Buccaneer S2B

Buccaneer S2B XW547

Buccaneer S2B XW547 in Gulf War markings is on display at RAF London.

The Blackburn Buccaneer is a British carrier-capable attack aircraft designed in the 1950s for the Royal Navy (RN). Designed and initially produced by Blackburn Aircraft at Brough, it was later officially known as the Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer when Blackburn became a part of the Hawker Siddeley Group, but this name is rarely used.

Designed for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm as a carrier-borne attack aircraft, the Buccaneer S1 entered service in 1962.

As it proved to be underpowered, new production aircraft were fitted with Rolls-Royce Spey engines. The Buccaneer entered Royal Navy service in 1962.  The RAF adopted the Buccaneer in 1969 after the cancellation of TSR-2 and F111 long-range strike aircraft.

First deliveries of RAF Buccaneers were Fleet Air Arm aircraft, later aircraft were built specially for the RAF with larger fuel tanks, a strengthened undercarriage and provision to carry Martel anti-ship missiles.

The Buccaneer was originally designed in response to the Soviet Union’s Sverdlov-class cruiser construction programme. Instead of building a new fleet of its own, the Royal Navy could use the Buccaneer to attack these ships by approaching at low altitudes below the ship’s radar horizon. The Buccaneer could attack using a nuclear bomb, or conventional weapons.

The Royal Navy retired the last of its large aircraft carriers in 1978, moving their strike role to the British Aerospace Sea Harrier, and passing their Buccaneers to the RAF.

The ending of the Cold War led to a reduction in strength of the RAF, and the accelerated retirement of the remaining fleet, with the last Buccaneers in RAF service being retired in 1994 in favour of the Panavia Tornado.

There is a Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S2B at Duxford.