Boeing F/A-18 Hornet

Aircraft Profile
Canadian CF-188A “917”. Seen at the London, Canada air show 1999.

Development

The F/A-18 Hornet is an all-weather aircraft used as both an attack and fighter aircraft. As a fighter, the Hornet is used as a fighter escort and for fleet air defense. In its attack role, it is used for interdiction and air support.

The F/A-18 Hornet is a twin engine, mid-wing, multi-role tactical aircraft. The F/A-18A and C are single seat aircraft and the F/A-18B and D are two-seaters. While the B aircraft is used mainly for training the D version is the current Navy aircraft performing the forward air control, reconnaissance, tactical air control and attack roles. The latest E and F models were rolled out in September 1995. The E being the single seater.

The F/A-18 Hornet was designed to meet a requirement for a multi-role combat aircraft to replace the ground attack role of the A-7 Corsair, and the air defense and ground attack role of the F-4 Phantom. It also had to be a low cost complement to the F-14 Tomcat and be able to operate from forward airstrips for the US Marine Corps.

The Hornets origins go back to the 1960’s and Northrop’s Light-Weight Fighter project that eventually led to the YF-17 prototype. The YF-17’s first flight was on 9th June 1974. After the YF-16 was chosen by the USAF, US Congress decided to evaluate two aircraft for the Naval Air Combat Fighter (ACF) project. The YF-17 was not initially designed for carrier operation, so Northrop collaborated with McDonnell Douglas to win the competition with General Dynamics and LTV. After modifications by the two companies, the YF-17 became “model 267” and on 2nd May 1975, the US Navy declared the aircraft the winner. It is from this point that the Hornet becomes a McDonnell Douglas aircraft as they were the prime contractors. Originally there were two types – the F-18 and the A-18, but a Defense Systems Acquisition Review decided, on 8th December 1982, to call the aircraft the F/A-18. It is the only aircraft in services with US forces to have a dual designation. On 1st January 1977, Secretary of the Navy, W. Graham Claytor decided to call the F/A-18 “Hornet” after the USN ships with the same name.

The Hornet has been regularly upgraded since entering service in 1983. The first F/A-18’s equipped with night strike capability were delivered in November 1989. Since 1991, they have had F404-GE-402 enhanced performance engines fitted and since May 1994, the Hornet has been fitted with upgraded APG-73 radar.

Canada was the first export customer for the Hornet and it has the largest fleet of Hornets outside the US. The Canadian F/A-18’s are designated CF-188 by that country.

Variants

Requirement Specification: ?
Manufacturers Designation: ?

Development History:
YF-17 First prototype manufactured by Northrop and competed against YF-16 in the USAF competition.
YF-17 model 267 Northrop/McDonnell Douglas joint prototype.
F-18 Initial designation of dedicated fighter version.
A-18 Initial designation of dedicated strike/attack version.
F/A-18 Revised designation when common airframe selected for both fighter and attack missions. McDonnell Douglas led programme.
YF/A-18A Unofficial designation for the first nine single-seat development aircraft.
F/A-18A First model in the Hornet range of single seat fighter attack aircraft.
TF-18A Initial designation of F/A-18B two-seater.
F/A-18B Two seat, dual-control variant of the ‘A’ model. Combat capable but only used for training.
F/A-18L The ‘L’ refers to this being a ‘Land’ variant of the F/A-18A. Northrop led programme. It never went into production.
TF/A-18L Two seat, dual-control variant of the ‘L’ model.
RF-18A Initial designation for F/A-18(R).
F/A-18(R) Planned reconnaissance version of the production F/A-18A, with recce camera system replacing M61A1 cannon in bulged nose. One test aircraft converted. Development cancelled.
CF-18A McDonnell Douglas designation for single seat version for the Canadian Armed Forces. Fitted with spotlight on port side of nose.
CF-188A Canadian Armed Forces designation for single seat version.
CF-18B McDonnell Douglas designation for two seat version for Canada.
CF-188B Canadian Armed Forces designation for two seat version.
AF-18A Single seat version for the R.A.A.F.
AF-18B Two seat version for R.A.A.F. Also referred to as the ATF-18A.
EF-18A Single seat version for the Spanish Air Force. Designated C.15 by the Spanish.
EF-15B Two seat version for the Spanish Air Force. Designated CE.15 in Spain.
F/A-18C Improved and updated version of the ‘A’ model. Revised and updated avionics fit, Martin Baker NACES ejection seat, ability to fire AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles, addition of small strakes on wing LERXs.
F/A-18C Night Attack Improved version with colour cockpit displays, night vision goggles compatible cockpit and external FLIR pod.
F/A-18C Night Attack Late production F/A-18C aircraft (June 1994 onwards) have AN/APG-73 radar in place of the previous AN/APG-65 unit.
F/A-18D Two seat combat capable version of the ‘C’ model.
F/A-18D+ Original designation for F/A-18D Night Attack.
F/A-18D Night Attack F/A-18D with night attack avonics fit from FA-18C Night Attack. Dedicated attack aircraft. Rear cockpit has sidestick weapons controllers in place of control column.
F/A-18D(RC) Reconnaissance Capable version of F/A-18D with wiring for ATARS recce pod. Retains night attack mission capability.
KAF-18C/D Unofficial designation for the F/A-18C and D Hornets supplied to the Kuwaiti Air Force.
F/A-18E Super Hornet Enlarged version of F/A-18C to replace F-14 Tomcat. Lengthened fuselage, larger wing and tailplane, rectangular air intakes for new F404 engines but F/A-18C standard avionics fit.
F/A-18F Super Hornet Two seat combat capable version of F/A-18E.
F/A-18G “Growler” Projected Electronic Warfare version of F/A-18D to replace EA-6B Prowler.

History

Key Dates:
9th June 1974    First flight of YF-17.
2nd May 1975    YF-17 Model 267 declared winner of competition.
1st March 1977    Named “Hornet” by the Secretary of the Navy.
18 November 1978    Maiden flight of first F/A-18A.
May 1980    First deliveries to US Navy operational test and evaluation force.
August 1982    First deliveries to a service unit – VMFA-314.
7 January 1983    VMFA-314 declared operational.
15 August 1984    Maiden flight of F/A-18(R) test aircraft.
3 September 1986    Maiden flight of first F/A-18C.
1 November 1989    Delivery of first F/A-18C Night Attack version.
15 April 1992    Maiden flight of first AN/APG-73 equipped F/A-18C.
1987    ‘Blue Angels’ aerial display team debut with the F/A-18.
29 November 1995    Maiden flight of first F/A-18E Super Hornet.
late 1998    First production delivery of F/A-18E/F to US Navy.
2002    First carrier air wing cruise for F/A-18E/F.
EF/A-18A C.15-36 from Ala 15 of the Spanish Air
Force. (photo, Anthony Noble)

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Navy & Reserve (31 Sqns with F/A-18A/B/C/D, 2 Sqns with F/A-18E/F)
U.S. Marine Corps & Reserve (21 Sqns. with F/A-18A/C/D)
Australia – Air Force (4 Sqns. with 57 AF-18A and 18 AF-18B)
Canada – Armed Forces (5 Sqns. with 98 CF-188A and 40 CF-188B)
Finland – Air Force (57 F/A-18C and 7 F/A-18D)
Kuwait – Air Force (2 Sqns. with 32 KAF-18C and 8 KAF-18D)
Malaysia – Air Force (8 F/A-18D)
Spain – Air Force (4 Sqns with 60 EF-18A and 12 EF-18B)
Switzerland – Air Force (26 F/A-18C and 8 F/A-18D)

Government Agencies

NASA F/A-18B

Civilian Operators

None  

Specifications

Boeing F/A-18A Hornet
Crew: One (Two in F/A-18B)
Dimensions: Length 56 ft 0 in (17.07 m); Height 15 ft 3.5 in (4.66 m); Wing Span 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m) without wingtip AAMs, 40 ft 4.75 in (12.31 m) with wingtip AAMs; Wing Area 400.00 sq ft (37.16 sq m)
Engines: Two General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofans each rated at 16,000 lb st (71.17 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 28,600 lb (12,973 kg); Normal Take-off 33,585 lb (15,234 kg) on a fighter mission; Maximum Take-off 48,253 lb (21,888 kg) for an attack mission
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,033+ kts (1,190 mph, 1915 kph) at high altitude; Maximum rate of climb at sea level 45,000 ft/min (13715 m/min); Combat ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Ferry range with drop tanks 1,800+ nm (2,073 mls, 3,336 km); Combat radius on a fighter mission 400 nm (460 mls, 740 km) or 575 nm (662 mls, 1065 km) on an attack mission
Armament: M61A1 20-mm Vulcan cannon in the nose with 570 rounds in a drum tank located below the gun and behind the radar. Four AIM-9M Sidewinders carried on the sides of the wing pylons, two on each side. (This arrangement allows a drop tank or bombs to be carried at the same time). Up to 15,500 lb (7030 kg) of bombs, fuel tanks and missiles can be carried on 9 external stores stations – four wing pylons, 2 engine nacelle ‘corner’ stations, one fuselage centre-line hardpoint and one launch rail on each wingtip.
Boeing F/A-18C Hornet
Crew: One (Two in F/A-18D)
Dimensions: Length 56 ft 0 in (17.07 m); Height 15 ft 3.5 in (4.66 m); Wing Span 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m) without wingtip AAMs, 40 ft 4.75 in (12.31 m) with wingtip AAMs; Wing Area 400.00 sq ft (37.16 sq m)
Engines: Two General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofans each rated at 16,000 lb st (71.17 kN) with afterburning or (early 1992+ production) F404-GE-402 turbofans each rated at 17,700 lb st (78.73 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty 23,050 lb (10,455 kg); Normal Take-off 36,710 lb (16,652 kg) for a fighter mission or 51,900 lb (23,541 kg) for an attack mission; Maximum Take-off 56,000 lb (25,401 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,033+ kts (1,190 mph, 1915 kph) at high altitude; Maximum rate of climb at sea level 45,000 ft/min (13715 m/min); Combat ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Ferry range with drop tanks 1,800+ nm (2,073 mls, 3,336 km); Combat radius on a fighter mission 400 nm (460 mls, 740 km) or 575 nm (662 mls, 1065 km) on an attack mission
Armament: M61A1 20-mm Vulcan cannon in the nose with 570 rounds in a drum tank located below the gun and behind the radar. Four AIM-9M Sidewinders carried on the sides of the wing pylons, two on each side. (This arrangement allows a drop tank or bombs to be carried at the same time). Up to 15,500 lb (7030 kg) of bombs, fuel tanks and missiles can be carried on 9 external stores stations – four wing pylons, 2 engine nacelle ‘corner’ stations, one fuselage centre-line hardpoint and one launch rail on each wingtip.
Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet
Crew: One (Two in F/A-18F)
Dimensions: Length 60 ft 1.25 in (18.31 m); Height 15 ft 9.5 in (4.82 m); Wing Span 41 ft 10.25 in (12.76 m) without wingtip AAMs, 44 ft 8.5 in (13.62 m) with wingtip AAMs; Wing Area 500.00 sq ft (37.16 sq m)
Engines: Two General Electric F414-GE-400 turbofans each rated at 22,000 lb st (97.86 kN) with afterburning
Weights: Empty Equipped 30,600 lb (13,880 kg); Maximum Take-off 66,000 lb (29,937 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,033+ kts (1,190 mph, 1915 kph) at high altitude; Combat ceiling 50,000 ft (15,240 m); Combat radius on an attack mission 591 nm (681 mls, 1095 km).
Armament: M61A1 20-mm Vulcan cannon in the nose with 570 rounds in a drum tank located below the gun and behind the radar. Four AIM-9M Sidewinders carried on the sides of the wing pylons, two on each side. (This arrangement allows a drop tank or bombs to be carried at the same time). Up to 17,750 lb (8050 kg) of bombs, fuel tanks and missiles can be carried on 11 external stores stations – six wing pylons, 2 engine nacelle ‘corner’ stations, one fuselage centre-line hardpoint and one launch rail on each wingtip.

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: ?
Programme Manager: ?
Design Office: McDonnell Douglas Corporation, St Louis, Missouri.

Manufacture

McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation (MCAir)
(Box 516, St Louis, MO 63166, USA. Later Boeing Military Aircraft)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F/A-18A/B EMD 9/2 St Louis, MO 1978-March 1980
F/A-18A 371 St Louis, MO 1980-1986
F/A-18B 40 St Louis, MO 1980-1986
CF-18A 98 St Louis, MO 1982-Sept 1988
CF-18B 40 St Louis, MO 1982-Sept 1988
EF-18A 60 St Louis, MO 1986-1990
EF-18B 12 St Louis, MO 1986-1990
F/A-18C 355 St Louis, MO 1986-1998
F/A-18C Swiss 2 St Louis, MO 1994-1995
F/A-18D 80+ St Louis, MO 1986-1985
F/A-18D Fin 7 St Louis, MO 1994-1995
F/A-18D Malay 8 St Louis, MO 1996-1997
KAF-18C 32 St Louis, MO 1992-Sept 1993
KAF-18D 8 St Louis, MO 1992-Sept 1993
F/A-18E EMD 5* St Louis, MO 1995-1997
F/A-18F EMD 2 St Louis, MO 1995-1996
F/A-18E 500+ St Louis, MO Sept 1997-2015
F/A-18F 500+ St Louis, MO Sept 1997-2015
Total: ?    

* 3 ground test airframes also manufactured.

ASTA – Aerospace Technologies of Australia
(ASTA, Avalon, Victoria, Australia)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
AF-18A 57* Avalon 1984-1990
AF-18B 18* Avalon 1984-1990
Total: 75    

* First few a/c assembled from St Louis components.

Valmet
(Valmet, Tampere, Finland – later Finavitec)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F/A-18C 57* Tampere 1995-2000
Total: 57    

* All aircraft assembled from St Louis components. 7 F/A-18D also supplied direct from St Louis.

F+W
(F+W, Emmen, Switzerland)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F/A-18C 24* Emmen 1995-1997
F/A-18D 8* Emmen 1995-1997
Total: 32    

* All aircraft assembled from St Louis components. 2 F/A-18C also supplied direct from St Louis.

Total Produced: 1478 a/c

Production List

Boeing F/A-18 (Super) Hornet
(Last updated April 2001)

More Information

Books

‘How to Fly and Fight in the F/A-18 Hornet – Jane’s At the Controls, No.2.’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by David C. Isby
Published by HarperCollins, Dec 1997 ISBN: 0 00472 009 1
* Pilots-eye view of the F/A-18.

‘F/A-18 Hornet – A Navy Success Story’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Dennis R Jenkins & Shelley Carr
Published by McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 31 May 2000 ISBN: 0 07134 696 1
* Good development history. Aviation Week Series.

‘Warbird Tech Vol. 31: Boeing F/A-18 Hornet’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Brad Elward
Published by Speciality Press, 5 July 2001 ISBN: 1 58007 041 8
* Detailed development history with extracts from offical technical manuals.

‘McDonnell Douglas F-18 Hornet – A Photo Chronicle’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Bill Holder & Mike Wallace
Published by Schiffer Publishing, April 1997 ISBN: 0 76430 243 4
* Good pictorial history.

‘F/A-18 Hornet Walkaround’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Lindsay Peacock
Published by Squadron/Signal, June 1999 ISBN: 0 89747 401 5
* Close-up pictorial of external and internal features.

‘F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet Units in Operation Iraqi Freedom (Osprey Combat Aircraft No.46)’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Tony Holmes
Published by Osprey Publishing, 1 July 2004 ISBN: 1 84176 801 4
* Up-to-date coverage of the F/A-18 in combat.

‘Uncovering The Boeing F/A-18 A/B/C/D Hornet’
by Danny Coremans, Nico Deboeck
Published by Daco Publications, July 2004 ISBN: 9 08067 473 7
* Features 700+ colour photos of internal and external details plus scale drawings.

‘The “Air Forces Monthly” Book of the F/A-18 Hornet’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Tim Senior
Published by Key Books Ltd, 26 May 2003 ISBN: 0 94621 969 9
* Highly illustrated profile with good coverage of history, combat use and operators.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 1’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, May 1990 ISBN: 1 87402 300 X
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F/A-18A/B Hornet.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 26’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, July 1996 ISBN: 1 87402 382 4
* Includes ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F/A-18C/D Hornet.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 42’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Nov 1990 ISBN: 1 86184 051 9
* Includes feature on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Magazines

To be added.

Links

F/A-18 Hornet
(US Navy Factfile – basic information)

Super Hornet
(Links to some official US Navy info & pics for the F/A-18E/F)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Good overview with specs, pics and links)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Official Boeing F/A-18 page – news, specs, pics etc)

F/A-18 Hornet Project
(Collection of F/A-18 pics)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Boeing photo gallery for F/A-18)

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
(Defence Technology features of the F/A-18E/F)

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet Wallpaper
(Good quality F/A-18 pics)

McDonnell Douglas
(Military Aviation Photo Gallery – lots of good F/A-18 pics)

Airliners.net
(Lots of “McDonnell Douglas F/A-18” photos)

Airliners.net
(Lots of “Boeing F/A-18” photos)

McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18 Hornet
(Index page for detailed profile of the F/A-18)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Global Security – good overview of the F/A-18)

Boeing F-18 Hornet
(Links to F/A-18 operators around the world + unofficial information sites)

AXLs Plane Gallery
(Several pages of F/A-18 photos)

F/A-18 Hornet
(Comprehensive and up-to-date profile of the F/A-18)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
See Daco Publications listed above.

Videos:

‘Sea Wings – The F/A-18 Hornet’ [Order this video from Amazon UK]
DD Video, B00004CS0H, Catalogue Number: DD1225
* 50 minute documentary on the US Navy F/A-18.

Blackburn Beverley

Aircraft Profile
XH121 of 84 Sqn seen at RAF Riyan in Yemen,
near Mukulla. (photo, John Farrar)

Development

Slab-sided and angular, the Blackburn Beverley never won any beauty contests, but it’s ability to carry bulky loads into short roughly prepared airstrips was almost unsurpassed. A remarkable characteristic considering that at the time of it’s entry into service the Beverley was the largest aircraft ever delivered to the RAF.

The origins of the Beverley lie in a series of design studies carried out by General Aircraft Ltd (GAL) in 1945, looking at the problems of large cargo-transport aircraft. During World War 2, GAL had been responsible for the design of the huge Hamilcar tank-carrying glider, most of which were built by sub-contractors. The development of the all-wood Hamilcar culminated in the Mk X version fitted with two Bristol Mercury engines.

Employing the operational lessons learnt from the wartime use of the Hamilcar, GALs studies projected a twin-finned, four-engined, fixed-undercarriage, pod and boom aircraft with a detachable cargo compartment. Subsequent studies evolved a substantially larger aircraft with a fixed freight compartment, but retaining the same general layout.

In 1946 the Air Ministry issued specification C.3/46 calling for a medium-range tactical transport which could safely use small airfields. GAL submitted a refined version of it’s design, designated G.A.L.60 Universal Freighter, and in 1948 was awarded a contract for two prototypes. The second prototype was later cancelled. As GAL was a fairly small company, with only limited production capacity, it began looking for a partner to help it develop the design. At the same time, Blackburn Aircraft Ltd was looking for additional work to keep its Brough factory busy, and saw good future prospects in the GAL design. Consequently, on 1 January 1949 General Aircraft Ltd merged with Blackburn Aircraft Ltd, to form Blackburn and General Aircraft Ltd.

It was decided that Hanworth Aerodrome, which adjoined GALs Feltham factory, would be unsuitable for initial flight testing of such a large aircraft and in October 1949 the aircraft was disassembled and transported by road to Brough. Reassembly posed a few problems, as the nosewheel had to be raised-up off the ground to keep the tail fins from touching the hangar roof. A simple unpressurised aircraft with fixed landing gear, the G.A.L.60 (WF320) made its maiden flight from Brough on 20 June 1950. Flight testing went very well and the aircraft was soon passed to A&AEE Boscombe Down for handling trials. These, and other tests, were very successful and a further prototype to an improved design was ordered.

The second aircraft (WZ889) differed in having Bristol Centaurus engines in place of the original Bristol Hercules, a redesigned rear fuselage, and an enlarged, more angular, tail-boom to provide passenger accomodation. The rear cargo doors were also changed. The first aircraft had been fitted with rear freight-loading doors hinged at about 30 degrees to the horizontal, together with a hydraulically powered ramp which took some 2.5 minutes to lower. The second aircraft had much larger clam-shell doors with an almost vertical hinge line. These doors could be removed to drop large stores. Also, while the first prototype had large single main wheels, the undercarriage of the second aircraft comprised double wheels on the noseleg, and four-wheel bogies on the main legs – a combination more suited to the rough field operations expected in service.

Construction of the second prototype proceeded rapidly, using many components from the cancelled original second aircraft. Designated G.A.L.65 by General Aircraft and B-100 by Blackburn Aircraft, it first flew in June 1953 – by which time an initial order for 20 production versions had been placed, under the designation B-101 Beverley C.Mk 1. In May 1954 an RAF order for additional aircraft was placed, the eventual total being 47 production aircraft. Several projects for civil versions were also contemplated, including cross-channel car ferry with two decks – but none were produced.

