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Thunderbird 2 is International Rescue's heavy equipment transporter, used primarily for missions dealing specifically with the Earth's atmosphere.

It is the transport vehicle for several smaller rescue vehicles held in pods, although its capacity for heavy lifting makes it useful in its own right during many rescues.

The craft's main pilot is Virgil Tracy, who is sometimes accompanied by some back-up crew members including Gordon, Alan, Brains, and even John.

It appears in all but one episode of the Thunderbirds TV series, (The Impostors being the only exception) as well as every movie, making it one of the most iconic Thunderbirds machines of all.


Thunderbird 2 is comprised of two parts: a framed superstructure and a pod. Thunderbird 2's frame incorporates the cockpit, wings, and fuel tank near the vehicle's front, and at the rear the engines and the tailplane, which serves to aid lift and stability. Two stilts are located each at the front and back of the craft to hydraulically lift the craft upward, allowing for the clearing of the pod. Its middle is hollow, to fully accommodate one of the six (total) pods that is required for the mission. Each pod is equipped with undercarriage for a smooth landing for the ship, and contains a huge capacity for storing the rescue vehicle that is needed. The craft is, however, completely capable of vertical takeoff and landing without the pod, but has less integrity this way.

Size ComparisonsEdit


  • Cruising speed: 2,000 mph
  • Engines: 2 variable-cycle gas turbine engines operating as turbo fans at low speed and supersonic combustion ram jets at high speed; 12 variable-cycle turbo-ram cruise / trim jets in tailplane; 4 vertical take-off turbo fan jets in main body; 4 vertical take-off chemical rockets in landing legs
  • Height: 60 feet
  • Height (with pod lowered): 110 feet
  • Length: 250 feet
  • Maximum altitude attained: 100,000 feet
  • Maximum speed: 5,000 mph
  • Payload: up to 100 tons
  • Power source: atomic fusion reactor
  • Range: unlimited
  • Weight (without payload): 406 tons
  • Wingspan: 180 feet

Flight DeckEdit

Radio CameraEdit

Scott is able to photograph objects in a flypast and send them by radio waves to Thunderbird 2, where a Radio camera receiver can print out the pictures. This was used to good effect in Lord Parker's 'Oliday when Brains needed a closer look at the damaged solar generator.

Flight Deck After ModificationEdit

At some point, the fight deck of Thunderbird 2 underwent a refit; the main difference was that the steering column was changed to a steering wheel, similar to what you would find in a car.

Launch SequenceEdit

Main article: Thunderbird 2/Launch Sequence

Pod VehiclesEdit

Main article: Pod Vehicles

Equipment & GadgetsEdit

Main article: Thunderbird 2/Equipment Deck
  • Four observation cameras: two port side and two starboard side
  • Overhead missile launcher.


Thunderbird 2 has made an appearance in all but one episode (The Impostors), and also appeared in both feature films.

Its main use in the series is to transport the specialized equipment required to effect a rescue to the danger zone. It often plays a more direct role in rescues due to its heavy lifting capacity and great versatility.


Main article: Thunderbird 2/Missions

Cutaway DrawingsEdit

Main article: History of the Cutaway Drawings (Classic Thunderbirds)

Thunderbird 2 has appeared in no less then twenty different publications, but in only four basic designs, three of which are illustrated by Graham Bleathman.



The position of the extendable legs when on a mission.

  • Electromagnetic Pod Grabs are stored in Pod 2.
  • Thunderbird 2's extendible legs are in different positions when on a mission than when in its hangar. If they were in the "mission" position in the hangar, they would be too close together to allow the pods to pass below the aircraft.
  • The font of the word "Thunderbird 2" written on the side of the front section often changes dramatically between shots. This is most noticeable during the launch sequence: when Thunderbird 2 leaves the ramp, the "2" is the same size as the word "Thunderbird" (both are barely legible); in the very next shot, the "2" has grown to double its original size and dwarfs the word "Thunderbird".
  • Thunderbird 2's retros are situated underneath the nose, right in front of the Pod. They were only used once, in the cable car rescue in The Cham-Cham.
  • When Parker appeared on BBC1's The One Show in 2014, he said that the National Physics Laboratory wrote to Gerry Anderson saying that they thought something like Thunderbird 2 was aeronautically impossible in real life.
  • After narrowly escaping destruction during crash-dives in the episodes Terror in New York City and Ricochet, the original Thunderbird 2 is ultimately destroyed by The Hood's henchmen in the TV21 comic, Brains Is Dead. The Hood's henchmen also destroy the original Thunderbird 3 in the same story. Even the new Thunderbird 2 is destroyed later in another TV21 comic, The Zoo Ship when an attempt to fly Thunderbird 2 by remote control backfires causing Thunderbird 2 to crash and blow to pieces on its runway.
  • In one of the early draft designs Thunderbird Two was going to be blue.

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • The legs of Thunderbird 2 were made of brass. When the model of the main fuselage was lifted onto its telescopic legs, leaving its pod on the ground, the structure sometimes weakened, resulting in the front section of the craft breaking away.
  • A behind-the-scenes photo shows that Thunderbird 2's grabs used to pick up the Seascape Drilling Rig diving sphere were actually held by a crewman pulling it up.
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