Avro 696 Shackleton


Back to the Virtual Aircraft Museum
  MARITIME RECONNAISSANCE, EARLY WARNINGVirtual Aircraft Museum / United Kingdom / Avro  

Avro 696 Shackleton

The Shackleton was a maritime reconnaissance aircraft with a stressed skin fuselage and Avro Tudor and Lincoln components. Armament comprised four 20mm cannon, two machine-guns, depth charges and/or bombs, and it carried a nose-mounted ASV scanner. Shackleton MR.I entered service with No 120 Squadron and other Coastal Command squadrons from 1951; and the production run of 77 aircraft included MR.lA with wider outer nacelles.

The first of 69 MR.2, each with a streamlined nose and a 360-scan radar under the rear fuselage, came into use in the UK and Malta in 1952. Thirty-four MR.3 with tricycle undercarriages, auxiliary Viper 203 turbojet engines, improved cockpit canopies, dorsal turrets deleted and wing tip-tanks (giving a 24-hour endurance) were issued in 1957. Eight were delivered to the South African Air Force. In 1971 No 8 Squadron, RAF, re-formed at Kinloss with MR.3 converted to AEW.2 with large ventral radomes for early warning duty; 11 remained operational in 1979 with 7 MR.3 serving in South Africa

Avro 696 Shackleton

 ENGINE4 x 4 x Rolls-Royce "Griffon 67", 1800kW
  Take-off weight45400 kg100090 lb
  Wingspan36.8 m121 ft 9 in
  Length26.6 m87 ft 3 in
  Height5.3 m17 ft 5 in
  Wing area132.4 m21425.14 sq ft
  Max. speed485 km/h301 mph
  Cruise speed375 km/h233 mph
  Range w/max.fuel6000 km3728 miles
 ARMAMENT2 x 20mm cannons, bombs

Comments1-20 21-40
Ray Richardson, e-mail, 05.10.2017 21:45

My dad , Master Pilot GH Richardson flew Shackletons at Christmas Island in 1958 .

Does anyone remember him please .


David Davies, e-mail, 25.09.2016 00:08

She was capable of flying with NO engines running. Until our brilliant young Pilot ( NOT the Captain - who was a Navigator) screamed out 'We've got no F'''ing Petrol'. If you have any further interest in this escapade, then simply ask.


david Davies, e-mail, 17.09.2016 01:23

Strange to say, whilst stationed in Malta with 38 Sqdn Mk11 Shackletons, we were hit with the 'wing spar scare'. Somewhere between 1958 and 1959. I remember ferrying one aircraft back to the UK, to have those bolt holes reamed, to accept the next size bolts!

Sure, in later years, flying the Mk111's and taking off much heavier than stated, with the Vipers adding their thrust to getting the show on the road. This must have degraded the chances of a Mk111 ever becomming an AEW platform.
I still preferred the Mk11 because the pilot had the chance to exhibit how good he really was. Our landing in Malta, filmed by the Officer Commanding, after refusing us permission to jettison (over the sea) our wing hatches, and delayed until he had his Cine Camera established along the runway.
Our Extentable Radar Scanner, had jammed in the 'Attack Position' and distorted the geometry, preventing retraction.
Essentially, 13 feet of Radar Cupola, that didn't want to return to Mama.

Our Captain? A WW11 Lancaster veteren, probably awarded his commission after the war ended. This guy flew by instinct and skill.I believe we stopped in less than 300 metres.
No fire, no sparks, the asbestos clad personnel outside, must have thought we were lunatics!
Internally, the majority of the crew had assisted in trying to save the Radar Equipment ( very expensive and in short supply). The Hydraulic Jacks were the Villains of the Peace. Internally, the airframe was awash with Hydraulic Fluid. As the aircrew attempted a 'controlled evacuation' - they simply found it impossible to stand on their feet! Some personnel, unable to prevent their sliding into the Shackletons Toilet Facilities. I will not continue further, with this exposition. Our Pilot landed an aircraft, that must have looked like a Pteradactyl, better than the civilian airlines were achieving.
The craft 'bar-steward' had his Sick Bay Staff, ply us with free Beer, for three hours, before allowing us back to our quarters. No record exists of this perfect landing. What a great shame.


Keith Drewett, e-mail, 02.04.2015 23:40

Worked in ASF Changi 1962 to 1964 on Shacks and Hastings...Inst. Mech.


