The Nimrod maritime reconnaissance aircraft was derived from the Comet airliner. It originally entered RAF service in 1969 in MR.1 variant to replace the Avro Shackleton. From 1979 35 aircraft were upgraded to the improved MR.2 standard. Nimrod continued in service until 2010 when its successor, the MRA4 was cancelled. The aircraft was modified to carry wing mounted Sidewinder air-air missiles for self -defence during the Falklands conflict in 1982 were known as the RAF’s biggest fighter! Less successful was the airborne early warning version, Nimrod AEW3 which was test flown but did not enter service.
The three Nimrod R.1 electronic-intelligence gathering aircraft entered service in 1971. They carried up to 29 crew and were involved in all major conflicts in the latter part of the 20th and early 21st centuries. When one of the original aircraft was lost following an accident in 1997, XV249 selected as a replacement and, after conversion, flew with No 51 Squadron from RAF Waddington. It took part in operation Ellamy over Libya in 2011 thus remaining operational until its withdrawal from squadron service on 28 June 2011.
It arrived at RAF Cosford in 2012.
The Hawker Siddeley Nimrod was a maritime patrol aircraft developed and operated by the United Kingdom. It was an extensive modification of the de Havilland Comet, the world’s first operational jet airliner. It was originally designed by de Havilland’s successor firm, Hawker Siddeley; further development and maintenance work was undertaken by Hawker Siddeley’s own successor companies, British Aerospace and BAE Systems, respectively.
Three Nimrod aircraft were adapted for the signals intelligence role, replacing the Comet C2s and Canberras of No. 51 Squadron in May 1974.
It was fitted with an array of rotating dish aerials in the aircraft’s bomb bay, with further dish aerials in the tailcone and at the front of the wing-mounted fuel tanks. It had a flight crew of four (two pilots, a flight engineer and one navigator) and up to 25 crew operating the SIGINT equipment.
First flown as a prototype for the United States Air Force in August 1954, the C-130 Hercules, as a troop transport, disaster relief and aerial tanker aircraft has been a mainstay of the RAF transport fleet since the late 1960s (along with those of many other air forces); it has seen extensive operational use including the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The example at RAF Museum Cosford was the last RAF C130K Mk.3 to be retired.
This Hercules C3 XV202 served with the Royal Air Force from 1967 to 2011.
I’ve always liked the concept of gaming scenarios which include the C-130 Hercules, probably down to the Raid on Entebbe, which of course has been the subject of many films.
The four-seat Fairchild F24, sporting and training aeroplane, made its first flight in 1932. The design attracted attention from the civilian American market and improved models soon began to appear. With the appearance of the F24W series, the aircraft’s potential as a light military transport was recognised by the United States Army. An initial contract for 161 aircraft for the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) was placed in 1941. However, all the aircraft were re-allocated to the Royal Air Force under the American Lend-Lease Act which allowed war materials ordered for the United States armed forces to be given to other nations for the duration of the war.
Further contracts led to the delivery of more than 600 aircraft to the United Kingdom. Known in the USAAF as the Forwarder, those arriving in Great Britain were given the official name Argus.
The Argus was used in the light communications role by the RAF and found a particular niche ferrying pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary.
The Museum’s aircraft was used during the war as a hack for the US 8th Air Force. After purchase from private owners in 1973, it spent many years in deep storage, before restoration for the Museum by the Medway Aircraft Preservation Society in 1999.
This Scottish Aviation Bulldog T1 was on display at RAF Cosford.
The Scottish Aviation Bulldog is a British two-seat side-by-side (with optional third seat) training aircraft designed by Beagle Aircraft as the B.125 Bulldog.
The largest customer was the Royal Air Force, which placed an order for 130 Bulldogs in 1972, entering service as the Bulldog T.1 in 1975. It was used by the Royal Air Force as a basic trainer, in particular as the standard aircraft of the University Air Squadrons and, later, Air Experience Flights, providing flying training.
