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10 most important RAF aircraft of the Cold War

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10 most important RAF aircraft of the Cold War

Old 23rd Oct 2021, 16:54
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Originally Posted by sandiego89 View Post
Of course- very negligent of me, but in the waning days of the cold war, and would not include it in the RAF top ten.
In the mid-70s when I was flying the Buccaneer from Laarbruch, it didn't feel to me that the cold war was waning.....

Last edited by Senior Pilot; 24th Oct 2021 at 21:35. Reason: Fix quote
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Old 23rd Oct 2021, 17:49
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Peter Carter
In the mid-70s when I was flying the Buccaneer from Laarbruch, it didn't feel to me that the cold war was waning
I totally agree, for those of us who served in 2ATAF and 4ATAF in the 1970s and early 80s the Cold War was very real. It is very annoying for those who were born or served after that period to voice an opinion on something they do NOT understand.

For my part it was enhancing the Low Level Air Defences within 2ATAF in the F4 Phantom, behind the Hawk Belt and below the Nikes. Not necessarily as glamorous as carrying a Nuke, however, an essential part of The Deterrent.
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Old 23rd Oct 2021, 19:47
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Although never privileged to serve in RAFG, I was well aware at the time of what they were ALL doing and facing over there.

I think I still vote for the original MRCA … Canberra.
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Old 24th Oct 2021, 15:24
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Originally Posted by Dominator2 View Post
Peter Carter


I totally agree, for those of us who served in 2ATAF and 4ATAF in the 1970s and early 80s the Cold War was very real. It is very annoying for those who were born or served after that period to voice an opinion on something they do NOT understand.

For my part it was enhancing the Low Level Air Defences within 2ATAF in the F4 Phantom, behind the Hawk Belt and below the Nikes. Not necessarily as glamorous as carrying a Nuke, however, an essential part of The Deterrent.
Total agreement. I volunteered for both tours [Gutersloh and JHQ]. Not only was it real, but the families, especially "wives of" were also under some strain when matters became tense. I was a civilian, but I have always thought that the service men and women should have had more recognition. They won the Cold War.
OK, the cars and petrol were cheap, the drink was cheap, the social life and camaraderie were good, but there was always an over-arching "what if". Well done and thank you.
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Old 24th Oct 2021, 17:33
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On my first tour in RAFG at Gütersloh, if you were on one of the outlying patches such as Harsewinkel, it was reckoned it was easy to tell if a call out was real or exercise. If base was still there, by the time the car with the hooter on it got to the patch and you then got in to work, it was an exercise.
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Old 24th Oct 2021, 17:42
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I must leap to the defence of the Beverley!!

I accept it would never be top of a list of the best aircraft but it performed well in what it was asked to do, particularly in Borneo and such places. During the Brunei Revolt a Beverley made an opposed landing and disgorged a company of infantry straight into a fire fight and then took off using the remaining length of the strip. The troops had flown in from Labuan standing up in the lower hold and only secured by some rope across the ramp, as the clam shell doors had been taken off.

The story of how one staggered into the air some 7000 lbs over its gross AUW at Labuan and then was forced to fly all the way around the north Sabah coast ‘cause it couldn’t climb over the hills, I shall keep for another day – suffice to say never trust the weight of the freight the army are giving you!!

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Old 24th Oct 2021, 17:58
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The Beverley? Oh please!

Considering it entered service in 1957 and served a mere 10 years, whereas the C-130 enterd service in 1956 and is still in service.

I know which one I would choose!

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Old 24th Oct 2021, 18:32
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One Beverley written off through enemy action. Habilayn, 1967.
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Old 24th Oct 2021, 20:03
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I remember a Beverley at Habilayn being started by a Bedford truck pulling a long rope which was wrapped around the props. Never seen such a sight before - or since!!
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Old 24th Oct 2021, 21:22
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Originally Posted by Blossy View Post
I remember a Beverley at Habilayn being started by a Bedford truck pulling a long rope which was wrapped around the props. Never seen such a sight before - or since!!
We were once at Doula in Cameroun due to go to Kinshasa (and didn't have a Bedford truck) but had a duff starter motor on the number four. It was very difficult to explain to the Tower that we would taxy on three and start the number four windmilling on the roll and if it didn't start we'd abort and return.
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Old 24th Oct 2021, 22:25
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NRU74. Happened a few times at Habilayn. They didn't try to take-off though. Fast run down the runway, windmill start, then return for pax/freight.

