De Havilland Comet R Mk 2

Comet on ground In 1958 two examples of the Comet R Mk 2 were delivered to 192 Sqn at RAF Watton who soon re-numbered to 51 Sqn and moved to RAF Wyton. Eventually a total of seven Comet R Mk 2s were delivered and they took over the ELINT role from the venerable Lincoln and RB-29A Washington. With 4 jet engines, the performance of the Comet was considerably better than its piston engined predecessors. The Comet R Mk 2 was frequently deployed on ferret sorties over the Barents Sea north of Norway, along the Baltic and even detached to Cyprus where it could easily monitor activity along the boarder of the Black Sea an area of particular interest. In addition to the front crew of 2 pilots, 2 navigators and a flight engineer, up to 10 specialists were carried in the main cabin of the aircraft where they operated the monitoring & recording equipment, much of which was manufactured in the USA.

Comet R2

Because of a long-standing agreement to share intelligence, the Comet R Mk 2 often operated in conjunction with USAF RB-47s. The Comet R Mk 2s were eventually replaced by 3 Nimrod R1s in 1974 and 3 R1s are still in use by 51 Sqn at Waddington to this day. Although XK 633 was delivered to Watton for use by 192 Sqn in Apr 57 it was destroyed in a hanger fire at Watton on 13 Sep 57. For many years the only surviving Comet R Mk 2 was displayed outdoors at the Imperial War Museum airfield at Duxford but sadly over the years it suffered badly from water ingress and subsequent corrosion and was eventually broken up in the late 1990s.

Comet Registrations:
XK 655 from 21 Aug 58 to 1 Aug 74 C2 RC RC2 A
XK 659 from 21 Aug 58 to 8 Apr 7 C2 RCM 2RC
XK 633 from 21 Aug 58 to 13 Sep 57 C2 RCM Destroyed in hanger fire
XK 695 from 14 Mar 63 to 21 Jan 75 C2 RC Broken up after being displayed at Duxford
XK 715 from 1 May 62 to 17 Sep 62 Used for crew training
XK 671 from 18 Sep 62 to 31 Mar 64 Used for crew training
XK 697 from 1 Mar 67 to 9 Feb 73 Used for crew training D