Avro Shackleton MR.3 [XF708] [@ RAF Duxford]
Described by aircrew "as 1000 rivets flying in close formation" this remarkable aircraft, whose lineage goes back through the Lincoln to the Lancaster, served the RAF for no less than 43 years. Designed in 1946 to meet a requirement for a Liberator replacement in RAF Coastal Command, the Avro Type 696 Shackleton (originally designated Lincoln ASR.3) flew for the first time on 9th March 1949, powered by four Rolls-Royce Griffon engines. It was the first British four-engined aircraft with contra-rotating propellers. The first of sevent-severn production Shackleton MR.ls entered service with No 120 Squadron at Kinloss, Scotland, in April 1951 and by the late 1960's the Shackleton was being replaced by the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod. The Shackleton MR.2 had modifications that included a ventral ASV radome, while the MR.3 incorporated some radical design changes, with an altered wing shape, wingtip tanks and a tricycle undercarriage.
XF708 served with 203, 120 and 201 Squadron and is displayed in the colours of 203 Squadron.
Avro Shackleton MR.3/3 [WR977] [@ Newark Air Museum]
The MR.3 was later fitted with Armstrong Siddeley Viper turbojets in the outboard engine nacelles, being designated MR.3 Phase 3 [i.e. MR.3/3, which had the usual 4 Rolls Royce Griffin piston engines that drove the counter rotating props and two Viper jets in the rear of the outboard engine pods, for extra boost]. This amazing aircraft had an endurance of around 24 hours without refuelling, which is quite remarkable.
WR977 was built in the late 1950's and saw service with 220, 201, 206, 203 and 42 Squadron. It finally retired in 1971 and was subsequently stored at RAF Finningley. Newark Museum members, who dismantled and transported it to Newark by road, arriving in May 1977, saved this aircraft from the scrap yard.
Avro Shackleton AEW.2 [WR960] [@ Manchester Museum of Science & Technology]
The last RAF squadron to operate the Shackleton was No 8, which reformed at Kinloss in 1972 in the early warning role with Shackleton AEW.2s (Airborne Early Warning) which were converted MR.2s and was not replaced, as it should have been, by the Nimrod AEW.3 but by the Boeing E-3 Sentry. Shackletons were also supplied to the South African Air Force.
WR960 served with No 8 squadron of the RAF.