ADF-SERIALS
Australian & New Zealand Military Aircraft Serials & History
Supermarine Swift

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Swifts and other radioactive equipment in the Marcoo crater at Maralinga

     
 

Supermarine Swift Image Gallery

 
     
  At least six or eight Supermarine Swifts were brought to Australia by the UK Ministry of Supply for use as targets for the Operation Buffalo atomic weapons tests at Emu Claypan.

There is some debate as to whether any or all of them were ever taken onto RAAF Charge. At least one source claims that WK199 and WK215 were taken on RAAF charge, but no evidence has yet come to light to support that claim. The aircraft were among other UK and Australian items of military equipment and structures placed at various distances from the blast.

"MARCOO" was a ground surface detonation of a weapon with a 1.5kT yield. It was part of the 1956 "Buffalo" series of tests and was conducted on 4th October 1956 on the Maralinga range. The crater removed 6000 cubic yards of soil and was 50 metres in diameter, 12 metres deep with a rim of 1-3 metres.

It appears that the aircraft were initially buried along with other radioactive waste on site before the pits were cleaned up.

An official Australian Government Report on Clean up options for the Atomic Test Sites reviewed the previous clean up operations by the British Government. It notes that waste disposed by the UK during the 1967 "Operation Brumbie" disposed 8 Aircrafts Wings and 5 Aircraft (Swifts).

We would really appreciate more information on the Swifts in Australia.

Read our message board discussion about Swifts in Australia

RAF Serial Type Aircraft History
WK199 F.Mk1 13/04/1954 Delivered to RAF
12/03/1957 SOC CAT 5(S)
Transferred to the RAAF to be used as static target disposed of on site at Edinburgh Field, Australia
Presumed to have been disposed on site
WK215 F.Mk2 26/03/1954 Delivered to RAF
12/03/1957 SOC CAT 5(S)
Transferred to the RAAF to be used as static target
Presumed to have been destroyed or disposed on site
WK216 F.Mk2 15/04/1954 Delivered to RAF
17/01/1956 Sold to Vickers Armstrong
27/06/1957 SOC CAT 5(S)
To Australia for use in Operation Buffalo at Woomera Ranges
Presumed to have been destroyed or disposed on site
WK217 F.Mk2 15/04/1954 Delivered to RAF
20/01/1956 Sold to Vickers Armstrong
27/06/1957 SOC CAT 5(S)
Transferred to the RAAF for use in Operation Buffalo atomic weapons trials at Woomera Ranges
WK221 F.Mk2 30/08/1954 delivered to RAF
12/01/1956 Solds to Vickers Armsrtrong
27/06/1956 s.o.c CAT 5(s)
Thought used in Operation Buffalo at Woomera Ranges
WK229 F.Mk2 Dispatched to Australia for Operation Buffalo atomic weapons trials for target use
Presumed to have been disposed on site
(
http://www.ejection-history.org.uk/aircraft_by_type/swift/swift.htm Notes this aircraft as an F5 that was lost from 2 SQN RAF at Jever, Germany following an ejction when the u/c did not lower properly - This must be an error as this airframe was definitely an F Mk2).
WK231 F.Mk2 Dispatched to Australia for Operation Buffalo atomic weapons trials for target use.
Presumed to have been disposed on site.
(
http://www.mar.co.uk/ notes that it has a B/W photo of this airframe taken as an FR.9 as "S" of 79 SQN RAF in 1961 afer it was WFU - This must be an error as this airframe was definitely an F Mk2)
WK239 F.Mk2 02/09/1954 Delivered to RAF
12/01/1956 Sold to Vickers Armsrtrong,
27/06/1956 SOC CAT 5(s)
Thought used in Operation Buffalo at Woomera Ranges
Presumed to have been destroyed or disposed on site
 
     
 

Supermarine Swift another view of a Swift in the Marcoo crater

 
     

This page is managed and updated by Brendan Cowan.

Sources: http://www.radioactivewaste.gov.au, "Swift Justice: The Supermarine Swift - Low-level Reconnaissance Fighter". by Nigel Walpole by Penn & Sword, Flypast, Swifts Demobbed: http://www.ukserials.com/, Magazine, Scale Aviation Modeller.

Emails: Thanks for the information provided by; Col Tigwell, Darren Crick, Roger Lambert, Paul Mason, Bob Coppinger, Gordon Birkett and others.

Updated 10 October 2013

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