The Vickers-Supermarine Seeker is a twin-engined electronic warfare aircraft. Entering RAF and New Commonwealth service in 1959, the Seeker was the one of the first specifically designed electronic warfare aircraft to enter RAF service. It also flew in the air arms of Australia and New Zealand.
The decision to develop a true electronic warfare aircraft capable of jamming enemy defences came about as Commonwealth air arms were themselves improving their own defences with the concept of true integrated air defence networks. These networks consisted of elaborate arrays or ground and air based defences supported by an intricate array of radar stations. It was quickly realized by Commonwealth bomber squadrons that they would be facing equivilent systems should the unthinkable happen and a Third World War break out (at that time it was still believed that war would be against the Soviet Union).
DesignEditThe aircraft is of a twin engined swept wing design with its two crew sitting in tandem with an extensively glazed canopy. The airframe had generous space for the electronic warfare equipment it was to carry into combat. Behind the black panels the aircraft was packed with electronics from Fairey, Thompson and Sperry all designed to help protect RAF bombers as they penetrated the outer layers of enemy airspace where the defences were thickest. Lacking the range to continue and with no in-flight refueling equipment its job was then over and it relied on its own systems to evade retribution since it carried no defensive or offensive weaponry other than its electronic warfare suite.
The Seeker served until 1975 with the RAF, a decision hotly debated in many circles, with the uninformed lamenting the RAF's capability gap, only to be proven wrong in the 1982 Falklands campaign when dedicated versions of the RAF's Concorde and the RN's Buccaneers leapt into the public spotlight. She soldiered on in RAAF and RNZAF service until 1979, the only known example to exist today is at the RAAF museum.