The Beverley was a cantilever monoplane design with the wing mounted on top of a huge two-level fuselage linked to twin fins and rudders by means of an extension to the main fuselage. The two deck fuselage comprised a freight hold of nearly 6,000 cu ft (170 m3) capacity, and a passenger carrying tailboom with accomodation for 36 troops or 30 paratroops. The engine nacelles were mounted low on the wing for minimum drag and optimum cooling. All the engines and their accessory bays were interchangeable. The engines drove 14 ft (4.27 m) diameter four-bladed Rotol constant-speed reversible-pitch propellers. The trailing edge of the wing carried large slotted trailing edge flaps, electrically controlled and synchronized. The nosewheel undercarriage was fixed and the main wheels were situated directly beneath the inner engine nacelles and linked to the fuselage sides by two horizontal fairings. The production version featured some detail modifications – the most noticeable of which were the absence of a nose-mounted flight test instrumentation boom and the adoption of tapered main landing gear strut fairings in place of the previous straight ones.

The first production Beverley C.Mk 1 (XB259) made its maiden flight from Brough on 19 January 1955. This aircraft and the second off the line were retained by the manufacturer to carry out additional flight testing. The second pair of production aircraft were flown to the Aircraft & Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down for acceptance testing and paratrooping trials. The second production aircraft (XB260) used a temporary civil identity (G-AOEK) during late 1955 when it carried some heavy drilling equipment from Qatar to Oman for the Iraq Petroleum Company. Hot weather trials in Tripoli were followed by cold weather trials in Canada, and on 12 March 1956 the first Beverley was delivered to No.47 Squadron RAF Transport Command at Abingdon. From January 1957 sister Abingdon unit No.53 Squadron also converted to the Beverley. THe Abingdon Wing soon established a regular service flying between the UK and RAF Wildenrath in Germany, and a weekly service to Aden.

Aircrew training was undertaken by No.242 OCU, which operated two or three Beverleys for ten years from Dishforth and later Thorney Island. In April 1957 a third Beverley unit was established, No.30 Squadron. This unit moved to Eastleigh Airport, near Nairobi, Kenya in November 1959 and remained there until September 1964 when it moved to Muharraq, Bahrein. From here it ran scheduled services around the Gulf coast in support of UK air and ground forces until it was disbanded in 1967. No.84 Squadron was based in Aden and operated the Beverley from June 1958 on short-haul Army support missions.

In Singapore No.48 Squadron operated a Flight of Beverleys, which became No.34 Squadron on 1 October 1960. The unit flew supplies throughout the region during the Malayan Campaign 1962-66. From early in 1965 many Beverleys were flown back St Athan in Wales to receive a camouflage scheme of brown and sand with black under surfaces. Originally it was intended to fully camouflage the entire upper surface, but the heat build-up in the cockpit area during overseas operations made it intolerable for the crew, so the cockpit roof remained white in order to reflect the sun’s heat away.

Right from it’s entry into service, the Beverley was worked hard flying supplies to British Forces and on disaster relief missions around the world – often operating in arduous ‘hot and high’ conditions. Although possessing an impressive load carrying capability, and very good short field performance the Beverley was slow and lacked range: when carrying a full load the range dropped off considerably. It was perhaps inevitable then that as Britain progressively withdrew from it’s overseas bases during the late 1960s, faster and longer-ranged aircraft would be needed which weren’t dependent on numerous intermediate staging posts.

The arrival of the Lockheed Hercules precipitated a rapid phase-out of the Beverley from early 1967, with many aircraft being flown directly to 27 MU at Shawbury for scrapping. The last aircraft were withdrawn in December 1967 when No.34 Sqn disbanded and it’s aircraft scrapped in Singapore.

However, three examples avoided the beakers axe and managed to survive into the 1980s. XB261 was acquired by the Southend Historic Aviation Museum, but when the museum closed down it was sold to the Moat House Hotel at Southend and then scrapped a short while later. XH124 was put on display at the entrance to the RAF Museum Hendon, but was not safe even at this prestige location. In a (hopefully) unique display of neglect and incompetence, the aircraft was allowed to deteriorate to such a state that in 1990 it had to be cut up for scap. The sole survivor was now XB259 of the Museum of Army Transport at Beverley, East Yorkshire. However, in the summer of 2003 this museum was forced to close down, and on the weekend on May 22-23 2004 the last complete Beverley was dismantled and transported to Fort Paull Museum to the east of Kingston-upon-Hull. Here it will be re-assembled and put on display to the public again.

Variants

Two views of XM103 of the 84 Sqn Detachment at RAF Eastleigh, Nairobi, getting airborne at Eastleigh in 1966. It was one of the first Beverleys put into the then new Middle East Air Force camouflage scheme. (both photos, Keith McKenzie)

Requirement Specification: C.3/46
Manufacturers Designation: B-101

Development History:
G.A.L.60 Universal Freighter General Aircraft Ltd-built first prototype (WF320). Rounded fuselage, single nosewheel & large single wheel main landing gear units. 2,020 hp Bristol Hercules 730 engines.
G.A.L.65 Universal Freighter Mk 2 Brough-built second prototype (WZ889). 80% redesign with squarer fuselage, enlarged tailboom, larger vertically-hinged cargo doors. Double nosewheel and 4-wheel bogie main undercarriage units. 2,850 hp Bristol Centaurus 661 engines.
B-100 Blackburn (Brough) designation for G.A.L.65.
B-101 Beverley C.Mk 1 Production version. Detailed changes, including tapered main landing gear strut fairings. 2,850 hp Bristol Centaurus 173 or 273 engines.
Projected civil version of B-101 for cross-channel car ferry role. Two decks of cars plus passengers in tail boom. (1952)
Projected civil version of B-101 with Napier Nomads as alternative engines. (1953)
B-107 Projected Stage 2 development of B-101, retaining Beverley wing and tail but with completely new rounded fuselage with a larger unobstructed freight hold. Rolls-Royce Tyne turboprop engines. Accomodation for 75 paras or 108 troops. (1956)
B-107A Projected Stage 3 development of B-101. As B-107 but with main loading doors in the nose, rear doors for para-dropping only and relocated flight deck. (1959)
Side view of the G.A.L.60 first prototype WF320,
showing the original rounded rear fuselage.
Note the 4-wheel bogie landing gear undergoing
trials for subsequent aircraft.
(photo, BAE SYSTEMS)

History

Key Dates:
1945    First design studies by General Aircraft Ltd
1946    Specification C.3/46 issued
1946    Initial design of G.A.L. 60 completed
16 December 1948    Order placed by Air Ministry for two G.A.L. 60 prototypes (one later cancelled)
1 January 1949    General Aircraft Ltd merges with Blackburn Aircraft Ltd
October 1949    First prototype moved to Brough for completion
20 June 1950    Maiden flight of G.A.L.60 first prototype (WF320)
31 December 1951    Order for second prototype placed by Air Ministry
1 October 1952    First production order placed, for 20 a/c
December 1952    ‘Beverley’ name allocated
14 June 1953    Initial flight of G.A.L.65 second prototype (WZ889)
30 July 1954    Second production order placed, for 9 a/c
19? January 1955    First flight of first production Beverley C.Mk 1 (XB259)
30 July 1955    Two aircraft delivered to A&AEE for testing
2 January 1956    Third production order placed, for 8 a/c
12 March 1956    First delivery to RAF Transport Command (47 Sqn at Abingdon)
24 September 1956    Fourth production order placed, for 10 a/c
28 May 1958    Last production aircraft delivered (XM112)
31 December 1967    Last Beverley retired from RAF service (with 34 Sqn)
XM107 “S-Sugar” on the 84 Sqn dispersal at Eastleigh in 1965 XM108 ‘T’ backtracking up the runway at Eastleigh in 1965, with other aircraft of the 84 Sqn
Detachment in the background
(both photos, Keith McKenzie)

Operators

Military Operators

UK – Royal Air Force (5 sqns + one OCU)

Government Agencies

UK – A&AEE Boscombe Down (2 for acceptance trials – 1 retained for test duties)

Civilian Operators

civil (1 a/c leased to Iraq Petroleum Company)

Specifications

Blackburn G.A.L.65 Universal Freighter
Crew: Four
Dimensions: Length 99 ft 2 in (30.23 m); Height 37 ft 9 in (11.51 m); Wing Span 162 ft 0 in (49.38 m); Wing Area 2916.0 sq ft (270.90 sq m)
Engine(s): Four Bristol Centaurus 661 radial engines of 2,850 hp (2125 kW).
Weights: Empty 79,234 lb (35,940 kg); Loaded 135,000 lb (61,235 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 239 mph (385 kph) at 5,700 ft (1735 m); Max Cruising speed 226 mph (364 kph) at 12,500 ft (3810 m); Initial rate of climb 760 ft/min (232 m/min); Range 1,300 mls (2092 km) with 29,000 lb (13154 kg) payload.
Payload: Not known.
Blackburn Beverley C. Mk 1
Crew: Four
Dimensions: Length 99 ft 5 in (30.30 m); Height 38 ft 9 in (11.81 m); Wing Span 162 ft 0 in (49.38 m); Wing Area 2916.0 sq ft (270.90 sq m)
Engine(s): Four Bristol Centaurus 173 or 273 18-cylinder air-cooled radial engines of 2,850 hp (2125 kW).
Weights: Empty 79,234 lb (35,940 kg); Normal Loaded 135,000 lb (61,236 kg); Maximum Take-off 143,000 lb (64,864 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 238 mph (383 kph) at 5,700 ft (1735 m); Cruising speed 173 mph (278 kph) at 8,000 ft (2440 m); Initial rate of climb 760 ft/min (232 m/min); Service ceiling 16,000 ft (4875 m); Range 3,690 mls (5938 km) at 188 mph (302 kph) with 1,000 lb (454 kg) payload, 1,300 mls (2092 km) with 29,000 lb (13154 kg) payload or 200 mls (322 km) at 145 mph (233 kph) with 44,000 lb (19958 kg) payload.
Payload: 94 troops, 70 paratroops, 48 casualty stretchers, wheeled vehicles up to 12,500 lb, individual paradrop loads of up to 25,000 lb or 45,000 lb (20412 kg) of freight.

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: F.F. Crocombe with C.W. Prower (of GAL)
Initial Design: General Aircraft Ltd, Feltham, Middlesex

Manufacture

General Aircraft Ltd
(Feltham, Middlesex, UK.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
G.A.L.60 1 Feltham* 1948-1949
Total: 1    

* Final assembly at Brough.

Blackburn and General Aircraft Ltd
(Brough, East Riding of Yorkshire, UK.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
G.A.L.60 (1) Brough* 1949-June 1950
G.A.L.65 1 Brough 1952-June 1953
Beverely C. Mk 1 20 Brough 1954-Oct 1956
Beverley C. Mk 1 9 Brough 1956-Apr 1957
Beverley C. Mk 1 8 Brough 1957-Sept 1957
Beverley C. Mk 1 10 Brough 1957-May 1958
Total: 48    

* First prototype constructed at Feltham, but completed at Brough.
Some sub-assemblies produced by Dumbarton factory (engine nacelles, undercarriage sponsons, clam-shell doors).

Total Produced: 49 a/c (All variants)

Production List

See the Aeromilitaria article listed below.

More Information

Books

‘Blackburn Beverley’
by Bill Overton
Published by Midland Counties, 1990 ISBN: 0 904597 62 8

* Comprehensive history of the Beverley.

‘Blackburn Beverley C.Mk 1 (Warpaint Mini-Monograph: ?)’
by Chris Hobson
Published by Alan W Hall (Publications) Ltd, 1988 ISBN: X 00863 007 X
* A5-size concise profile of the type.

‘Blackburn Aircraft Since 1909’
by A J Jackson
Published by Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1989 ISBN: 0 85177 830 5
* Detailed company history with a long chapter on the Beverley.

‘Blackburn Beverley’
by Geoff Gladstone
Published by Scoval Publishing Ltd, 2004 ISBN: tba
* Not yet published.

Magazines

‘Aeromilitaria’ Summer 2002 (Air-Britain)
* Unit and individual aircraft histories.

Links

The Beverley Association
(short Beverley history, stories and photos, squadrons, books, links etc)

30 Squadron based at RAF Dishforth
(Selection of b+w photos of 30 Sqn Beverleys in action)

Soqotra in 1964/65
(Six excellent photos of Beverleys on this island off Yemen)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.

Videos:

To be added.

Boulton Paul Defiant

Aircraft Profile
Boulton Paul Defiant F. Mk I
(photo, Boulton Paul Association)

Development

Often maligned as a failure, the Boulton Paul Defiant found a successful niche as a night-fighter during the German ‘Blitz’ on London, scoring a significant number of combat kills before being relegated to training and support roles.

The Boulton Paul company first became interested in powered gun turrets when it pioneered the use of a pneumatic-powered enclosed nose turret in the Boulton Paul Overstand biplane bomber. The company subsequently brought the rights to a French-designed electro-hydraulic powered turret and soon became the UK leaders in turret design.

On 26 June 1935, the Air Ministry issued Specification F.9/35 calling for a two-seat fighter with all its armament concentrated in a turret. Peformance was to be similar to that of the single-seat monoplane fighters then being developed. It was envisioned that the new fighter would be employed as destroyer of unescorted enemy bomber formations. Protected from the slipstream, the turret gunner would be able to bring much greater firepower to bear on rapidly moving targets than was previously possible.

Boulton Paul tendered the P.82 design, featuring an 4-gun turret developed from the French design, and was rewarded with an order for two prototypes. On 28 April 1937, the name Defiant was allocated to the project and an initial production order for 87 aircraft was placed before the prototype had even flown.

The first prototype (K8310) made its maiden flight on 11 August 1937, with the turret position faired over as the first turret wasn’t ready for installation. Without the drag of the turret, the aircraft was found to handle extremely well in the air. With these promising results, a further production contract was awarded in Febrary 1938. Performance with the turret fitted was somewhat disappointing, but still considered worthwhile. In May 1938, the second prototype (K8620)was ready for testing. This aircraft was much closer to the final production standard. Development and testing of the aircraft and turret combination proved somewhat protracted, and delivery to the Royal Air Force was delayed until December 1939, when No.264 Squadron received its first aircraft. Numerous engine and hydraulic problems were not finally resolved until early in 1940.

The A. Mk IID turret used on the Defiant was a self-contained ‘drop-in’ unit with its own hydraulic pump. To reduce drag two aerodynamic fairings, one fore and one aft of the turret, were included in the design. Rectraction of these fairings by means of pneumatic jacks allowed the turret to traverse. Too allow the turret a clear field of fire, two rather large radio masts were located on the underside of the fuselage. These masts retracted when the undercarriage was extended. The overall aircraft was of modern stressed skin construction, designed in easy-to-build sub-assemblies which greatly facilitated the rapid build-up in production rates.

Previously, a single-seat fighter unit, 264 Sqn spent some time working out the new tactics required by the type. Good co-ordination was required between the pilot and gunner in order to get into the best position to open fire on a target. A second day fighter unit, 141 Sqn, began converting to the Defiant in April 1940. The Defiant undertook it first operational sortie on 12 May 1940, when 264 Sqn flew a patrol over the beaches of Dunkirk. A Junkers Ju 88 was claimed by the squadron. However, the unit suffered its first losses the following day, when five out of six aircraft were shot down by Bf 109s in large dogfight. The Defiant was never designed to dogfight with single-seat fighters and losses soon mounted. By the end of May 1940, it had become very clear that the Defiant was no match for the Bf 109 and the two squadrons were moved to airfields away from the south coast of England. At the same time, interception of unescorted German bombers often proved successful, with several kills being made.

In the summer of 1940, flight testing commenced of an improved version of the Defiant fitted with a Merlin XX engine featuring a two-speed supercharger (prototype N1550). The resultant changes included a longer engine cowling, deeper radiator and increased fuel capacity. Performance increases were small. Nevertheless, the new version was ordered into production as the Defiant Mk II.

The limitations on the Defiant’s manoeuvrability forced its eventual withdrawal from daylight operations in late August 1940. 264 and 141 squadrons became dedicated night-fighter units. The Defiant night fighters were painted all-black and fitted with flame damper exhausts. Success came quickly, with the first night kill being claimed on 15 September 1940. From November 1940, an increasing number of new night fighter squadrons were formed on the Defiant. Units operating the Defiant shot down more enemy aircraft than any other night-fighter during the German ‘Blitz’ on London in the winter of 1940-41. Initial operations were conducted without the benefit of radar. From the Autumn of 1941, AI Mk 4 radar units began to be fitted to the Defiant. An arrow type aerial was fitted on each wing, and a small H-shaped aerial added on the starboard fuselage side, just in front of the cockpit. The transmitter unit was located behind the turret, with the receiver and display screen in the pilot’s cockpit. The addition of radar brought a change in designation for the Mk I to N.F. Mk IA, but the designation of the Mk II version did not change. By February 1942, the Defiant was obviously too slow to catch the latest German night intruders and the night fighter units completely re-equipped in the period April-September 1942.

From March 1942 many of the remaining aircraft were transferred to Air-Sea Rescue (ASR) units. The aircraft was modified to carry a M-type dinghy in a cylindrical container under each wing. Both Mk I and Mk II versions were used for this task, but the Defiant proved less useful than originally anticipated, and all examples were replaced in this role during the first half of 1943.

A specialised Target-tug version of the Defiant was first ordered in July 1941, designated the T.T. Mk I. The new version was based on the Mk II airframe, with the Merlin XX engine, but with space formerly occupied by the turret now taken up with an observers station with a small canopy. A fairing under the rear fuselage housed the target banner, and a large windmill was fitted on the starboard fuselage side to power the winch. The first prototype Target-tug aircraft (DR863) was delivered on 31 January 1942. 150 Mk II aircraft were also converted to Target-tugs, under the designation T.T. Mk I. A similar conversion of the Mk I was carried out by Reid & Sigrist from early 1942 under the designated T.T. Mk III. Nearly all the Target-tugs were withdrawn from service during 1945, although one example lasted until 27 February 1947.

Another, less publicised, task of the Defiant was in the radar jamming role. 515 Squadron operated at least nine Defiants fitted with ‘Moonshine’ or ‘Mandrel’ radar jamming equipment in support of USAAF 8th Air Force daylight bombing raids on Germany between May 1942 and July 1943, before replacing them with larger aircraft types.

One Defiant T.T. Mk I (DR944) was seconded to Martin Baker on 11 December 1944. It was fitted with the first ever Martin Baker ejection seat in the observers station, and commenced dummy ejection trials on 11 May 1945. Another Defiant (AA292) was later used for similar trials by the Air Ministry until March 1947. Martin Baker retained their Defiant until 31 May 1948.

The lack of forward firing armament presented a great handicap to a fighter which lacked the manoeuvrability to match single-seat fighters in combat, but as an interim night-fighter the Defiant met with a great deal of success.

