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Avro Shackleton

The Avro Shackleton is a British long range maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) which was used by the Royal Air Force and the South African Air Force.


Avro 696 Shackleton prototypes

Three prototype Type 696s were ordered in May 1947 to meet specification R 5/46:


The first prototype which initially flew on 9 March 1949.


First flown on 2 September 1949.


First flown on 29 March 1950.

Avro 696 Shackleton Mk.1

Shackleton MR.Mk.1

The first production model for the RAF with dorsal turret with two 20 mm cannon, 29-built.

First production aircraft flew on 28 March 1950 and the variant entered service with 120 Squadron at RAF Kinloss in March 1951.

Shackleton MR.Mk.1A

Variant powered by four Griffon 57A, V12 piston engines, in service from April 1951, 47 built and all surviving MR.1s converted.

Shackleton T.4

Navigation trainer conversion from MR 1As between 1956 and 1961, removal of mid-upper turret, addition of radar and radio positions for trainees, 17 conversions.

Avro 696 Shackleton Mk.2

Shackleton MR.Mk.2

Version with longer nose and radome moved to the ventral position.

Lookout position in tail.

Dorsal turret and two more 20 mm cannons in nose.

Twin retractable tailwheels, One aircraft, WB833, originally ordered as a MR 1 was built as a MR 2 prototype and first flew on 17 June 1952.

The last ten MR.1s on the production line were completed as MR.2s and orders for 80 new build aircraft were placed; the last 21 were completed as MR.3s and the total number of MR.2s built was 69.

The first aircraft entered service with 42 Squadron at RAF St Eval in January 1953.

The aircraft were later modified, in parallel with phased modifications to the Mk.3.

Shackleton MR.Mk.2 Phase 1 or MR.Mk.2C 

As per Mk.3 Phase 1.

Also received the sonics plotting table from the Mk.3

Shackleton MR.Mk.2 Phase 2

As per Mk.3 Phase 2.

Shackleton MR.Mk.2 Phase 3

As per Mk.3 Phase 3, except that the Viper engines were not fitted.

Shackleton T.2

Ten MR 2 Phase 3 aircraft were modified in 1967 as T.2s at Langar to replace the T.4s with the Maritime Operational Training Units as radar trainers, with master and slave radar positions for training installed.

Shackleton AEW.2

In 1971 Twelve MR 2s were converted at Woodford and Bitteswell as Airborne Early Warning aircraft, the first AEW.2 flew on 30 September 1971 and the type entered service with 8 Squadron on 1 January 1972.

Shackleton MR.Mk.3

Shackleton MR.Mk.3 Phase 1

The Phase 1 update introduced changes mainly to the internal equipment.

Shackleton MR.Mk.3 Phase 2

The Phase 2 update introduced ECM equipment, the distinctive Orange Harvest ‘spark plug’ and an improved High Frequency radio.

Shackleton MR.Mk.3 Phase 3

The third of three MR 3 modification phases including the addition of two Armstrong Siddeley Viper turbojet engines at the rear of the outboard engine nacelles to be used for assisted take-off.

The wing main spars had to be strengthened due to the additional engines.

A new navigation system was also fitted and there were some modification to the internal arrangement, including a shorter crew rest area to give more room for the tactical positions.





87 ft 4 in (26.62 m)


120 ft (37 m)


17 ft 6 in (5.33 m)

Wing area

1,421 sq ft (132.0 m2)



NACA 23018 modified


NACA 23012

Empty weight

51,400 lb (23,315 kg)

Max take-off weight

86,000 lb (39,009 kg)

Fuel capacity

4,258 imp gal (5,114 US gal; 19,360 l)


4 × Rolls-Royce Griffon 57, V-12 liquid-cooled piston engines,

1,960 hp (1,460 kW) each


6-bladed DH Propellers, 13 ft 4 in (4.06 m) diameter contra rotating fully feathering constant speed propellers


Maximum speed

260 kn (300 mph, 480 km/h)


1,950 nmi (2,240 mi, 3,610 km)


14 hours 36 minutes

Service ceiling

20,200 ft (6,200 m)

Wing loading

61 lb/sq ft (300 kg/m2)


0.091 hp/lb (0.150 kW/kg)



2 × 20 mm Hispano Mark V cannon in the nose


10,000 lb (4,536 kg) of bombs, torpedoes, mines




Nuclear depth charges, such as the Mk 101 Lulu


ASV radar

Sono buoys

Magnetic Anomaly Detector MAD

Submarine detection equipment



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