Do you want to see a unique variant of the Blackburn Buccaneer, in this case the SAAF Buccaneer S Mk.50?   

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  1. 1. Do you want to see a unique variant of the Blackburn Buccaneer, in this case the SAAF Buccaneer S Mk.50?

    • yes!
    • no

 SAAF Blackburn Buccaneer S Mk.50

'Easy Rider'


> Export to South Africa

In spite of the Buccaneer's undoubted qualities, export success for the aircraft was distinctly limited.Sadly this is probably due to having been labelled a 'naval' aircraft and in the part to the British Government's somewhat ineptitude with foreign governments! Had Blackburn been able to negotiate directly with the US air force or West German military authorities, things may have been different. After all, the NA.39 was carefully studied by the American authorities in 1957 under the terms of the Mutual Weapons Development Program (MWDP) treaty, and later declared the project 'sound'.Unfortunately, it was not to be and instead the US Government placed significant orders for the Grumman YA2F (later A-6) Intruder aircraft for their Navy.Similarly, negotiations had been conducted by the British Government officials with West Germany military officials for an aircraft to replace the British-built Sea Hawk Mk.100 and the 101 then in service with the Bundesmarine. It seems that negotiations were not conducted in a suitably professional manner and the large order went to Lockheed for their F-104 Starfighter. Thankfully, negotiations between Britain and the South African Government fared a little better, success for the Buccaneer.


> Simonstown Agreement

In 1962, discussions with the South African Government regarding a possible order for the SAAF (South African Airforce) become detailed. The subject of the negotiations was the S.2 variant , which at that time had not taken to the air. However, it did include a significant number of changes to meet the 'hot and high' airfield operations.The contract was signed in January 1963 for 16 Buccaneer S Mk.50, as the SAAF variant had become known. At the time of the negotiations, Britain and South Africa were operating under the Simonstown Agreement - whereby Britain offered South Africa maritime equipment and weapons to defend the vital trade routes around the Cape of Good Hope. Following the closure of the Suez Canal in 1956, these routes had become of great importance to Britain and Europe. In addition to he defense of the trade routes, Britain was also granted base facilities at Simonstown, near Cape Town.




> Rocket Powered

The SAAF Buccaneer S.50's were basically similar to the Royal Navy S.2 aircraft, but were fitted with a pair of Bristol Siddeley BS.605 single-chamber,retractable, auxiliary rockets in the rear fuselage to improve take-off performance in the 'hot and high' situations. These rocket motors were powered by a mixture of kerosene drawn from the aircraft's standard fuel supply and HTP (high-test peroxide), held 8,000lb of thrust for 30 seconds. As a result, the total thrust installed was over 30,000lb - significantly better than the 14,000lb of thrust of the Gryron Junior-powered Buccaneer S.1 The main innovation on the S.50 was the enlarged slipper tank, which could accommodate 430 imperial gallons of additional fuel.


The first S.50-serial number 411, class B markings as 'G-2-1'


The first S.50-serial number 411, which operated under class B markings as 'G-2-1' made its first flight on 9 January 1965. Trials made the new rocket motors were soon completed satisfactory, as were the trails with the underwing armament of four Nord AS30 guided missiles. The S.50 did not feature hydraulic wing-folding capabilities, but was able to fold its wings manually.It had been decided that all 16 Buccaneers would be allocated to 24 Squadron, to be based at WaterKloof Air Force Base, south of Pretoria, located 4.914 ft above sea level. It was because of this factor the installation of the rocket pack was deemed necessary by the SAAF. The runway at Waterkloof was long enough for the Buccaneer, even operating at maximum permitted weights, although it was considered that under certain conditions it might be necessary-as a safety precaution-to utilize the additional thrust; not just during take-off but also soon afterwards while trying to gain the necessary flying speeds in the climb. What must be remembered is the amount of effective thrust that was utilized by the bleeding of air for the BLC system on the Buccaneer. That all said, the success of the booster rockets will remain a matter for debate as they were removed from the aircraft during the fleet modification program in 1976. I will add a subsection here elaborating more on the modification program when more information is available.