Defiant first prototype K8310 with turret fitted Defiant single-seat fighter mock-up
(both photos, Boulton Paul Association)

Variants

Requirement Specification: F.9/35 (prototypes), F.5/37 (production)
Manufacturers Designation: P.82

Development History:
first prototype One aircraft with 1,030 hp Merlin I engine. Turret not fitted initially.
second prototype One aircraft with 1,030 hp Merlin II engine. Several detail changes – much closer to production standard.
Defiant F. Mk I Initial day-fighter version.
Defiant N.F. Mk I Night-fighter conversion of F. Mk I. Flame damper exhausts, no radar.
Defiant N.F. Mk IA Night fighter conversion of F. Mk I with AI Mk IV or VI radar fitted.
Defiant Mk II prototypes Two F. Mk I aircraft fitted with 1,260 hp Merlin XX engine, increased fuel capacity, larger rudder and deeper oil cooler and radiator.
Defiant N.F. Mk II Production version of improved day-fighter version with 1,260 hp Merlin XX engine. Same designation with and without radar.
Defiant T.T. Mk I Version of Mk II for Target-tug role with turret removed and winch installed. New production and 150 conversions.
Defiant T.T. Mk II Projected version of Target-tug with 1,620 hp Merlin 24 engine and loaded weight reduced to 7,500 lb.
Defiant T.T. Mk III Version of Mk I converted for Target-tug role with turret removed and winch installed. 150 conversions.
Defiant ASR Mk I 76 conversions of Mk I aircraft for Air-Sea Rescue role.
Defiant Conversion of at least 9 Mk II aircraft for radar jamming role with ‘Moonshine’ installed.
Defiant Conversion of several Defiants for radar jamming role with ‘Mandrel’ installed.
Defiant Single-Seat Fighter Projected conversion with turret space faired over and armament of two 0.303 machine guns in each wing. Mock-up up built by converting first prototype, but no production.
Defiant Trainer Projected dual-control trainer version with turret replaced by second cockpit. Design work stopped when 80% complete.
P.85 Projected naval fighter version of F. Mk I with Bristol Hercules or Merlin engine, but Blackburn Roc ordered instead.
P.94 Project for improved single-seat fighter version with Merkin XX engine, cut-down rear fuselage and wings equipped for 12 machine guns or four 20 mm cannon + 4 machine guns.
Defiant TT. Mk I DR972 Production Defiant Is at the factory
(both photos, Boulton Paul Association)

History

Key Dates:
26 June 1935    Specification F.9/35 issued
4 December 1935    Contract for two P.82 prototypes signed
Feb 1936    P.82 mockup completed
26 June 1935    First prototype construction moved to Wolverhampton
28 April 1937    Defiant name allocated and first production order received
11 August 1937    Maiden flight of first prototype (without turret)
Feb 1938    Turret fitted to first prototype
18 May 1938    Maiden flight of second prototype
30 July 1939    First flight of first production F. Mk I day fighter
December 1939    First production delivery to the RAF (264 Sqn)
12 May 1940    First operational sortie, over the beaches of Dunkirk
20 July 1940    First flight of Mk II prototype
28 August 1940    Withdrawal from daytime operations
15 Sept 1940    First night-fighter kill claimed
Sept 1941    Radar equipment first installed
September 1941    Mk II enters Squadron service
1942    Withdrawal from night-fighter role
May 1945    One aircraft used for first ejection seat trials
27 February 1947    Last Defiant retired from RAF use
Defiant F. Mk I banks away Defiant N.F. Mk I N3313 P-PS
(both photos, 264 Sqn Association)

Operators

Military Operators

UK – Royal Air Force (day fighter: 2 sqns; night fighter 13 sqns; ASR 5 sqns; target-tug 7 sqns; special duties 1 sqn; numerous misc. units)
UK – Fleet Air Arm (18 FRU sqns with Target-tugs 1942-45)
USA – USAAF (2 T.T. Mk I aircraft)

Government Agencies

UK – RAE Farnborough (large number for test duties)

Civilian Operators

UK – Martin Baker (1 a/c seconded – ejection seat testing)
UK – Rotol (2 a/c seconded – propeller testing)

Specifications

Boulton Paul Defiant N.F. Mk I
Role: Night-fighter
Crew: Two
Dimensions: Length 35 ft 4 in (10.77 m); Height 11 ft 4 in (3.45 m); Wing Span 39 ft 4 in (11.99 m); Wing Area 250.0 sq ft (23.23 sq m)
Engine(s): One liquid cooled, 12 cylinder Vee, Rolls-Royce Merlin III of 1,030 hp (768 kW).
Weights: Empty Equipped 6,078 lb (2,757 kg); Normal Take-off 8,318 lb (3,773 kg); Maximum Take-off 8,600 lb (3,900 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 250 mph (402 kph) at sea level, 302.5 mph (486 kph) at 16,500 ft (5,029 m); Cruising speed 259 mph (416 kph); Initial rate of climb 1,900 ft/min (579 m/min); Service ceiling 28,100 ft (8,565 m); Range 465 mls (748 km) at 259 mph (416 kph); Endurance 1.78 hr.
Armament: Four .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine-guns in power-operated Boulton Paul A. Mk IID dorsal turret, with 600 rounds per gun.
Boulton Paul Defiant N.F. Mk II
As above, except for the following:-
Dimensions: Height 14 ft 5 in (4.39 m)
Engine(s): One liquid cooled, 12 cylinder Vee, Rolls-Royce Merlin XX of 1,280 hp (954 kW).
Weights: Empty Equipped 6,282 lb (2,849 kg); Normal Take-off 8,424 lb (3,821 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed 250 mph (402 kph) at sea level, 315 mph (504 kph) at 16,500 ft (5,029 m); Cruising speed 260 mph (418 kph); Initial rate of climb 1,900 ft/min (579 m/min); Service ceiling 33,600 ft (10,242 m); Range 465 mls (748 km) at 259 mph (416 kph); Endurance 1.78 hr.
Defiant first Prototype K8310
(photo, Beehive Hockey Photo Museum)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: John North
Design Office: Boulton Paul Aircraft Ltd, Norwich (later Wolverhampton)

Manufacture

Boulton Paul Aircraft Ltd
(Pendeford Airport, Wobaston Road, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, UK.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Defiant prototypes 2 Wolverhampton* March 1936-May 1938
Defiant Mk I 712 Wolverhampton 1939-July 1941
Defiant Mk II 210** Wolverhampton July 1941-Jan 1942
Defiant TT Mk I 140 Wolverhampton late 1941-Feb 1943
Total: 1064    

* Construction of first prototype begun at Norwich, but completed at Wolverhampton.
** Plus seven conversions of Mk I aircraft on the production line.
Major sub-assemblies produced by Redwing Aircraft of Heath Town and Daimler Cars in Wolverhampton.

Total Produced: 1064 a/c (All variants)

Production List

See ‘The Defiant File’ listed below.

Boulton Paul Defiant F. Mk I
(photo, 264 Sqn Association)

More Information

Books

‘The Turret Fighters – Defiant and Roc (Crowood Aviation Series)’
by Alec Brew
Published by Crowood Press, 2002 ISBN: to be added
* Comprehensive history of the two British turret-armed fighters of WW2.

‘The Defiant File’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Alec Brew
Published by Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1996 ISBN: 0 85130 226 2
* Very detailed monograph including individual aircraft histories.

‘Boulton Paul Aircraft Since 1915’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Alec Brew
Published by Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1993 ISBN: 1 85177 860 7
* Detailed company history with a long chapter on the Defiant.

‘Aircraft For The Few: The RAF’s Fighters And Bombers in 1940’
by Micheal J.F. Bowyer
Published by Patrick Stephens Ltd, Aug 1991 ISBN: 1 85260 040 3
* Details of all RAF Battle of Britain aircraft. Includes a chapter on the Defiant.

‘Defiant II Pilots Notes’
Published by Air Data Publications, 1972 & reprints ISBN: n/a
* Facsimile reprint of the official Air Ministry pilots notes.

‘Boulton Paul Defiant: Profile No.117’
by Micheal J.F. Bowyer
Published by Profile Publications Ltd, 1966 ISBN: n/a
* Concise well illustrated history of the Defiant.

Links

264 Squadron Association
(Squadron history, aircraft used, Association info, news, links etc)

Boulton Paul Association
(Association info, restoration projects etc)

Aircraft of the Fleet Air Arm – Boulton Paul P.82 Defiant
(Concise summary of Defiant history and FAA use)

Boulton Paul Defiant in Detail
(Selection of detailed close-up photos of the Hendon example, IPMS Stockholm page)

Beehive Hockey Photo Museum
(Collection of photos of WW2 Allied aircraft + ice hockey info)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.

Videos:

To be added.

Beriev MBR-2

Aircraft Profile
MBR-2bis – note the uncowled engine.
(photo, via author)

Development

Russian seaplane development made reasonable advances during the final decade of the Tsarist government, with such types as the Grigorovitch biplanes – which were virtually copies of the Austrian Lohner flying-boat. But after the Bolshevik revolution it languished owing to the poor state of the Soviet economy. Little interest was shown until the 1920s when a requirement was issued for a reconnaissance type for use with coastal units on the Baltic and Black Seas.

The requirement was met by Georgii Mikhailovich Beriev, who at the age of 22 joined a new design bureau which was established in 1928 by a French designer, Paul-Aime Richard. The bureau was involved in developing an all-metal twin-engined twin-float seaplane, the TOM.1, sea-going torpedo aircraft of which Beriev designed most of the structural components. In 1930 Beriev left Richard to join the TsKB in Moscow where he was appointed chief designer.

By 1932 when licenced production of the Italian SIAI-Marchetti SM.62bis (MBR-4) had begun at Taganrog, Beriev had finished the design of a flying-boat which was designated MBR-2 (Morskoy Blizhnii Razvedchik) or Naval Short-Range Reconnaissance. The prototype of which had begun its flight test programme.

A shoulder wing monoplane of all wood construction (except for the metal fin & rudder) powered by a BMW VI.Z 12-cylinder water-cooled engine mounted above the centre section of the wing on ‘N’ struts and driving a four-bladed wooden airscrew in the pusher mode. The engine being rated at 730 hp at take-off and 500 hp for cruise, the aircraft attained a maximum speed of 129 mph with a ceiling of 14,436 ft. The MBR-2 possessed good hydrodynamic qualities and in 1934 entered production at Taganrog where Beriev transferred his bureau from Moscow. The type became the successor to the Italian designed S.62 which was known by the Soviets as the MBR.4.

The production version of the MBR-2 was powered by the licence built BMW known as the M-17b. Some minor modifications added extra weight to the aircraft bringing the maximum speed down to 124 mph. Maximum range was 715 miles. Armament comprised a 7.62 mm machine gun in the bows and also in a dorsal position aft of the wing and 661 lbs of bombs or mines could carried on racks under the wings.

In 1936 the MBR-2 became the standard reconnaissance flying boat of the Soviet Navy, often being fitted with alternative wheel or ski undercarriage for land operations. A commercial version was designed in 1934 as the MP-1 (Morskoy Passazhersky), which accommodated 6 passengers and a crew of 2, one of which operated on passenger routes between Odessa and Batumy. The prototype MP-1bis established various international records in May 1937 being flown by female pilot P.D. Osipenko.

The original military version was later modified by incorporating an enclosed cockpit replacing the original open version and a re-designed vertical tail surface plus the new Mikulin AM-34n engine which was rated at 830 hp and drove a 3-bladed metal airscrew.

The favourable characteristics of the MBR-2 was extremely liked by its crew and left little to be desired. It remained in service during the Second World War even though the production terminated in 1941 when more than 1,300 MBR-2s and MP-1 had been manufactured at Taganrog. The Beriev design bureau continued to develop water-borne aircraft up until today.

(served in Northern and Black Sea Fleets for recce/ASR duties trougout WW2 – and long after in fishery prostection and allied roles.

MBR-2 ‘9’ again with an uncowled engine.
(photo, via author)

Variants

Requirement Specification: Not known
Manufacturers Designation: Not known

Development History:
TsKB-25 First prototype, intended for M-27 engine but fitted with 500 hp BMW VI.F engine. Wing area 52.7 m2.
MBR-2 Initial production version. Wing area increased to 55 m2. Square topped fin & rudder. Open cockpit and gun positions, provision for wheel/ski undercarriage. 7.62 mm PV-1 machine guns. 3 small portholes added in fuselage. One 680 hp M-17B engine.
MBR-2bis Late production version. Enclosed cockpit, dorsal turret, larger pointed fin and rudder, beefed-up structure. One 860 hp AM-34NB engine in new oval nacelle shape. Later production with increased fuel capacity.
MBR-2/M-17b Alternative designation for early production MBR-2.
MBR-2/AM-34 Alternative designation for MBR-2bis.
MBR-2/M-34FN Projected version of MBR-2bis with M-34FN engine. Not built.
MBR-2/M-103 Designation for modernised version of MBR-2bis with M-103 engine. One conversion in 1937. No production due to lack of engines.
MBR-2 VU Several dozen MBR-2 converted for co-operation with torpedo boats. 5-seater with extra cabin for radio operators.
MBR-2bis VU Several MBR-2bis converted for co-operation with torpedo boats. 5-seater with extra cabin for radio operators.
MBR-2 One-off staff transport conversion. 1936. Eight seats.
MBR-2 Several dozen M-17B engined versions upgraded with MBR-2bis-style tail.
MP-1 6-passenger civil transport version of MBR-2. Enlarged porthole windows, sound-proofed cabin, bow gun position faired over, boarding hatch in place of rear gun position. One 500 hp M-17B engine.
MP-1 Photo survey version – at least 2 converted.
MP-1T Civil freighter (Tranportny) version of ex-military MBR-2. Strengthened cabin floor and freight loading hatch added. Armament deleted. One 500 hp M-17B engine.
MP-1bis Civil transport version of MBR-2bis. Armament deleted. One 750 hp AM-34B engine.
MP-1bis Photo survey version – at least 7 converted.
MP-1Tbis Civil freighter (Tranportny) version of ex-military MBR-2bis. Strengthened cabin floor and freight loading hatch added. Armament deleted.
MBR-7 Alternative designation for MBR-2/M-103.
Be-2 Designation erroneously attributed to MBR-2bis – actually it was the KOR-1.
Mote ASCC reporting name assigned for use by NATO in 1954.
Passenger transport MP-1bis with fuselage
windows. (photo, via author)

History

Key Dates:
1930?    Soviet Government issues official requirement for an aircraft to replace the S.62bis
May 1931    Design for TsKB-25 initiated.
Autumn 1931    Design work halted while replacement for M-27 engine sought.
December 1931    First prototype TsKB-25 completed.
3 May 1932    Maiden flight of TsKB-25 prototype at Sevastopol.
10 January 1933    State acceptance trials commenced.
August 1933    TskB-25 accepted for service as MBR-2.
late 1933    Start of MBR-2 series production.
9 February 1934    State acceptance trials completed.
1934    MP-1 first flight.
spring 1934    MBR-2 enters AV-MF service.
1934    Initial MP-1 deliveries to Aeroflot.
1935    Redesign produces MBR-2bis.
May 1936    MP-1 enters passenger service with Aeroflot.
1936    MP-1T enters service with Aeroflot.
22-25 May 1937    International altitude records set by P.D. Osipenko in MP-1bis prototype.
1937    MP-1bis enters passenger service with Aeroflot.
1937    Testing of MBR-7 improved version.
2 July 1938    Distance record of 2,416 km in 10 hrs 33 mins set by P.D Osipenko in MP-1bis.
August 1938    First combat use of MBR-2bis in battle of Lake Khasan against Japanese.
1940    Series production ends with last new-build MBR-2bis.
1946    MBR-2bis finally withdrawn from AV-MF service.
1954?    MP-1bis withdrawn from fishery patrol service.
Finnish MBR-2bis VV-181 seen at Hirviranta,
near Joensuu on Lake Höytiainen in Autumn 1941
(photo, via author)

Operators

Military Operators

Finland – Air Force 2 MBR-2 & 3 MBR-2bis (captured)
North Korea – Air Force some MBR-2bis
USSR – AV-MF (navy) MBR-2 & MBR-2bis aircraft

Government Agencies

USSR – People’s Commissariat for Fishery MP-1T & MP-1bis
USSR – Administration of the Topographic-Geodesic Service MP-1 & MP-1bis

Civilian Operators

USSR – Aeroflot MP-1 & MP-1bis
USSR – Polyarnaya Aviatsiya (Polar Aviation) MP-1T

Specifications

Beriev MBR-2
Accomodation: three or four: front gunner/navigator, one or two pilots, rear gunner/radio operator
Dimensions: Length 44 ft 3.75 in (13.5 m); Height 17 ft 9 in (5.42 m); Wing Span 62 ft 4 in (19.0 m); Wing Area 592 sq ft (55.00 sq m)
Engines: One 680 hp M-17b (BMW VI) 12-cylinder Vee water cooled engine.
Weights: Empty operating 5456 lb (2475 kg), Max Take-off 9039 lb (4100 kg).
Performance: Max. Level Speed 126 mph (203 km/h) at 6,560 ft (2,000 m); Cruising speed 99 mph (160 km/h); Climb to 1,000 m (3280 ft) in 5.5 minutes; Service ceiling 14,400 ft (4,400 m); Normal Range 405 miles (650 km).
Armament: One 7.62 mm DA machine-gun each in open bow and dorsal positions. Maximum weapons load 661 lb (300 kg) of bombs, mines or depth-charges under inner wings.
Beriev MBR-2bis
Accomodation: three or four: front gunner/navigator, one or two pilots, rear gunner/radio operator
Dimensions: Length 44 ft 3.75 in (13.5 m); Height 16 ft 5.5 in (5.02 m); Wing Span 62 ft 4 in (19.0 m); Wing Area 592 sq ft (55.00 sq m)
Engines: One 860 hp Mikulin AM-34NB 12-cylinder Vee water cooled engine.
Weights: Empty operating 7024 lb (3186 kg), Max Take-off 9359 lb (4245 kg).
Performance: Max. Level Speed 171 mph (275 km/h) at 6,560 ft (2,000 m); Climb to 1,000 m (3280 ft) in 5.0 minutes; Service ceiling 23,450 ft (7,150 m); Normal Range 498 miles (800 km).
Armament: One 7.62 mm ShKAS machine-gun each in open bow position and manually operated dorsal turret. Maximum weapons load 661 lb (300 kg) of bombs, mines or depth-charges under inner wings.
MBR-2bis ’11’ taking off. (photo, via author)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: G.M. Beriev
Design Offices: Prototype: Central Design Office of Marine Shipbuilding (CCB), Moscow. Production (1932+): OKB Beriev, 1 Aviatorov Square, 347923, Taganrog, Russia

Manufacture

GAZ-10/Zavod 31
(Taganrog)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
TsKB-25 prototype 1 Zavod 39* 1931-1932
MBR-2 450+? Taganrog late 1933-1935
MP-1 prototype 1 Taganrog 1934
MP-1 75+ Taganrog 1934-1937
MBR-2bis 750+? Taganrog 1935-1940
MP-1T (? conv.) Taganrog? 1935-1940
MP-1bis 50+ Taganrog 1936-1939
Total: 1365    

Total Produced: 1365 a/c (all variants)
* Zavod 39 = Menshinskii, Moscow.

Production List

To be added.

More Information

Books

‘MBR-2: Pervyi Gidrosamolet G.M. Berieva’ (AviaPress Bookshop)
by A.N. Zablotskii i A.I. Sal’nikov
Restart, Russia, Jan 2003   ISBN: 5 94141 006 9
* Very well illustrated history of the MBR-2. Russian text.

‘Illiustrirovannaia Entsiklopediia Samoletov TANTK Im. G.M. Berieva 1932-1945’ (AviaPress Bookshop)
by G.S. Panatov i K.G. Udalov
Aviko Press, Russia, 1998    ISBN: 5 86309 000 4
* Detailed history of all early Beriev aircraft, including unbuilt projects. Many illustrations.

‘Aircraft of the Fighting Powers Vol.III’
by H.J. Cooper & O.G. Thetford
Harborough Publishing, 1942    ISBN: n/a
* Includes short profile and fold-out 3-view line drawing.

‘Flying-Boats & Seaplanes since 1910’
by Kenneth Munson
Blandford Press, 1971    ISBN: 0 7137 0537 X
* Includes short profile and 2-view colour drawing.

‘Soviet Aircraft & Aviation 1917-1941’
by Lennart Andersson
Putnam, 1994    ISBN: 0 85177 859 3
* Includes 3 pages on the MBR-2.

‘The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft 1875-1995’
by Bill Gunston
Osprey Publishing, 1995    ISBN: 1 85532 405 9
* Includes a detailed entry for the MBR-2.

Magazines

Aeroplane Monthly May 1967
IPMS Mallari No.48 (Finnish text, includes drawings)
Mir Aviatsii No.2 2000
Aviatsija i Vremya No.1 2004 (includes scale drawings)
Aviatsija Aviation Magazine No.12bis
Avions Nos.66 & 67

Links

Beriev.com
* The official Beriev website

Wikipedia: Beriev MBR-2
* Very brief history and spec

Wings Palette
* 21 col profiles of MBR-2/MP-1 aircraft, including the prototype

Russian Warrior
* Spec plus brief operational history

Beriev MBR-2
* Brief info on aircraft captured by Finland

Warbird Photo Album
* 4 photos of MBR-2 aircraft

Beriev MBR-2
* Short history and spec

MBR-2
* Outline history and spec

MP-1, MP-1bis
* Outline history and spec

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
Roy Tassell has a nice 1/36 scale drawing of the MBR-2.

Videos:

To be added.

Yakovlev Yak-41 ‘Freestyle’

Aircraft Profile
Yak-141 in the hover – rear exhaust nozzle
faces downwards. (photo, John Hayles)

Development

The Yak-41 is a supersonic V/STOL (Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing) naval fighter. Although it never entered operational service, some of it’s advanced technology will see application on Lockheed-Martin’s F-35 fighter.

Yakovlev’s first experiment with jet-lift was the primitive Yak-36 (NATO: Freehand), which made its first vertical take-off on 24 March 1966. Vertical take-off on this aircraft was achieved by locating a swivelling jet exhaust nozzle for each of it’s two engines directly under the aircraft’s centre of gravity. The experience thus gained led to the larger Yak-38 naval fighter-bomber (NATO: Forger), which first flew in 1970 and entered service with the AV-MF (Fleet Naval Aviation) on 6 October 1976. This time, twin swivelling exhaust nozzles for the single main engine were combined with two dedicated lift engines located in the forward fuselage. Unfortunately, the technology incorporated in the Yak-38 was still immature and the type encountered numerous technical and operational problems.

Lack of thrust from the Yak-38’s engines severely limited the possible weapons payload and the amount of fuel that could be carried, whilst high fuel consumption resulted in very poor range. No radar was carried, to save weight, which limited it’s ability to carry out air defence missions. In addition, aircraft serviceability remained low throughout the type’s service life.

While development work on the Yak-38 was still proceeding, Yakovlev was authorised in 1975 to begin work on a more capable replacement, for use in the fleet air defence role from AV-MF aircraft carriers. After exploring a number of enhancements to the Yak-38 airframe it was concluded that only a much larger airframe with more powerful engines could hope to provide the neccessary performance. Designated Yak-41, the resulting new design retained the same basic layout as the Yak-38 but was almost 30% larger and twice as heavy (in empty weight) as its predecessor. A Fazotron S-41M Zhuk radar was installed in the nose.

To power the Yak-41, a new engine was developed. The R-79 was fitted with an afterburner to allow supersonic performance, while the single swivelling exhaust nozzle was located between two deep tail booms. Two new RD-41 lift engines were installed behind the cockpit, inclined forwards by 5 degrees and exhausting through nozzles which could deflect by +/- 12.5 degrees to give thrust vectoring. During a vertical take-off or landing the main nozzle pointed 90 degrees downwards, while for a short take-off it was deflected at 63 degrees.

In 1977 the decision was made to proceed with full development of the Yak-41, and in the following year construction began of the aircraft carrier Baku (later renamed Admiral Gorshkov), which was expected to include the Yak-41 in it’s air wing.

In 1985 it was decided to make the Yak-41 a multi-purpose fighter rather than a dedicated interceptor, under the designation Yak-41M. The design of the additional aircraft systems required caused a delay in the development programme. Two static test Yak-41Ms were build – the first (48-0) was used for static and fatigue tests, while the second (48-1, bort ’48’ yellow) was employed performing engine ground running trials in both cruise and VTOL modes. These two airframes were followed by two flight-rated airframes ’75’ white (48-2) and ’77’ white (48-3).

