit of the buccaneer for conversion training.
The Buccaneer entered service in 1962. In addition to conventional ordnance, in 1965 the Buccaneer was type-approved for
nuclear weaponsdelivery i.e. the Red Beard and WE177bombs. All nuclear weapons were carried internally. It left Fleet Air Armservice with the decommissioning of HMS "Ark Royal" in 1978, with the remaining examples being transferred to the RAF.
The first RAF formation to receive the Buccaneer S2 was 12 Squadron at
RAF Honingtonin 1969. This was to remain a key station for the type as 15 Squadron equipped with the Buccaneer the following year. Retired FAA aircraft subsequently equipped 16 Squadron and 208 Squadron. The last FAA aircraft went to 216 Squadron. In 1980, the Buccaneer squadrons moved to RAF Lossiemouth. The Buccaneer saw war service during the 1991 Gulf Warwhen examples were rushed to the area to provide a laser designationcapability for British aircraft, and dropping small numbers of laser-guided bombs themselves. The last Buccaneers were withdrawn in March 1994 when 208 Squadron disbanded. [= Jefford ] South Africawas the only country other than the UK to operate the Buccaneer, where it was in service with the South African Air Forcefrom 1965 to 1991.
;Buccaneer:Preproduction build of 20 aircraft.
;Buccaneer S.1:First production model, powered by the Gyron Junior turbojet engines. 40 built.
;Buccaneer S.2:Conversion of the S.1 with various improvements and powered by the more powerful
Rolls-Royce Speyturbofan engines. From 1962 10 were converted by Blackburn Aircraft Ltd. and 74 by Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd.
;Buccaneer S.2A:Ex-Royal Navy aircraft reworked for RAF.
;Buccaneer S.2B:Variant for RAF squadrons. Fully equipped and could carry the Martel anti-radar or anti-shipping missile. 45 built between 1973 and 1977.
;Buccaneer S.2C:Royal Navy aircraft upgraded to S.2A standard.
;Buccaneer S.2D:Royal Navy aircraft upgraded to S.2B standard, operational with Martels from 1975.
;Buccaneer S.50:Variant for South Africa. Wings could be folded but folding was no longer powered. Aircraft could be equipped with two single-stage rockets (see
RATO) to assist take-off from hot-and-high airfields like that of AFB Waterkloofin Pretoria, where the type was mostly based.
South African Air Force
** No. 24 Squadron
Royal Air Force
No. 12 Squadron RAF
No. XV Squadron RAF
No. 16 Squadron RAF
No. 208 Squadron RAF
No. 216 Squadron RAF
** No. 237 Operational Conversion Unit, RAF
Fleet Air Arm
** 700Z Naval Air Squadron (Intensive Flying Trials Unit)
** 700B Naval Air Squadron
736 Naval Air Squadron
800 Naval Air Squadron
801 Naval Air Squadron
803 Naval Air Squadron
809 Naval Air Squadron
*Three Buccaneers are still airworthy in 2008, all three are privately owned and located at
Thunder Cityin Cape Town. These aircraft can be rented for private flights. [ [http://www.thundercity.com/buccaneer.htm ThunderCity Buccaneer page] ]
*In the UK a Buccaneer (S.2, "XX885") is being rebuilt to flying condition by Hawker Hunter Aviation, it was granted UK CAA permission to fly in April 2006. [ [http://blackburn-buccaneer.co.uk/Pages4_files/Fly_Index.html Blackburn Buccaneer.co.uk, XX885 page] ]
*A number of Buccaneers in the UK are in fast taxiing condition and several more are being rebuilt to taxing condition. [ [http://www.buccsociety.com/xx894/xx894_updates/xx894_071220_update.htm XX894] ] [ [http://www.buccsociety.com/xw544/xw544_updates/071117_xw544_update.htm XW544] ]
pecifications (Buccaneer S.2)
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=jet
ref = The Observer's Book of AircraftGreen, 1968. p. 136.]
length main=63 ft 5 in
length alt=19.33 m
span main=44 ft
span alt=13.41 m
height main=16 ft 3 in
height alt=4.97 m
area main=514.7 ft²
area alt=47.82 m²
empty weight main=30,000 lb
empty weight alt=14,000 kg
loaded weight main=62,000 lb
loaded weight alt=28,000 kg
max takeoff weight main=
max takeoff weight alt=
Rolls-Royce SpeyMk 101
type of jet=
number of jets=2
thrust main=11,100 lbf
thrust alt=49 kN
max speed main=645 mph
max speed alt=560 knots, 1,040 km/h
max speed more=at 200 ft (60 m)
range main=2,000 nautical miles
range alt=2,300 mi, 3,700 km
ceiling main=40,000 ft
ceiling alt=12,200 m
climb rate main=
climb rate alt=
loading main=120.5 lb/ft²
loading alt=587.6 kg/m²
rockets=4× Matra rocket pods with 18×
SNEB68 mm rockets each
AS-30Ls "or" 2× AS-37 Martel missiles
bombs=12,000 lb (5,400 kg) of payload could be carried in the internal bomb bay and on four external
hardpoints , including a variety of bombs "or" Buddy refueling pack "or" Drop tanks for extended range.
Dassault Etendard IV
List of aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm
List of attack aircraft
* Green, William. "Aircraft Handbook". London. Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1964.
* Green, William. "The Observer's Book of Aircraft". London. Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd., 1968.
* Jefford, C.G., "RAF Squadrons". Shrewsbury: Airlife Publishing, 2nd edition, 2001. ISBN 1-84037-141-2
* [http://www.buccsociety.com The Blackburn Buccaneer Society]
* [http://www.blackburn-buccaneer.co.uk Blackburn Buccaneer: The Last British bomber]
* [http://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/buccaneer/index.html Blackburn Buccaneer from Thunder and Lightnings]
* [http://www.vectorsite.net/avbucc.html The Blackburn Buccaneer at Air Vectors]
* [http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/andrewbrooks1/themight.HTM Buccaneer gallery]
* [http://www.blackburnbuccaneer.co.uk/ Blackburn Buccaneer: The awesome 'Banana' Jet]
* [http://www.FAABA.org.uk The FAA Buccaneer Association]
* [http://nuclear-weapons.info/images/we177-buccaneerS2.ppt Animated nuclear weapon drop sequence from a Buccaneer S2.]
* [http://nuclear-weapons.info/images/deliverymethods.ppt Nuclear weapon drop methods including from a Buccaneer.]
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