Buccaneer S.2 XV865 Limited Edition 50
First flown as an S.2 on 24th July 1968, XV865 began her career with the Royal Navy on 1st October 1968 with NASU at RNAS Lossiemouth. She went on to serve with 736 NAS, was converted to S.2D in 1973 and returned to service with 809 NAS, carrying out several cruises on HMS Ark Royal. With the Ark's retirement in 1978, XV865 was transferred to the RAF (216 Squadron) having been modified to S.2B standard. She went on to serve with 208 and 12 Squadrons, gaining Sea Eagle capability in 1986 and moving on to 237 OCU, ending her career with a final stint on 208 Squadron from 1989 to January 1994. Kept for some years at RAF Coningsby after retirement, XV865 was officially used as an instructional airframe but it seems that she was rather better looked-after than most, and was often on display along with two Phantoms earmarked for similar purposes. In early 1999 the Imperial War Museum acquired the aircraft and she was transported to Duxford where she was reassembled after transport and put on display in the Superhangar, filling a noticeable gap in the collection at Duxford. Her condition was much better than you'd expect from an aircraft stored mostly out of doors for 6 years or so with only minor corrosion evident. A long-awaited repaint was carried out in late 2004/early 2005 and she then awaited positioning in the new Airspace exhibition hangar, being placed on permanent display there in late 2006.