The Royal Air Force Bristol 175 Britannia Fleet
The Bristol Britannia in RAF service was operated by two squadrons, numbers 99 and 511. These squadrons previously operated Handley Page Hastings transport aircraft and prior to these the Avro York.
Based at RAF Lyneham, Wilts, the Britannia was accepted by both squadrons and were operated by each until central servicing of the aircraft had been established. Following central servicing arrangements the Britannias were pooled, in a similar way to a civilian airline being operated jointly by crews of both squadrons.
Pooling of the Britannia squadrons commenced in September 1960, at RAF Lyneham and the system remained until the Britannia fleet was moved to RAF Brize Norton, Oxon, in January 1970. Once the fleet had left RAF Lyneham, the base was then used to house the RAF Hercules transport aircraft, becoming the Hercules main base. RAF Brize Norton had already been accommodating a Britannia derivative in the shape of the Short Belfast, formally known as the Bristol 195. The aircraft was originally ordered to the amount of 12 aircraft but reduced to 10. Operated by 53 Squadron, the Belfast operated alongside the VC1O transport fleet of 10 Squadron, also based at Brize Norton.
The central servicing system was retained for the Britannias at RAF Brize Norton and the pooling of both squadrons continued. Following the reduction in the need for a strategic airlift capability, the Britannia fleet was disbanded in the mid 1970s and together with the Comet and Belfast squadrons were removed from the RAF fleet.
The Britannias were stored at both RAF Kemble and St Athan, and later either sold or leased to civilian operators, who obtained these aircraft in new paint schemes albeit RAF livery, and extremely low flying hours. In fact they were a good buy for many companies who intended using these aircraft for freight operations and for spares.
VARIANT: 252 (Britannia C mark 2 in RAF service). 253 (Britannia C mark 1 in RAF service). Built to Ministry of Supply specification C.176P. Once withdrawn from RAF service and the aircraft had been civilianised, they were designated as 252F and 253F respectively.
POWERPLANT:Four Bristol Proteus 765 turbo-props developing 4400ehp (initially in RAF variant 252), driving 16 feet fo