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Thunderbird 2, about to unleash its cargo.

In Thunderbirds, Thunderbird 2 is International Rescue's supersonic heavy duty transport craft. It was engineered by Brains and is piloted by Virgil Tracy, or his father, Jeff Tracy. Like the reconnaissance craft, Thunderbird 1, Thunderbird 2 is designed to be used for earthbound rescue operations, and mostly arrives later than the former craft whenever they are both used in the same mission.

Thunderbird 2 and its rolling platform on the liftoff ramp


Thunderbird 2 is a massive, oval-shaped aircraft with a large rear spoiler, small forward-swept wings, and two big red engines at the back. It has STOVL (short takeoff, vertical landing) capability: for takeoff, it only needs its ramp, which is roughly the same length as Thunderbird 2 itself. For landing vertically, it deploys six small jets on the underside.

It has four thick telescopic legs that are strong enough to lift up its entire body from the ground, allowing a rescue vehicle to exit the craft from underneath. Thunderbird 2 is also equipped with a rescue platform that can be lowered down via a strong cable to evacuate civilians from dangerous places.

Launch Sequence

Thunderbird 2 is hidden on Tracy Island in an underground hangar. Once a distress call is received and Thunderbird 2 is needed, it is quickly boarded by Virgil (and anyone else coming along) and loaded with the appropriate cargo. The hangar's doors open, and the palm trees that flank the runway fold down sideways to accommodate the size of the craft. Thunderbird 2 is transported from its hangar to the liftoff ramp on a large rolling platform. Once it is on the ramp, the rolling platform is locked in place by six enormous clamps. Then the ramp is raised up, the blast shield at the rear folds up, and Thunderbird 2 is ready to launch

Role in the film

Near the film's opening, International Rescue uses Thunderbird 2 alongside Thunderbird 1 in Russia, to evacuate six men from a burning oil rig in danger of total collapse. As Thunderbird 2 uses its rescue platform to haul the men away, Thunderbird 1 extinguishes the fires. The event is recorded live on a news channel, and thus witnessed by Alan Tracy and Fermat while they are in school. Lady Penelope offers the boys a ride home in FAB 1, which they accept, and they encounter Thunderbirds 1 and 2 moments before arrival on Tracy Island, leading to a friendly wave from Scott, and a salute from Jeff.

After The Hood and his men invade Tracy Island, they plan to steal Thunderbird 2 for use in bank heists all over the world, ruining the reputation of International Rescue. However, it is unable to launch without its guidance processor, something Fermat managed to steal earlier through unknown means. The Hood immediately figures the children have it, and attempts to force Alan to hand it over to him by torturing Lady Penelope and Parker with his psychic powers. Alan refuses and tries to throw it into the ocean, but The Hood telekinetically makes it land right in his hand.

After the guidance processor is reinstalled, Thunderbird 2, equipped with The Mole and Thunderbird 4, is launched and heads for London, England. After a deliberately rough landing that causes public panic, The Hood takes an underground trek to the Bank of London in The Mole with Mullion and Transom. To further ruin the image of International Rescue, they drill straight into a support beam for a monorail, causing it to collapse and resulting in a train full of people to fall into the River Thames. When Alan Tracy, Tin-Tin, Fermat and Lady Penelope arrive in London using Thunderbird 1, Alan decides to rescue the people in the sinking train. He boards Thunderbird 2 with Fermat and Tintin, and flies it to the nearby scene to set off in Thunderbird 4.

Technical Data

Armaments: none
Crew: up to 5 (pilot and co-pilot, as well as crew to operate emergency equipment)
Engines: 4 gas turbine engines; 4 Hackenbacker VTOL engines
Height: 17 metres (56 feet)
Height with legs extended: 31 metres (102 feet)
Length: 71 metres (233 feet)
Maximum payload: 137 tonnes
Maximum speed: 9177 km/h (5700 mph)
Power source: Hackenbacker series 3000 fusion reactor
Range: unlimited
Weight without payload: 426 tonnes
Width of fuselage: 38 metres (125 feet)
Wingspan: 51 metres (167 feet)