Roger Ward, e-mail, 18.02.2015 13:33

I worked on Shackletons at Kinloss (MOTU and 206 Sqn), Khormaksar, Aden (37 Sqn) and Ballykelly (Handling and Rectification Flight between 1965 and 1970. It will always be my favourite aircraft.


P Sergeant, e-mail, 03.01.2015 20:59

Happy memories of first ATC camp at RAF Kinloss 120 201 206 Squadrons Mk3's. Wonderful aircraft, the smell of leather and oil and a few other things. Climbing over the main spar, amazing to think they were descendants of the Lancaster made me think of the Dambusters. Never got to fly in one as when the aircraft was readied and we got kitted up the damn thing went u /s c'est la vie. Stupidest thing Cameron has ever done was to scrap the Nimrods and close Kinloss the best all round weather base, and now we need them and the base, with all the scare mongering over Russia again.


Mac, e-mail, 26.01.2012 10:55

There is at least one still operational here in South Africa


Frank Smith, e-mail, 17.11.2011 18:43

I also spent three happy years on this great aircraft as a WOP great times....Thanks Shack.


Simon Morrison, e-mail, 24.09.2011 03:41

As an Air Radio Fitter assigned to 131 MU Aden from 1964 to 1966, I was occasionally called upon to do work on 37 Squadron's Shackletons. When a 37 Squadron Shackleton was detailed to participate in an exercise in the Far East, I was assigned from 131 MU Sonics Bay to ensure the Sonabuoys were kept in fine fettle. You can imagine how crestfallen I felt while at Changi Singapore when a rather vexed aircraft captain summoned me to his office to inform me that all six Sonabuoys they dropped that day had failed to detect anything at all, when they knew from intelligence that a
submarine was nearby. Having told me that he would ensure an adverse report was recorded, I spent a restless night worried sick, what I could possibly have done wrong.
The following day, to my great relief, he approached with a huge grin and slapped me on the back saying, "Don't
look so worried Corporal, it wasn't your fault, Nav re-checked the coastal charts last night and found the sea
depth was only 30 feet in that area".
Now the hydrophone detector extended below surface on a 60 ft cable before it rotated to sweep for submarines, so little wonder their monitor said no rotation, each hydrophone having been embedded in mud! The crew had a good laugh and from then on it was a great trip and the captain invited me to fly the plane for an hour on the last leg back to Aden. They turned out to be a real friendly crew and that was the nicest apology I ever had!


Tony Boorman, e-mail, 23.04.2011 08:56

I was stationed at HMS Sea Eagle in Derry as an RAF radio operator. I was able to get flights as passenger /crew on Shackleton MKII's out of Ballykelly. I'm looking for pictures MKII's out of Ballykelly.
Many enjoyable and interesting flying were accumalated, in 1953. I was even issued my own flying log, clocking up 86hrs.

I hope someone has a picture or two that they are willing to share.



Albert Webb, e-mail, 21.03.2011 23:11

More to my Shackleton experience. On several of my gash flights we would be practice bombing, going round and round up and down over the med. In the nose a few feet above the water and passing ships looking up at passengers on deck waving down at us, It seemed like speeding along in a speed boat.
Some times I would sit up in the mid gun turret, all a great experience.
One night flight we had an emergency. One engine cut out on a turn and we fell about 3oo ft. We had to return to base and on the way another engine cut out or had to be stopped and we landed on two engines.
At times we could make a rough landing by leapfrogging down the runway and if it becme too bad we would take off again in mid leap and go around. I have also seen this happen from my tender on the crash lines. Very spectacular and amazing the power of those Griffin engines.
My longest flight in a Shack. Was sixteen hours on a visit to Gib from St Eval, Cornwall. We flew down the West African coast training on the way. That was a bit of a drag.
I have a flight simulator now for the past ten years and was lucky enough to come across a South African firm who was selling the Shackleton A /C. I have it in my hanger of my 2004 flight sim and fly it often with the sound turned up. It is very realistic, I love the sound of the Griffins and contra rotating prop noise.
I consider myself very fortunate to have been associated with the Shackleton.


