BLACKBURN AIRCRAFT LIMITED
Blackburn Aircraft Limited was a British aircraft manufacturer that concentrated mainly on naval and maritime aircraft during the first part of the 20th century.
Blackburn Aircraft was founded by Robert Blackburn, who built his first aircraft in Leeds in 1908 with the company's Olympia Works at Roundhay opening in 1914.
The Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company was created in 1914, established in a new factory built at Brough, East Riding of Yorkshire in 1916, where Robert's brother Norman Blackburn was later managing director. By acquiring the Cirrus-Hermes company in 1937, Blackburn started producing aircraft engines, the Blackburn Cirrus range.
By 1937, pressure to re-arm was growing and the Yorkshire factory was approaching capacity. A fortuitous friendship between Maurice Denny, managing director of Denny Bros., the Dumbarton ship building company, and Robert Blackburn resulted in the building of a new Blackburn factory at Barge Park, Dumbarton where production of the Blackburn Botha commenced in 1939.
The company's name was changed to Blackburn Aircraft Limited in 1939, and the company amalgamated with General Aircraft Limited in 1949 as Blackburn and General Aircraft Limited, reverting to Blackburn Aircraft Limited by 1958.
As part of the rationalisation of British aircraft manufacturers, its aircraft production and engine operations were absorbed into Hawker Siddeley and Bristol Siddeley respectively. The Blackburn name was dropped completely in 1963.
An American company, Blackburn Aircraft Corp., was incorporated in Detroit on 20 May 1929 to acquire design and patent rights of the aircraft of Blackburn Airplane & Motor Co., Ltd. in the USA. It was owned 90% by Detroit Aircraft Corp. and 10% by Blackburn Airplane & Motor Co., Ltd. Agreements covered such rights in North and South America, excepting Brazil and certain rights in Canada and provided that all special tools and patterns were to be supplied by the UK company at cost.
The Blackburn Buccaneer was a British carrier-borne attack aircraft designed in the 1950s for the Royal Navy (RN).
Designed and initially produced by Blackburn Aircraft at Brough, it was later officially known as the Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer when Blackburn became a part of the Hawker Siddeley Group, but this name is rarely used.
The Buccaneer was originally designed in response to the Soviet Union's massive Sverdlov-class cruiser construction programme. Instead of building a new fleet of its own, the Royal Navy could use the Buccaneer to attack these ships with relative impunity by approaching at low altitudes below the ship's radar horizon. The Buccaneer could attack using a nuclear bomb, or conventional weapons, in engagements lasting less than a minute, quickly flying out of range whilst its weapons struck. It was later intended to carry short-range anti-shipping missiles to further enhance its survivability against more modern ship-based anti-aircraft weapons.
The Buccaneer entered Royal Naval service in 1962. The initial production aircraft suffered a series of accidents due to insufficient engine power, which was quickly addressed in the Buccaneer S.2, equipped with more powerful Rolls-Royce Spey jet engines. The Buccaneer was also offered as an entrant into a new Royal Air Force (RAF) contest for a new attack aircraft. It was initially rejected in favour of the much more advanced supersonic BAC TSR-2, but the cost of the TSR-2 programme led to its cancellation, only to be followed by the cancellation of its selected replacement, the General Dynamics F-111K.
The Buccaneer was finally purchased by the MoD for the Royal Air Force, entering service in 1969. The Royal Navy retired the last of its large aircraft carriers in 1978, moving their strike role to the British Aerospace Sea Harrier, and passing their Buccaneers to the Royal Air Force. After a crash in 1980 revealed metal fatigue problems, the RAF fleet was reduced to 60 aircraft, while the rest were scrapped. The ending of the Cold War led to a reduction in strength of the Royal Air Force, and the accelerated retirement of the remaining fleet, with the last Buccaneers in RAF service being retired in 1994; in favour of the Panavia Tornado. The South African Air Force (SAAF) also procured the type. Buccaneers saw combat action in the first Gulf War of 1991, and the South African Border War.