In 1949 Coastal Command highlighted a need for jet powered swept wing bomber to replace much of its wartime piston engined inventory. The new aircraft was to have a dual patrol and bomber role and had to have radar as standard. Vickers-Supermarine responded with their PB2512 proposal and after evaluating designs from Avro and English Electric they opted to proceed with production.
DesignEditThe aircraft was powered by two Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engines mounted in pods under the swept wings. The sweep of the wing was quite sharp even though it was not a supersonic aircraft. Vickers-Supermarine had proposed a variant with supersonic dash capability but this was rejected as being unnecessary. The aircraft has a crew of three with the pilot sitting in a fighter-style cockpit above the fuselage. The other two crew comprise of a Radar-Navigator and an Air Electronics Operator who doubled as the bombardier for the attack phase.
Armament varied depending on the mission. It could carry up to 8,176lbs of weapons internally and these could comprise of conventional bombs or depth charges for use against submarines. It could also carry a single 1,758lb anti-ship torpedo but this necessitated the removal of the doors and a support pylon to protrude from inside the weapons bay. Later Bullpup missiles was added but this weapon was never popular with pilots as it required the aircraft to keep flying towards the target after release in order to guide it adequately.
The first squadron to be equipped with the aircraft was No.291 Squadron flying from RAF Ballymoral in Northern Ireland. In service it proved to be a rugged design that was well suited to the rigours of low level flying over the North Atlantic however events were quickly overtaking the aircraft. It soon became clear that naval defences were improving especially with the advent of surface-to-air missiles to which the aircraft had little defence. Efforts were made to remedy the situation but the aircraft was quickly falling out of favour and more capable aircraft were being offered. Having been in service for just five years it began to take on more of a supporting role to aircraft like the Shackleton. The last operational mission was flown in 1963 and the aircraft were retired shortly after.
Role; Maritime Patrol/Bomber
Maximum Speed; 671mph
Service Ceiling: 52,000ft
Ferry Range: 2,198 miles
Power plant: 2 x Rolls-Royce Nene Turbojets
Maximum Thrust: 5,103lb/f