Designed in response to a 1945 Royal Navy request for a dedicated anti-submarine aircraft the first Gannet flew in 1949, but did not enter service until 1955. The Gannet is widely regarded as one of the least attractive aircraft ever built, however its large fuselage made it ideal for adaptation to other uses. Introduced in 1959, the AEW.3 variant was designed as an airborne early warning aircraft for fleet defense. The addition of the large bulged radar dome under the fuselage did little for the Gannet’s looks, but it did give the Royal Navy radar coverage of their fleet out to 200 miles from the aircraft. The other main versions of the Gannet were a trainer and a transport for moving people and cargo to a carrier at sea. The Gannet served with the Royal Navy until 1978 when the British decommissioned their last true aircraft carrier.
Royal Navy, Royal Naval Air Station Lossiemouth, 1978
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