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Equipment & Vehicles
Thunderbird 4
Type: Submarine
Affiliation: International Rescue
Main Operator: Gordon Tracy
Appearances: List of Appearances

Thunderbird 4 is International Rescue's main vehicle for underwater rescue - a yellow mini-submarine, piloted by aquanaut Gordon Tracy.

Unlike Thunderbirds 1, 2 and 3 - all of which are capable of travelling to danger zones under their own power - TB4 fits comfortably within its own specialized pod - Pod 4 - aboard Thunderbird 2, which then transports it to where it is needed.

Sometimes TB4 must utilize other means, to get from place to place - in a different pod (eg Pod 6, in Attack of the Alligators!); via direct launching, from Tracy Island's runway; or via assistance from other transportation - notably by the World Navy's USN Sentinel (Terror In New York City), after TB2 had been incapacitated and needed to undergo a complete rebuild.

TB4 is equipped with a versatile arsenal of sophisticated gadgetry - including a missile launcher, a searchlight, a battering ram and a laser, all of which are located in the nose of the sub. It is capable of travelling on surface water (hover mode) or underwater. Its small interior is equipped with an airlock for access and exit while underwater.

Gordon at the controls

Gordon at the controls of Thunderbird 4

Technical DataEdit

Emergency launch jets: 4 vertical-thrust hover jets and 2 x 25 liquid fuel mini-rockets
Emergency launch speed: 30 mph
Forward and reverse drive: 6 electrically driven reversible axial-flow turbine impellers
Length: 30 feet
Main turbo drive: 2 axial-flow turbines providing forward thrust only
Maximum speed (underwater): 160 knots
Maximum operating depth: 30,000 feet
Power source: twin atomic fusion reactors
Surface cruising speed: 40 knots
Underwater speed: 160 knots
Weight: 16 tons
Width: 11 feet


Entry/Exit HatchEdit

Located at the back of the cockpit, an airlock allows Gordon access outside the craft while underwater.


Halogen Lighting BarEdit

Hydraulic Rams With Electro-magnetic ClampEdit

Hydraulic rams incorporating electromagnetic pads.


A "paralyser" featured in The Man From MI.5.

Main article: Paralysing A Mini-Sub

Laser beam CutterEdit

Used in Atlantic Inferno, Operation Crash-Dive and Day Of Disaster.


Thunderbird 4 is also equipped with forward-firing missiles, used in Day Of Disaster (to blow away debris from the river-mud-embedded Martian Space Probe); and in Desperate Intruder (to return fire from an attack by The Hood's own mini-submarine).


Underwater Sealing UnitEdit

Primarily used to contain natural-gas eruptions on the seabed, the Underwater Sealing Unit (also known as the "sealing device") is first towed by Thunderbird 4 from Pod 4 onto the sea-surface. Both craft then submerge, to reach the danger zone. Once in position, it is then lowered over the site of the eruption. Four ballast valves are then driven deep into the seabed, to hold the unit down tight.

This equipment was used in Atlantic Inferno to seal off a natural-gas eruption.

Launch SequenceEdit

Main article: Thunderbird 4/Launch Sequence


Rescues And MissionsEdit

Main article: Thunderbird 4/Missions
See also:

Security HazardEdit

In Security Hazard, Chip Morrison sneaks into Thunderbird 2's pod and is taken back to Tracy Island, creating a breach of security. TB4 appears only in flashback footage, from the episode Day Of Disaster.

Puppet-size ModelEdit

Cross SectionsEdit

Thunderbird 4 has featured in a number of books, annuals, and comics over the past 50 or so years.

Main article: History of Cross Sections (Classic Thunderbirds)

Thunderbird 4 Cross Section ChecklistEdit

  • Thunderbirds annual, published by City magazines UK 1966 (1).
  • Thunderbird 4 Technical Sheet, Albert Heijin, Netherlands 1966 (1) Dutch text, black and white version.
  • Thunderbirds Extra 3, Nederland Rotogravure, Netherlands 1968. (1) Dutch text.
  • Thunderbirds comic, issue Number 4, Fleetway Editions, November 1991 (2)
  • The Collection No.2, Fleetway editions 1992 (2)
  • Thunderbirds in Space, Ravette Books UK 1992 (2)
  • Thunderbirds In De Ruimte, Big Balloon Books, Netherlands 1994 (2) Dutch text.
  • The Official Thunderbirds Annual by Grandreams UK 1993 (2).
  • FAB Cross-Sections, Ravette Books UK 1993 (2)
  • Technical Manual - Part 2, free with Thunderbirds Magazine UK 1995 (2).
  • The Comic Collection, Egmount UK 2013 (2).
  • Inside The World of Gerry Anderson, Egmont UK 2015 (2).
  • Agents Technical Manual, Haynes UK 2012 & 2015 (3).
  • Owner's Workshop Manual, Haynes UK, 2014 (3)
  • Secret Files, published by Carlton books UK 2003 (4)
  • FAB Cross-Sections, Carlton books UK 2000 (4)
  • FAB Cross-Sections, Carlton books Japan 2001 (4) Japanese text
  • Supermarionation Cross-Sections, Carlton books UK 2000 (4)
  • Thunderbirds Collection, DeAgostini (Part work) 2003 (5)
  • Rendan Comic, issue number 4, February 2001 (6)


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