The first flight was made on 9 March 1987 in conventional mode, and the first hover was carried out on 29 December 1989. During April 1991 a series of flights gained 12 FAI recognised world records for VTOL aircraft, which were recorded under the designation Yak-141. This designation was later re-used for the proposed export variant of the aircraft.

On 26 September 1991 the first landing on board Admiral Gorshkov was successfully accomplished. Unfortunately, on 5 October 1991, aircraft ’77’ white experienced a landing accident aboard the carrier which resulted in it being grounded. Economic reality caught up with the Yak-41M in November 1991 when a drastically reduced defence budget for the newly created CIS left the programme without any further state funds.

In September 1992 aircraft ’75’ white was repainted as ‘141’ white and displayed at the Farnborough Air Show, in an attempt to attract foreign funding, but this ploy was unsuccessful and development ceased in 1993.

The production version was planned to feature uprated engines allowing take-off with more weapons or additional fuel. A prototype two-seat trainer was never completed. An advanced stealthy version designated Yak-43 remained only a project.

During the summer of 1995, Lockheed Martin announced a teaming arrangement with Yakovlev to assist in the former’s bid for the JAST (Joint Adanced Strike Technology) competition. Yakovlev’s knowledge of jet lift technology was to prove invaluable. Lockheed Martin was subsequently selected to build a demonstrator aircraft, the X-35, which went on to win the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) competition and will soon become a production fighter as the F-35.

One of the key problems with the Yak-41M jet-lift system was the need to engage afterburner for vertical take-off or landing. At land bases this soon resulted in damage to the runway, while the Admiral Gorshkov was fitted with a special water-cooling system to absorb the heat from the jet blast. Hence, the Yak-41M was in no sense a Harrier-style go-anywhere aircraft.

Variants

Requirement Specification:
Manufacturers Designation: Izdelye 48, Izdelye 48M

Development History:
‘Ram-T’ Interim designation assigned by NATO to Yak-41M.
Yak-41 Various alternative configurations explored, including: single lift/cruise engine with single vectoring nozzle, lift engines ahead of cockpit, directable rectangular afterburner exhaust or Yak-45 variant.
Yak-41 Original dedicated interceptor design. [Izdelye 48]
Yak-41M Planned production version with added anti-ship capability. 2 flying prototypes built. Production aircraft would have had uprated R-79M engines and flight refuelling probe. [Izdelye 48M]
Yak-41U Tandem two-seat trainer version – prototype not completed.
Yak-43 Projected advanced STOL version – land based for VVS use. Samara NK-321 engine from Tu-160 bomber + 2 RD-41 lift engines. Trapezoidal wing, lengthened fuselage with increased fuel load and internal weapons bay. Reduced radar signature. [Izdelye 201]
Yak-141 Designation applied to Yak-41M for record breaking flights. Later used as export designation for Yak-41M.
Yak-141M Designation for proposed export variant of Yak-41M. Increased STO weight to 21,500 kg (47,399 lb). Improved avionics.
The side view emphasises the length of the
Yak-141. (Photo, John Hayles)
Twin-boom tail with main nozzle in-between.
(Photo, John Hayles)

History

Key Dates:
1975    Government directive to start work on Yak-38 replacement.
1977    Detailed design of the Yak-41 begins.
1985    Decision in favour of Yak-41M multi-purpose variant.
1986    Second ground test airframe (bort 48 yellow) begins engine runs.
1986    Programme first noticed by the West at Zhukhovskii. Temporarily named ‘Ram-T’.
9 March 1987    Yak-41M first flight from rolling take-off (bort 75 white).
Spring 1988    NATO reporting name ‘Freestyle’ assigned.
12 April 1989    Second prototype (bort 77 white) makes first flight from rolling take-off.
Summer 1989    Mach 1 exceeded for the first time.
29 December 1989    First hovering flight (bort 77 white).
13 June 1990    First full profile flight (VTO – cruise – VL).
April 1991    Andrei Sintsyn sets 12 world records for VTOL aircraft as ‘Yak-141’.
26 September 1991    First landing aboard aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.
5 October 1991    Aircraft 77 white damaged in hard landing on Admiral Gorshkov.
November 1991    Russian government funding support ceases.
September 1992    ‘Yak-141’ appears at Farnborough Air Show in UK.
1993    Planned delivery date for first production aircraft – cancelled.
1993    Work on Yak-41 terminated.
Summer 1995    Programme temporarily revived under Lockheed-Martin contract.

Operators

Military Operators

Russia – Naval Air Force (AV-MF) (Yak-141)

Government Agencies

None  

Civilian Operators

None  
Sharp-edged supersonic air intakes and
radar nose. (Photo, John Hayles)
The lift fan doors are still open in this underside
view. (Photo, John Hayles)

Specifications

Yakovlev Yak-41 ‘Freestyle’
Crew: 1 pilot
Dimensions: Length 60 ft 0 ins (18.30 m); Height 16 ft 5 in (5.00 m); Wing Span 33 ft 1.75 in (10.10 m), 19 ft 4.25 in (5.90 m) wings folded; Wing Area 341.56 ft2 (31.7 m2)
Engines: One Soyuz/Kobchenko R-79V-300 vectored-thrust lift/cruise turbofan developing 34,170 lb (15,500 kg) with afterburning or 23,148.5 lb (10,500 kg) dry, plus two Rybinsk/Kuznetsov RD-41 turbofan lift engines each rated at a 9,039lb (4,100kg) dry
Weights: Empty equipped 25,684 lb (11,650 kg); VTO max take-off 34,833 lb (15,800 kg); STO max take-off 42,990 lb (19,500 kg)
Armament:One 30 mm Gsh-30-1 cannon under the port side fuselage with 120 rounds, four underwing hardpoints (all inboard of the wing fold) rated at (1102 lb) 500 kg each for R-77/AA-12 ‘Adder’ or R-27/AA-10 ‘Alamo’ radar-guided medium-range missiles and R-73/AA-11 ‘Archer’ short-range IR-guided missiles, or Kh-31A (AS-17 Krypton) and Kh-35 anti-shipping missiles, or Kh-31P and Kh-58 (AS-11 Kilter) anti-radar missiles, bombs or unguided rockets and one under-fuselage hardpoint for a conformal fuel tank. VTO max external load 2,204 lb (1,000 kg), STO max external load 5,732 lb (2,600 kg), max external fuel 2000 litres (440 Imp Gal) or 3,858 lb (1,750 kg).
Performance: Maximum level speed 675 kts (777 mph, 1,250 km/hr) at sea level, 971 kts (1118 mph, 1,800 km/hr) at 36,089 ft (11,000 m), Mach 1.8 maximum; Initial rate of climb 49,213 ft/min (250 m/sec); Service ceiling more than 49,215 ft (15,000 m); VTO clean range at sea level (no external weapons) 351 nm (404 miles, 650 km), with 4,409 lb (2,000 kg) weapon load and take-off run of 394 ft (120 m) 372 nm (690 km), VTO clean range at 32,808-39,370 ft (10-12,000 m) 755 nm (870 miles, 1,400 km), max range with external fuel and short take-off 1,133 nm (2,100 km), range with vertical takeoff and internal fuel 755 nm (1,400 km).
Note the open intake blow-in doors during
take-off. (Photo, John Hayles)
The Farnborough display started with a
rolling take-off. (Photo, John Hayles)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: S.G. Mordovin & A.B. Zvyagintsev, later Konstantin Popovich
Design Office: A.S. Yakovlev OKB, 68 Leningradsky Prospeckt, 125315 Moscow

Manufacture

Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
Yak-41 4 Yak OKB, Moscow 1985-1989
Total: 4    

Total Produced: 4 a/c (1 structural article + 1 ground test article + 2 flight test examples)
[Small Yak-41M production batch ordered early 1991 from Smolensk factory, but cancelled November 1991]

Production List

To be added.

More Information

Books

‘SOVIET V/STOL AIRCRAFT: Struggle for a Shipborne Combat Capability’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Michael J. Hirschberg
Published by AIAA, USA, June 1997 ISBN: 1563472481
* Technical study of the Yak-36, Yak-38 and Yak-41.

‘Yakovlev’s V/STOL Fighters – Yak-36, Yak-38, Yak-41 and Yak-141 (Aerofax series)’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by John Fricker and Piotr Butowski
Published by Midland Publishing Ltd, UK, Nov 1995 ISBN: 1 85780 041 9
* Well illustrated profile of the three V/STOL types.

‘Brassey’s World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1996/97’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Micheal Taylor
Published by Brassey’s (UK) Ltd, 1996 ISBN: 1 85753 198 1
* Includes a detailed description of the Yak-41.

‘Yakovlev Aircraft since 1924’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Bill Gunston & Yefim Gordon
Published by Putnam Aeronautical Books, 1997 ISBN: 1 85177 872 0
* Includes a short chapter on the Yak-41.

‘International Air Power Review, Volume 10’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by AIRtime Publishing, 2003 ISBN: 1 880588 58 7
* Includes feature article on the Yak-36, Yak-38 and Yak-41.

Magazines

‘Aviamaster’ N7 2003
* Russian text feature article.

Links

Yakovlev Yak-141
(Specification, description and some close-up photos)

Le Yak-41M
(Well illustrated French-text description of the Yak-41)

Yak-141 Freestyle
(Short description, specification and 2 photos)

Yakovlev Yak-141
(Short description, specification, 3-view)

Airliners.net
(9 Yak-41 photos)

Yak-141
(Yakovlev design bureau official description and small photos)

Freestyle Modelling
(Building Yak-41 scale model + 14 close-up photos of actual aircraft)

Yak-141 (Yak-41M)
(15 Yak-41 photos)

Soviet Jet VTOL
(Well-written profile of the Yak-36, Yak-38 & Yak-41)

Yak-141 Freestyle
(Description, specification, 2 photos)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
See the ‘Aviamaster’ magazine listed above.

Videos:

None known.

BAE Systems Nimrod

Aircraft Profile
Second prototype MRA.4 ZJ518 makes it’s first flight.
(photo, BAE SYSTEMS)

Development

Named after the ‘mighty hunter’ described in the Bible (Genesis X, 8-12) the Nimrod has successfully patrolled the seas around the British Isles for more than three decades. Successive updates have maintained the pre-eminence of the Nimrod in its primary role of hunting and killing enemy submarines, and a new upgraded version is now under development.

After an abortive attempt at finding a NATO-standard Maritime Patrol Aircraft had failed in 1959, a renewed attempt to replace the Avro Shackleton in the maritime patrol role began in July 1963 when Air Staff Target (AST) 357 was issued. This called for a sophisticated medium-sized jet-powered aircraft. Proposals submitted included the HS.800, a tri-jet design based on the Hawker Siddeley Trident, but the estimated costs involved in developing such an aircraft proved much too high. This became clear in June 1964 when Air Staff Requirement (ASR) 381 was issued, calling for a much less capable aircraft which could match or exceed the performance of the French Breguet Atlantic.

In an attempt to prevent the French aircraft from winning the contest, engineers at Hawker Siddeley (formerly Avro) at Chadderton came up with the idea of mating the proven Comet airframe with an under fuselage pannier similar to the one developed for the HS.800 proposal. In a very short space of time, the design office developed an unpressurised lower fuselage fairing which snugly fitted over the lower portion of the Comet fuselage, giving it a distinctive ‘double-bubble’ shape. Extending from the nose to the rear fuselage the pannier brought a dramatic increase in useable space for operational equipment and weapons while minimising additional drag. By replacing the existing Rolls-Royce Avon engines with new, less-thirsty, Spey turbofan engines a very acceptable endurance could be achieved. To keep costs down, much of the mission avionics would be similar to that already used in the Shackleton. Designated HS.801, the Comet derivative was offered to meet ASR 381 in July 1964.

In February 1965 it was announced in Parliament that the HS.801 had been selected to replace the Shackleton. A fixed price contract for thirty eight production aircraft was agreed in January 1966, at which time the name Nimrod was selected. In the meantime the conversion of two unsold Comet 4C airframes to act as prototypes had begun. The first to fly, XV148, took the role of aerodynamic test vehicle. It was fitted with a early version of the fuselage fairing and also served to flight test the Spey engine installation. The second prototype, XV147, retained its original Avon engines to reduce risk and timescales, and assumed the role of avionics testbed. Less than a year later, on 28 June 1968, the first new-build production Nimrod MR.Mk 1 took to the air. The flight test programme was remarkably trouble free and on 2 October 1969 the RAF took delivery of its first aircraft, the Maritime Operational Conversion Unit (MOCU – later 236 OCU) at St Mawgan in Cornwall being the first to operate the type. Production aircraft were soon being delivered to operational units at RAF Kinloss, Morayshire, and at RAF St Mawgan, Cornwall. The last unit to begin re-equipping was 203 Sqn at Luqa on Malta, which received its first aircraft in October 1971.

While production was getting underway, it was realised that the Nimrod airframe would make an ideal replacement for the ageing Comet 4Cs still used by the RAF for Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) duties. The Comet offered ample internal space for electronic equipment and excellent cruise performance. Accordingly, three additional airframes were ordered under the designation Nimrod R.Mk 1, with the first being delivered to 51 Squadron at RAF Wyton as virtually an empty shell in July 1971. Over the next three years a complex array of sophisticated electronic eavesdropping equipment was fitted to the three aircraft, resulting in a large number of antennae appearing on the fuselage. The aircraft initially only differed externally in having the MAD probe in the tail deleted and dieletric radomes in the nose of each external wing tank and in the tailcone.

Over the years, the R.Mk 1 aircraft have undergone numerous equipment upgrades as electronic surveillance becomes ever more sophisticated. Some of the cabin windows have been blocked up to allow installation of more equipment, and the fuselage antennae have exhibited several changes. Around 1982 the three R.Mk 1s gained wing tip ESM (Electronic Sensing Measures) pods of a design later fitted to the AEW.Mk 3. and MR.Mk 2 variants. In 1995 R. 1 XW666 was lost in an accident after an engine fire. To replace it, MR.1 XV249 was converted to R.1 standard. The R.1 has played a low profile but key role in many conflicts, from the Falklands War to the 2003 Second Gulf War, identifying and classifying enemy air defence systems and gathering information on enemy activities.

Meanwhile, an order for a second batch of eight MR.1s (bringing the total to 46) was announced in January 1972 to bring the existing Nimrod squadrons up to full strength. The 1974 defence cuts resulted in 203 Sqn being disbanded in 1977. It’s Nimrods were flown back to the UK and placed in storage. In 1975 work began on a comprehensive avionics upgrade for the MR.1. The new equipment suite included a Thorn EMI Searchwater radar in place of the aging ASV-21D unit, a new GEC Central Tactical System and the AQS-901 acoustics system compatible with the latest ‘Barra’ sonobuoys. Thirty-five MR.1 were upgraded to the new MR.2 standard, with the first aircraft being redelivered to 201 Sqn on 23 August 1979.

The invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982 brought the Nimrod to public attention. Eight MR.2s were fitted with ex-Vulcan in-flight refuelling probes on the fuselage and small swept finlets on the tailplane in the space of just 18 days under the designation MR.2P. The previously unused underwing hardpoints were adapted to carry Sidewinder missiles, allowing the MR.2P to be described in the popular press as the world’s largest fighter. Patrols were flown over the south Atlantic looking for Argentine submarines and surface vessels, and also in support of British operations from Ascension Island. In the late 1980s, all MR.2s were fitted with new BAe designed in-flight refuelling probes. From 1985 the MR.2s began to be fitted with wingtip ESM pods, as developed for the R.1, to enhance their surveillance capability. In late 1990 several Nimrod MR.2s were fitted with an underwing FLIR turret under the starboard wing, BOZ pod under the port wing and a Towed Radar Decoy, under the unofficial designation MR.2(GM) – where GM stood for Gulf Mod. Nimrods helped to secure the Arabian Gulf sea lanes during the 1991 Gulf War and returned in 2003 to take part in the liberation of Iraq.

A much less successful variant of the Nimrod was the AEW.3 In 1973 the RAF had begun to examine the options for replacing the Airborne Early Warning (AEW) variant of the Shackleton operated by No.8 Squadron. Boeing offered a variant of the successful E-3A, but the over water performance of its radar was judged to be poor and in March 1977 it was announced that a specialised version of the Nimrod, the AEW. Mk3 would be procured instead. This would be based on the Nimrod airframe but featured a large bulbous radome in the nose and a similar radome in the tail, providing 360 degree radar coverage. A weather radar was located in the starboard external fuel tank and ESM pods fitted on the wing tips. On 28 June 1977 a Comet 4C (XW626) converted to carry the nose radar unit made the first of a series of flight trials. Initial results were promising, and so 3 AEW.3 development aircraft were produced by converting redundant MR.1 airframes to carry the prototype radar equipment. The first flew on 16 July 1980.

While development of the radar electronics, (and the software that controlled it), was proceeding, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) chose to impose a new and more stringent specification on the radar system. Meeting the new requirement meant a lot of redesign and retesting for British Aerospace and GEC, which inevitably delayed the planned in-service date for the aircraft. Nevertheless, in anticipation of a successful outcome of the revised system, a production batch of 8 aircraft was laid down down, using further redundant MR.1 airframes. The first example flew on 9 March 1982. By now the MoD had changed the technical specification several more times. The increased workload of trying to meet a constantly changing requirement with an extremely advanced electronics system which depended on sophisticated hardware and software was now proving to be extremely taxing task, and forecast timescales extended even further into the future. The first interim standard AEW aircraft was delivered to No.8 Sqn in 1984 to allow crew training to commence. At the same time a thorough review of the whole AEW programme was launched to determine whether a reliable and effective system could be produced and put into service. In September 1986 the AEW requirement was reopened to competing bidders and in December of that year the Boeing E-3 Sentry was declared the winner. The Nimrod AEW was immediately cancelled. Unusable AEW airframes were stored at RAF Abingdon until they were scrapped in the 1990s. Poor management by the MoD had doomed a promising programme, despite the best efforts of the systems developers.

In 1993 ASR420 was issued calling for a Replacement Maritime Patrol Aircraft (RPMA) for the RAF. Bids were submitted in 1995 and included a new-build version of the P-3 Orion, upgraded second-hand Orions and from BAe an upgraded version of the Nimrod MR.2 called Nimrod 2000. At the time BAe was rather short of work, and its bid was seen as a relatively low risk update which would be able to use much of the existing Nimrod training and support infrastructure. On 25 July 1996 the RMPA contract was awarded to BAe for the Nimrod 2000. Unfortunately, by this time BAe had also won several other important contracts and the staff and resources available to work on this particular project had become rather limited. With MoD agreement, the necessary work was therefore parcelled up into a number of work packages and subcontracted a number of different partner companies and also split between several different BAe sites including Woodford, Brough and Filton.

The Nimrod 2000 proposal comprised a complete strip-down and zero-life programme for the airframe, new larger wings housing Rolls-Royce BMW BR.710 engines, new radar and sensor systems and new tactical computer system. Boeing was contracted as the avionics systems integrator. In February 1997 the first three stripped-down Nimrod fuselages were delivered to FR Aviation in Bournemouth. Due to the lack of resources at BAe and poor management oversight of the many geographically dispersed work packages, the programme soon began to run late and over budget. In 1999 Rolls-Royce were ready to deliver the first engines, but BAe had no airframes ready to accept them. A programme review in 1999 revealed that work was already running 3 years behind schedule. BAe was forced to renegotiate the contract, incurring a substantial financial penalty in the process. By now, the Nimrod 2000 name had been quietly dropped. The first reburbished airframe was returned to Woodford in January 2000. Incredibly, it took until 2003 for assembly of the first prototype MRA.4 (ZJ516) to be carried out. Unfortunately, when the second set of Airbus-build wings were offered up to the second prototype fuselage, it was found that they didn’t fit. Build tolerances acceptable in the 1960s for the fuselage were too great for the laser-precise tolerances used in the new wing. This problem highlighted BAe management’s fundamental lack of understanding of what it was they were actually trying to achieve. After an interminable amount of time performing system checks, the first prototype MRA.4 took to the air on 26 August 2004 – more than four years late. In September 2004 a round of politically inspired defence cuts resulted in the planned order for MRA.4 being reduced from 18 to ‘about 12’. Delivery of the sixth aircraft is now planned for 2009, with all aircraft likely to be based at RAF Kinloss initially.

The Nimrod MRA.4 is but a crude charicature of the MR.2 that it is intended to replace, exhibiting a complete absence of the elegant blending of form and function which characterised the original 1960s design. In the same vein, the MR.2, which in 1981 was described as the most complex airborne system ever to enter service with the RAF, serves as a model of efficient project managment compared to the inept bungling exhibited by the present generation of project managers. However, despite it’s ugly appearance and late delivery, the updated Nimrod should reclaim it’s crown as the world’s leading maritime patrol aircraft.