 > Power and Dimensions

The S.50 was also equipped with strengthened undercarriage and higher capacity wheel brakes, and had manually folded wings.Due to the need to patrol the vast coastline, they also specified In-flight refueling and larger under-wing tanks.


Description Specification
Two Rolls Royce RB. 168-1A Spey Mk 101 Turbofans 11 100 lb (5 035 kg) thrust.
Bristol BS. 605 twin chamber rocket engine (RATO) 8 000 lb (3 630 kg) thrust. Housed in retractable panels in lower part of rear fuselage just forward of air brakes.
Wingspan 44 ft (13,41 m)
Height 16 ft 3 in (4,95 m)
Length 63 ft 5 in (19,33 m) 6 inches shorter than a DC 3!
Empty Weight  29 980 lbs (13 599 kg)
Maximum take-off weight

62 000 lbs (28 123 kg)

> Fuselage and Structure 

The fuselage of the Buccaneer was designed using the area rule technique, which had the effect of reducing drag while travelling at high subsonic and transonic speeds, and gave rise to the characteristic curvy shape of the fuselage. The majority of the airframe and fuselage was machined from solid casting to give great strength to endure the stress of low level operations. Considerable effort went into ensuring that metal fatigue would not be a limiting factor of the Buccaneer's operational life even under the formidable conditions imposed of continuous low level flight.
A large air brake was built into the tail cone of the aircraft. The hydraulically operated air brake formed two leaves that could be opened into the airstream to quickly decelerate the aircraft. The style of air brake chosen by Blackburn was highly effective in the dive-attack profile that the Buccaneer was intended to perform, as well as effectively balancing out induced drag from operating the Boundary Layer Control (BLC system). It featured a variable incidence tail plane that could be trimmed to suit the particular requirements of low-speed handling or high-speed flight; the tail plane had to be high mounted due to the positioning and functionality of the Buccaneer's air brake.
The wing design of the Buccaneer was a compromise between two requirements: a low aspect ratio for gust response and high aspect ratio to give good range performance. The small wing was suited to high-speed flight at low altitude; however, a small wing did not generate sufficient lift that was essential for carrier operations. Therefore, BLC was used upon both the wing and horizontal stabilizer, having the effect of energizing and smoothing the boundary layer airflow, which significantly reduced airflow separation at the back of the wing, and therefore decreased stall speed, and increased effectiveness of trailing edge control surfaces including flaps and ailerons.


Above: A cutaway of a Blackburn Buccaneer S.2 which is almost structurally identical to the S Mk.50 except for the exclusion of the Bristol Siddeley BS.605 rockets in the rear fuselage.







Boundary Layer Control (BLC)



In order to dramatically improve aerodynamic performance at slow speeds, such as during take-off and landing, Blackburn adopted a new aerodynamic control technology, known as boundary layer control (BLC). BLC bled high pressure air directly from the engines, which was "blown" against various parts of the aircraft's wing surfaces. A full-span slit along the part of the wing's trailing edge was found to give almost 50% more lift than any contemporary scheme. In order to counteract the severe pitch movements that would otherwise be generated by use of BLC, a self- trimming system was interconnected with the BLC system and additional blowing of the wing's leading edge was also introduced. The use of BLC allowed the use of slats to be entirely discarded in the design.Before landing, the pilot would open the BLC vents as well as lower the flaps to achieve slow, stable flight. A consequence of the blown wing was that the engines were required to run at high power for low-speed flight in order to generate sufficient compressor gas for blowing. Blackburn's solution to this situation was the adoption of a large air brake; this also allowed an overshooting aircraft to pull away more quickly during a failed landing attempt. The nose cone and radar antenna could also be swung around by 180° to reduce the length of the aircraft in the carrier hangar. This feature was particularly important due to the small size of the aircraft carriers that the Buccaneer typically operated from.
The Buccaneer took off in 3,000 feet (914 m) at 144 knots (267 km/h; 166 mph) with blown air, the figures become 3,700 ft (1,128 m) at 175 knots (324 km/h; 201 mph) without blown air.


