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The prototype of the Buccaneer was developed during the mid 1950's from the design of Barry Laight of Blackburn Aircraft Limited and first flew on the 30th April 1958.

The first production model the S.1, was powered by two DH Gyron Jr turbojets each producing 7,100 lbf of thrust, which proved underpowered when fully armed and fuelled.

A temporary solution to enable the S.1 to take off fully armed was to take off with a minimum fuel load and then refuel in mid air.

To overcome the power deficit the Buccaneer was fitted with twin Rolls Royce Spey turbofans with the nacelles being increased in size to accomodate them. This modification was designated the Buccaneer S.2 and it replaced the S.1 by late 1966.

The Buccaneer was adopted by the Royal Air Force in 1968 with a total of 46 aircraft being built by Hawker Siddeley. The aircraft, designated S.2B, had RAF specification communications and avionics and capable of carrying an additional fuel tank in the bomb bay.

The self-defence capability of the RAF Buccaneer consisted of an AN/ALQ-101 ECM pod, chaff/flare dispenser and able to carry AIM-9 sidewinder missiles.

Low level strike aircraft could carry four 1,000lb retarded bombs that could be dropped as a deterrent against any following aircraft.

The RAF Buccaneer could also act as a target designator for other Buccaneers, Jaguars and other strike aircraft with the use of the AN/AVQ-23E Pave Spike laser designated pod for paveway II guided bombs.

Some Buccaneers in service with the Fleet Air Arm were modified to enable them to carry the Martel anti-ship missile, designated S.2D. The remainder of the Fleet Aior Arm Buccaneers were designated S.2C.

The Fleet Air Arm Buccaneers was also type approved to carry nuclear weapons, such as Red Beard and WE.177 drop-bombs.

On the 28th of March 1967, the shipwrecked supertanker 'Torrey Canyon' was bombed by Buccaneers from HMS Lossiemouth to vapourise the oil and help avoid an environmental disaster.

Specifications (S.2): -
Crew:2 in tandem
Length:63ft 5in (19.33m)
Wingspan:44ft 0in (13.41m)
Height:16ft 3in (4.95m)
Empty Weight:29,980lb (13,599kg)
Max. Weight:62,000lb (28,123kg)
Engines (x2):R.R. Spey Mk 101
producing 11,100 lbf each.
Max. Speed:691 mph (1112 km/h)
Range:600 miles (966 km)
Armament: - (Refer to Variants for fitment)
Machine Guns:None
Rockets:4 x Matra Rocket Pods
Missiles:2 x AIM-9 Sidewinders,
2 x AS-30Ls or
2 x AS-37 Martel or
4 x Sea Eagles.
Bombs:Various guided/un-guided.
Nuclear:Red Beard or WE.177
Variants: -

Buccaneer S.1
First Production aircraft, powered by DH Gyron Jr turbojets, 40 built.

Buccaneer S.2
Development of S.1, powered by Rolls Royce Spey turbofans, 84 built.

Buccaneer S.2A
Royal Navy S.2 modified for the Royal Air Force.

Buccaneer S.2B
Modified S.2 for Royal Air Force capable of carrying Martel missile, 46 built.

Buccaneer S.2C
Royal Navy aircraft upgraded to S.2A.

Buccaneer S.2D
Royal Navy aircraft upgraded to S.2B.
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Blackburn Buccaneer
©Dave Key Blackburn Buccaneer S.2B (Kemble 2007)

The Blackburn Buccaneer is a low-level subsonic strike aircraft with nuclear capability.

The Buccaneer served with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force between 1962 and 1994 including service in the 1991 Gulf War.

Buccaneer S.2B photographed at the Cotswold Airshow, Kemble in 2007.
Photographs © Dave Key, Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Blackburn Buccaneer (Alconbury 1993) Blackburn Buccaneer (Bruntingthorpe 1995) Blackburn Buccaneer (Boscome Down 1992)
Alconbury 1993
Bruntingthorpe 1995
Boscome Down 1992

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