MR.1 XV233 shows the original grey-white
colour scheme. (photo, Keith McKenzie)
MR.1 XV245 in a classic pose
(photo, Crown Copyright)

Variants

Requirement Specification: ASR381 – MR.Mk 1, ASR389 – R.Mk 1, ASR420 – MRA.Mk 4
Manufacturers Designation: HS.801

Development History:
HS.801 prototypes Two Comet 4Cs converted to act as Nimrod prototypes. Ventral weapons pannier under cabin, search radar in nose, MAD stinger in tail, fin-tip radome, dorsal fin added. 1st prototype (aerodynamic testbed) with RB.163-20 Spey engines, 2nd prototype (electronic testbed) with Avon engines.
Nimrod MR.Mk 1 Initial production version (38 aircraft). ASV-21D search radar, Marconi Elliott 920B central computer.
Nimrod MR.Mk 1 Last 8 production aircraft (second batch) delivered with updated communications system – as later used on MR.Mk 2. Strengthened structure for gross weights of 192,000 lb (87090 kg).
Nimrod R.Mk 1 Specialised ELINT version of MR.Mk 1 with completely new avionics fit. No MAD tailboom, no searchlight. Dielectric radomes in each external wing tank nose, numerous antenna above and below fuselage. Auxiliary fuel tanks in weapons bay. Later fitted with wingtip ESM pods and some cabin windows deleted as additional equipment fitted.
Nimrod R.Mk 1P Designation applied to R.Mk 1 when fitted with in-flight refuelling probe in 1982. Small swept finlets added to tailplane. ‘P’ suffix later dropped.
Nimrod MR.Mk 2 Upgraded Maritime Reconnaissance version. New avionics fit with Thorn EMI Searchwater radar, new GEC central tactical system, new AQS-901 acoustics system, new communications suite. Air scoop on port rear fuselage close to dorsal fin, for avionics cooling system.
Export Nimrod Version of MR.Mk 2 offered to Canada and Australia. Strengthened structure for gross weights of 192,000 lb (87090 kg). Additional fuel tanks in weapons bay. New APU. Provision for Flight Refuelling drogue pod under each wing. Not built.
Nimrod MR.Mk 2P Designation applied to MR.Mk 2 when fitted with in-flight refuelling probe in 1982. Small swept finlets added to tailplane. Wingtip ESM pods subsequently fitted and tailplane finlets enlarged. ‘P’ suffix dropped in late 1990s.
Nimrod MR.Mk 2P(GM) ‘Gulf Mod’ version tailored for use in 1991 Gulf War. Underwing FLIR turret on starboard wing, BOZ pods, Towed Radar Decoy.
Nimrod AEW.Mk 3 Specialised Airborne Early Warning (AEW) version. Conversion of MR.Mk 1 with bulbous radome in nose and tailcone. Weather radar in starboard external fuel tank. ESM pods on wing tips.
Nimrod AEW.Mk 3P Designation applied to AEW.Mk 3 XV263 when fitted with in-flight refuelling probe.
Nimrod MRA.4 Significantly upgraded Maritime Reconnaissance Attack version with new larger wing, larger engine air intakes, BR710 engines, new stronger wider-track undercarriage, large tailplane finlets. Completely new mission system: Searchwater 2000MR radar, UXS503/AQS970 acoustic processor, Nighthunter IR/TV electro-optical turret under nose, EL/L-8300UK ESM suite, DASS self-protection system, advanced communication system. 2-man Airbus-style ‘glass’ cockpit.
MR.1 (note lack of cooling air scoop) XV251
in ‘Hemp’ colours. (photo, Keith McKenzie)
R.1 XW664 of 51 Sqn in 1988 – note ‘hockey
stick’ aerials. (photo, Keith McKenzie)

History

Key Dates:
July 1963    AST 357 issued, calling for a sophisticated jet aircraft to replace the Shackleton by 1972.
October 1963    Hawker Siddeley submits MR aircraft feasibility study.
April 1964    Hawker Siddeley submits proposal based on HS.800 version of Trident airliner.
4 June 1964    ASR 381 issued, calling for cheaper and more rapid Shackleton replacement.
June 1964    Design of HS.801 based on Comet 4 airliner begins.
July 1964    HS.801 offered to meet ASR 381.
February 1965    Decision to order HS.801 announced.
June 1965    Hawker Siddeley receives Instruction to Proceed (ITP).
January 1966    Fixed price contract placed for 38 Nimrod MR.Mk 1s.
23 May 1967    First flight of Spey-engined prototype (XV148).
31 July 1967    First flight of Avon-engined prototype (XV147).
28 June 1968    Maiden flight of first production Nimrod MR.Mk 1 (XV226).
2 October 1969    First production MR.Mk1 (XV230) delivered to RAF – 236 OCU at St Mawgan.
October 1969    Order placed for 3 R.Mk 1 ELINT versions.
27 Nov 1969    RAF Strike Command absorbs Coastal Command.
October 1970    RAF Kinloss (201 Sqn) begins conversion to Nimrod
7 July 1971    First R.Mk 1 (XW664) delivered to 51 Sqn as an ’empty shell’.
January 1972    Second batch of 8 MR.Mk 1s announced.
1973    Project definition for Nimrod AEW version carried out.
21 October 1973    Flight trials begin of mission-equipped R.Mk 1s.
10 May 1974    51 Sqn formally commissioned with Nimrod R.Mk.1.
1975    Work starts on MR.Mk 2 upgrade
31 March 1977    Nimrod AEW chosen to meet British AEW requirement.
28 June 1977    Converted Comet 4C (XW626) begins AEW radar trials.
13 February 1979    First MR.Mk 2 production conversion first flight (XV236).
23 August 1979    Redelivery of first upgraded MR.Mk 2 to RAF.
1980    Major avionics update for R.Mk 1s carried out.
16 July 1980    First flight of first development AEW.Mk 3 (XZ286).
9 March 1982    First production AEW.Mk 3 first flight.
14 April 1982    Work starts on in-flight refuelling probe installation design for MR.Mk 2.
27 April 1982    First probe equipped MR.Mk 2P flies (XV229).
29 May 1982    First carriage of AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles (XV229).
early 1982    Initial planned Nimrod AEW service entry date.
Spring 1985    ESM wingtip pods introduced to MR.Mk 2.
1985    Upgrade of 35 MR.1 aircraft to MR.2 standard completed.
1984    First AEW aircraft delivered to 8 Sqn for crew training
September 1986    AEW competition reopened by MoD.
December 1986    E-3 Sentry selected as winner, Nimrod AEW.Mk 3 cancelled.
15 May 1995    R.Mk 1 XW666 ditches after catastrophic engine fire.
1993    Request for information for Replacement Maritime Patrol Aircraft (RMPA) to meet ASR 420
April 1994    Installation of ‘Starwindow’ avionics update for R.Mk 1 commences.
1995    Bids submitted for RMPA
25 July 1996    Nimrod 2000 wins RMPA competition
2 December 1996    Fixed price contract awarded to BAE SYSTEMS for Nimrod 2000 development
14 February 1997    First of 3 Nimrod fuselages delivered to FR Aviation at Bournemouth
early 1998    Nimrod 2000 renamed Nimrod MRA.4
late 1998    Nimrod MRA.4 programme reviewed due to poor progress.
1999    Nimrod MRA.4 contract re-negotiated – 3 years slip in delivery to service.
1999    First BR.710-48 engine deliveries for Nimrod MRA.4.
January 2000    First fuselage returned to Woodford.
19 December 2001    Electrical ‘power on’ for first MRA.4.
2002    Initial planned delivery date for MRA.4.
March 2002    Engines installed in first MRA.4.
February 2003    Programe restructured again – further delay to in-service date.
21 July 2004    MRA.4 order reduced to ‘about 12’.
26 August 2004    First flight of MRA.4 first prototype (ZJ516).
15 December 2004    Second prototype (ZJ518) first flight
2009    Current forecast for MRA.4 in-service date.
MR.2 XV254 in 1989 with ESM pods and large
tailplane finlets. (photo, Keith McKenzie)
MR.2 XV230 in the circuit at Kinloss in 2000
(photo, Keith McKenzie)

Operators

Military Operators

Royal Air Force MR.Mk 1 – 5 sqns + OCU, R.Mk 1 – 1 sqn, MR.Mk 2 – 4 sqns + OCU, MRA.Mk 4 – 2 sqns planned

Government Agencies

RRE/RSRE* Bedford 1 HS.801 prototype

Civilian Operators

Hawker Siddeley/British Aerospace 3 MR.Mk 1 + 1 HS.801 prototype

* Radar Research Establishment (later Royal Signals & Radar Establishment)

MR.2 XV260 on approach at Kinloss in 120
Sqn markings. (photo, Keith McKenzie)
MR.2 XV241 marked up for the 1989 Fincastle Trophy. (photo, Keith McKenzie)

Specifications

Hawker Siddeley Nimrod MR.Mk.1
Accomodation: 3 flight crew + 9 sensor operators or 45 troops in secondary trooping role
Dimensions: Length 126 ft 9 in (38.63 m); Height 29 ft 8.5 in (9.05 m); Wing Span 114 ft 10 in (35.00 m); Wing Area 2,121 sq ft (197.04 sq m)
Engines: Four Rolls-Royce RB.168-20 Spey Mk 250 turbojets rated at 12,140 lb st (54.00 kN) dry each
Weights: Empty 86,000 lb (39,010 kg); Gross Weight 175,500 lb (79,605 kg); Maximum Take-off 177,500 lb (80,514 kg); Maximum Overload 192,000 lb (87,090 kg)*; Maximum Payload 13,500 lb (6,124 kg)
Performance: Maximum Speed at optimum altitude 500 kts (575 mph, 926 kph); Maximum Cruising Speed (Max Transit Speed) at optimum altitude 475 kts (547 mph, 880 kph); Economical Cruising Speed (Econ Transit Speed) at optimum altitude 425 kts (490 mph, 787 kph); Service ceiling 42,000 ft (12,800 m); Ferry Range 5,000 nm (5,758 miles, 9266 km); Maximum Endurance 15 hours 0 minutes, Typical Endurance 12 hrs 0 minutes.
Armament: Mines, depth charges, Stingray homing torpedoes, bombs in internal weapons bay + 4 optional under-wing pylons for Aerospatiale AS.12 or Martel anti-ship missiles

* With extra fuel in removable bomb-bay tanks.

Hawker Siddeley Nimrod MR.Mk.2
Accomodation: 3 flight crew + 9 (later 10) sensor operators or 45 troops in secondary trooping role
Dimensions: Length 126 ft 9 in (38.63 m) excluding probe, 129 ft 1 in (39.34) with IFR probe; Height 29 ft 8.5 in (9.05 m); Wing Span 114 ft 10 in (35.00 m) without ESM pods; Wing Area 2,121 sq ft (197.04 sq m)
Engines: Four Rolls-Royce RB.168-20 Spey Mk 250 turbojets rated at 12,140 lb st (54.00 kN) dry each
Weights: Empty 92,000 lb (41,730 kg); Gross Weight 175,500 lb (79,605 kg); Maximum Take-off 177,500 lb (80,514 kg); Maximum Overload 192,000 lb (87,090 kg)*; Maximum Payload 13,500 lb (6,124 kg)
Performance: Maximum Speed at optimum altitude 500 kts (575 mph, 926 kph); Maximum Cruising Speed (Max Transit Speed) at optimum altitude 475 kts (547 mph, 880 kph); Economical Cruising Speed (Econ Transit Speed) at optimum altitude 425 kts (490 mph, 787 kph); Patrol Speed 200 kts (230 mph, 370 kph) on 2 engines; Service ceiling 42,000 ft (12,800 m); Ferry Range 5,000 nm (5,758 miles, 9266 km); Maximum Endurance 15 hours 0 minutes on internal fuel, Typical Endurance 12 hrs 0 minutes.
Armament: Up to 9 Mk 44 or Mk 46 or Marconi Stingray homing torpedoes, mines, depth charges, 1000 lb (454 kg) bombs in internal weapons bay + 4 optional under wing pylons for 4 AIM-9L Sidewinder air-air missiles or two AGM-84 Harpoon or Sea Eagle anti-ship missiles

* With extra fuel in removable bomb-bay tanks.

Hawker Siddeley Nimrod R.Mk 1 – as for MR.Mk 1 & MR.2 except:
Accomodation: 3 flight crew + up to 28 sensor operators
Dimensions: Length 118 ft 0 in (35.97 m) excluding probe, 119 ft 9 in (36.50 m) over IFR probe
Weights: No published information
Performance: No published information
British Aerospace Nimrod AEW.Mk 3
Accomodation: Four flight crew + tactical team of 6
Dimensions: Length 137 ft 8.5 in (41.97 m); Height 35 ft 0 in (10.67 m); Wing Span 115 ft 1 in (35.08 m); Wing Area 2,121 sq ft (197.05 sq m)
Engines: Four Rolls-Royce RB.168-20 Spey Mk 250 or Mk 251 turbojets rated at 12,140 lb st (54.00 kN) dry
Weights: “Empty 86,000 lb (39,010 kg)”; Maximum Take-off 187,800 lb (85,185 kg)
Performance: Cruising Speed 350 mph (563 kph); Endurance 10+ hours.
BAE SYSTEMS Nimrod MRA.Mk 4
Accomodation: Two flight crew + 8 sensor operators
Dimensions: Length 126 ft 9 in (38.63 m); Height 30 ft 6 in (9.29 m); Wing Span 127 ft 0 in (38.71 m); Wing Area 2,538 sq ft (235.8 sq m)
Engines: Four BMW Rolls-Royce BR710-48 turbofans rated at 15,500 lbf (68.97 kN) each
Weights: Basic Empty 112,765 lb (51,150 kg); Maximum Take-off 234,165 lb (106,217 kg); Maximum Payload 12,000+ lb (5,455+ kg)
Performance: Maximum Speed Mach 0.77; Service ceiling 42,000 ft (12,800 m); Range (unrefuelled) 6,000+ nautical miles (6,909 miles, 11,119 km); Endurance 14+ hours.
Armament: Up to 9 Stingray torpedoes, 6 Harpoon anti-ship missiles (4 on wing pylons + 2 in bomb bay) and mines
MR.2 XV252 in 1987 with ESM pods but no
IFR probe. (photo, Keith McKenzie)
Aerodynamic prototype AEW.3 XZ286
(photo, BAE SYSTEMS)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: (Not known)
Design Offices: Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd*, Chadderton, Greengate, Middleton, Manchester, M24 1SA

Manufacture

Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd*
(Manchester Division, Woodford Aerodrome, Chester Road, Woodford, Cheshire, FK7 1QR)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
HS.801 prototypes (2 conv.) Chester 1964-July 1967
Nimrod MR.1 38 Woodford 1967-Aug 1972
Nimrod R.1 3 Woodford 1970-1973
Nimrod MR.1 8 Woodford 1973-1975
Nimrod MR.2 (35 conv.) Woodford 1978-mid 1984
Nimrod AEW.3 (11 conv.) Woodford 1979-1984
Nimrod R.1 (1 conv.) Woodford Oct 1995-Dec 1996
Nimrod MRA.4 (12 conv.) Woodford Feb 1997-2012
Total: 49    

* later British Aerospace, then BAE SYSTEMS.

Total Produced: 49 a/c (all variants)
(MRA.4: Wings built by Airbus UK at Broughton, Flintshire – formerly the Hawker Siddeley Chester factory)

Production List

Comet
* Comet & Nimrod production list

First prototype MRA.4 ZJ516 being prepared
for flight testing. (photo, BAE SYSTEMS)
ZJ516 makes it’s first flight – note enlarged
engine intakes. (photo, BAE SYSTEMS)

More Information

Books

‘British Aerospace Nimrod – Modern Combat Aircraft No.24’
by John Chartres
Ian Allan, UK, April 1986   ISBN: 0711015759
* Complete history of the Nimrod up until 1985.

‘The Comet and Nimrod – Images of Aviation’ [Order this book from UK]
by Ray Williams
Tempus Publishing, UK, August 2000    ISBN: 0752417525
* Concise pictorial history of the Comet and Nimrod in well captioned b+w photos.

Magazines

Air Enthusiast December 1973
* Nimrod MR.1 feature article
Air International March 1978
* Nimrod AEW.3 feature article
Air International August 1980
* Nimrod AEW.3 update article
Air International July 1981
* Nimrod MR.2 feature article
Air International April 1983
* Nimrod in Falklands War feature article
Air International July 2001
* Nimrod R.1 feature article
Air International July 2002
* Nimrod MRA.4 feature article
Air Forces Monthly October 2004
* Nimrod at war feature article

Links

Airliners.net
* 16 pages of excellent Nimrod photos

The Martin Painter DH106 Comet web site
* includes Nimrod information

Spyflight BAe Nimrod R Mk 1
* Good detailed account of the R.1

Spyflight BAe Nimrod AEW 3
* Excellent critical summary of the AEW.3 story

Spyflight BAe Nimrod MRA4
* Well written summary of the MRA.4 story to 2003

Target Lock British Aerospace Nimrod
* Good profile of the Nimrod

British Aerospace Nimrod R1
* RAF Waddington Nimrod R.Mk 1 photos

Defence Projects Nimrod MRA4
* Official MoD data on the MRA.4

BAE Nimrod
* Wikipedia entry for the Nimrod

Defence Procurement Agency – Nimrod Web Site
* Useful programme data on the MRA.4 – horrible website navigation

Nimrod ‘The Mighty Hunter’
* RAF Kinloss: Very good history of the MR.2

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.

Videos:

‘Nimrod – A tribute to the first jet powered sub hunter killer’ [Order this video from UK]
Catalogue Number: 82586
* History of the Nimrod up until 1986.
‘Hawker Siddeley Nimrod’ [Order this video from UK]
Castle Home Video  Catalogue Number: CHV2183
* History of the Nimrod up until 1994.

Martin XB-51

Aircraft Profile
Martin XB-51 landing.
(photo, U.S. Air Force)

Development

As the Cold War heated up between the West and the Soviet Union in the late 1940s, the United States Air Force moved ahead with plans to field a large number of close-support bomber squadrons with a new aircraft model, the Martin B-51 medium bomber. In the end, the urgency to field a jet bomber to replace the ageing A-26 Invader proved to much and the British-designed Canberra bomber was selected for front line use. The XB-51 concept was a radical new design of airplane. It had a swept-wing configuration and a tri-engined appearance – the first of its kind to be incorporated into a military aircraft and years ahead of Boeing’s 727 airliner. The sudden onset of the Korean War spelled the end of the XB-51 program. At the beginning of the war, the US Air Force was in dire need of medium bombers to assist ground troops. The Canberra was the logical selection for them. The British aircraft design was well proven, maneuverable and reliable, and more importantly for the US military, it could be mass produced in short order.

The true history of the XB-51 program can be traced back to the Douglas A-26 Invader close-support bomber that performed so well in combat in the closing stages of World War II. In the immediate post war years, the US Army Air Force, decided it needed a replacement plane to tackle possible Soviet tank columns attacking over the central plains of Europe. Three major companies submitted designs and specification bids for the new plane. At the end of the evaluation process, the design submitted by the Martin Company was rewarded with the contract, under the designation XA-45. In May 1946 two prototypes were ordered under the new designaton of XB-51. However, in the spring of 1946, the United States Air Force sent out a revised requirement for a medium close-support bomber with more emphasis on speed and less on load-carrying. The big and heavy XB-51 design could not meet these new requirements and so in February 1947 Martin submitted a new design. This was accepted by the USAAF and a radical new XB-51 was born.

Almost every component that was selected to be incorporated in the new bomber was advanced. Aside from the already mentioned swept wing design and its tri-jet configuration, the XB-51 was to employ a rotary weapons bay that would enable the airplane to deliver it’s bombs while flying at high speeds. Something that the newest US bombers, the B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit incorporate today. But the real trademark of the XB-51 was speed. The aircraft was designed to outrun almost all of the fighter aircraft of the early 1950s. The XB-51 power plant consisted of three 5,820 lb-thrust General Electric J47 turbojet engines. Aside from these powerful (for the time) engines, the aircraft were designed to be equipped with an additional four 1000 lb-thrust RATO bottles to assist in take-off. With these engines, the airplane reached a top speed of 645 miles per hours. Its cruising speed was 538 mph.

The bomber was manned by a crew of two. The pilot sat beneath a fighter style “bubble” canopy. The second crew member, the navigator/radio-operator, sat behind the pilot. The navigator could only view the sky through a small observation window on the left side of the fuselage. The cockpit was pressurized and temperature conditioned. The XB-51 would have a payload capability of 10,400lbs of ordnance in its internal bomb bay. It was also equipped with eight powerful 20-mm cannons located in the nose of the aircraft. The cannons could fire 1,280 rounds of ammunition before they needed to be reloaded. Operational ceiling for the new aircraft was an amazing 41,400 ft. Another impressive characteristic of the XB-51 was its un-refuelled ferry range of nearly 1,600 miles.

On the morning of the 28th October 1949, the XB-51 first prototype, tail number 46685, took to the air for the first time at Baltimore, Maryland. The plane flew as anticipated by Martin. The Air Force was so impressed with the flight testing of the XB-51 that it ordered Martin to finish work on the other test plane, serialled 46686. As it turned out, they would be the only two B-51s ever to be built. The situation in the Korean Peninsula had taken a turn for the worse in 1950 when Communist North Korean troops invaded the South. The US needed to quickly get into service a modern close-support aircraft for the theater and the only proven design available was that of the English Electric Canberra. The Canberra was chosen by the Air Force on March 1951, and this decision meant the end of Martin’s XB-51 close-support bomber.

The two XB-51 prototypes cost the US government the sum of 12.5 million dollars. Much of their subsequent career was spent at Edwards AFB perfecting the rotary bomb door and performing bomb delivery trials, before piloting accidents ended the lives of both aircraft. Martin, who had to “eat” much of the development cost for aircraft, quickly bounced back with the development and production contracts for the B-57 bomber – the Canberra fitted with the XB-51s rotary bomb door – which went on to become a very successful aircraft. The Panther, the name that the Air Force may have given to the XB-51, was an aircraft born ahead of its time. Many of the remarkable features incorporated in today’s bombers, came directly from the XB-51 program.