The Andover was developed from the Avro 748 airliner to meet the requirement for Short Take-off & Landing (STOL) transport aircraft to operate in the trooping, paratrooping, airdropping, freighting and casevac roles.
The modified aircraft incorporates a hydraulic kneeling arrangement in the main undercarriage to allow the rear loading door to adjust to any truckbed height.
The aircraft is powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart engines. It has an operational range of 602km (374miles) with a maximum payload of 6691kg (14750lbs) of freight.
It has a maximum speed of 512kph (320mph) at 4572m (15000ft).
The aircraft displayed was one of seven modified from the basic CMkI aircraft for use in navaid calibration.
The first Andover flew in July 1965 and a total of 31 were built.
1:1 scale Airfix Spitfire as featured on the James May Toy Stories series shown on BBC2, complete with a model pilot.
To see if he can entice a new generation of kids into enjoying model kits, James May assigns a group of pupils with constructing a life-size model of Airfix’s notable kit – the Spitfire. While May must train up the pupils in becoming an organised model-making team, the kit’s life-size parts require a specialist company in Cornwall to create these and handling the issues their creation cause. When the kit is finally created and brought to an air museum for construction, the real test comes with the completed model being able to hold itself together, especially when the supports for the main body are removed. The project proves a success when the completed kit can be showcased to an audience that include the pupil’s parents and RAF WWII veterans.
The Avro Anson is a British twin-engined, multi-role aircraft built by the aircraft manufacturer Avro. This Anson is on display at RAF Cosford.
The first prototype flew on 24 March 1935 and subsequently 174 of the type were ordered. The Anson became the first aircraft in RAF service to have a retractable undercarriage.
The Avro Anson was placed into service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and was initially used in the envisioned maritime reconnaissance operation alongside the larger flying boats. After the outbreak of the Second World War the Anson was soon found to have become obsolete in front line combat roles. Despite being obsolescent, it remained in Coastal Command service until 1942.
British European Airways (BEA) inherited thirteen Avro XIXs during 1947 and used them on some of their Northern Ireland routes. It was not considered a good passenger aircraft due to its excessive noise and vibration and it was phased out the following year.
Large numbers of the type were instead put to use as a multi-engined aircrew trainer, having been found to be suitable for the role, and became the mainstay of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The type continued to be used in this role throughout and after the conflict, remaining in RAF service as a trainer and communications aircraft until 28 June 1968.
This Westland Wessex HC.2 was on display at RAF Cosford. The HC.2 was a RAF Troop carrier for up to 16 troops, the prototype was converted from an HAS1 and an additional 73 were built.
The Westland Wessex is a British-built turbine-powered development of the Sikorsky H-34. It was developed and produced under licence by Westland Aircraft (later Westland Helicopters). One of the main changes from Sikorsky’s H-34 was the replacement of the piston-engine powerplant with a turboshaft engine. Early models were powered by a single Napier Gazelle engine, while later builds used a pair of de Havilland Gnome engines.
I didn’t realise that the last RAF Wessex helicopters (Cyprus based HC Mk 2s) retired as late as 2003.
This Boulton Paul Sea Balliol was on display at RAF Cosford.
The Boulton Paul Balliol and Sea Balliol are monoplane military advanced trainer aircraft built for the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (FAA) by Boulton Paul Aircraft.
Developed in the late 1940s, the Balliol was designed to replace the North American Harvard trainer. It used the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. The Sea Balliol was a naval version for deck landing training.
This particular Balliol was one of a batch of 20 that were ordered by the Royal Navy in 1950. Consequently it is fitted with naval features such as an arrester hook that the RAF aircraft did not have. The engine fitted to the aircraft is a later variant of the famous Rolls Royce Merlin.
Balliols only lasted in service for a few years before being stored. This example was later reactived for trials work which allowed it to be preserved.
WL732 is the only original and complete Balliol preserved in the UK.