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Avro Shackleton

United Kingdom (1951)
Picture of Avro Shackleton Long Range Maritime Patrol / Airborne Early Warning / Search and Rescue Aircraft

The Avro Shackleton became the first British bomber to feature contra-rotating propeller blades.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Avro Shackleton Long Range Maritime Patrol / Airborne Early Warning / Search and Rescue Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 2/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Avro Shackleton was derived from the Avro Lincoln bomber (the Lincoln itself designed from the Avro Lancaster), a four-engine aircraft appearing too late to see action in World War 2. The Shackleton featured a similar (though all-new) fuselage design and became the primary RAF long-range maritime patrol platform in the early years of the Cold War. The aircraft went on to fulfill a variety of other roles until its eventual retirement in 1990.

The Shackleton was designed to a 1946 requirement for an all-new long-range maritime patrol aircraft for use by the Royal Air Force Coastal Command. The Avro offering was initially known as the Lincoln ASR.3 and would later become known simply as Type 696 Shackleton (named after English explorer Ernest Shackleton). First flight was achieved on March 9th, 1949.

The Avro Shackleton shared some design similarities with the Lincoln. Both aircraft featured a slender straight-sided fuselage with the aft end extended out past the tail plane. The tail plane also featured twin vertical fins in much the same way as that of Lincoln design. The Shackleton was also fitted with a low-wing monoplane with two engines to a wing and each engine was fitted with two three-blade propellers in a contra-rotating fashion - the first such British four-engine aircraft to do so. Power was delivered by 4 x Rolls-Royce Griffon liquid-cooled in-line engines. The Griffons were noted for requiring a great deal of attention during the aircraft's career. Armament in the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) role consisted of 2 x 20mm cannons mounted in the nose while internal bombloads could consist of torpedoes, mines and bombs as needed.
The initial MR.1 Shackleton production models entered service in April of 1951 with No. 120 Squadron based in Scotland. The MR.2 appeared later (with changes brought about through operational feedback) and was noted for its ventral-placed radome as opposed to the chin-mounted placement of its forerunner. Additionally, the MR.2 featured a reinforced undercarriage, a lengthened nose and tail section and redesigned tail planes.

The MR.3 would later appear with a whole host of changes thanks again to operational feedback. These changes would include wingtip-mounted fuel tanks, a larger fuselage, sleeping galley for the crew on long flights, redesigned wings and a tricycle undercarriage. Future MR.3's would incorporate the Armstrong Siddeley Viper turbojet in the outboard engine nacelles for increased power on take-offs due to the increased weight, these being noted by their designation of MR.3 "Phase II".

Beyond RAF use, the Shackleton was delivered in a batch of eight to the South African Air Force (replacing their Short Sunderlands). Shackletons served the British as Airborne Early Warning (AEW) platforms (designated AEW.2) until its inevitable replacement by the nation's purchase of E-3 Sentry units in 1991 over the Nimrod AEW model vying for the role. Other roles undertaken by the Shackleton in that time included Search and Rescue (SAR) and Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA). South African models were in service up until 1984.

Shackletons saw their first real use in the Suez Crisis of 1956, the combined British, Israeli and French attack on Egypt after the Egyptian attempt to nationalize the Suez Canal. Production totals for each model type numbered 77 for the Mk 1 series, 70 for the Mk 2 series and 34 for the Mk 3 series with a further 8 of that batch for use in the South African Air Force.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (302mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Avro Shackleton MR.Mk 3's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
189
189


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


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Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 1951
Type: Long Range Maritime Patrol / Airborne Early Warning / Search and Rescue Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Avro / A.V. Roe - UK
Production: 189
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
South Africa; United Kingdom
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Avro Shackleton MR.Mk 3 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
10


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
87.34 ft


Meters
26.62 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
119.85 ft


Meters
36.53 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
23.33 ft


Meters
7.11 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
56,401 lb


Kilograms
25,583 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
100,002 lb


Kilograms
45,360 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
4 x Rolls-Royce Griffon 57A V-12 liquid-cooled inline piston engines developing 2,356 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
302 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
486 kph


Knots
262 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
4,213 mi


Kilometers
6,780 km


Nautical Miles
3,661 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
20,013 ft


Meters
6,100 m


Miles
3.79 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

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Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

2 x 20mm Hispano cannons in nose

Up to 10,000lbs of 3 x torpedoes, mines or 9 x bombs as needed.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Lincoln ASR.3 - Initial Lincoln Production Model Designation on which the Shackleton is derived from.
• Type 696 - Official Avro Shackleton Model Designation.
• GR.Mk 1 - Initial Production Models of which 77 examples were produced; redesignated to MR.Mk 1; fitted with 2 x Griffon 57A and 2 x Griffon 57 engines.
• MR.Mk 1 - Redesignation of GR.MK 1 models.
• MR.Mk 1A - Fitted with 4 x Griffon 57 engines; chin radome.
• MR.Mk 2 - Subtle modifications introduced including longer nose; featured ventral-placed ASV radome; 70 examples produced.
• MR.Mk2C - MR.2 models with armament and navigation equipment of MR.Mk 3 models.
• MR.Mk 3 -Anti-Shipping and Maritime Reconnaissance Model; redesigned wing shape; sans dorsal turret; underwing hardpoints introduced; wingtip fuel tanks for increased range; tricycle landing undercarriage; 34 examples produced.
• MR.Mk 3 "Phase II" - MR.3 models fitted with Armstrong Siddeley Viper turbojet engines in outboard engine nacelles; 8 examples produced for South Africa.
• MR.Mk 4 - Proposed improved maritime reconnaissance platform; never produced.
• AEW Mk 2 - Airborne Early Warning Radar platform from converted MR.2 models; 12 such examples produced.
• T.4 - Navigation Trainer Conversion Model