Front view – note the large flaps and landing
gear. (photo, U.S. Air Force)
Rear view showing wing & tailplane sweep.
(photo, U.S. Air Force)

Variants

Requirement Specification:
Manufacturers Designation: Model 234

Development History:
XA-45 Initial design. 6 crew medium bomber with straight wing, 2 turboprop and 2 jet engines.
XB-51 Revised design. Much smaller 2-seater with three jet engines and swept-wing. 2 prototypes built – initially without fin/tailplane bullet fairing.
XB-51 Proposed version with tandem crew seating under single canopy.
XB-51 Proposed seaplane version with boat hull, hydroskis or hydro-sled landing gear.

History

Key Dates:
Nov 1944    USAAF issues requirement for new attack aircraft.
Feb 1946    Martin XA-45 selected as winner of competition.
23 May 1946    Two prototypes ordered under new designation of XB-51.
Spring 1946    USAAF issues revised requirements for faster and lighter aircraft.
31 March 1947    USAAF approves new design for XB-51.
4 Sept 1949    XB-51 first prototype officially rolled out.
28 Oct 1949    First flight of first prototype.
4 April 1950    USAF flight testing begins.
17 April 1950    Second prototype makes first flight.
Sept 1950    B-26 Night Intruder replacement requirement issued.
26 Feb 1951    Competitive fly-off between XB-51 and Canberra.
6 March 1951    Canberra selected by USAF.
14 June 1951    USAF issues RBL-X requirement for daylight tactical bomber.
29 Nov 1951    Douglas B-66 selected to meet RBL-X.
Nov 1951    XB-51 production plans cancelled.
8 Dec 1951    XB-51 officially enters USAF service.
28 Feb 1952    First prototype damaged in landing accident.
9 May 1952    Second prototype lost when maneuvering at low altitude.
28 Feb 1953    First prototype returned to service for bomb delivery testing.
1955    XB-51 appears in the movie ‘Towards the Unknown’.
25 March 1956    First prototype lost in take-off accident.
The red nose pitot was only fitted to 46-0685.
(photo, U.S. Air Force)
Elegant view of the first prototype.
(photo, U.S. Air Force)

Operators

Military Operators

U.S. Air Force (prototypes only)

Government Agencies

None  

Civilian Operators

None  

Specifications

Martin XB-51
Crew: Two – Pilot and Navigator
Dimensions: Length 85 ft 1.25 in (25.94 m); Height 17 ft 3 in (5.26 m); Wing Span 53 ft 1.25 in (16.19 m); Wing Area 548.00 sq ft (50.91 sq m).
Engines: Three General Electric J47-GE-3 or -17 turbojets, rated at 5,820 lb st (25.89 kN) for take-off with water injection, plus for RATO bottles rated at 1,000 lb (4.45 kN) thrust, fitted as necessary.
Weights: Empty Equipped 29,584 lb (13,419 kg); Normal Take-off (‘combat’) 41,457 lb (18,804 kg) for basic attack mission; Maximum Take-off 62,452 lb (28,328 kg).
Armament: Eight 20 mm (0.787 in) cannon in nose with 1,280 rnds total; 10,400 lb (4,717 kg) maximum of bombs or 8 x 5-in High Velocity Aerial Rockets (HVAR) in internal bomb bay.
Performance: Maximum level speed 645 mph (1038 km/h) at sea level, 598 mph (962 km/h) at altitude at maximum take-off weight; Cruising speed 538 mph (866 km/h); Initial rate of climb 5,100 ft/min (1554 m/min); Service ceiling 41,400 ft (12,619 m); Combat radius 595 mls (958 km).
XB-51 in landing configuration.
(photo, U.S. Air Force)
XB-51 46-0685 in flight.
(photo, U.S. Air Force)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: ?
Programme Manager: ?
Design Office: Glenn L. Martin Company, Middle River, Baltimore, Maryland.

Manufacture

(Glenn L. Martin Company, Middle River, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
XB-51 2 Middle River, MA Apr 1949-Apr 1950
Total: 2    

Total Produced: 2 a/c

Production List

To be added.

Both Martin XB-51s.
(photo, U.S. Air Force)
The first XB-51 in flight.
(photo, U.S. Air Force)

More Information

Books

‘The Martin XB-51 – Air Force Legends Number 201’
by Scott Libis
Published by Steve Ginter, 1998 ISBN: 0 942612 00 0
* Very well illustrated monograph

‘Wings of Fame, Volume 14’
Published by Aerospace Publishing, 1999 ISBN: 1 86184 029 2
* Includes ‘Industry of Prototypes’ feature on the XB-51

Magazines

‘Aircraft Modelworld, Vol. 3 No.10 Dec 1986’
* Includes scale drawings of the XB-51.

‘Airpower, July 1978’
* Includes article on XB-51.

‘Airpower, March 1997’
* Includes article on XB-51.

Links

Martin Model 234

wikipedia: Martin XB-51

Past Military Aircraft: XB-51

Martin XB-51

Gilbert XF-120 (Martin XB-51)

Air Force Museum Factsheet: Martin XB-51

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
See Aircraft Modelworld article above.

Videos:

To be added.

Vickers VC10

Aircraft Profile
VC10 K.Mk.3 ZA149 refuels Typhoon ZH590
(photo, not known)

Development

It might be thought that an airliner which was specifically designed to meet a requirement which soon ceased to exist, and whose operating economics where publicly criticised by it’s principle operator, would have a very short service life. Yet, more than 40 years after its first flight, the VC10 is still considered a vital asset, albeit in a rather different role from that originally intended.

In 1954 the far-sighted Vickers design office began exploring jet-powered derivatives of the highly successful Viscount turboprop airliner and forthcoming Vanguard. Early studies resembled a Vanguard with a gently swept wing and rear-mounted engines attached to a Caravelle-style tail unit. Known as the Vanjet VC10, the design evolved into a three-engined airliner which was planned to be available in two versions: a short to medium range aircraft and a long-range aircraft. The former was aimed at routes flown by British European Airways (BEA) and the latter at British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) routes. During the 1950s and 1960s these two state-owned companies were notorious for indecision, political meddling and lack of strategic planning. Although aircraft closely resembling the short-haul Vanjet were later to appear in the form of the Trident, Boeing 727 and Douglas DC-9, BEA (a soon-to-be Vanguard operator) failed to show any enthusiasm. BOAC was under political pressure at the time to buy a British jet to offset it’s planned purchase of Boeing 707s. It therefore showed interest in a long range aircraft for its Commonwealth routes to South Africa and Australia, but demanded a four-engined layout. Accordingly, the design was modified to accommodate four rear-mounted engines and other requirements.

In March 1957 BOAC issued a formal requirement for an airliner able to carry 34,000 lb (15,422 kg) over 4000 miles (6437 km), while being able to operate from ‘hot and high’ airfields which had runways too short to take Boeing 707s. In May 1957 BOAC announced that it would buy 35 VC10s to meet this requirement. Detailed design work started in March 1958.

The Vickers Type 1100, the VC10 prototype G-ARTA, made its maiden flight on 29 June 1962. This aircraft originally had a small wing of 140 ft 2 in (42.72 m) span and thrust reversers on all four engines. Development flying showed that cruise drag was slightly higher than estimated and a number of aerodynamic tweaks were progressively introduced into the design. Most notably, these included a beaver-tail extension fairing between the jet pipes of each engine pair, and a rearward extension of the engine pylon fairing. Certification was achieved on 23 April 1964, and BOAC introduced the Type 1101 VC10 into service on its London to Lagos route just six days later. This model introduced graceful curved wing tips which increased the wing area and reduced cruise drag.

Subsequently, Vickers delivered two Type/Model 1102s to Ghana Airways. These aircraft introduced a 4 per cent chord extension to the wing leading edge, between the root and mid-span. The wing also featured a large new fence near the root and a modified tip with slightly drooped leading edge. Another new feature was the addition of a large hydraulically powered side cargo door, 11 ft 8in (3.55 m) wide on the left side ahead of the wing on the second aircraft. Three similar aircraft were supplied to British United Airways (BUA) as the Type 1103.

In the meantime airports around the world had been busy extending their runways for Boeing 707/DC-8 operations, and the VC10s special capabilities were much less in demand. BOAC now wanted its initial order reduced and a stretched longer-range version introduced. The Super VC10s was a development which traded take-off performance against the ability to carry a much heavier payload. The fuselage was lengthened by 13 ft 0 in (3.96 m) and an internal fuel tank was fitted in the fin. Uprated Conway RCo 43 engines installed in nacelles angled 3 degrees nose-up and a strengthened structure were also a feature. The Super VC10 was originally planned as a 212-seater, but this was reduced to 163 seats at the insistence of BOAC. Two versions were built, the Type 1151 for BOAC which first flew on 7 May 1964 and the similar Type 1154 for East African Airways which incorporated a large cargo door and was configured for ‘combi’ mixed passenger/cargo operations. BOAC introduced the Super VC10 on its London-New York route on 1 April 1965.

Almost from the start, the VC10 and Super VC10 were popular with passengers, pilots and airline maintenance teams. The rear location of the engine gave a very quiet and vibration free cabin. The aircraft’s high performance, low landing speeds and excellent engine-out handling qualities endeared it to pilots, while dispatch reliability was never a problem. At the same time BOAC management publicly criticised the aircraft for poor operating economics and implied that they had been forced to ‘Buy British’ for purely political reasons. This had a damaging effect on potential export orders and production ceased in 1970 after only 54 had been completed. When BOAC’s financial calculations were finally published, they were shown to have been based on false assumptions. In fact the annual utilisation of the VC10 and Super VC10 was the highest in the BOAC fleet, its load factors were always significantly higher than the 707 and the actual operating profit was also the highest in BOAC, beating even the 707. BOAC later became British Airways, which operated it’s last VC10 service on 29 March 1981, having carried 13 million passengers without accident.

In parallel with deliveries of the Model 1151 to BOAC, the production line also delivered 14 Model 1106s. Built for the RAF as the VC10 C.Mk.1 these aircraft superficially appeared to be standard VC10s but were better described as short-fuselage Super VC10s. They had the Super VC10s wings, RCo 43 engines, fin fuel tank and most other features. Special features for the military aircraft included the Conway Mk 31 engines with thrust reversers on the outboard only, an auxiliary power unit (APU) in the tailcone to supply ground electrical power and compressed air for main engine starting, a specially reinforced full area cargo floor, 150 aft facing seats, a large side cargo door and provision for in-flight refuelling.

The RAF placed an order for five aircraft in September 1961, and subsequent orders brought the total to 14 aircraft. The first C.Mk.1 flew on 26 November 1965 and deliveries to 10 Sqn were completed by August 1968. The VC10 was the heaviest and most powerful aircraft the RAF had received up to that time and introduced a global transport capability which was entirely new to the RAF. All 14 aircraft were given the names of RFC/RAF holders of the Victoria Cross.

By the mid-1970s the VC10 and Super VC10s had mostly been withdrawn from airline service and were available at very low prices. In April 1978 British Aerospace was tasked with conducting a feasibility study into converting these aircraft into in-flight refuelling tanker aircraft for the RAF. The outcome was favourable and in July 1978 BAe was awarded a contract to convert nine aircraft. Five Type 1101s were to be converted to K.Mk.2 and four Type 1154 converted to K.Mk.3. The conversion was carried out by BAe Filton and involved first bringing the aircraft up to roughly C.Mk.1 standard in terms of airframe, engines and avionics. Five extra fuel tanks were fitted in the fuselage, together with a nose in-flight refuelling probe and three Flight Refuelling Ltd Hose Drum Units – one in the lower rear fuselage and one outboard under each wing. Other changes included additional avionics, a closed circuit TV system to monitor receiving aircraft and external lighting.

The first aircraft converted, a K.Mk.2 first flew on 22 June 1982, during the Falklands War. The last of the nine tankers was delivered to 101 Sqn on 24 September 1985. Another 5 Super VC10s were converted from 1990 to K.Mk.4 standard. The first flying on 30 July 1993.

The VC10 has proved to be an excellent tanker aircraft. It’s clean wing and rear mounted engines help to minimise trailing vortices, which on other tanker aircraft cause the refuelling hoses to bob around in the air flow. A steady hose basket is much easier to connect with. During operations over Afghanistan in 2001 US Navy and Marine fighter crews often preferred to tank from RAF VC10s rather than use nearer USAF tankers.

In early 2003 the RAF postponed for another year a decision on awarding a contract for a civilian-supplied replacement for the VC10 and Tristar tankers, ensuring that VC10s will remain in active service until as least 2009.

VC10 Type 1101 G-ARVB
(photo, BAE SYSTEMS)
Super VC10 Type 1151 G-ASGA
(photo, BAE SYSTEMS)

Variants

Requirement Specification: C.239 – C.Mk.1, ASR406 – K.Mk.2 & 3, ASR415/ASR416 – K.Mk.4
Manufacturers Designation: see below

Development History:
Vanjet VC10 Mk I Projected tri-jet medium range transport with Valiant-style wing with curved inboard leading edge. Vanguard fuselage, mid-set tailplane. 3 x rear-mounted RR Avon engines with centre unit in S-duct.
Vanjet VC10 Mk II Evolved tri-jet project with new wing with straight leading edge. 80-100 seats, 4/5 abreast.
Vanjet VC10 Mk III Evolved tri-jet project. Modified Vanguard fuselage, three rear-mounted RR Avon engines, mid-set tail. Nov 1956.
Vanjet VC10 Mk IV Evolved tri-jet project. 72-108 passengers, 4/6 abreast. Boeing 727-style larger centre engine intake. T-tail. Later modified with 4 engines in pairs for BOAC.
Vanjet VC10 Mk V Penultimate form of Vanjet tailored for BOAC requirements. 4 RR Conway RCo 10 engines in shared intakes. Acorn fairing below fin-top of T-tail. Vanguard cockpit shape replaced. 3000 miles range.
Type 1100 First prototype VC10, G-ARTA. Squared wingtips & thrust reversers on all 4 engines. Later converted to Type 1109
Type 1101 First production aircraft for BOAC. Thrust reversers on inboard engines only. Curved wingips increase wing span.
Type 1102 Version for Ghana Airways. 4% chord leading edge extension & additional wing fence near root. Second a/c ordered introduced a cargo door. Third a/c cancelled and converted to a Type 1103.
Type 1103 Version for British United Airways, very similar to Type 1102 with cargo door. One a/c taken from a cancelled Ghana Airways order.
Type 1104 Variant for Nigerian Airways. Order cancelled.
Type 1105 Original designation for RAF VC10 C.Mk.1 without port-side cargo door. Converted to Type 1106 on the production line.
Type 1106 VC10 C.Mk.1 for RAF. Effectively a Super VC10 with shortened fuselage, large cargo door and tail-mounted APU.
Type 1109 Type 1100 prototype converted with Type 1106 wing for Laker Airways
Type 1110 Generic designation for VC10A. None built.
Type 1111 Version of VC10A for BOAC. Not built.
Type 1112 Tanker conversion of Type 1101 for RAF as K.Mk.2
Type 1125 Projected VC10 hybrid for Aerolineas Argentinas
Type 1150 Generic designation for Super VC10
Type 1151 Super VC10 variant for BOAC. Longer fuselage (by 13ft) for 16 first class + 123 economy passengers. Fin-mounted fuel tank and uprated Conway engines with thrust reversers on all four engines.
Type 1152 Variant for BOAC with large cargo door and freight handling system for combi operations. Order cancelled.
Type 1153 Never built. Not EAA variant as given in some sources.
Type 1154 Variant for East African Airways with large freight door on port side forward of wing to allow mixed passenger/freight operation
Type 1164 Tanker conversion of Type 1154 for RAF as K.Mk.3
Type 1170 Tanker conversion of Type 1151 for RAF as K.Mk.4
Type 1180 Projected double-deck Super VC10 with 249 passengers
Type 1181 Projected double-deck Super VC10 with 273 passengers
VC10 C.Mk.1 Original RAF transport version. Short fuelage version of Super VC10
VC10 C.Mk.1(K) 13 C.Mk.1 converted to transport/tanker role. No extra fuel carried.
VC10 K.Mk.2 5 Type 1101 converted to in-flight refuelling tanker. No cargo door.
VC10 K.Mk.3 4 Type 1154 converted to in-flight refuelling tanker. Sealed cargo door & inboard thrust reversers removed.
VC10 K.Mk.4 5 Type 1151 converted to in-flight refuelling tanker as per K.Mk.3.
RB211 Testbed One ex-RAF Type 1106 sold to Rolls-Royce for flight testing of RB.211 on starboard side, replacing both Conways. XR809/G-AXLR
Super 212 VC10 Original 1959 proposal for Super VC10 with 212 seats, wing tip fuel tanks and fuel tank in fin. 28 ft (8.5 m) fuselage stretch.
Super VC10 200 Alternative project to Super 212, with 191 seats. Longer fuselage, enlarged pasenger doors. late 1959
VC10 LR/1 Projected long-range version aimed at London-Los Angeles route. Enlarged Super VC10 airframe, extra fuel tanks in freight hold. 123 passengers.
VC10 LR/2 Projected development of LR/1 with extra fuel tanks in wing root fairings as well as freight hold and strengthened structure
Super VC10 ‘Superb’ Projected Super VC10 with double-bubble fuselage incorporating lower deck passenger cabin. Total 265 seats
VC10 265 Alternative 265-seater project with double-deck fuselage, uprated engines
Pan Am Super VC10 Proposed version for Pan Am airline with extra fuel tanks in wing leading edge fillets and wingtip tanks, stretched fuselage, 2 crew cockpit, Conway 7 engines, US designed cabin interior. 196 seats. Included cargo variant.
Short-Haul VC10 Proposed reduced range version with clipped wings, extended fuselage for 221/230 seats. June 1966.
VC10 F-3 Freighter Projected dedicated freighter with side-loading cargo door. Max payload 80,000 lb.
VC10 F4 Freighter Nose-loading freighter with swing nose and palletized freight cabin. Project Nov 1962
VC10 Freighter Projected dedicated freighter with double-deck fuselage, clamshell nose doors, raised cockpit to give straight-through nose loading.
Multi-Role VC10 Early 1960s proposed military variant able to undertake tanker, transport, maritime patrol, free-fall bomber and missile carrying roles. Not built.
Type 1400 VC11 Projected (Oct 1959-spring 1961) short range development of VC10 with 4 RR Spey engines, 80-138 passengers 6-abreast, cancelled in favour of BAC 1-11
VC10 military transport project. Standard VC10 with bulged (area ruled) fuselage and undernose loading doors. 1965
Projected twin fuselage version, 1964, with 2 standard VC10 fuselages joined together and 4 engines, 300 passengers
Projected three fuselage version, 1964, with 3 standard VC10 fuselages and 6 engines, 450 passengers
Super VC10 Type 1151 G-ASGO in the classic
Gold Speedbird BOAC colour scheme
(photo, Keith McKenzie)
G-ASGO taxying in at Paya Lebar,
Singapore, in 1970
(photo, Keith McKenzie)

History

Key Dates:
March 1957    BOAC issues specification for aircraft for use on routes to Africa and Australia.
May 1957    BOAC signs letter of intent for 35 VC10s.
14 January 1958    BOAC signs order for 35 VC10s with options for another 20.
March 1958    First metal cut in construction of first prototype.
June 1960    BUA orders 2 VC10s with side cargo doors.
23 June 1960    BOAC orders 10 Super VC10s
September 1961    RAF initial order for 5 VC10s.
15 April 1962    Roll-out of first prototype at Brooklands.
29 June 1962    Maiden flight of first prototype (G-ARTA)
8 November 1962    Maiden flight of first production VC10 (G-ARVA)
October 1963    Start of 16,500 flying hours of proving flights by G-ARVF
23 April 1964    Certification of Airworthiness issued.
29 April 1964    BOAC introduces VC10 into regular passenger service (G-ARVJ).
7 May 1964    First flight of first Super VC10 (G-ASGA).
September 1964    First VC10 enters service with BUA.
27 January 1965    First VC10 delivered to Ghana Airways (9G-ABO).
1 April 1965    First Super VC10 introduced in service with BOAC (G-ASGD).
26 November 1965    Maiden flight of first VC10 C.Mk.1 for RAF
July 1966    First RAF VC10 C.Mk.1 handed over.
30 September 1966    First Super VC10 handed over to East African Airlines.
August 1968    Last VC10 C.Mk.1 delivered
February 1970    Last production aircraft delivered.
6 March 1970    Start of RB.211 test flying by VC10 testbed (G-AXLR)
July 1978    British Aerospace contract to convert 9 airliners to tankers
29 March 1981    Last British Airways scheduled Super VC10 flight.
22 June 1982    First flight of first converted K.2 (ZA141).
25 July 1983    First K.Mk.2 delivered to RAF (ZA140)
1 May 1984    101 Sqn reforms to operate VC10 K.Mk.2 & K.Mk.3
4 July 1984    Maiden flight of first K.Mk.3
1 February 1985    First K.Mk.3 handed over to RAF (ZA150)
14 May 1987    Last K.Mk.3 delivered to RAF
1 February 1990    BAe awarded contract to convert 5 Super VC10s to K.Mk.4 tankers.
28 April 1994    First K.Mk.4 delivered to RAF (ZD230).
2009    Expected retirement date
VC10 C.Mk.1 XV109 at Brize Norton
(photo, Keith McKenzie)
XV109 shows the large slat and flap area
available on the VC10
(photo, Keith McKenzie)

Operators

Military Operators

Royal Air Force 14 C.Mk.1, 5 K.Mk.2, 4 K.Mk.3, 5 K.Mk.4 + 1 Type 1101 for ground training
Government Agencies
RAE Bedford 1 Type 1103
Sultan of Oman Royal Flight 1 Type 1103
United Arab Emirates 1 Type 1101
Qatar Govt. 1 Type 1101 (leased)