Albert Webb, e-mail, 21.03.2011 06:18

I was an Aero Fireman stationed at Gib from 53 till 57 and spent a lot of my time off duty pestering 224 Sqd to take me flying and especialy on test flights. What a thrill sat on the seat in the nose of a MK1 when doing the stall test.
The engineer would be calling out "she's going, going,going, gone and with that, I am clinging to the arm of the seat to keep seated and that engineer is still leaning against the post as if nothing was happening.Then as the testing progressed, look out one side and see two engines props feathered and on the other side only one engine running.
What great days they were. Even honking on my knees at the bogs in the tail never put me off. Looking back now, I am pretty certain I was set up when I found myself pressed against the ceiling above the toilet and when the plane stopped falling I came down on my knees and thought I had busted them. Bastards.
Still went back for more though.
Thanks fellows if you can remember me.


Gerard York, e-mail, 10.02.2011 01:59

A real aeroplane fully manual,you needed hairy wrists to manoeuver the machine, but the satisfaction when you got it right with a three point landing after 14 or 16 hours cannot be matched by todays video game equipped devices!


lxbfYeaa, e-mail, 14.03.2024 Gerard York



Phil Copeland, e-mail, 19.01.2011 07:33

I remember being at a Farnborough Air Show in the mid 1950s and seeing the impressive sight of a Shackleton making a flypast on only one engine with the other three props feathered.


ROBERT SYMONS, e-mail, 11.12.2010 12:52

I served on Coastal Command at Ballykelly in Northern Ireland. The best flight I ever had in a Shack was a Mk2 of 210 Sqn. We flew low level along the Caledonian Canal in glorious weather. We then did bombing and cannon firing. It was a glorious summer day and the flight lasted 6 hours. I think that's the longest I could enjoy in a shack. We had a 6 1 /4 flight to Gibraltar which should have lasted 18 hours - thank goodness the en-route exercise was cancelled. We have an airworthy Mk3 here in Cape Town, but none of the crew are now current on type.


John Burdett miles_m-52 miles_, e-mail, 24.11.2010 06:19

Faleolo, Samoa, 1957 Shackeltons supporting UK atom bomb tests at Xmas Island. During a little R and R in Samoa, a certain crew member fell in love with a dusky Samoan maid. When time to depart, Shackletons fabric ailerons had been slashed with a cane knife and other parts also damaged. An RAF Canberra, can you believe it, brought in marts to repair, landing on our 5000 foot grass runway. The departure of the Canberra was interesting. Full fuel, full power and the skipper told me (the local ATC) "Keep the strip clear as I will not be able to stop for anything" He made it ! No over-runs in those days. Wonder if the miscreant ever married the dusky maiden ?


Michael Donovan, e-mail, 31.10.2010 03:28

I was able to secure a ride on an MK-2 in 1964 while stationed at NAS Keflavik, Iceland. I was attached to a ASW squadron flying P2V Neptunes deployed to Keflavik. It was a great experience for me to be able to see how the Brits did the same things we did. I have great memories of it and some nice pics also. We now have an MK-2 at our local museum in Tucson, Arizona. Thanks to all who served.


Bob Palman, e-mail, 10.06.2010 04:20

Ah - the Shackleton.An ex B /E (19th Entry-Cosford)RSF-ASF St.Eval.On to 206 Sqdn(Mk 1)then on to 204 qdn Ballykelly(Mk 2)
hense the E-Mail above.Have literally been around the world
in a Shack.Ballykelly west -to Christman Island onto Woomera Rocket Range(down under) then back via the Far East
Changi,Hong Kong,Madras,Jo'Burg,Durban,Aden.Up thru the Middle East.Luqa,Idris,Benghazi,Gib then back to St.Eval(Customs)then back to Ballykelly.Then I got married, everything came to a stop. Ah, the Shackleton.The Yanks could never figure out how we used to find their subs. Ha.


Peter Mills, e-mail, 29.01.2010 12:01

The engines are not Griffon 67. All marks had either Griffon 57, 57a or 58's depending upon their modification and phase level. Not all MK3 were scrapped, some are still in museums.
The SA MK3s never had vipers.


J A Chesters, e-mail, 27.01.2009 17:17

1954-1956 RAF ST Eval 206 Sqn & 228 Sqn forever on detachments Ballykelly Luqa Gib Down under via Habbanya Negombo, Darwin, Whenuapai Wot a life then girls came along and ruined everything , Cpls club Table tennis started it all


1-20 21-40

Do you have any comments?

Name    E-mail


All the World's Rotorcraft

All rhe World's Rotorcraft AVIATION TOP 100 - www.avitop.com Avitop.com