Apologies for thread drift. It seems we need more than ten aircraft on the list.
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Old 24th Oct 2021, 23:10
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Digression continues ....
I only once did a route forecast for a Beverley [actually several of}. This was at RAF Nicosia c. 1962. A major night paradrop in a Cyprus exercise area. It was my first "1000 bomber" brief, attended by the staish [Mickey Martin, of Dambuster fame], a brigadier or two, and an intimidating and demanding congregation. I was the youngest and most junior forecaster on the island, which was probably why the job fell to me.
As the Beverleys took off in the dusk, clamshell doors removed and some sort of interior lighting on, it was a fascinating sight from the Tower stairs. One hand gripped the rail, the other had fingers crossed.
Fortunately very little injury, and most of the dropped loads survived the fall. I really can see them now, climbing slowly out to the west. In retrospect a much more senior and experienced man should have done the job.
PS I think Hastings were also involved but they left no memory.
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Old 25th Oct 2021, 11:14
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Originally Posted by langleybaston View Post
OK, the cars and petrol were cheap, the drink was cheap, the social life and camaraderie were good, but there was always an over-arching "what if". Well done and thank you.
My own little homage to all those hours I spent in a Laarbruch HAS.


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Old 25th Oct 2021, 11:24
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Originally Posted by langleybaston View Post
PS I think Hastings were also involved but they left no memory.
Perhaps not, but they too shared in the Berlin Airlift (coal was being excavated from their innards on Major Servicings long after) and they were the mainstay of the RAF MRT fleet throughout their service life. Like the Beverley they supported the repelling of Indonesian incursions in Borneo during Confrontation. Ungainly looking on the ground, it was tail wheeled at the Army's insistence in order to hang underslung loads between the mainwheels (mercifully a short-lived requirement) but once airborne and tidied up they could outperform most of their contemporary competition in payload and range.

Cold War Top 10? More like the Corporation Dust-Cart, but the front line would have struggled without it.
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Old 25th Oct 2021, 13:18
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I only intended to counter the negative views of the Beverley, not to suggest that it would make any 'Top 10'.

In Singapore, 66 Sqn Belvederes, decided that as a bit of fun they would hold a guest night in the back of (the flying longhouse) and this they duly did, although it was a bit cramped and everything slid down the back because of the angle (originally to accommodate a torpedo) - they didn't try to fly it but parked it so that the food was served from the kitchen in one of the hangars. Not to be outdone 34 Sqn (Beverleys) went one better and put a proper dining table in the hold and held a dinner whilst flying around. I don't think anybody tried it with a Belfast but you could have a summer ball in the back of a C17!!
O-D
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Old 25th Oct 2021, 14:27
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The role of the Hastings in the Cold War should not be underestimated in that they were used to train generations of nav radars.
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Old 25th Oct 2021, 18:06
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Somebody old told me the Beverley was the box the Hastings came in
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Old 25th Oct 2021, 21:46
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I did many hours in Bev’s, easy to clock up at 120kts cruise, often watching trains pass us in the same direction with enough headwind.
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Old 26th Oct 2021, 11:16
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On the 23rd June 1967 my late father M Nav John Lennard was part of a crew that undertook what was believed to be the longest ever Beverley flight. 13 Hours 40 minutes From Seletar to Gan. The captain of the aircraft was Wing Commander Harry Guile, OC 34 Sqn. The leg was part of a trip to the Cocos Keeling islands.. Its not known how much freight was being carried!
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Old 26th Oct 2021, 14:01
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roadsman, interesting trip as to the routing..If they went direct,it would have been across Indonesia,and as `Confrontation` was `ending` it would have required a lot of `Diplomatic negotiations`,.Distance is approx 1900 nm,and possible prevailing headwinds of about 10-12 kts needed a G/S of about 140kts,plus fuel for `Island holding`..
If they went North to avoid Indonesian airspace,then it would have been approx.2000+nm,and a G/S of 150 kts required..Might have required a `top-up`,splash-and-dash at `Butterworth`....
I know that oil could be transferred internally to the engines,but could one transfer oil or fuel from the Hold upstairs to the tanks...?
Perhaps `Shackman can elaborate...?
I managed to `blag` a co-pilot trip at AAEE in 1969,working the `engine-room`/throttles,calling out rad-alt height, when doing a 30-35000lb ULLA drop on Salisbury Plain whilst the Captain was trying to maintain 10-15 foot `wheel-height over the undulating range..it was believed to be the heaviest ULLA ever dropped at the time....
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