Final Flight of Buccaneer XV361 Video —
The strike fighter had been delivered in 1968 to the Fleet Air Arm, and transferred to the Royal Air Force in 1978. It ended service with 208 Squadron in 1994 and was sold by the MoD to the Ulster Aviation Society and delivered in April 1994.
The "Bucc" landed at RAF Aldergrove, but it was impractical to move it by road to the UAS facility at nearby Langford Lodge, so the RAF crew flew it in a record-breaking short flight of 92 seconds, depicted in this video.
They didn't bother with undercarriage retraction. In 2005, the UAS moved its collection to an old Second World War hangar at a former RAF base in Maze Long Kesh, Lisburn, where the Bucc has been a major attraction in the UAS heritage collection, plus becoming a worldwide start, immortalised by model makers Airfix.
Blackburn Buccaneer S.2B XV361 in our hangar
History of the Blackburn Buccaneer
The Blackburn Buccaneer was a British low-level strike aircraft with nuclear weapon capability serving with the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force between 1962 and 1994, including service in the 1991 Gulf War. Designed and initially produced by Blackburn Aircraft it was later known as the Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer when Blackburn became a part of the Hawker Siddeley group.
A detailed specification was issued in June 1952 as Naval Staff Requirement NA.39, calling for a two-seat aircraft with folding wings, capable of flying at Mach 0.85 at 200 ft (61 m), having a combat range of over 400 nmi (460 mi; 740 km), and carrying a nuclear weapon internally. Based on the requirement, in August 1952 the Ministry of Supply issued specification M.148T, and the first responses were returned in February 1953.
The first Buccaneer model, the S.1, was powered by a pair of de Havilland Gyron Junior turbojets producing 7,100 lbf (32 kN) of thrust. This mark was somewhat underpowered, and as a consequence could not take off fully-laden with both fuel and armament.
A temporary solution to this problem was the "buddy" system; aircraft took off with a full load of weaponry and minimal fuel and would sortie with a Supermarine Scimitar that would deliver the full load of fuel by aerial refuelling.
This was not an ideal solution, however, as the loss of an engine during take-off could have been catastrophic, and the Gyron Junior gave a poor range due to high fuel consumption. The long term solution was the S.2, fitted with the Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan, providing 40% more thrust with a greatly reduced fuel consumption. The engine nacelles had to be enlarged to accommodate the Spey, and the wing required minor aerodynamic modifications as a result. The Buccaneer S.2 had completely replaced the S.1 by November 1966.
History of the UAS’ Buccaneer S.2B XV361
Buccaneer XV361 was the final aircraft of a batch of 30 S.MK.2s ordered in 1966 for the Fleet Air Arm. Delivered in 1968, it was flown in the strike-attack role and also operated as a tanker serving with 809 and 800 NAS, flying from the carriers HMS Eagle and HMS Ark Royal.
Sydenham records show it delivered in from Lossiemouth (below) in February 1972 and not flying again until May 1973, still in primer (the long stay suggests this was the conversion to S.Mk.2B).
Two more visits were made to Sydenham, January-March 1974 from Honington and February-May 1975 from St Athan and in 1978 the aircraft embarked on HMS Ark Royal for the carriers final tour of duty.
In November 1978 it was transferred to the RAF and flown to Bitteswell for upgrades before being issued to 15 Sqn at Laarbruch Germany in early 1982. The following year it transferred to 12 Sqn at RAF Lossiemouth and was one of six Buccaneers deployed to Cyprus in September 1983 to support troops on UN peacekeeping duties in the Lebanon.
Returning in April 1984 the aircraft stayed with 12 Sqn until 1986 when the airframe was updated to carry the Sea Eagle 'Anti-Ship' missile and subsequently flew with 208 Sqn for the rest of its service life.
Prior to the Buccaneers' retirement six aircraft were repainted in the markings of all the RAF squadrons to operate the type, with XV361 being painted as a 15 Sqn aircraft.
In 1994 the Aircraft was put up for disposal by the Ministry Of Defence and purchased by the Ulster Aviation Society, initially being flown to Aldergrove and then Langford Lodge in April, 1994 (see video at top of page).
Model: Buccaneer S.2B
UAS Location: Hangar 1
Served with: Fleet Air Arm, 809 Sqn, 800 NAS, on HMS Eagle and HMS Ark Royal; 15 Sqn, 12 Sqn, 208 Sqn.
Maximum Speed: 670 mph at 200 ft / Mach 0.95
Range: 2300 miles
Engines: 2 x Rolls-Royce Spey Mk.101 turbofan engines, 11,000 lbf (49 kN) thrust each
Service Ceiling: 40,000 ft
Length & Height: 19.33m x 4.95m
Wing Span: 13m
Empty Weight: 13.39 Tons
Service Life: 1966-1994
Rockets: 4 × Matra rocket pods with 18 × SNEB 68-mm rockets each