Author Topic: Flight Of the Buccaneer...  (Read 585 times)

Offline Aeroplanedriver

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Flight Of the Buccaneer...
« on: June 14, 2022, 12:43:12 PM »
Built in 67 hours for the One Week GB on the other site. 

US Navy Blackburn/Vought A-7C Buccaneer AGM-84 Harpoon Test Aircraft, Naval Weapons Center-China Lake, c.1977
Airfix 1/72 Buccaneer S.2C

Two back-to-back crashes of the A2F-1 prototypes in 1961 combined with development issues with its complex Nav/Attack computer system led to significant slippage of Grumman's program to provide the G-128, the aircraft that would eventually become the Intruder.  As the delays mounted the Pentagon became more and more worried about the Navy falling behind and being unable to provide any kind of significant strike capability.  By early 1962 the Intruder still looked 4-5 years away and other options were being unofficially considered. 

One of the staff officers assigned to the program had just returned from an exchange tour with the British Royal Navy, where he had flown the Blackburn Buccaneer during its entry in to service.  While still an aircraft in its infancy the aircraft impressed those who flew it, so in late 1962 Commander Harry "Snapper" Organs presented a proposal to bring the Buccaneer into US Navy service.  The Pentagon was reluctant to turn to an overseas option, but the experiences with the Hawker Sea Hawk ( seen here https://www.whatifmodellers.com/index.php?topic=47636.0 ) and the Canberra a decade earlier opened the door to the Navy operating the Buccaneer. 

In early 1963 the US Navy approached Blackburn regarding a Buccaneer purchase.  The shortcomings of the S.1 were already becoming apparent, so US financial support for the planned S.2 upgrade was welcomed.  McDonnell production lines were full of Phantoms and Grumman had enough on their plate with the Intruder issues so the Navy approached Vought to be the US prime contractor for the Buccaneer.  Vought were developing the aircraft that would become the A-8 Corsair II but had production capacity to handle the Buccaneer. 

With the long-term plan still focused on the A-6 the US placed an order for 82 Buccaneers to equip five Carrier Air Wings with a highly capable all-weather attack platform.  With US investment the S.2 standard Buccaneer entered service in 1964 with the Royal Navy, and six months later with the US Navy.  The initial 12 airframes were delivered in "green" state to Vought for integration of US avionics and weapons, with the subsequent 70 aircraft being delivered to Vought as kits to be assembled locally. 

The Buccaneer served well with the US Navy, but like the earlier Sea Hawk, its front line career was short lived.  With the fully mature A-6A Intruder entering service in 1968, the Buccaneer squadrons began re-equipping.  Though the priority was towards A-1 Squadrons all A-7s had left front line service by 1972.  The aircraft went through several upgrades with the A-7C being the final type in US service.  The type saw service in Vietnam, with 9 being lost in combat, but with an exemplary record.  A further 24 were converted to KA-7C tankers which were in service until 1983.  Eight A-7Cs were diverted to the Naval Weapons Center where they served as weapons testbeds until 1989. 

Though it's frontline career was short, the Buccaneer was well loved in US service.  It's handling and low level capabilties became legendary, and even though the A-6 had a more advanced avionics package many crews who converted missed the Buccaneer.  This model depicts a Naval Weapons Center Buccaneer at China Lake in 1977 while conducting trials for the AGM-84 Harpoon missile.  It is equipped with two live missiles for a live test in August 1977.  This aircraft was damaged beyond economic repair in a 1984 runway overrun accident, but was restored and is now on display at the Pima Air Museum in Tucson, Arizona. 










« Last Edit: June 15, 2022, 12:09:13 AM by Aeroplanedriver »

Offline Gingie

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Re: Flight Of the Buccaneer...
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2022, 09:36:30 PM »
oooff!  :icon_surprised:

Every now and then a BTS comes along that looks soooo right. This is 100% one of those times.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Flight Of the Buccaneer...
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2022, 10:34:02 PM »
Great story & beautiful aircraft! :-* 8)
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline Dr. YoKai

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Re: Flight Of the Buccaneer...
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2022, 11:32:59 PM »
 Heh. Harry Organs. Superb thespian and a crack pilot to boot. Great backstory for a very nice looking take on the Buccaneer!

Offline Frank3k

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Re: Flight Of the Buccaneer...
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2022, 12:03:13 AM »
beautiful job! It really looks like it could have been a USN plane.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Flight Of the Buccaneer...
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2022, 03:02:32 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.

Offline Inactive II

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Nice...
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2022, 05:20:33 AM »
...Never built the 1960-vintage Airfix 1/72 Buccaneer, did have 2 Airfix of America, 1 Airfix-Craftmaster "never build" kits till November 2015, missed out on what would had been an interesting build ; >(

Offline finsrin

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Re: Flight Of the Buccaneer...
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2022, 01:18:59 PM »
Story and model so excellent perhaps is all true.   8)

Offline Buzzbomb

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Re: Flight Of the Buccaneer...
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2022, 05:38:59 PM »
Terrific, I have something very similar on the shelf in my whiffer Bucc collection.

Love it

Offline KiwiZac

  • The Modeller Formerly Known As K5054NZ
Re: Flight Of the Buccaneer...
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2022, 09:29:38 AM »
Ooof, now that just looks right!

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: Flight Of the Buccaneer...
« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2022, 10:03:34 AM »
Ooof, now that just looks right!

She does, doesn't she. 8)
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."