Bristol Blenheim          Miles Magister


The Avro Shackleton was designed by Roy Chadwick based upon the Lincoln bomber and the Tudor airliner which themselves were derivations of the Avro Lancaster.

The original development aircraft, known as the Lincoln ASR.3, had the Lincoln's centre wing and tail, Tudor outer wings and landing gear with a wider and deeper fuselage and was powered by four Rolls Royce Merlin engines.

The concept was accepted by the Air Ministry with the four Merlin engines changed to Rolls Royce Griffon fitted with contra-rotating propellors.

The Griffons were specified due to their increased power at lower engine speeds allowing the Shackleton to spend several hours at low altitude when hunting for submarines without over stressing the engines in the denser air.

The contra-rotating propellers gave an increased propellor blade area without increasing the propellor diameter utilising the torque and increased power of the Griffon engine.

The first flight of the prototype, designated GR.1, was on the 9th of March 1949 flown by Test Pilot Jimmy Orrell. It could carry nine bombs, or three torpedoes or depth charges and had two 20mm cannon in the dorsal turret. The GR.1 went into production and was re-designated Maritime Reconnaisance Mark 1 (MR.1).

A further development, designated MR.3, had a larger fuselage, new wings with better control surfaces, tip tanks and a new 'tricycle' undercarriage. Improvements were made to the sound deadening and a galley and sleeping space were added.

Due to the additional upgrades the MR.3 had an increased takeoff weight of approx. 30,000lb and required take-off assistance in the form of two Viper Mk.203 turbojets.

Specifications: -
Operators:8 (tactical)
Length:87ft 4in (26.61m)
Wingspan:120ft 0in (36.58m)
Height:17ft 6in (5.33m)
Empty Weight:51,400lb (23300kg)
Max. Weight:86,000lb (39000kg)
Engines (x4):Rolls Royce Griffon 57
producing 1,960 hp each
Max. Speed:300 mph (480 km/h)
Range:2,250 miles (3620 km)
Armament: - (Refer to Variants for fitment)
Cannon:2 x 20mm Hispano Mk.V
*Bomb capacity:10,000 lb
* also Torpedoes, mines or depth charges.
Variants: -

Shackleton MR.1 (GR.1)
First production model for the RAF. 2 x 20mm cannon.

Shackleton MR.1A
Four Griffon 57A engine version.

Shackleton MR.2
Longer nose, lookout in tail and 2 extra 20mm cannon.

Shackleton MR.2C
MR.2 fitted with navigation and offensive equipment.

Shackleton MR.3
Reconnaissance and anti-shipping version.

Shackleton MR.3 Phase 2
Similar to MR.3 with 2 x Viper turboject engines for assissted takeoff.

Shackleton AEW.2
Airborne early warning aircraft.

Shackleton T.4
Navigator trainer.
Bristol Blenheim          Miles Magister
Avro Shackleton (Duxford 2007)
©Dave Key Avro Shackleton (Duxford 2007)

Avro Shackleton MR.3, serial number XF708, served with No. 201 Squadron RAF Coastal Command from 1959 to 1964, then No. 120 Squadron and from 1968 to 1972 served with No. 203 Squadron.

The Imperial War Museum aquired the aircraft in August 1972 and is seen photographed here at Duxford in 2007.
Photographs © Dave Key, Click thumbnail to enlarge.
Shackleton (Duxford 2007) Shackleton (Duxford 2007) Shackleton (Duxford 2007)
Duxford 2007
Duxford 2007
Duxford 2007

Related Links: -

Duxford Gallery Page (

Duxford Airshow (

Official I.W.M. Duxford Website (

Airshow Calendar (

UK Airshow Photographs (