The MR2 was state of the art in its day, and I remember being impressed when a crew member told us that its computer was so sophisticated that you could actually play chess against it!
There were also photo recce Canberras - which I was later to work close to on Armament Practice Camps in Cyprus just a few years later - as well as Vulcans that had been converted for a maritime radar reconnaissance role.
The same cameras I saw for the first time on the Canberra flight line I was to be training on myself just 15 months later.
|Officer's Mess, Hal Far|
We also discovered the existence of 1151 Marine Craft Unit (MCU) - hadn't even known that the RAF possessed such things - and enjoyed a run at sea clinging to the deck of an unbelievably fast launch.
The Cold War had its downsides, but it did mean we got some great toys to play with!
This was one of two Air Training Corps summer camps I enjoyed that year, spending the following week with 617 Squadron - The Dambusters - with their wonderful Vulcan 'V' bombers. The RAF guys looked after us cadets brilliantly.
The Nimrods and Vulcans and the MCUs are long gone now.
203 Squadron disbanded in December 1977 as we pulled out of Malta, and a disastrous decision by the Conservative government means we have no ariel anti-submarine capability at all. Russian submarines are currently able to lurk off the coast by Faslane with impunity, monitoring our missile subs as they go out on patrol.
617 is in the process of reforming, and is due to 'stand-up' in January 2018 when it will be the first to operate the new f-35 Lightning.