The Buccaneer is a mid-wing two-seat aircraft with a T-tail, circular engine bays on the sides the fuselage, and a bulged rotating bomb bay door capable of four 500kg (1100 lb) bombs or a nuclear weapon to minimize drag. As it got closer to its retirement, the bomb bay was used more for fuel than weapons. Area ruling was introduced to the fuselage to improve stability and reduce drag at higher speeds. It has a thick wing, which made flying in the turbulent air at sea level a lot smoother, and it could carry heavy stores such as the Martel missile. Below the tail the Buccanner featured clamshell airbrakes that open sideways, which are effective because of their large area. The Rolls-Royce Spey turbofans replaced the older, less reliable and less efficient, Gyron Juniors. Engine bleed air was blown over the wings to increase lift. The Blue Parrot attack radar in the nose was optimized for search.
The Buccaneer was designed for the RN in 1952 as a low-altitude attack aircraft of extremely strong construction for attacking enemy warships. The prototype, the Blackburn N.A. 39, first flew on 30 April 1958. The last (209th) Buccaneer was delivered to the RAF on 6 October 1977. Most of the Buccaneer's service life was spent flying from land bases after all British carriers were retired and they were handed over to the RAF.
|Blackburn/Hawker-Siddeley Buccaneer S.Mk 2B Specifications|
|Type||Two-seat carrier-capable low-level strike aircraft|
|Powerplant||Two 51.05kN (11000 lb) Rolls-Royce RB.168-1A Spey Mk 101 turbofans|
|Armament||7260 kg (16000lb) of bombs, rockets, anti-ship or anti-surface missiles.|
|Max speed||Mach .92 (979km/h; 529kt)|
|Combat radius||1740km (1080nm) hi-lo-hi; 3495km (1185nm) ferry range.|
|Minimum Takeoff Run||305m (1000ft).|
|Service Ceiling||12190m (42500 ft)|
|Empty||13608kg (30,000lb lb)|
|MTOW||28123kg (62,000 lb)|
|Length||19.33m (63ft 5in)|
|Height||4.97m (16ft 3in)|
|Wing area||47.82m² (515sq ft)|