Government Agencies

BOAC – later British Airways 12 Type 1101, 17 Type 1151
BUA – later British Caledonian 3 Type 1103
East African Airways 5 Type 1154
Ghana Airways 2 Type 1102
Gulf Air 5 Type 1101
Air Malawi 1 Type 1103
Laker Airways 1 Type 1109
Middle East Airlines 1 Type 1102 (leased), 1 Type 1100/1109 (leased)
Nigeria Airways 1 Type 1101, 1 Type 1101 (leased)
Air Ceylon 2 Type 1101 (leased)

Civilian Operators

Rolls-Royce Ltd 1 Type 1106 RB.211 Test-bed
Omani VC10 Type 1103 A40-AB landing
(photo, Peter Frei)
VC10 C.1K XV107 taxies in
(photo, not known)

Specifications

Vickers VC10 (Type 1101, 1102 & 1103)
Accomodation: Three crew + 135-151 economy seats (1101: typically 16 first class + 93 economy class passengers)
Dimensions: Length 158 ft 8 in (48.36 m); Height 39 ft 6 in (12.04 m); Wing Span 146 ft 2 in (44.55 m); Wing Area 1101: 2,851 sq ft (264.9 sq m) 1102/1103: 2,936 sq ft (272.8 sq m)
Engines: Four Rolls-Royce Conway RCo 42 Mk 540 turbofans rated at 20,370 lb st (9240 kg)
Weights: Operating Empty 1101: 149,868 lb (67,980 kg), 1102/1103: 146,979 lb (66,670 kg); Maximum Take-off 1101: 314,000 lb (142,430 kg), 1102/1103: 312,000 lb (141,520 kg); Maximum Payload 1101: 38,532 lb (17,840 kg), 1102/1103: 39,769 lb (18,039 kg)
Performance: Max level speed Mach 0.86, Maximum Cruising Speed 568 mph (914 kph) at 31,000 ft (9450 m); Economical Cruising speed 550 mph (886 kph) at 38,000 ft (11,600 m); Maximum rate of climb at sea level 1,920 ft/min (585 m/min); Service ceiling 42,000 ft (12,800 m); Range with maximum payload no allowances 5,040 miles (8,115 km), Range with maximum fuel no allowances 6,070 miles (9,765 km)
Vickers VC10 C.Mk.1 (Type 1106)
Accomodation: Four crew + maximum of 150 passengers, or 76 stretchers and 6 medical attendents
Dimensions: Length 158 ft 8 in (48.38 m) excluding probe; Height 39 ft 6 in (12.04 m); Wing Span 146 ft 2 in (44.55 m); Wing Area 2,932 sq ft (272.38 sq m)
Engines: Four Rolls-Royce Conway RCo.43 Mk 301 turbojets rated at 21,800 lb st (9888 kg) dry
Weights: Empty 146,000 lb (66,224 kg); Maximum Take-off 323,000 lb (146,510 kg); Maximum Payload 57,400 lb (26,037 kg)
Performance: Maximum Cruising Speed at 31,000 ft (9,450 m) 505 kts (581 mph, 935 kph); Economical Cruising speed at 30,000 ft (9,145 m) 370 kts (426 mph, 684 kph); Maximum rate of climb at sea level 3,050 ft/min (930 m/min); Service ceiling 42,000 ft (12,800 m); Range 3,385 nm (3,898 miles, 6273 km) with maximum payload.
Vickers Super VC10 (Type 1151 & 1154)
Accomodation: Three crew + 163-174 economy seats (1151: typically 16 first-class + 123 economy class passengers)
Dimensions: Length 171 ft 8 in (52.32 m); Height 39 ft 6 in (12.04 m); Wing Span 146 ft 2 in (44.55 m); Wing Area 2,932 sq ft (272.38 sq m)
Engines: Four Rolls-Royce Conway RCo 43D Mk 550 turbofans rated at 21,800 lb st (9888 kg)
Weights: Operating Empty 1151: 158,594 lb (71,937 kg), 1154: 154,679 lb (70,160 kg); Maximum Take-off 335,000 lb (151,953 kg); Maximum Payload 1151: 50,406 lb (22,860 kg), 1154: 60,321 lb (27,360 kg)
Performance: Maximum Cruising Speed Mach 0.86 or 581 mph (935 kph) at 31,000 ft (9450 m); Economical Cruising speed 550 mph (886 kph) at 38,000 ft (11,600 m); Maximum rate of climb at sea level 2300 ft/min (700 m/min); Service ceiling 42,000 ft (12,800 m); Range with maximum payload no allowances 4,720 miles (7,596 km), Range with maximum fuel no allowances 7,128 miles (11,470 km).
Vickers VC10 K.Mk.2 (Type 1112) – as for Type 1101 except:
Accomodation: Four crew + 18 seats
Dimensions: Length 158 ft 8 in (48.36 m) excl. refuelling probe
Engines: Four Rolls-Royce Conway RCo 43 Mk 550B turbofans rated at 21,800 lb st (9888 kg)
Weights: Operating Empty 134,200 lb (60,875 kg); Maximum Take-off 299,000 lb (135,622 kg)
Vickers VC10 K.Mk.3 (Type 1164) – as for Type 1154 except:
Accomodation: Four crew + 17 seats
Dimensions: Length 171 ft 8 in (52.32 m) excl. refuelling probe
Engines: Four Rolls-Royce Conway RCo 43 Mk 550B turbofans rated at 21,800 lb st (9888 kg)
Weights: Operating Empty ? lb (? kg); Maximum Take-off 323,000 lb (146,513 kg)
Two US Navy F/A-18Cs refuel from ZA149
during operations over Aghanistan
(photo, US Navy)
VC10 K.Mk3 ZA148 with 101 Sqn
(photo, not known)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Ernest E Marshall
Design Offices: Vickers Aviation Ltd, Weybridge, Surrey

Manufacture

Vickers Aviation Ltd
(Brooklands Aerodrome, Weybridge, Surrey – from 1960: British Aircraft Corporation, BAC)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
1100 1 Brooklands Jan 1959-June 1962
1101 12 Brooklands 1962-July 1964
1102 2 Brooklands 1964-1964
1103 3 Brooklands 1964-1965
1106 14 Brooklands 1965-Aug 1968
Total VC-10: 32    
1151 17 Brooklands 1964-May 1969
1154 5 Brooklands 1966-Feb 1970
Total Super VC-10: 22    

Total Produced: 54 a/c (all variants)
[In addition, two fuselages where built for static load testing].
(Tailplane and fin built by Sud Aviation at Saint Nazaire, Cargo Doors supplied by Aviation Traders Ltd)

Tanker conversions:

British Aerospace PLC
(Filton, Bristol, Avon)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
1112 (K.2) 5 Filton May 1979-1984
1164 (K.3) 4 Filton 1984-Sept 1985
1170 (K.4) 5 Filton July 1990-1996
1106 (C.1K) 13 Filton 1992-Feb 1996

Production List

‘Jet Airliner Production List – Volume 2’
The Aviation Hobby Shop, UK, 1998   ISBN: ?
* Full production and service histories of several jetliners – including the VC10.

VC10 C.Mk.1 XR808 at Kai Tak in 1976
(photo, Keith McKenzie)
ZA147 in a tanking demo with a Nimrod over Kinloss
(photo, Keith McKenzie)

More Information

Books

‘Silent Swift Superb: The Story of the Vickers VC10’ [Order this book from UK]
by Scott Henderson
Scoval Publishing, UK, 1998   ISBN: 1 902236 02 5
* Very comprehensive, detailed and well illustrated history.

‘Vickers VC10 (Crowood Aviation Series)’ [Order this book from UK]
by Lance F Cole
Crowood Press, UK, 2000    ISBN: 1 86126 231 0
* Well researched history which complements the above title.

‘Legends of the Air 6: Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8, Vickers VC10’ [Order this book from UK]
by Stewart Wilson
Aerospace Publications, Australia, 1 Aug 1998   ISBN: 1 87567 136 6
* Includes clear and concise development and service history.

‘Vickers Aircraft since 1908’
by CF Andrews & EB Morgan
Putnam, UK, 1988   ISBN: 0 85177 815 1
* Includes 15 page chapter on the VC10.

‘VC-10 (Modern Civil Aircraft srs)’
by M. Hedley
Ian Allan Ltd, UK, Oct 1982   ISBN: 0 7110 121 48
* Concise history.

Magazines

Air Enthusiast No.92 March/April 2001

Links

A Little VC10derness
* Website dedicated to the VC10: news, history, technical details, data, photos, memories, links etc

AirPix.Net
* VC10 info: design history, operators, production, survivors, photos etc

TenWeb
* VC10 website: news, forum, links – several dead pages, not updated since 2001

Airliners.net
* Page of VC10 photos.

VC10 K.4
* Photo of VC10 K.4 taking-off.

BAC VC10 at Duxford
* Good photo of Duxford’s VC10.

Jet Photos Net
* Page of VC10 photos.

British Caledonian VC10
* Page of BCal VC10 photos.

VC10
* Page of VC10 photos.

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.

Videos:

‘Classic Wings: Vickers VC10’ [Order this video from UK]
Avion Video.  Catalogue Number: VVC10
* History of the VC10 – includes footage of test flying from Wisley and Heathrow, winter trials in Canada and service with several different airlines, plus coverage of the RAF’s VC10s.

Pilatus PC-21

Aircraft Profile
PC-21 first prototype HB-HZA takes-off at the
Farnborough International Air Show 2002.
(photo, APG)

Development

Pilatus has been a leading player in the development of turboprop trainers since the late 1970s, when the PC-7 first appeared. The PC-7 proved extremely successful, and so in 1984 the PC-9 was unveiled as a ‘big brother’, with much improved performance and more advanced systems and in 1994 a derivative of the PC-9, the PC-7 Mk II was produced. By mid 2001 these three types had achieved over 750 sales worldwide.

In June 1995 a considerably redesigned version of the PC-9 was declared the winner of the JPATS competition to select a standard training aircraft type to be used by both the USAF and US Navy. Approximately 780 aircraft in total will be required under this programme, built under licence as the Beech T-6A Texan II. Much of the development work was performed by Raytheon/Beech and included an innovative engine control system aimed at giving jet-like throttle response and a new cockpit design featuring two 5 x 5 inch LCD displays together with traditional dial instrumentation. In December 1997 the T-6A also managed to displace the incumbent Embraer Tucano as the basic trainer operated by the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) pilot training programme alongside the BAE SYSTEMS Hawk.

With this vast experience behind it, in the late 1990s Pilatus began to look at the requirements for an aircraft to extend is product range. Private discussions with existing and potential customers over the flying characteristics and cockpit systems needed for training future pilots clearly showed a demand for improved aircraft performance, reduced life-cycle costs and much higher integration of the aircraft with the overall pilot training system. This aircraft was designated PC-21, an out-of sequence designation indicating 21st Century Training System.

The PC-21 was subsequently developed in secret, in a similar manner to that of the PC-9 almost 20 years ago. Officially inspired disclosures that the forthcoming aircraft would be a ‘radically new design’ must have led to something of disappointment when the PC-21 first prototype (HB-HZA) was officially rolled out on 1 May 2002. At first sight the aircraft appeared to be nothing more than a black-painted PC-9M. However, a more considered look revealed a five-bladed propeller, unusually short-span wings incorporating a degree of sweepback, and a cockpit which features three large LCDs for each pilot. In fact, much of the PC-21s radically new design is hidden beneath its skin.

The PC-21 is a single-engined, low wing swept monoplane with a stepped tandem cockpit. It is designed for basic, advanced and fighter lead-in training and is stressed to +8/-4 g. The wing is designed for higher speeds than previous Pilatus trainers, being swept to 12.3 degrees, and having a span of only 8.77 m compared to 10.19 m on the PC-9M. Double extending Fowler flaps help maintain the stall speed below 80 kts. The wing is equipped with a combination of ailerons and spoilers to give fighter-like rates of roll.

The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68B engine is based on that used in the Beech T-6A Texan II and Embraer EMB-314M ALX, but considerably re-engineered to integrate it with the PC-21. A sophisticated electronic Power Management System (PMS) specially developed for Pilatus automatically restricts available engine power to 670 kW for take-off, but ramps-up to deliver full power above 250 kts (460 kph) to give sustained high cruise speeds. The engine drives a new five-bladed graphite propeller from Hartzell.

Associated features include an automatic yaw compensator to adjust for variations in propeller torque, a pressurised cockpit with automated cockpit air conditioning, an anti-g system and an on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS). The latter system is not normally fitted on such small aircraft and will improve mission availability by eliminating the need to carry heavy oxygen bottles, which require replenishment after almost every mission.

The instrument panels in the fully ‘glass’ cockpit are dominated by three main Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) and two smaller stand-by MFDs for each pilot, which use the latest AMLCD (Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display) technology, and a Head-Up Display (HUD) in the front cockpit. A HUD repeater can be fitted in the rear cockpit if required by the customer. All displays are fully Night Vision Goggle (NVG) compatible and full Hands On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) control has been implemented, meaning that the pilot does not have to let go of the controls to select a desired display of function. The Trim gauge is reported to be the only analogue dial in the cockpit. The software driving the displays and controls is very flexible and allows the instructor to tailor the cockpit display formats and control functionality to the training needs of the student. The displays can also mimic those found in jet fighters, allowing the aircraft to be used as a flying simulator. The crew escape system uses the latest Martin Baker Mk 16L zero-zero ejection seat, with command ejection.

The handling characteristics of the PC-21 can be altered to reflect the appropriate stage of training which the student has reached. For basic students, the engine power can be limited, yaw is minimised and roll-rate restricted to give benign handling characteristics. For advanced sorties, full power is applicable and the aileron/spoiler combination produces roll rates comparable with modern fighter aircraft.

Development of the PC-21 began in the late 1990s with careful analysis of the needs of potential customers such as the air forces of Australia, South Africa, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Design studies began in January 1999 and first prototype was rolled out on 30 April 2002. The first flight was achieved on 1 July 2002 and marked the start of a flight test programme aimed at achieving certification by the end of 2004. A second pre-production aircraft (HB-HZB) joined the test programme in 2004. It incorporates a number of small improvements, such as hydraulically powered ailerons, improved power management mapping, and various man-machine interface improvements in the cockpit including better visibility. Full production is scheduled to start in mid-2004, with roll-out of the first customer aircraft in November 2004.

Pilatus estimates the total open market for turboprop aircraft trainers to be some 1000 aircraft over the next 20 years. By producing a versatile, cost-effective and reliable aircraft which can fulfill a wide range of training needs, Pilatus hope to win up to half of the market. Given their track record so far, few can doubt that this will be achieved.

The single-piece canopy opens to starboard. The fin is slightly swept.
(photos, John Hayles)

Variants

Requirement Specification: n/a
Manufacturers Designation: PC-21

Development History:
PC-21 Pre-production version – no other variants yet.
   
Hartzell supply the five-bladed
composite propeller.
    The spinner is noticeably offset to
starboard in the front view.
(photos, John Hayles)

History

Key Dates:
1997    Concept phase launched.
November 1998    Full go-ahead for PC-21 design definition.
January 1999    Initial development work commenced.
2000    Preliminary design completed.
2000    Overall design frozen.
December 2001    Final assembly (systems integration) of first prototype begun.
30 April 2002    Roll out of first prototype
1 July 2002    Maiden flight of first prototype.
17 July 2002    Prototype flies to RAF Fairford UK after only 10 hours of flight testing.
7 June 2004    Second prototype (P02) joins flight test programme.
mid 2004    Production starts.
December 2004    Certification achieved
November 2004    First production PC-21 rolls out.
HB-HZA on its maiden flight. Landing gear and flaps down.
(photos, Pilatus Aircraft)

Operators

Military Operators

None  

Government Agencies

None  

Civilian Operators

Pilatus (2 prototypes for certification)
The silver discs on the rear fuselage appear to hold antennae for the telemetry system. Port side view showing the outlet grille ahead
of the fuselage registration.
(photos, Pilatus Aircraft)

Specifications

Pilatus PC-21
Crew: Two
Dimensions: Length 36 ft 8.5 in (11.19 m); Height 12 ft 10 in (3.91 m); Wing Span 28 ft 9 in (8.77 m); Wing Area 160.38 sq ft (14.9 sq m)
Engines: One Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68B turboprop rated at 1,600 shp (1,200 kW) (1962 ESHP thermodynamic)
Weights: Basic Empty 4,960 lb (2,250 kg); Maximum Take-off (acrobatic) 6,834 lb (3,100 kg); Maximum Take-off (utility) 9,370 lb (4,250 kg)
Armament: Four underwing hardpoints and one centreline hardpoint for various stores.
Performance: Maximum operating Speed (VMO) 370 kts (685 kph); Maximum operating Mach number 0.72 M; Design dive speed 420 kts/0.8 M; Maximum level speed 340 kts at 10,000 ft (3,048 m); Speed at sea level in cruise power 300 kts; Stall speed less than 80 kts (gear and flaps down); Maximum rate of climb at sea level in excess of 4,000 ft/min (1219 m/min); Service ceiling 38,000 ft (11,580 m); Range with full fuel, on typical training sortie, in excess of 700 nm (805 mls, 1295 km).

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Not known
Design Office: Pilatus, Stans, Switzerland.

Manufacture

Pilatus
(Pilatus Aircraft, Flugzeugwerke, PO Box 992, CH-6371, Stans, Switzerland)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
PC-21 prototypes 2 Stans 2001-June 2004
PC-21 production ? Stans mid 2004 onwards
Total: 2    

Total Produced: 2 a/c (so far)

Production List

To be added.

Rear cockpit showing the 3 large AMLCD displays. PC-21 over typical Swiss countryside.
(photos, Pilatus Aircraft)

More Information

Books

None yet published.

Magazines

Air International June 2002
Flight International various issues

Links

Pilatus Aircraft
(Official Pilatus Aircraft website)

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
To be added.

Videos:

To be added.

British Aerospace Sea Harrier

Aircraft Profile
Sea Harrier FA.Mk 2 ZH797 seen over Yeovilton
in June 2005. (photo, Kjc Photography)

Development

Famous for its key role in the Falklands War, the Sea Harrier formed an integral part of Royal Navy fleet air defence from 1981 onwards. After the Falklands War, a Mid-Life Update in the 1990s gave it a new lease of life as a formidable Beyond Visual Range interceptor. The last all-British fighter in service, it’s premature retirement in March 2006 creates a gap in operational capabilities which will leave the Royal Navy without dedicated fighter cover for many years.

In 1966 the first of the Royal Navy’s next generation fixed-wing aircraft carriers, the CVA-01, was cancelled by the Labour government. At this time the Royal Navy had two aircraft carriers in service, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Eagle, both of which were expected to end their useful sea life during the 1970s. The Phantoms and Buccaneers, which the Navy had ordered to fly from its carriers, would then have to be passed to the RAF. In future, Royal Navy operations in the North Atlantic and North Sea would have to rely on land-based air cover.

Reluctant to accept this situation, in the late 1960s the Admiralty started planning a new class of ship, called Anti-Submarine Cruisers or ‘through-deck’ cruisers, which would carry a small helicopter squadron of 9 or so machines. The small size of the ships, about one-third the tonnage of the CVA-01, would certainly make then affordable. In 1969 the Harrier GR.Mk 1 entered service with the RAF, and in the same year the Admiralty began internal studies of a navalised Harrier. It was soon clear that the V/STOL (Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing) Harrier would be able to operate from a small carrier deck without the need for any catapult or arrester gear. The idea of adding a multi-role version of the Harrier to the small air wing aboard these new ships quickly gained ground.

The aircraft was expected to combine three roles: air interception of long range maritime patrol and ship-based attack aircraft, reconnaissance and sea search, and strike/ground attack against ships and shore targets. Strike in this context meant delivery of a nuclear weapon.

In 1972 Hawker Siddeley at Kingston upon Thames were contracted to study a minimum-change naval derivative of the Harrier GR.Mk 3, to keep costs down. A new forward fuselage was designed, seating the pilot higher to provide space for extra avionics under the cockpit floor and also more room for cockpit controls and displays. The nose would house a low-cost multi-mode radar called Blue Fox, derived from the Ferranti Seaspray used in the Westland Lynx helicopter, while the raised cockpit also gave the pilot a better view. A digital nav/attack system tailored to maritime deployment from ships was introduced, and a different weapons fit developed. Some material changes to the airframe and engine were also proposed to improve sea air corrosion resistance.

In April 1973, the first of the new Anti-Submarine cruisers (HMS Invincible) was ordered from Vickers Shipyard. In the same year, Ferranti was instructed to proceed with development of the Blue Fox radar, and Rolls-Royce began work on the Pegasus Mk 104 engine.

In May 1975 Hawker Siddeley received a contract to proceed with airframe development and an order for 24 Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1s was announced. The designation indicating the triple roles of Fighter, Reconnaissance and Strike. A further ten were ordered later, bringing the total to 34. The first Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1 (XZ450) made its maiden flight at Dunsfold on 20 August 1978, followed by three pre-production aircraft fitted with test instrumentation for development flying (XZ438-XZ440). Deliveries to RNAS Yeovilton began on 18 June 1979 with XZ451 being the first to join the Intensive Flying Trials Unit (IFTU), No.700A Squadron.

In late 1978 the Indian Navy made the decision to purchase the Sea Harrier, signing a contract in December 1979 for six single-seaters designated Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 51 and two Harrier trainers. The Indian aircraft differed only in having MATRA R.550 Magic instead of Sidewinder missiles, gaseous oxygen in place of liquid oxygen and minor avionics changes. The first Indian aircraft made it’s maiden flight on 6 August 1982 and deliveries commenced at the end of that year. Two additional batches were subsequently acquired, bringing the total to 23 single-seaters, and these aircraft regularly operate from the carriers Vikrant and Viraat (ex HMS Hermes).