> Performance Figures




Operational Ceiling

40 000 ft

Design Speed

560 knots (645 mph or 1 038 km/h or Mach 0,85)

Maximum Speed (Clean Configuration)

580 knots (668 mph or 1 238 km/h or Mach 0.95

Basic Range (No IFR or extra tanks)

2 000 nautical miles (3 700 km)

Bomb Bay Tank

440 Imp Gallons (2 000 litres)

Under-wing Slipper Tank

430 Imp Gallons (1 955 litres)



 > Weapons




As part of the initial contract, when the Mirage III aircraft arrived in South Africa in 1963, two air-to-air missile types were supplied for the intercept role and one air-to-surface missile type was supplied for the ground attack role. The forerunner of the AS-30 was the smaller AS-20, and a number of these were supplied with inert warheads to be used as training missiles. At that stage a single AS-30 missile cost R37 000-00 each and each pilot was only allowed to fire (and guide) one AS-20 per year and one AS-30 every two years. The AS-30 was also used in anger during the Bush War when in 1981, four out of five radar stations at Cahama in Southern Angola were knocked out by six Buccaneers firing twelve AS-30 missiles.


Description Specification
NORD AVIATION (Aerospaciale) AS-30 Role: Tactical Air-to-Surface Missile; Maximum range: 11 km; Length: 3,885 m; Wingspan: 1m; Launch Mass: 520 kg; Warhead: 230 kg General Purpose, or 213 kg Semi (Armour) Piercing
1000 lb Bomb Length: 2.3 m (7.55 ft) Explosives: 180 kg (396 lb) Torpex
68mm SNEB Rocket Length: 0.94 m (3.08 ft) Weight: 6.8 kg (15 lb) Explosives: HEAT; HE fragmentation; Marker; Training Slant Range: 1.6 km
Natak 165 mm recce flare
Condib (anti-runway bomb) Length: 1.58 m Weight: 70 kg Explosives: 43kg Typically released from an altitude of 300 ft. A couple of seconds later, the tail section separates allowing the deployment of the xxxx parachute, once opened this breaks the Condib's decent, steering it at a 60deg angle, with its nose pointed towards the ground. At that precise moment, a rocket which is attached to it, propels the bomb's warhead into its target (e.g. runway), penetrating and piercing through its concrete layer. After a 6 second delay, the warhead is detonated, creating a 5 m wide by 1.6 m deep hole in the runway, preventing its operational status
LOROP The Vinten Long-Range Oblique Photographic (LOROP) system was carried in the bomb bay of the Buccaneer. The 60 inch lens with a 5 inch film gave the ability to do reconnaissance photography at a safe standoff distance. The aircraft went in below the radar, pitched up and photographed the target and then got out of the area before counter-measures could be activated.
Mk 81 250 lb Bomb Length: 1.78 m (5.84 ft) Diameter: 23.0 cm (9.05 ft) Weight: 120 kg (265 lb) Explosives: 113 kg (250 lb)
Mk 82 500lb Bomb Length: 2.14 m (7.02 ft) Diameter: 27.3 cm (10.7 ft) Weight: 241 kg (531 lb) Explosives: 125 kg (275 lb) H-6 high-explosive

H2 Glide Bomb

Range: 60+ km (37+ miles) Length: 3.65 m (11.98 ft) Width: 3.7 m (12.1 ft) Diameter: 38 cm (14.9 ft) Weight: 980 kg (2,160 lb) Explosives: HE
ELT-555 (ACS) Electonic Warfare Pod (Bikini) The ELT-555 is a self-contained self protection ECM pod for fighter aircraft. Electrical power generation is ensured by a ram-air turbine located on the nose of the pod. Internal equipment include fore and aft facing antennas which receive pulsed and continuous wave signals and transmit pulsed responses, plus separate fore and aft facing continuous wave transmitter antennas on the under-surface. The system operates in H- to J-band (6 to 20 GHz) and is designed to operate in dense electromagnetic environments. It has multiple target contrast capability and features BITE.


