Tracing its lineage back to the famous Avro Lancaster bomber, the Shackleton was a long-range maritime patrol aircraft, which was used primarily on anti-submarine operations, but was also required to perform a number of other roles. Entering RAF service in 1951, the majority of Shackletons were powered by the mighty Rolls Royce Griffon engine and were the last aircraft in the illustrious line of four engined propeller powered bomber aircraft to see Royal Air Force service.
As the British government issued plans of their intention to scrap HMS Ark Royal, the navy were concerned that their ships would lose important airborne early warning capability, which was simply not an option. The solution was to put the radar units used on Ark Royals Fairey Gannets into the airframe of the trusty Avro Shackletons and although these were obviously land based aircraft, the impressive endurance of the Shackleton would greatly enhance the effectiveness of the navys airborne early warning capabilities.
Twelve Shackleton airframes were converted to AEW Mk.2 standard and operated in the colours of No.8 Squadron, originally at RAF Kinloss in early 1972. Following the completion of significant runway strengthening works at nearby RAF Lossiemouth, the Shackletons moved to Lossiemouth in August 1973, where they remained until the unit finally disbanded in 1991.
As the last of the mighty Avro piston powered four engined aircraft, the Shackleton can trace its history back to the famous Lancaster of the Second World War, although it was to remain in service much longer than its illustrious predecessor. Possessing incredible endurance, the Shackleton provided the Royal Air Force with an effective long-range maritime solution for 40 years, which is testament to the strength and reliability of the aircrafts design.
Used with permission, copyright 2018 Airfix/Hornby Hobbies. Copyright 2018 Brey Corp. t/a Hobby Works.