Blackburn Buccaneer S1 (Nose section only)


Often called the last all-British jet bomber the Buccaneer was designed to meet a naval specification for a carrier based high-speed, low-level strike aircraft.

The Buccaneer S1 entered service with the Fleet Air Arm in 1962. Three Buccaneer S1 units were formed, one shore based at RNAS Lossiemouth and the other two carrier based aboard HMS Ark Royal and HMS Eagle.

No. 800 Squadron’s Buccaneers were deployed in oil-embargo enforcement duties in the Mozambique Channel during 1965 but by then the active life of the Buccaneer S1 was already coming to a close. It’s two Gyron Junior engines made it underpowered for carrier based operations and design work had begun in 1963 on the more powerful Buccaneer S2. The first were dispatched to the Royal Navy in 1965.

Initially the Royal Air Force had shown no interest in the Buccaneer but with the 1965 cancellation of the TSR-2 it placed orders as Canberra bomber replacements. The improved Buccaneer S2 variant entered RAF service in July 1968. Although the primary role for the Buccaneer was as a maritime strike/attack and reconnaissance aircraft its role was expanded when it entered service with the RAF. Two squadrons of RAF Buccaneers served in RAF Germany from 1971 to 1984, tasked with tactical nuclear strikes in support of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

Late in its service career it became a laser designator carrying the equipment necessary for precision attacks. Twelve Buccaneers saw active service in the Gulf as part of Operation Granby designating targets for RAF Tornados and Jaguars.

Further Reading:

Buccaneer: The Story of the Last All-British Strike Aircraft Timothy Laming

The Buccaneers: Operational Service with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force Air Cdr Graham Pitchfork

‘Bucc-Shots’ parts 1 and 2, Denis Calvert Aircraft Illustrated, June and July 1994

‘Blackburn’s Buccaneer’, J D R Rawlings Air Pictorial, January 1986, pp22-29

‘Blackburn’s Buccaneer’ Maurice Allward Air Pictorial, October 1985, pp376-383

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