Hindustan RP-1 "Water Buffalo"

Gallery Article by Alvis 3.1


During the early years of conflict on the Indian Front, a forward RAF repair facility hastily improvised a solution for six damaged Brewster Buffaloes.  Lacking spare undercarriages, they attached the floats from several damaged Vought Kingfishers, creating a reconaissance plane known as the Water Buffalo.  The handling was atrocious, and the six planes were consigned to an out-of-the way warehouse. 


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Once achieving independence India looked for any way to be self-sufficient.  One of the first attempts was to provide their own patrol aircraft.  Refurbishing the Water Buffalos looked good on paper, so it was done.  Unfortunately, they still handled like, well, Water Buffalo, and were universally disliked. 

Painted in a two-tone brown finish (so as to camouflage them when anchored on the Ganges River), the six planes were kept as  far away from conflict situations as possible. Eventually, in 1958, a terrific monsoon sank them all, to great relief of the pilots.

Alvis 3.1


Photos and text by Alvis 3.1