Have the Blackburn Buccaneer be more successful

Buccaneer.jpg


Have the Blackburn Buccaneer be more successful.

What other air force and navies could order these?
What improved versions could get these orders?
Could it ever have been picked as a NATO standard strike aircraft similar to the PANAVIA Tornado from the 1960's?

Much obliged!
 
What other air force and navies could order these?
The Buccaneer might have been able to cut into later Canberra sales, namely to Argentina and Ethiopia, but this amounts to just 16 aircraft. They might have also been able to grab some Il-28 sales to the Middle East; otherwise the Beagle was mostly sold to pretty staunch Eastern Bloc-aligned states. Overall, though, the timing for it to really corner the long-range light bomber market isn't great.

The two big potential coups were West Germany and the United States Navy. The latter only expressed mild interest in the Buccaneer and had the competing, homegrown Intruder, but the Germans were a much more realistic option, with 173 F-104Gs eventually bought for Marineflieger maritime strike operations.

What improved versions could get these orders?
Avionics upgrades, mostly. Among other things the Buccaneer never got a terrain-following radar. The supersonic Buccaneer idea is cool but given the timing I doubt there'd have been much of a market for it with the Tornado coming along.

Could it ever have been picked as a NATO standard strike aircraft similar to the PANAVIA Tornado from the 1960's?
The supersonic Buccaneer could've done that, maybe, but politically the Tornado project is a great deal more appealing. On the other hand, if the concern becomes fighter upgrades over strike upgrades, then Hawker Siddely might be able to sell the supersonic Buccaneer as an "upgraded" version of an older aircraft.
 
Upon cancelling the TSR 2 the government orders the RAF to buy the Buccaneer S2b thus providing the aircraft with some real credibility to potential customers looking for a Canberra replacement. The government also HEAVILLY promotes the Buccaneer to potential export customers as part of various defence sales.
 
South Africa wanted another batch of 16 but the Wilson government wouldn't authorize the sale.

The big problem with the Bucc is that it is subsonic in a supersonic world. For example in 1963 the RAAF wanted a higher low level cruise speed than the Buccs top speed PLUS supersonic dash capability.
 
The problem is it's a naval aircraft and one that requires full-size aircraft carriers from which to operate. Only a handful of countries have owned them, and they would all pick their own domestic aircraft before buying Buccaneers or not be able to buy them. So that leaves you with operating them as land-based aircraft.

South Africa wanted to buy more but the sale was blocked by the government, if the general election hadn't intervened that second squadron would have been delivered. As CV12Hornet has already noted the German Navy showed some interest at one point so they might be a possibility, it would probably require domestic licensed production though.


Could it ever have been picked as a NATO standard strike aircraft similar to the PANAVIA Tornado from the 1960's?
The problem is that if you sacrifice Tornado for an updated Buccaneer you leave a sizeable hole in your aerospace industry with a large gap between projects.
 
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Have the Blackburn Buccaneer be more successful.

What other air force and navies could order these?
What improved versions could get these orders?
Could it ever have been picked as a NATO standard strike aircraft similar to the PANAVIA Tornado from the 1960's?

Much obliged!

With the benefit of hindsight perhaps the type might might have made sense for Canada for some of their historical NATO roles ? (I can somewhat understand why it wasn't selected in place of the CF104 and or CF5 by the decision makers at the time.)
 
The big problem with the Bucc is that it is subsonic in a supersonic world. For example in 1963 the RAAF wanted a higher low level cruise speed than the Buccs top speed PLUS supersonic dash capability.

In which case, rather than have the RAF buy the standard S.2, have them buy the P.150 variant. It would have been a viable and cheaper alternative to the TSR.2. Not to mention closer in capabilities to what the RAF actually needed by the late ‘60s. That variant would then potentially be available for export to users like the RAAF.
 
The problem is that if you sacrifice Tornado for an updated Buccaneer you leave a sizeable hole in your aerospace industry with a large gap between projects.
Not necessarily. They'd want the supersonic P.150 variant in that case, and it is not a small redesign effort. As well, a swing-wing twin-engine jet is still needed in the Tornado's timeframe, except this time as an interceptor rather than a deep-strike aircraft. That'd probably lose Italy and Germany, but could gain France and Canada instead.
 
In which case, rather than have the RAF buy the standard S.2, have them buy the P.150 variant. It would have been a viable and cheaper alternative to the TSR.2. Not to mention closer in capabilities to what the RAF actually needed by the late ‘60s. That variant would then potentially be available for export to users like the RAAF.

Sorry to quote myself, but I didn't want to type all this out again.

