The patrol aircraft was named after Ernest Henry Shackleton, an Anglo-Irish explorer of Antarctica. A man who belonged to the heroic age of Antarctic research. Ernest Shackleton was a member of four Antarctic expeditions, three of which he directly commanded. It is worth noting that the plane fully justified the name given to him, without tarnishing the memory of an outstanding researcher. Avro Shackleton aircraft in various modifications remained in service with the British Royal Air Force for 40 years - until 1991, a very worthy result for aviation techniques.
The era of piston aviation, which was rapidly leaving after the end of World War II, left such airplanes several small loopholes, one of which was long-range coastal patrol aircraft. In those years, the first jet engines did not have high reliability and were quite voracious, while no one demanded high flight speeds from patrol vehicles, let alone record ones. When the British needed a replacement for the fleet of former US patrol bombers Liberator (versions PB4Y-1 and PB4Y-2) who flew into the war, they decided to make their own plane that would not differ fundamentally from its predecessor.
Built by Avro engineers, who had time to fill their hands and hone their skills in designing four-engined aircraft on numerous Lancaster and Lincoln bombers, the new patrol aircraft simply could not get out of luck. The patrol plane created by them first flew into the sky in the 1949 year, and then for 40 years it was engaged in the search for submarines of a potential enemy, mainly Soviet, in the British and South African Air Forces.
Since the planes were actively exploited up to the 1991 year, more than 10 Avro Shackleton of various modifications has survived to this day. However, most of them have not risen to the sky for a long time. The closest to the flight is the aircraft with the tail number WR963, the video with which can be found today on Youtube video hosting. The restoration of this aircraft is engaged in a group of enthusiasts. In the video at the airport in the British city of Coventry, the plane makes a run along the runway, there is a chance that someday it will again be able to rise into the sky.
Avro 696 Shackleton - a multi-purpose anti-submarine aircraft, which was developed based on the heavy bomber of the Second World War Avro 694 Lincoln. The new aircraft retained the wing and landing gear of the Lincoln, but received a completely new fuselage, which became wider, taller and shorter. At the same time, the horizontal tail of the aircraft turned from low-lying to high-lying, and the vertical tail washers characteristic of the Lancaster and Lincoln British bombers gained weight, becoming much more massive, and also rounded. Instead of Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, the Rolls-Royce Griffon engines with three-blade coaxial propellers were installed on a multi-purpose anti-submarine aircraft. The new fuselage made it easy to place on board a crew of 10 people. In the dorsal turret, two 20-mm guns were installed, and in the tail section there were two 12,7-mm machine guns. Inside the large bomb bay, the aircraft could carry both depth and conventional bombs.
His first flight made the new machine 9 March 1949 of the year. The first serial Avro Shackleton rose into the sky - October 24 1950 of the year, and in February of the following year, production aircraft began to enter service. The first major production version of the patrol aircraft was equipped with four Rolls-Royce Griffon 57А engines and had the designation Shackleton MR.Mk.1A.
Almost immediately after the start of deliveries to the troops of the Shackleton MR.1 aircraft, British designers started creating an upgraded version, taking into account the shortcomings and shortcomings that were discovered during the operation of the MR.1 version. The new version of the aircraft received the designation Shackleton MR.Mk.2. Especially for her Avro designers have designed a completely new nasal streamlined part, in which there was a paired 20-mm artillery, located above the striker's position. Instead of a radome antenna radome, which was located in the lower front part, the aircraft received a half retractable radome in the ventral cannon turret, this allowed for a review in 360 degrees. The rear large-caliber machine guns and a transparent tail fairing were also dismantled, and the non-retractable one-wheel tail support was replaced with a two-wheel retractable support.
The latest production version of the Shackleton MR.Mk.3 was created with an eye to improving all the general characteristics of the machine - the ailerons were improved, the end-wing fuel tanks were installed, the wing configuration was changed. The designers did not cheat the aircraft’s crew either - the MR.Mk.3 version received a cabin with excellent visibility and a soundproof cabin for the second crew - in case of a long patrol in the air. The increase in the overall weight of the aircraft was the reason for the appearance of a three-support retractable landing gear with a nose strut and double wheels. Another noticeable change in the aircraft was the absence of a dorsal turret, and the appearance of suspension units under the wings made it possible to use missiles. Eight of the 42 Shackleton MR.Mk.3 mass-produced aircraft were delivered by the Air Forces of the Republic of South Africa.
In the middle of 1960-s after the completion of production, the aircraft was once again improved. Increasing the strength of the design of the patrol car has increased the fuel supply. Two small Rolls-Royce Viper 203 turbojet engines of 1134 kgf each also appeared on the plane. They were installed in the outer wing nacelles, providing the car with additional thrust during takeoff and climb, if the aircraft took off with a maximum load.
During the operation of the Avro Shackleton aircraft, the British faced one rather unexpected problem - the lack of fuel. In the age of jet aviation, high-octane gasoline for piston aircraft engines of the Lancaster heir was in short supply. Particularly acute problem with high-quality fuel arose when the aircraft were based on "overseas" territories - in Akrotiri in Cyprus, Catania, as well as Icelandic base Keflavik and Italian bases.
The latest version of the veteran aircraft was the model Shackleton AEW.2. This aircraft was developed in 1971 by British Aerospace (BAe), it was created as an alternative to an anti-submarine aircraft and a DRLO Gannet AEW.3 aircraft from Fairey / Westland. A total of 12 aircraft were built in the version of AEW.2. Their main difference was that the half-movable ventral radome of the radar antenna was replaced by a fixed convex fairing located in front of the bomb compartment, it located the search radar APS-20, which was also used on Gannet AEW.3 airplanes. Other external changes were related to the fact that more different antennas were installed on the aircraft.
All 12 aircraft were in service with the 8 Squadron of the British Air Force, searching for submarines, performing the function of early detection of enemy boats. They were based at the Royal Air Force "Lozigaons", performing flights over the waters of the North Sea, the Arctic Ocean and the Western Atlantic. Some patrol flights took up to 14 hours. The aircraft remained in service until the 1991 of the year, when they began to be replaced with Boeing E-3D Sentry AEW.Mk 1 early-detection aircraft.
Flight specifications Shackleton AEW AEW.2:
Overall dimensions: aircraft length - 26,62 m, height - 6,1 m, wing span - 31,09 m, wing area - 132 м2.
Empty weight - 24 600 kg.
Maximum take-off weight - 42 300 kg.
The power plant - 4 PD Rolls-Royce Merlin power 4x1460 HP
The maximum speed is 462 km / h.
Practical range - 4600 km.
Combat radius of action - 2672 km.
Flight duration - up to 14 hours.
Practical ceiling - 7010 m.
Crew - 3 man + 7 operators.
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