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Secrets of iconic Cold War strike jet revealed in latest Haynes manual

Secrets of iconic Cold War strike jet revealed in latest Haynes manual

The secrets of one of the Cold War’s most iconic carrier-borne and overland strike jets, the Blackburn Buccaneer, are revealed in a new manual from Haynes.  With the world currently facing heightened political tensions, The Blackburn/BAE Buccaneer Manual, takes a timely look at this Cold War warrior which was at the peak of its service in the early 1980s. 

There were few aircraft that could fly as fast, as low, or as far as the amazing Buccaneer – and not one could do all three. The Blackburn jet even earned itself the nickname ‘Easy Rider’ with the South African Air Force thanks to its surprisingly stable ride at low level.    

The Blackburn Buccaneer was designed and built in the 1950s at the height of the Cold War, and entered service with the Royal Navy in 1961 as a carrier-borne strike aircraft. The jets initially operated from Royal Navy aircraft carriers to deliver nuclear weapons and conventional ordnance in anti-shipping strikes against Soviet warships in the North Sea area.  

The Navy later transferred its Buccaneers to the RAF in 1969 where they were used in the overland strike role.  The aircraft saw combat during Gulf War 1 in 1991 before the last Buccaneers were retired from service three years later.  

Buccaneers were also operated by the South African Air Force from 1965 to 1991, seeing action in the South African Border War over Angola and Namibia, and launching attacks on SWAPO guerrilla camps during the 1970s and 80s.

The Blackburn/BAE Buccaneer Owners’ Workshop Manual, written by air-to-air photographer and aerospace journalist Keith Wilson, features a detailed view of operational and maintenance procedures thanks to the help of The Buccaneer Aviation Group (TBAG) at Bruntingthorpe, who provided the author with rare and privileged access to TBAG’s superb collection of Buccaneer jets. 

Talking about his latest manual, Keith says: “With speculation rife that the world is now moving in the direction of a new Cold War era, it’s sobering to consider how past technological advances have a major influence on today’s wargames. However, the historical importance of military airpower should neither be forgotten, nor underestimated.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to all those who have assisted in the research and production of this book. In particular, having unlimited access to The Buccaneer Aviation Group’s incredible collection of Buccaneer jets at Bruntingthorpe, coupled with being able to interview some of the aircrew that flew it, provided me with an invaluable opportunity to draw on some unique details that really bring the Buccaneer story to life.”

The Blackburn/BAE Buccaneer Owners’ Workshop Manual is supported by more than 300 archive photographs and illustrations (including many previously unpublished) and offers a comprehensive insight into the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the iconic jet.

This includes exclusive close-up photography of Cold War Jets Collection Buccaneers at Bruntingthorpe. The book also features extensive interviews with Buccaneer aircrew.