The RAF started 1958 by assessing the submissions for GOR339, the ambitious specification for a Canberra replacement. Blackburn submitted two proposals based on it’s NA39 aircraft for the Royal Navy, which undertook its first flight in April, the first was the basic aircraft with more fuel while the second included a more advanced avionics package. The evaluation team rejected as it was firmly subsonic and short on range and therefore didn’t meet the requirement, indeed the version with the more advanced avionics was some 10,000lb heavier than the base aircraft and with Gyron Junior engines was woefully under-powered. This impacted on the takeoff performance, particularly in the hot climates where the RAF operated like the Middle East and South East Asia, falling far short of the STOL requirements.

When was the supersonic Buccaneer proposed, and could it be in service by 1970?
 
Sorry to quote myself, but I didn't want to type all this out again.



When was the supersonic Buccaneer proposed, and could it be in service by 1970?
As originally proposed the P.150 supersonic variant was expected to have an IOC of 1975. There was the company-pushed B.109 variant proposed considerably earlier, just after the B.108 that had been proposed for OR.339 that led to the TSR2; that one was a little slower (Mach 1.65 versus Mach 1.8) and was equipped with late-model Avons rather than afterburning Speys.

It should be noted that when the Buccaneer was proposed for OR.339 it met all the requirements but speed.

In any case, this post over on the Secret Projects forums lists all the proposed Buccaneer variants.
 
Some background information about the Blackburn Buccaneer.
  • 20 Buccaneer development aircraft (with DH Gyron Junior engines) were ordered in July, 1955. They made their first flights between 20th April 1958 and 29th November 1961. The tenth and eleventh development aircraft were re-fitted with RR Spey engines and became the prototypes for the Buccaneer S. Mk 2. They made their first flights on 17th May 1963 and 19th August 1963.
  • 50 production aircraft were ordered in October, 1959.
    • 40 were built to Buccaneer S Mk 1 standard (with DH Gyron Junior engines). They made their first flights between 23rd January 1962 and 31st December 1963. They were delivered to the Royal Navy between 19th February 1962 and 6th February, 1964.
      • 6 aircraft were delivered to No. 700Z Flight at RNAS Lossiemouth in March, 1962.
      • The first operational squadron, No. 801, formed at Lossiemouth in July 1962 and it embarked on HMS Ark Royal on 20th February 1963.
      • The Buccaneer S Mk 1 equipped 4 operational FAA squadrons (Nos, 800, 801, 803 and 809) and one training squadron (No. 736).
    • 10 were built to Buccaneer S Mk 2 standard (with RR Military Speys). They made their first flights between 6th June 1964 and 8th March 1965. They were delivered to the Royal Navy between 18th June 1964 and 29th March 1965.
      • The first aircraft was delivered to RNAS Lossiemouth in March, 1965.
      • No. 700B Flight an Intensive Flying Trials Unit was formed at Lossiemouth in April, 1965.
      • The first operational unit to be equipped with the Mk 2 was No. 801 Squadron at Lossiemouth on 14th October 1965 and the squadron embarked on HMS Victorious in June, 1966.
      • The Buccaneer S Mk 2 equipped 4 operational FAA squadrons (Nos, 800, 801, 803 and 809) and one training squadron (No. 736).
  • The production order for the Buccaneer S Mk 2 was announced in January, 1962. A total of 96 aircraft were ordered for the Royal Navy (including 10 originally ordered as Mk 1s) and examination of the serial numbers indicates that they were ordered in 5 batches (10+20+17+30+19=96). The last 12 aircraft were cancelled, which reduced the total built to 84. Putnams says that the last Buccaneer S Mk 2 was delivered to the FAA in December 1968, but UK Serials says that the 83rd was delivered on 14th January 1969 and the 84th was delivered on 6th March 1969.
  • The 16 Buccaneer S Mk 50 purchased for the SAAF were delivered from January 1965, but none of the sources that I'm using say when they were ordered. They were operated by No. 24 Squadron, SAAF and according to Wikipaedia the surviving aircraft were withdrawn in 1991.
  • 46 Buccaneers were ordered for the RAF and 4 were ordered for the Royal Aircraft Establishment. Judging by the serial numbers the 50 aircraft were ordered in 4 batches (26+4+17+3=50). Only 49 of the 50 aircraft ordered were built. They were delivered as follows:
    • 26 to the RAF from 20th January 1971 to 30th March 1973. (Putnams RAF Aircraft since 1918 says this batch was ordered in 1968.)
    • 3 to the RAE from 25th January 1974 to 16th May 1974. (The fourth aircraft of this batch was cancelled.)
    • 17 to the RAF from 20th May 1974 to 4th January 1977.
    • 3 to the RAF from 5th May 1977 to 6th October 1977.
  • The Buccaneer began to enter service with No 12 Squadron, RAF at Honnington in the maritime strike role. The second squadron was No. 15 formed at Honnngton on 1st October 1970 which moved to Germany in January 1971.
  • The RAF formed a total of 5 Buccaneer squadrons (Nos. 12, 15, 16, 208 and 216). Nos. 15 and 16 Squadrons replaced the Canberras in RAF Germany. Nos. 12, 15 and the short-lived 216 Squadron were maritime strike units that were direct replacements for the Buccaneer strike squadrons in the Royal Navy.
  • The total number of Buccaneers built IOTL was 209. They consisted of 20 development aircraft, 40 S Mk 1 for the RN, 84 S Mk 2 for the RN, 46 S Mk 2 for the RAF, 3 S Mk 2 for the RAE and 16 S Mk 50 for the SAAF. (According to Air Britain's Royal Air Force Aircraft XA100 to XZ999 the RAF received 69 of the 84 Buccaneer S Mk 2 aircraft built for the Royal Navy.) The first aircraft flew on 20th April 1958 and the last aircraft was delivered on 6th October 1977.
Some background information about the Rolls Royce Spey:
  • Development of the Civil Spey began in September, 1959 and the first engine ran at the end of December, 1960. Flight testing of two Speys on a Vulcan began on 12th October 1961 and prototype flying trials of the Spey-engined Hawker Siddeley Trident began on 9th January 1962.
  • Development of the Military Spey began in November, 1960, bench tests began in December, 1961 and it flew for the first time in the Buccaneer S Mk 2 on 7th May 1963. The initial military contract for the Spey covered development work and supply of prototype engines. It was followed by a quantity production order in January, 1962.
Except where specifically mentioned the sources are:
Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1965-66​
The UK Serials website​
Putnam's British Naval Aircraft since 1912 by Peter Lewis​
Putnam's Aircraft of the Royal Air Force since 1918 by Peter Lewis​
 