H2 Glide Bomb

> Various colour schemes during service




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Buccaneer S.50 numner 417  (No. 24 Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, United Kingdom, 1965) Pictured in the delivery colour scheme of gloss PRU blue undersides & gloss dark sea grey topsides, number 417 was one of eight aircraft flown to South Africa from RAF Lossiemouth in the UK. The aircraft suffered a double engine flame-out whilst over the mid-Atlantic, and the crew of Capt. CM Jooste and Lt. JJ de Klerk, were forced to eject. They were subsequently rescued by a passing freighter, after having spent some 13 hours in the water. The aircraft carries the under-wing 'slipper' fuel tanks which have a capacity of 1136 litres per tank.



Buccaneer S.50-serial number 411, class B markings as 'G-2-1'(Hawker Siddeley Aviation Company, Home-on-Spalding Moor, United Kingdom, 1965) Prior to being accepted by 24 Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth


Buccaneer S.50 number 416 (No. 24 Squadron, AFB Waterkloof, 1979).



> Retired from service 1991

In the rationalization process that followed South Africa's withdrawal form South West Africa and the latter's independence in 1990, it was announced that 24 Squadron operations would be discontinued in March 1991.On the 28 March, 24 Squadron flew its last official Buccaneer sortie in Squadron service and on the 30 June, the squadron was formally disbanded. The nature of its training and operations had taken its toll on aircraft numbers with only 5 remaining form the original order of 16.IN a tribute to an exceptional aircraft in both war and peace, it is fitting to note that all five survivors are preserved today in order to educate future generations of the part played by the incredible Buccaneer S.50 and it's crews-affectionately earning the nickname 'Easy Rider' among SAAF pilots in the process.



More information to be added:

The Mid-life Upgrade (1976)
 24 Squadron at Lossiemouth
SAAF Buccaneer Operations

And maybe more images ;)





Blackburn Buccaneer - Full Story:


ANGOLA The War : 

24 SQN Buccaneers NPC: 
SAAF, the unofficial webiste on the South African Air Force:


Image result for FROM FLEDGLING TO EAGLE Dick Lord

From Fledgling to Eagle: The South African Air Force During the Border War


Related image




Blackburn/BAE Buccanneer Owners' Workshop 

Authors Notes 


The Blackburn Buccaneer is a fascinating aircraft. What an awesome aircraft and it is so interesting to research.
I love to make these detailed suggestions to share what I have learned with the war thunder community! It is a passion of mine to learn about military history and especially the history of my own country. I learn so much through war thunder and the research I do.
 This suggestion is the second 'SAAF  series' suggestions of mine (the first being the Premium SAAF Hurricane Mk.IIC) I try to use these posts that I make to raise aweness about the history of the SAAF, it is a pity that the second oldest air force in the world doesn't get much spotlight in war thunder nor the war thunder community. I plan to change that one post at a time


Edited by VexViper_Tiffs
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Open for discussion. :salute:

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This seems to me like a proper addition for War Thunder, especially now with the new Tier VI aircraft! Hope this gets added, always loved the looks of this plane. 

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4 hours ago, OreoBird_147 said:

This seems to me like a proper addition for War Thunder, especially now with the new Tier VI aircraft! Hope this gets added, always loved the looks of this plane. 

thanks for your support @OreoBird_147 much appreciated o7

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16 hours ago, __Moody__ said:

I'll make sure this request gets ZANDF's support.

I'll also forward it to the leaders of RECCE.

thank you so much for all that you are doing @__Moody__ :salute:

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