purpose has formed No. 1325 Flight at Dishforth. Since the Dakota went out of General service with the Royal Air Force in 1947, it was necessary to take sufficient aircraft out of storage for the task and to train both air and ground crews on an aircraft which is only a memory to the younger members of the Air Force.
In addition to the aircraft already mentioned one Auster fully equipped for air spraying is provided and used to spray insecticide in order to keep down the fly menace.
The Air Task Group, which is being formed to carry out the air operations necessary to support the nuclear weapon trials, is a complex organization involving many different types of aircraft, ranging from
the modern jet bomber to the helicopter. The roles these aircraft will play are
very similar to the functions they perform in the normal routine at home
in the United Kingdom. It may be of interest to consider them in turn and
see how far their use under these special circumstances has departed from their daily work.
Pride of place naturally goes to the Valiant. It is the first of the "V" Bombers to come into service with the
R.A.F. and Squadrons are forming rapidly as the aircraft come off the production line at Vickers,
Weybridge.The major role of the Valiant will be to deliver nuclear weapons on strategic targets in the, heart of the enemy's homeland. It flies high, fast and far, and is an essential ingredient in the "rapier" of Bomber Command. It can bomb in any weather at any height and its accuracy of delivery is much greater than any of its predecessors. It can also carry conventional weapons and can be used in tactical operations in support of the ground forces-witness its use in the recent Egyptian "affair". Its role in Operation "Grapple" differs little from
its normal strategic application. In fact it is right and fitting that the whole Operation should be based on the airdrop of the test weapons carried by the Valiant.
The Canberra B.6 is the latest bomber version of the familiar Canberra aircraft. Its conventional role is high level bombing by day or night. For the operation its high speed and the great altitude it can reach make it an ideal platform for taking samples from the radio-active cloud resulting from the nuclear explosions.
Also to be used in the operation will be the Canberra P.R
7, the photographic reconnaissance version of the standard type. It has a longer range than the other versions and carries a battery of cameras instead of bombs. Its role is to carry out high level photographic reconnaissance of targets in enemy territory before and after bombing raids. In the Operation its function will be very similar in that it is being used for high level meteorological reconnaissance and
high level cloud photography.
The standard maritime reconnaissance aircraft in service with the
R.A.F. is the familiar Shackleton whose normal job covers anti-submarine operations, the shadowing and search for enemy warships and long range A.S.R. Operations. Its long range and large capacity for both passengers and freight make it extremely useful as a general purpose aircraft. In the Operation it is being used for low level meteorological reconnaissance, for the search of a large area of sea in order to clear it of shipping, and in a general purpose role covering transport and photography.