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To me it is amazing how British Commonwealth Government ministers were able to steamroller their professional military staffs when it came to decisions that eviscerated industrial infrastructure and R&D staffs, but could never do the same if there was a positive outcome to such meddling.

The best option, and there would be opposition to it, is for an agreement in 1958-9 for the RAF to purchase the Avro Canada CF-105 as its main air defence fighter for the British Isles, which would guarantee an adequate CF-105 production run. The CF-105 has much better range and avionics for the long-range interception role required by the North Sea. The RCAF will not purchase 112 second-hand F-101B aircraft from the USAF. I really see only two viable export customers for the CF-105, Japan in the early 1960s and Iran in the late 1960s. Both have long distances and large airspace to patrol.

The English Electric/BAC Lightening is purchased by both the RAF and RCAF for interceptor duties in Germany, and by the RAF for assignment to Cyprus and Singapore to replace the Gloster Javelin. Its production run (including exports to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) is probably not much higher than OTL. The RCAF does not order the CF-104 Starfighter, and loses its export sales as well.

The Blackburn/Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S2B is produced as RAF replacement for the English Electric Canberra and Hawker Hunter ground attack squadrons in the RAF and Avro Canada CF-100 in the RCAF. The CF-5 is not produced in Canadair, and with it exports as well. In addition to a second SAF Squadron, its export potential is not just the Luftwaffe, but possibly Norway (low-level strike capability on the Kola Peninsula), Venezuela (instead of CF-5 - oil money), India and Iran (in place of some early F-4 orders).

In Canada, Canadair will go under instead of Avro Canada and it is interesting to speculate about the future of the Orenda Iroquois engine. In the UK, BAC will be no worse off, and Hawker Siddeley in far better position. Moreover, key design and engineering staff in both countries will remain intact.
 
To me it is amazing how British Commonwealth Government ministers were able to steamroller their professional military staffs when it came to decisions that eviscerated industrial infrastructure and R&D staffs, but could never do the same if there was a positive outcome to such meddling.

The best option, and there would be opposition to it, is for an agreement in 1958-9 for the RAF to purchase the Avro Canada CF-105 as its main air defence fighter for the British Isles, which would guarantee an adequate CF-105 production run. The CF-105 has much better range and avionics for the long-range interception role required by the North Sea. The RCAF will not purchase 112 second-hand F-101B aircraft from the USAF. I really see only two viable export customers for the CF-105, Japan in the early 1960s and Iran in the late 1960s. Both have long distances and large airspace to patrol.

The English Electric/BAC Lightening is purchased by both the RAF and RCAF for interceptor duties in Germany, and by the RAF for assignment to Cyprus and Singapore to replace the Gloster Javelin. Its production run (including exports to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) is probably not much higher than OTL. The RCAF does not order the CF-104 Starfighter, and loses its export sales as well.

The Blackburn/Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer S2B is produced as RAF replacement for the English Electric Canberra and Hawker Hunter ground attack squadrons in the RAF and Avro Canada CF-100 in the RCAF. The CF-5 is not produced in Canadair, and with it exports as well. In addition to a second SAF Squadron, its export potential is not just the Luftwaffe, but possibly Norway (low-level strike capability on the Kola Peninsula), Venezuela (instead of CF-5 - oil money), India and Iran (in place of some early F-4 orders).

