Blackburn Buccaneer

TypeStrike aircraft
Country of originUnited Kingdom
ManufacturerBlackburn Aircraft Limited
Hawker Siddeley
First flight30 April 1958
Introduced17 July 1962
ProducedCirca 1963
Numbers builtData is not available
Unit costsData is not available
Max speedMaximum speed: 667 mph (580 kn, 1,074 km/h) at 200 ft (60 m)
Max rangeRange: 2,300 mi (2,000 nmi, 3,700 km)
Service ceiling: 40,000 ft (12,200 m)
DimensionsLength: 63 ft 5 in (19.33 m)
Wingspan: 44 ft (13.41 m)
Height: 16 ft 3 in (4.97 m)
Wing area: 514.7 ft² (47.82 m²)
WeightEmpty weight: 30,000 lb (14,000 kg)
Loaded weight: 62,000 lb (28,000 kg)
Powerplant2 × Rolls-Royce Spey Mk 101 turbofans, 11,100 lbf (49 kN) each
ArmamentGuns: None

Hardpoints: 4× under-wing pylon stations & 1× internal rotating bomb bay with a capacity of 12,000 lb (5,400 kg) and provisions to carry combinations of:

Rockets: 4× Matra rocket pods with 18× SNEB 68 mm rockets each

Missiles: 2× AIM-9 Sidewinders for self-defence, 2× AS-30Ls or 2× AS-37 Martel missiles or 2× Sea Eagle missile

Bombs: Various unguided bombs, Laser-guided bombs, as well as the Red Beard or WE.177 tactical nuclear bombs[11]

Other: AN/ALQ-101 ECM protection pod,[7] AN/AVQ-23 Pave Spike Laser designator pod,[8] Buddy refuelling pack or Drop tanks for extended range/loitering time
OperatorsUK (retired in 1994), South Africa (retired in 1991)
The Blackburn Buccaneer is a second generation of jet fighter which served the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force between 1962 and 1994. The Buccaneer was low-level subsonic strike aircraft which was able to carry out nuclear weapon. The Buccaneer was initially designed and manufactured by Blackburn Aircraft. After Blackburn became a part of the Hawker Siddeley group, the strike aircraft later known as the Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer.

Despite the aircraft never engaged Soviet Union Navy, which was the motivation of developing the Buccaneer, the aircraft had been experiencing the Border War in South-West Africa and the 1991 Gulf War.

The Development of Blackburn Buccaneer

The Soviet Union Navy announced the Sverdlov class cruiser into service in the early 1950s. They were light cruisers, fast, proficiently armed, and numerous and definetely met the World War II standard. They were sure threats to the English merchant fleets’ crossing over the Atlantic Ocean like the German’s pocket battleships and they were even worse as they were 25% faster than the German’s and Soviet Union has a lot of the cruisers. One way that the Royal Navy could take to prevent the threat was developing a new specialized strike aircraft employing conventional or nuclear weapons which could operate from the Royal Navy carriers.

A detailed specification was published in June 1952 as Naval Staff Requirement NA.39, requiring for a two-seat aircraft with folding wings, competent of flying at Mach 0. 85 at 200 ft (61 m) above sea-level, owning a combat range of over 400 nmi (740 km; 460 mi), and keeping a nuclear weapon internally. In accordance with the requirement, the Ministry of Supply issued specification M. 148T in August 1952, and the first answers were returned in February 1953.

Blackburn’s design by Barry P. Laight, Project B-103, earned the tender in July 1955. Because of concealment, the aircraft was named BNA (Blackburn Naval Aircraft) or BANA (Blackburn Advanced Naval Aircraft) in documents, giving it a nickname of “Banana Jet”. The first prototype made its maiden flight from RAE Bedford on 30 April 1958.

The first Buccaneer model, the Buccaneer S. 1, was motorized by a pair of de Havilland Gyron Junior turbojets generating 7, 100 lbf (32 kN) of thrust. This mark was relatively underpowered, and consequently could hardly take off well packed with both fuel and armament. A short-term alternative to this trouble was the buddy-refuelling system; aircraft took off with a full load of weaponry and minimal fuel and would fly with a Supermarine Scimitar that would supply the full load of fuel by aerial refuelling.

Having less power suggested however, that loss of an engine during take-off or landing at full load, when the aircraft was relying on flap blowing could be catastrophic, and the Gyron Junior provided a inadequate range because of high fuel consumption. The long term solution was the Buccaneer S. 2, suited with the Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan, supplying 40% more thrust with significantly minimized fuel consumption. The engine nacelles were required to be increased to have capacity for the Spey, and the wing needed minor aerodynamic modifications subsequently. The Buccaneer S. 2 had fully substituted the S. 1 by November 1966.

The Design of Blackburn Buccaneer

The Buccaneer was a twin turbofans-powered, mid-wing monoplane with a crew of two sitting in tandem underneath a sliding canopy. To match the requirements of the specification, the Buccaneer presented several advanced design features. The fuselage was area ruled; indicating it was intended to cut down drag at transonic speeds. This offers increase to the characteristic curvy shape. It featured a variable incidence tailplane that might be clipped to fit the specific specifications of low-speed handling or high-speed flight. At the low-levels and high speeds old fashioned bomb bay doors could hardly be opened securely into the air stream, as a result doors were designed that turned into the fuselage to expose the payload. This configuration was also beneficial in serving ground-level access.

The Buccaneer had been developed exclusively as a maritime nuclear strike aircraft. Its desired weapon was a nuclear air-to-surface missile codenamed Green Cheese, but this weapon’s development was cancelled, and replaced with the unguided 2, 000 pound (900 kg) Red Beardwhich had an explosive yield in the 10 to 20 kiloton range. It was placed on a special bomb bay door. For night operations, the Royal Navy also preferred to utilize the Gloworm rocket, with eight put on the Buccaneer’s stores pylons. The Buccaneer also did not have gun armament.

The small wing of the Buccaneer was suitable for high-speed flight at low level. Unfortunately, the wing did not create the lift that was crucial for carrier operations. For that reason the wing and horizontal stabiliser were blown by bleeding compressor gas from the engine via surface vents. A result of the blown wing was that the engines should work at high power for low-speed flight to be able to produce adequate compressor gas for blowing. This feature was notably essential as the then British aircraft carriers were in small-scale.

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