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Buccaneer S.2B: Swashbuckling Sky Pirate

In this blog we’ll be talking about the most advanced variant of the Buccaneer that will soon be taking to the skies in War Thunder: meet the Buccaneer S.2B!

Buccaneer S.2B: A Strike Aircraft for Britain at Rank VII


  • AIM-9L missiles.
  • Laser-guided bombs.
  • Internal Countermeasures.
  • Large payload.
Vehicle History

Initially intended for the Royal Navy, the RAF showed little interest in the Buccaneer until the cancellation of both TSR-2 and the RAF’s own version of the Aardvark, the F-111K, led to a decision to adopt the Buccaneer into service to fill a gap in capabilities. This coincided with the gradual retirement of Aircraft Carriers from the Royal Navy freeing up aircraft that could be provided to the RAF, as well as new build aircraft to the S.2B standard. This variant would initially see an enlarged “bulged” bomb bay and the capacity for Martel Anti-Ship missiles.

Operation Pulsator, supporting British forces in Lebanon in 1983, would see a further significant upgrade for the Buccaneer, introducing internal countermeasures to the aircraft for better self defence. AIM-9G and AIM-9L capability was also added, a notable improvement over earlier AIM-9Bs on earlier S.2s.

Despite its age, the Buccaneer would however still prove its worth as late as the 1991 Gulf War, acting as a laser designator aircraft for Tornado GR.1s to deliver their laser guided bombs before early TIALD pods became available for operations. Later in the conflict, Buccaneers would themselves take part in direct bombing attacks.

Initially not planned to take part in “Operation Granby”, a handful of Buccaneer S.2Bs from No.12, 208 and 237 OCU were rushed over to the Gulf, hastily repainted in “Desert Pink” and equipped now with AIM-9Ls and Pave Spike pods. The pilots that would operate them dubbed themselves the “Sky Pirates” and were famous for their skull and crossbones flag and colourful nose art adorning many of the aircraft that took part.

The Tornado would however fully replace the last Buccaneers in service shortly after the Gulf War, covering all roles that it had previously maintained. The last Buccaneers would bow out of service with the RAF in 1994, 36 years after the first Buccaneer took to the skies.


Meet the Buccaneer S.2B!

In the next major update, the RAF’s Buccaneer S.2B variant will be joining the Strike aircraft line of the British tree, taking its place at Rank VII and filling a noticeable gap. This variant of the Buccaneer addresses many of the shortcomings of the previous variant, improving both defensive and offensive capabilities. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer!

Firstly, the S.2B has both internally mounted countermeasures and also more of them in total. Unlike the previous version, you won’t have to use valuable wing stations in order to have protection from missile threats. This means you can instead use those pylons for more strike weaponry, or the expanded Sidewinder arsenal this variant offers with both the AIM-9G and L available.

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Interesting: Buccaneers in the Gulf War that were originally based in RAF Lossiemouth, flown by the “Sky Pirates”, were aptly named for their Scottish heritage after Malt Whiskeys adorned on the side of the aircraft.

The other key focus of this Buccaneer is its precision air-to-ground loadouts. Armed with a Pave Spike targeting pod, the S.2B can deploy Paveway II bombs as well as the regular conventional bomb types found on the previous variant. This gives a noticeable level of flexibility, allowing you some degree of standoff against more dangerous targets from a far, all while retaining the capacity to come in afterwards with conventional bombs and take full advantage of the CCIP system onboard. Lastly, the S.2B offers Martel anti-ship missiles for larger targets that really require a sizable strike!


In your matches by Scott, Community Manager: The Buccaneer is a real personal favourite of mine thanks to its distinctive character. The S.2B rounds off the aircraft family nicely as a perfect CAS choice for many ground lineups surrounding the Challenger Is, and offers some significant improvements over the existing variant available in the tree. The internal countermeasures widen your strike options and mean you don't have to choose between Sidewinders and Flares/Chaff anymore. Whilst you still should not directly seek out combat with other aircraft, having that extra defence and the all-aspect offence really improves your chances in tricky situations. Use your Paveways to deal with SPAA/SAMs and keep out of harm’s way as much as possible, following up with your standard bombs. Armed with both guided bombs and AIM-9L missiles, it can strike hard, keep itself reasonably well defended and still make it home safely for tea!

This improved Buccaneer variant will shortly be joining the ranks of the British tree, bridging the gap between the earlier Buccaneer S.2 and Tornado GR.1. As always, stay tuned to the news to see what else we have lined up for the next major update in War Thunder. Until then, enjoy your battles!

Kick-start your British
aircraft research with
this starter pack:

British Starter Pack
British Starter Pack
The Kit Includes:
  • Crusader II “The Saint” (Britain, Rank II)
  • Spitfire Mk.IIa Venture I (Britain, Rank II)
  • Premium Account for 7 days
  • 120000 Silver Lions

You can greatly speed up the research of the Buccaneer S.2B with this pack:

F-4J(UK) Phantom II Pack
F-4J(UK) Phantom II Pack
The Kit Includes:
  • F-4J(UK) Phantom II (Britain, Rank VII)
  • Premium account for 20 days
  • 2500 Golden Eagles
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