In Canada, Canadair will go under instead of Avro Canada and it is interesting to speculate about the future of the Orenda Iroquois engine. In the UK, BAC will be no worse off, and Hawker Siddeley in far better position. Moreover, key design and engineering staff in both countries will remain intact.

I like the plan.

So in the late 70's early 80's the RCAF has to replace their fleet of aging:
Arrows (very long in the tooth)
Lightings
Buccaneers

If there was a lot of cooperation between the RAF and the RCAF would you see a single type for replacement?
 
As originally proposed the P.150 supersonic variant was expected to have an IOC of 1975. There was the company-pushed B.109 variant proposed considerably earlier, just after the B.108 that had been proposed for OR.339 that led to the TSR2; that one was a little slower (Mach 1.65 versus Mach 1.8) and was equipped with late-model Avons rather than afterburning Speys.

It should be noted that when the Buccaneer was proposed for OR.339 it met all the requirements but speed.

In any case, this post over on the Secret Projects forums lists all the proposed Buccaneer variants.

The 2 Buccaneer versions offered in 1958 for OR.339 were Gyron junior powered, the first was an S1 with more fuel and the P108 was loaded with fancy avionics that weighed an extra 10,000lbs than the already underpowered S1. OR.339 also included ambitious airfield requirements that the Gyron junior Bucc couldn't come close to meeting and it was short on range even with the extra fuel, and it wasn't a bit slower than the requirement it was much slower Mach .85 compared to mach 1.1 for the requirement.

If the P.150 was to enter service by 1975 it must have been offered around the mid 60s in the TSR2, F111K, AFVG milieu. I can't imagine that the tarted up 50s design would have been looked on favourably compared to what was possible by then.
 
Something I've observed which is funny, the love the Buccaneer gets appears to be inversely proportional to the Lightning.

People LOVE the Bucc, its the plane that can do anything, there is no proposal that isn't world beating and better than anything.

In contrast people HATE the Lightning, any suggestion of an upgrade is gets shot down with talk of poor avionics and range.
 
It would need major aerodynamic changes to get any benefit from them.

The one thing these supersonic Buccaneer proposals have in common is how different they are from production Buccaneers. Many of them share very little with the production models and are basically entirely new aircraft, with the attendant development costs and risks.
 
Something I've observed which is funny, the love the Buccaneer gets appears to be inversely proportional to the Lightning.

People LOVE the Bucc, its the plane that can do anything, there is no proposal that isn't world beating and better than anything.

In contrast people HATE the Lightning, any suggestion of an upgrade is gets shot down with talk of poor avionics and range.
I actually kinda get it. The range is the real killer for the Lightning, much as it was for the Freedom Fighter. That limits its utility and undercuts the desire to upgrade it as there are just better options available to sink scarce development dollars/pounds into.
 
An F.6 equipped with Red Top missiles can climb to 36,000 ft, accelerate to Mach 1.8, and intercept a target at 135 NM only 10.7 min after brake release. A 2g level turn allows a rear-quarter re-attack 1.6 min later. Following a best-range cruise and descent, the Lightning enters the landing pattern with 800 lb of fuel remaining with a total mission time of 35 min.

An F.6 equipped with Red Top missiles can climb to 36,000 ft and cruise at Mach 0.87 to a loiter or intercept area 370 NM distant. It then has 15 minutes on station to complete the intercept or identification task before returning to base. The afterburners are not used during this profile, and the total mission time is 112 min.

EE-Lightning-DMiller-550.jpg


The second scenario would be similar to what the Argentine Mirages were doing over the Falklands.

I actually kinda get it. The range is the real killer for the Lightning, much as it was for the Freedom Fighter. That limits its utility and undercuts the desire to upgrade it as there are just better options available to sink scarce development dollars/pounds into.

The short range of the Lightning is overblown, the big belly tank of the F2A and F6 had am endurance of 1 1/2 hours, which isn't too bad for the time.
 
Your best option for the Buccaneer is to have the Israel Air Force decide it needs a strike bomber and to purchase 30 plus of the S-2 Buccaneers and work with Blackburn on avionics upgrades and other advances. I would expect the insistence on at least a single 30 mm Aden and also the provision of Sidewinder rails on the top of the Wing.

The attack on the Reactor in Iraq would be a different beast entirely.

The Buccaneer suffered from low numbers being procured world wide making upgrades more expensive. An improved nav attack system with the ability to guide various missiles would be good. Imagine an APG-65 and associated nav attack from an F/A-18 being used. Harpoon and Gabriel capacity along with Standard, shrike and HARM capability.
 
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