With the successful deployment and ongoing development of radar systems by both allied and axis forces during WWII, combatants were immediately confronted with the difficulty of distinguishing friendly aircraft from hostile ones; by that time, aircraft were flown at high speed and altitude, making visual identification impossible with targets showing up as featureless blips on the radar screen.
First introduced in 1939, the IFF system quickly evolved into a sophisticated radar interrogation system that transmitted a signal to the aircraft in question which would then, automatically trigger an identifying response. IFF frequencies and technology were highly guarded by both sides so fail-safe self-destruct mechanisms were built into all radio equipment carried by aircraft flying over enemy territory.
The BC-765 IFF Radio Destruct Switch Box was part of the B-17's SCR-595 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) Radio system. Mounted atop the PBY Catalina's cockpit dash and and easily accessable by both pilot and co-pilot, and in the threat of potential capture of the aircraft, it enabled the bomber's crew to destroy the highly classified IFF System and prevent it falling into enemy hands.
Just prior to bailing out or a crash landing, the pilot would press both buttons on the bright red switch simultaneously which would detonate explosive charges built into the aircraft's radio cabinet and destroy the radio.
Unfortunately, despite the twin button detonation process and its bright red colour, many pilots still managed to accidentally trigger the device when initially turning on the IFF System. The sudden thud of a contained explosion and startled yells of the radio operator were quickly followed by the acrid smell of burning insulation filling the cockpit. Eventually the self destruct units were fitted with a thin safety wire to prevent its accidental use.
This PBY Catalina Instrument comes complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.
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Your PBY Catalina IFF Radio Destruct Switch, Original Recovery Curios Warbird Collectable includes:
- Original Warbird instrument
- Highly detailed hand-built and airbrushed 1/72 plastic scale model of the aircraft.*
- Hand-crafted and beautifully finished 100yr, Far North Queensland Mango Wood display stand
- Detailed, 2-sided, printed and laminated Instrument Fact Sheet detailing aircraft and instrument
- Removable Magnetic Display Arm
*An upgrade to the larger and more detailed 1/48 scale model is also available in the hand-built and airbrushed plastic version for an additional $80 (Click on the 1/48 scale option)
Both the 1/72 & 1/48 scale hand-built and airbrushed plastic models are available with 'wheels & flaps up or down' and 'canopy open or closed' options with a choice of two Squadron markings and camouflage.
Upon order placement you will receive an email asking for your preferred configuration.
Your complete Recovery Curios Original Instrument Collectable is securely packed and delivery normally takes between 3 - 4 weeks approx.
Did you fly, crew or maintain a PBY Catalina or have a friend, colleague or family member who did? Check out our PERSONALISED ORIGINAL INSTRUMENT COLLECTABLE OPTION here.