|Category:||Head-Up Display [HUD]|
|Object Type:||Display Unit|
|Object Name:||Buccaneer HUD Pilot's Display Unit|
|Year of Manufacture:||1967|
Pilot's Display Unit Mk 3A
July 1953 saw the issuing of Naval Staff Requirement NA.39 calling for a carrier-borne strike aircraft with a large range capable of carrying a nuclear weapon under enemy radar cover and striking enemy shipping or ports. Blackburn Aircraft won the tender to produce their design which became the Buccaneer.
The prototype first flew on 30th April 1958. The specification called for an Attack Sight giving navigation and weapon release information for the low level attack mode. There was a fierce competition between supporters of the new HUD design and the familiar electro-mechanical Gunsight with the HUD being cited as a radical even foolhardy option. The Air Arm branch of the Ministry sponsored the development of a Strike Sight System; the weapon aiming and release system. The Royal Aircraft Establishment designed the overall Strike Sight System and the PDU and Waveform Generator were built by Cintel and the system was first integrated in 1958.
The Cintel HUD business was taken over by Elliotts and the Buccaneer PDU was manufactured and further developed continuing up to a Mark III version with a total of 375 systems made; it was given a "fit and forget" title by the Royal Navy and it was still in service nearly 25 years later. BAE Systems thus has a claim to the world's first Head Up Display in operational service.
This is a later version of the Mk 3A acquired from a breakers yard in Plymouth in 1999. Note that in this unit the High Voltage Power Supply for the CRT is now a solid state unit incorporated within the body of the Display Unit thus deleting the "dog-house" on the earlier version.