The Buccaneer, built by Blackburn (BAe) at Brough, epitomises the fast, low-level ground attack concept. Having enjoyed a successful career with the Royal Navy, the Buccaneer realised its true potential with the RAF and South African Air Force where it soon proved itself to be an immensely strong, manoeuvrable and reliable aircraft with a better speed, range and weapons carrying capability than many others. This was borne out during the many NATO exercises but came to public attention during Operation Granby, Gulf War One. Here 12 Buccaneers were dispatched at 3 days' notice, initially to laser designate targets for Tornado Bombers. Later in the campaign, they acted as both Tornado designators and bombers in their own right whilst carrying out missions dropping their own weapons. In total the type flew 216 Gulf sorties, destroying numerous bridges, aircraft shelters, runways, command bunkers, ammunition stores and even other aircraft. The Buccaneer was prematurely withdrawn from service in 1994 as a result of arms reduction talks and the subsequent rationalisation of RAF assets, it being replaced in the maritime strike role by the arguably less capable but more modern and surplus Tornado aircraft.
HHA operate one Buccaneer S2b to accommodate extremely long range taskings. XX885 is currently in storage at HHA's RAF Scampton facility undergoing regular anti-det maintenance and custodial ground runs. The aircraft, its systems and spares are maintained in such a condition that it can readily be reactivated to flight status should a contractual tasking arise which requires the performance & flight envelope of the Buccaneer platform.