Blackburn Buccaneer (1958)

FAA 211 built
The Blackburn Buccaneer was a British low-level strike aircraft that served with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. Developed by Blackburn Aircraft, it was primarily designed for maritime strike missions against Soviet ships and submarines during the Cold War.

Development and Design
Initial Design: The Buccaneer was developed in response to the British Admiralty's requirement for a high-speed, low-level strike aircraft capable of attacking enemy ships. Maiden Flight: The first flight of the Buccaneer took place on 30 April 1958.
Design Features: It featured a unique rotating bomb bay, enabling it to carry a wide variety of munitions, including nuclear weapons. Its area-ruled fuselage design and tail-mounted air brakes were distinctive.
Engines: Early versions (Buccaneer S.1) were powered by de Havilland Gyron Junior turbojets, but later versions (Buccaneer S.2) used more powerful Rolls-Royce Spey turbofans.

Operational History
Royal Navy Service: The Buccaneer was initially operated by the Royal Navy from aircraft carriers. It provided long-range maritime strike capabilities.
Royal Air Force Service: After the phase-out of the Royal Navy's fixed-wing carrier operations, the Buccaneer was adopted by the RAF. It served in a variety of roles including nuclear strike, reconnaissance, and conventional ground attack.
Combat Use: The Buccaneer saw combat during the Gulf War in 1991, providing laser designation for precision-guided munitions and carrying out ground attack missions.

Specifications (Buccaneer S.2)
Crew: 2 (pilot and navigator)
Maximum Speed: Approximately 667 knots (768 mph, 1,236 km/h) at sea level
Range: Around 2,300 miles (3,700 km) with external fuel tanks
Armament: Capable of carrying a mix of bombs, missiles, and rockets. Typical loadouts included conventional bombs, Martel missiles, and Sea Eagle anti-ship missiles.

Retirement: The Buccaneer was officially retired from service in the RAF in 1994.
Enduring Reputation: Despite its relatively unassuming appearance, the Buccaneer was highly regarded for its performance, particularly at low altitudes. It remains a notable example of British aerospace engineering from the Cold War era.
The Buccaneer played a crucial role in the defense strategy of the United Kingdom during its operational life, and its legacy continues to be appreciated by aviation enthusiasts and historians.

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Design specifics

General conception




Lenght63 ft 5 in (19.33 m)
WingspanWingspan: 44 ft (13 m)
HeightHeight: 16 ft 3 in (4.95 m)
Wing area:Wing area: 514 sq ft (47.8 m2)
Empty weightEmpty weight: 30,000 lb (13,608 kg)
Gross WeightGross weight: 62,000 lb (28,123 kg)
Max TO Weight
Propulsion:2× RR Spey Mk.101 turbofan engines, 2x11,000 lbf (49 kN)
Performances:670 mph, 1,070 km/h at 200 ft (61 m), Mach 0.95
Service ceiling:40,000 ft (12,000 m)
Rate of climb:Unknown
Range:2,000 nmi (2,300 mi, 3,700 km)
Wing loading:120.5 lb/sq ft (588 kg/m2)
Gun Armament
Armament underwing4× under-wing pylon 12,000 lb (5,443 kg)
Armament belly1× internal rotating bomb bay 4,000 lb (1,814 kg)


Royal Navy service

Other users

Sources/read more


Bishop, Chris and Chris Chant. Aircraft Carriers. Zenith Imprint, 2004.
Boot, Roy. "Father of the Buccaneer". Aeroplane Monthly, Vol. 23, No. 3, March 1995
Boot, Roy. From Spitfire to Eurofighter: 45 Years of Combat Aircraft Design. Airlife Publishing Ltd.
Burns, J.G. and M. Edwards. "Blow, blow thou BLC wind". Flight International Vol. 99, 14 January 1971
Buttler, Tony. "Strike Rivals: The ones that 'lost' when the TSR.2 'won'." Air Enthusiast, No. 59
Calvert, Denis J. and David Donald. "Blackburn Buccaneer". Wings of Fame, Volume 14. Aerospace Publishing, 1999
Caygill, Peter. "Flying the Buccaneer: Britain's Cold War Warrior." Casemate Publishers 2008.
Chesneau, Roger. "Aeroguide 30 - Blackburn Buccaneer S Mks 1 and 2". Ad Hoc Publications, 2005.
Eeles, Tom (2008). A Passion For Flying 8000 hours of RAF Flying. Pen $ Sword Books Ltd.
English, Malcolm. "Database: Blackburn (Hawker Siddeley) Buccaneer". Aeroplane, Vol. 40, No. 4, April 2012
Gething, Michael J. "The Buccaneer Bows Out: Valediction for the Sky Pirate". Air International Vol. 46
Green, William. Aircraft Handbook. London: Macdonald & Co. (Publishers) Ltd., 1964.
Green, William. The Observer's Book of Aircraft. London: Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd., 1968.
Gunston, Bill (4 April 1963). "Buccaneer - An Outstanding Strike Aeroplane". Flight International. Vol. 83
Gunston, Bill (1974). Attack Aircraft of the West. Ian Allan Ltd.
Hampshire, Edward. From East of Suez to the Eastern Atlantic: British Naval Policy 1964-70. Ashgate Publishing
Harding, Richard. The Royal Navy 1930-1990: Innovation and Defense. London: Routledge, 2004
Jackson, A.J. Blackburn Aircraft since 1909. London: Putnam, 1968.
Jackson, Robert (2011). Aircraft from 1914 to the present day.
Jefford, C.G. RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons. Airlife Publishing, 2001.
Jefford, C.G (ed.). "Seminar - Maritime Operations." Royal Air Force Historical Society, 2005.
Laming, Tim. Fight's On!: Airborne with the Aggressors. Zenith Imprint, 1996.
Polmar, Norman. Aircraft Carriers: A History of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events, Volume I: 1909-1945.
Scholtz, Leopold (2013). The SADF in the Border War 1966–1989. Cape Town: Tafelberg (NB Publishers) (published 15 May 2013).
Winchester, Jim, ed. "Blackburn Buccaneer." Military Aircraft of the Cold War (The Aviation Factfile). London: Grange Books plc, 2006.
Wynn, Humphrey. "RAF Buccaneers". Flight International, 11 February 1971, Vol. 99 No. 3231


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