Thunder & Lightnings

Blackburn Buccaneer - Survivor XW547

S.2B XW547 - RAF Museum London, Hendon, London

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Buccaneer S.2B XW547 at RAF Hendon Museum , 15th April 2023; Jake Wallace

The only Buccaneer in preservation to retain its original ARTF (desert pink) paint, located at the RAF Museum London, more commonly known as Hendon.

XW547 was delivered to the RAF on 31st October 1972 with 15 Squadron RAFG at Laarbruch two days later. She went on to serve with 12 Squadron, 237 OCU, 216 Squadron, then received new wings in late 1980 (a result of inspections after the Red Flag Buccaneer crash that was caused by spar fatigue) and then onward to 208 Squadron and 12 once more. She took part in 1983's 'Operation Western Fox' - slamming Martel missiles into old ships in Florida - and by 1986 was Sea Eagle-capable.

In January 1991 XW547 was prepared for the Gulf War with a few modifications, repainted in the Alkali Removeable Temporary Finish (ARTF), better known as 'desert pink'. She was given the tail code 'R', named The Macallan, and received the nose art 'Guinness Girl/Pauline'. During the Gulf, XW547 took part in 11 missions, after each mission a bomb marking (mission symbol) was added underneath the cockpit on the starboard side that can still be seen on her today. XW547 retired later that year, going into storage a Shawbury before being used as an instructional airframe.

In 1993, she was delivered to the RAF Museum Midlands, Cosford, where she was placed on external display, before moving inside. In the late 1990s, XW547 was transported to their other site at Hendon, being placed on display in the corner of one of the hangars, making it challenging to grab a decent photo.

In 2017, the museum had a move around resulting in XW547 moving outside temporarily before moving into Hangar 6, where she is presented far better than her previous location, although the large steps leading up to the cockpit are obstructing her port side.

XW547 is well looked after and remains fairly complete, only missing a small handful of instruments in the cockpits, which are open for visitors to have a peak in.

Information on this page current as of 23/04/2023, last updated by Jake

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