At the end of March 1980 the Royal Navy Sea Harrier IFTU was redesignated No.899 Sqn, becoming a Headquarters Squadron performing operational training duties, and at the same time No.800 Sqn, the first operational squadron, was formed. No.800 Sqn served briefly on HMS Invincible before transferring to HMS Hermes, an old anti-submarine/command carrier. In January 1981 a second operational unit, No.801 Sqn was commissioned to serve aboard the Invincible.

A unique feature of Sea Harrier operations at the time was its ability to launch from a ‘ski-jump’, a ramp fitted in the bow of the ship. First conceived of by a Royal Navy engineering officer, Lt Cdr DR Taylor, placing an inclined ramp at the end of the take-off run launched an aircraft into an upward ballistic trajectory and allowed heavier take-off weights to be flown than would be possible from a flat deck. Flight tests of a prototype ski-jump at RAE Bedford from August 1977, using a development Harrier GR.3, clearly showed that the theoretical benefits would be realised in practice. In September 1977 the Admiralty decided to fit a ski-jump on HMS Invincible, and in 1979 a similar ramp was fitted to Hermes.

On 2 April 1982 the military dictatorship in Argentina launched an invasion of the Falkland Islands, to divert attention away from pressing domestic difficulties. Three days later a British carrier battle group sailed from Portsmouth, with a total of twenty Sea Harriers aboard Invincible and Hermes. Whilst on the way, a cache of the latest all-aspect version of the Sidewinder air-air missile, the AIM-9L, was obtained from the USA and flown out to the carriers. The Falkland Islands lay within 600 miles (966 km) of three major Argentinian airbases and the Sea Harriers would thus be vital in protecting the fleet from enemy air attack. The conflict opened in earnest for the Sea Harriers on 1 May with dawn air attacks on the occupied airfields at Port Stanley and Goose Green. No aircraft were lost. That afternoon Flt Lt Paul Barton of No.801 Sqn (an RAF pilot on an exchange tour) shot down a Mirage 5 with an AIM-9L, scoring the first kill of the conflict and the first for the Sea Harrier. The limited number of fighters available could not provide a complete defensive screen, but the extremely high serviceability of the aircraft, often flying in conditions which would have grounded conventional aircraft, severely disrupted enemy air operations. Over the 7 week campaign the Sea Harriers achieved 23 air-air kills in air-air combat for no loss. During the entire war, only two Sea Harriers were lost to ground fire and five more to flying accidents. The humiliating loss of the Falklands War brought about the fall of the military government in Argentina, and the country has been a free democracy ever since.

After the conflict, seven replacement and 17 additional Sea Harriers were ordered. 190 Imp gal (865 litre) drop tanks were introduced to improve endurance and twin Sidewinder launch rails were fitted. The Sea Eagle anti-shipping missile was also cleared for use. The remaining two Invincible-class carriers, Illustrious and Ark Royal now entered service as Hermes was retired.

At around the same time, it was becoming clear that increasing Soviet carrier air power was beginning to outclass existing Sea Harrier capabilities. Accordingly, a programme was launched to develop the Sea Harrier into a more capable interceptor, while retaining it’s existing strike/attack and reconnaissance capabilities. Known as the Mid-Life Update (MLU), the resulting aircraft was initially designated FRS.Mk 2. In January 1985 British Aerospace received a contract for the project definition phase and conversion of two aircraft to Mk 2 standard. Initial plans anticipated upgrading the entire Sea Harrier fleet, and included more extensive changes, such as wingtip missile rails, but the scope was cut back to rein-in costs. The actual changes incorporated into the aircraft comprised a stretched fuselage with a 13.75 inch (35 cm) plug inserted aft of the wing, a re-contoured nose cone to house a Blue Vixen advanced multi-mode pulse-doppler radar, an improved Radar Warning Receiver (RWR), carriage of AIM-120 AMRAAM Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missiles, and various aerodynamic tweaks including kinking the wing leading edge and moving the dogtooth further towards the root. Other changes included a revised cockpit with new multi-function CRT ‘glass cockpit’ displays and HOTAS controls to reduce pilot workload, and also Pegasus Mk 106 engines – a navalised version of the Mk 105 fitted to the AV-8B.

The first of two prototype conversions flew on 19 September 1988. On 7 December 1988 a contract was awarded for the conversion of 29 Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1 to Mk 2 standard (including the two development aircraft). In January 1994 an order for 18 new-build Sea Harrier Mk 2 and 5 additional Sea Harrier conversions was placed, bringing the total for the Mk 2 to 52 aircraft. Carrier qualification trials were successfully completed in November 1990 aboard HMS Ark Royal.

During 1993 and 1994 the Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1 returned to combat operations, flying a three tours in support of Operation ‘Deny Flight’ over Bosnia. Unfortunately, one aircraft was lost to a SA-7 missile during this period. The pilot ejected and was later picked up.

Meanwhile, a series of live firings of the AIM-120 missile from the second development FRS.Mk 2 prototype (XZ439) commenced on 29 March 1993 at Elgin AFB in the USA. In June 1993 an Operational Evaluation Unit (OEU) was formed at Boscombe Down as an off-shoot of No.899 Sqn, to take the aircraft into service. In May 1994 the official designation was changed to Sea Harrier F/A.Mk 2 – indicating a dual Fighter/Attack role. The replacement of ‘Strike’ by ‘Attack’ indicated the formal abandonment of nuclear weapons delivery as an operational role. In September 1994 the F/A.Mk 2 undertook its first operational deployment when four aircraft from the OEU joined HMS Invincible. The F/A.Mk 2 finally replaced the Mk 1 in March 1995 when the last Mk 1 was withdrawn from service. Operation ‘Deliberate Force’ in 1995 saw Sea Harriers once again flying combat operations over Bosnia. In March 1995 the unusual ‘/’ in the official designation was dropped, becoming Sea Harrier FA.Mk 2. The last new build Sea Harrier was handed over in January 1999.

The 1998 Strategic Defence Review included a commitment to consolidate the Royal Navy and RAF Harrier squadrons under a unified command, initially known as Joint Force 2000, (later Joint Force Harrier), to facilitate joint operations of the attack-optimised RAF Harriers and fighter-optimised Navy Sea Harriers, both on land and at sea. Joint Force Harrier was subsequently formed on 1 April 2000. The first challenge for this new organisation came in May 2000 when HMS Illustrious deployed as part of a British military force tasked with restoring order in war ravaged Sierra Leone. The Sea Harriers provided air support to British ground forces and maintained a very visible deterrent to potential troublemakers.

Considering it’s versatility and proven ability, exports of the Sea Harrier were to prove rather disappointing. Potential sales to the Australian and Italian Navies came to nothing, and an FA.Mk 2-style upgrade for India was abandoned in favour of devoting more funding to the navalised LCA.

Very soon after entering service the Sea Harrier FA.Mk 2 had begun to acquire a reputation as an outstanding fighter. Thanks to its small size, agility and versatility it was rated by some as the world’s best air combat aircraft. Equipped with an excellent look-down/shoot-down radar and a good BVR missile the Royal Navy had evolved an aircraft which could challenge any fighter then in service. Unfortunately, operations in warmer climates off Africa and in the Middle East had highlighted a sharp drop-off in hover performance with the Mk 106 engine in high air temperatures. This effectively limited the aircraft’s use in hot climates to certain times of the year. With the huge increase in demand for ‘out of area’ operations since 1990, this lack of power was becoming a big handicap. A study to investigate installation of the more powerful Pegasus Mk 107 engine (fitted to late production Harrier GR.Mk 7s) found that significant and expensive structural changes would be required to accommodate the engine.

On 28 February 2002 it was announced that the Sea Harrier would be retired, and that Joint Force Harrier would ‘migrate’ to the Harrier GR.Mk 7 and 9 until replacement by the Future Joint Combat Aircraft (Lockheed-Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter) in about 2012. On 28 March 2006 the Sea Harrier was formally withdrawn from Royal Navy service when No.801 Sqn decommissioned at RNAS Yeovilton. After nearly 27 years of Sea Harrier service, carrier-based fixed-wing aviation would now only be provided by joint RAF-RN squadrons operating the non-radar equipped ground-attack Harrier.

The premature retirement of the Sea Harrier (the youngest airframe was less than 8 years old) is a calculated risk that leaves a yawning gap in fleet air defence until the F-35 finally arrives. As the F-35 programme slips beyond 2012 and new Type 45 anti-aircraft Destroyers are due even later, the Royal Navy has entered a critical period where it is entirely dependent upon it’s allies to provide outer layer air defence. From the South Atlantic to the Adriatic, and beyond, the Sea Harrier has been the fleet’s first line of defence. Now only the Indian Navy continues to fly the type.

FRS.Mk 1 XZ451 of 700A Sqn in August 1979.
(photo, Micheal J Freer)
FRS.Mk 1 XZ454 of 800 Sqn seen at
Farnborough ’80. (photo, Mick Bajcar)

Variants

Requirement Specification:
Manufacturers Designation: P.1184

Development History:
Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1 Initial production version. Navalised multi-role version of Harrier with new forward fuselage and revised avionics. Blue Fox radar in conical nose radome. Pitot probe on nose.
Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 2 Initial designation for Mk 2 variant after Mid-Life Update. (Used January 1985-May 1994).
Sea Harrier F/A.Mk 2 Interim designation for Mk 2 variant. (Used May 1994-March 1995).
Sea Harrier FA.Mk 2 Upgraded version with stretched fuselage, Blue Vixen radar in larger revised radome. Pitot probe on fin. Improved avionics and AIM-120 AAMs.
Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 51 Export version of FRS.Mk 1 for Indian Navy. Matra 550 Magic AAMs replace Sidewinders, gaseous oxygen in place of LOX, modified avionics fit.
FRS.Mk 1 ZD578 seen at Yeovilton in July 1992.
(photo, Joop de Groot-CRMAP)
FRS.Mk 1 ZD610 of 899 Sqn at Hurn in 1990.
(photo, Tim Beach)

History

Key Dates:
8 Feb 1963    P.1127 lands aboard HMS Ark Royal
early 1970s    Initial proposals for naval Harrier variant
15 May 1975    Sea Harrier programme first announced. Order for 24 FRS.Mk 1 placed
May 1978    Order for 10 more FRS.Mk 1
20 August 1978    First flight of first production FRS.Mk 1 (XZ450)
18 June 1979    FRS.Mk 1 enters Royal Navy service
19 September 1979    700A Squadron commissioned
24 October 1979    Sea trials aboard HMS Hermes commence
Dec 1979    Indian Navy orders Sea Harriers
31 March 1980    700A Sqn redesignated 899 Sqn & 800 Sqn established
28 January 1981    801 Sqn commissioned
26 February 1981    Ski-jump at RNAS Yeovilton becomes operational
June 1981    800 Sqn embarks on HMS Hermes for the first time
1 May 1982    First air-to-air victory scored during Falklands War
6 August 1982    First flight of export FRS.Mk 51 for Indian Navy
22 December 1982    First aircraft delivered to Indian Navy (IN601)
January 1985    BAe awarded contract for project definition and 2 conversions to Mk 2 standard
19 September 1988    Maiden flight of FRS.Mk 2 aerodynamic development aircraft (ZA195)
7 December 1988    BAe receives contract to upgrade 29 FRS.Mk 1 to Mk 2 standard (inc. the 2 development aircraft)
8 March 1989    First flight of second FRS.Mk 2 development aircraft (XZ439)
7 November 1990    First carrier landing by a Mk 2, on Ark Royal
24 May 1990    First Sea Harrier flight with Blue Vixen radar fitted
29 March 1993    First AMRAAM air-air missile fired from a Mk 2
22 April 1993    First F/A.Mk 2 conversion for service handed over to Royal Navy at Dunsfold (XZ497)
1 June 1993    FA.Mk 2 Operational Evaluation Unit (899 Sqn) established at Boscombe Down
21 June 1993    First production Mk 2 delivered to 899 Sqn (XZ497)
January 1994    MoD orders 5 additional Mk 2 conversions & 18 new build aircraft
24 August 1994    4 Mk 2 aircraft from 899 Sqn deployed to HMS Invincible for use over Bosnia – first operational deployment
26 January 1995    801 Sqn deploys aboard HMS Illustrious
20 October 1995    First new build Mk 2 delivered (ZH796)
3 July 1996    Award of contract to install IN/GPS in Royal Navy Sea Harriers
April 1998    First flight of Sea Harrier FA.Mk 2 with IN/GPS upgrade
September 1998    Start of ship trials for IN/GPS upgrade
18 January 1999    Last new build FA.Mk 2 delivered to Royal Navy (ZH813)
28 March 2006    Sea Harrier retired from squadron service with Royal Navy
2010    Projected retirement date for Indian Navy Sea Harriers
Indian Navy FRS.Mk 51 IN607 at Yelahanka in
February 2005. (photo, Jagan Pillarisetti)
Indian Navy FRS.Mk 51 IN601/G-9-478 seen at
Farnborough ’82. (photo, Derek Ferguson)

Operators

Military Operators

India – Indian Navy (FRS.Mk 51: 1 sqn)
UK – Royal Navy (FRS.Mk 1: 4* sqns + Trials unit; FA.Mk 2: 3 sqns)

Government Agencies

UK – DERA Boscombe Down (A few on loan for test duties)

Civilian Operators

None

* One squadron was a temporary unit for the Falklands War.

Specifications

British Aerospace Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1
Role: Single-seat shipboard fighter, reconnaissance and strike/attack aircraft
Crew: 1
Dimensions: Length 47 ft 7 in (14.50 m); Height 12 ft 2 in (3.71 m); Wing Span 25 ft 3 in (7.70 m); Wing Area 202.1 sq ft (18.68 sq m)
Engine(s): One Rolls-Royce Pegasus Mk 104 vectored thrust turbofan of 21,500 lb (9752 kg) st.
Weights: Operating Empty 13,444 lb (6098 kg); Maximum Take-off 26,200 lb (11,884 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed Mach 0.97 (639 kts, 736 mph, 1185 kph) at sea level; Cruising speed Mach 0.80 (459 kts, 528 mph, 850 kph) at 36,000 ft (10,975 m); Initial rate of climb 50,000 ft/min (15240 m/min); Service ceiling 51,000 ft (15,545 m); Combat Radius 400 nm (460 mls, 741 km) on hi-hi-hi interception mission with 4 AAMs, 300 nm (345 mls, 556 km) on hi-lo-hi attack mission.
Armament: Underfuselage mounts for two 30-mm ADEN cannon in pods with 150 rpg, one centreline and four underwing hardpoints for up to 8000 lb (3628 kg) for STO and 5000 lb (2268) for VTO. Normal loading – underfuselage and inner wing pylons 2000 lb (907 kg) each, outer wing pylons 650 lb (295 kg) each. Cleared to carry WE177 free-fall nuclear bomb, 1000 lb (454 kg) HE bombs, BAe Sea Eagle ASM, AGM-84 Harpoon ASM etc. Air-to-air armament includes 4 AIM-9L Sidewinders on twin-rail launcher, or MATRA R.550 Magic on Indian Navy aircraft.
British Aerospace Sea Harrier FA.Mk 2
Role: Single-seat shipboard fighter/attack aircraft
Crew: 1
Dimensions: Length 46 ft 6 in (14.17 m); Height 12 ft 2 in (3.71 m); Wing Span 25 ft 3 in (7.70 m); Wing Area 202.1 sq ft (18.68 sq m)
Engine(s): One Rolls-Royce Pegasus Mk 106 vectored thrust turbofan of 21,750 lb (9865 kg) st.
Weights: Operating Empty 14,510 lb (6580 kg); Maximum Take-off 26,200 lb (11,884 kg)
Performance: Maximum level speed Mach 0.97 (639 kts, 736 mph, 1185 kph) at sea level; Cruising speed Mach 0.80 (459 kts, 528 mph, 850 kph) at 36,000 ft (10,975 m); Initial rate of climb 50,000 ft/min (15240 m/min); Service ceiling 51,000 ft (15,545 m); Combat Radius 400 nm (460 mls, 741 km) on hi-hi-hi interception mission with 4 AAMs, 300 nm (345 mls, 556 km) on hi-lo-hi attack mission.
Armament: Underfuselage mounts for two 30-mm ADEN cannon in pods with 120 rpg, one centreline and four underwing hardpoints for up to 8500 lb (3856 kg) for STO and 5000 lb (2268) for VTO. Normal loading – underfuselage and inner wing pylons 2000 lb (907 kg) each, outer wing pylons 1000 lb (454 kg) each. Cleared to carry WE177 free-fall nuclear bomb, 1000 lb (454 kg) HE bombs, BAe Sea Eagle ASM, AGM-84 Harpoon ASM, BAe ALARM ARM etc. Air-to-air armament includes 4 AIM-120 AMRAAM on fuselage and outer wing pylons, or 4 AIM-9L Sidewinders on twin-rail launchers.
FA.Mk 2 ZH811 during the decommissioning of
801 Sqn, 28 March 2006. (photo, K Chilton)
FA.Mk 2 ZH800 of 899 Sqn seen in September
2003. (photo, Neil Dunridge-AirTeamImages)

Production

Design Centre

Head of Design Team: ?
Chief Engineer: Ralph Hooper
Deputy Chief Engineer: John Fozard
Project Designer: ?
Design Office: Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd, Kingston upon Thames, London (later British Aerospace plc).

Manufacture

Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd (later British Aerospace plc)
(Dunsfold Aerodrome, Godalming, Surrey, GU8 4BS, UK)
Version Quantity Assembly Location* Time Period Order Date
Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1 24 Dunsfold 1979-1981 May 1975
Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1 10 Dunsfold 1981-1982 May 1978
Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1 14 Dunsfold 1984-1986 July 1982
Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1 9 Dunsfold 1986-1988 Sept 1984
FRS.Mk 1 Total: 57      
Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 51 6 Dunsfold 1982-Aug 1984 Dec 1979
Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 51 10 Dunsfold 1989-Sep 1991 Nov 1985
Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 51 7 Dunsfold 1990-1992 Oct 1986
FRS.Mk 51 Total: 23      
Sea Harrier FA.Mk 2 (2 conv.) Dunsfold 1987-Mar 1989 Jan 1985
Sea Harrier FA.Mk 2 (27 conv.) Dunsfold 1992-1996 Dec 1988
Sea Harrier FA.Mk 2 (5 conv.) Dunsfold 1996-Nov 1997 Jan 1994
Sea Harrier FA.Mk 2 18 Dunsfold 1995-Jan 1999 Jan 1994
FA.Mk 2 Total: 18+34 conv.      

Total Produced: 98 a/c (All variants)
* Conversion and manufacturing carried out at BAe Kingston-upon-Thames and BAe Brough, East Yorkshire.

Production List

‘Fleet Air Arm Fixed-Wing Aircraft Since 1945’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Ray Sturtivant with Mick Burrow & Lee Howard
Published by Air-Britain, June 2004 ISBN: 0851302831
* Includes arguably the most accurate individual airframe histories for the Sea Harrier.

More Information

Books

‘Sea Harrier – The Last All-British Fighter’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Jamie Hunter
Published by Midland Publishing, 15 March 2005 ISBN: 1857802071
* Very well illustrated history of the development and use of the Sea Harrier. Many colour photos.

‘Sea Harrier Over The Falklands – A Maverick at War’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Commander ‘Sharkey’ Ward
Published by Cassell Military, 9 March 2006 ISBN: 0304355429
* First-hand account of the Falklands Air War by the CO of 801 Sqn.

‘Sea Harrier: Aeroguide 32 – BAe Sea Harrier FRS.1/FA Mk.2’
by –
Published by Ad Hoc Publications, May 2006 ISBN: 0946958440
* Modellers guide with good close-up photos and markings details.

‘The Sharp End: Sea Harrier Front Line Operations’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Neil Mercer
Published by Airlife Publishing Ltd, Nov 1995 ISBN: 1853105449
* Pictorial history with individual aircraft histories listing

Topshots 20: Sea Harrier FA2
by Albert Osinki
Published by Kagero, 2005 ISBN: 83 89088 932
* All-colour pictorial, with many close-up photos.

‘World Air Power Journal Volume 41 Summer 2000’
Published by Aerospace Publishing, 2000 ISBN: 1 86184 047 0 (pb)/ 1 86184 048 9 (hb)
* Includes comprehensive 42-page feature on the Sea Harrier.

Magazines

To be added.

Links

Wikipedia: BAE Sea Harrier
* Brief history, variants and specification

Target Lock: Sea Harrier
* Good profile with history, specification, photos, news etc

BAe SEA HARRIER FRS Mk.51 / T Mk.60
* History, specifications and serial numbers for Indian Navy Sea Harriers

First Generation Harriers/Sea Harrier
* Good profile with history and specifications

Target Aviation Photography: RNAS Yeovilton
* Photo report of visit to RNAS Yeovilton in April 2005.

Royal Navy Multimedia Centre
* 5 pages of official Royal Navy Sea Harrier photos

airliners.net
* 37 pages of excellent Sea Harrier photos

jetphotos.net
* 20 pages of Sea Harrier photos – all but one of FA.2s

Sea Harrier Down Under
* Royal Australian Navy interest in Sea Harrier during 1970s-1980s

Hawker Siddeley Sea Harrier
* 2:53 video of 4-ship Sea Harrier demo at RIAT 2005

Shop

Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
See the Aeroguide title listed above.

Videos:

To be added.