United Kingdom: Warplanes of the Cold War: Avro Vulcan

Avro Vulcan

(RAF Photo)

Vulcan bombers in anti-flash white from RAF Waddington flying in formation in 1957.

The Avro Vulcan (later Hawker Siddeley Vulcan from July 1963),] is a jet-powered, tailless, delta-wing, high-altitude, strategic bomber, which was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1956 until 1984. Aircraft manufacturer A.V. Roe and Company (Avro) designed the Vulcan in response to Specification B.35/46. Of the three V bombers produced, the Vulcan was considered the most technically advanced, hence the riskiest option. Several reduced-scale aircraft, designated Avro 707s, were produced to test and refine the delta-wing design principles.The Vulcan B.1 was first delivered to the RAF in 1956; deliveries of the improved Vulcan B.2 started in 1960. The B.2 featured more powerful engines, a larger wing, an improved electrical system, and electronic countermeasures, and many were modified to accept the Blue Steel missile. As a part of the V-force, the Vulcan was the backbone of the United Kingdom's airborne nuclear deterrent during much of the Cold War. Although the Vulcan was typically armed with nuclear weapons, it could also carry out conventional bombing missions, which it did in Operation Black Buck during the Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina in 1982.

The Vulcan had no defensive weaponry, initially relying upon high-speed, high-altitude flight to evade interception. Electronic countermeasures were employed by the B.1 (designated B.1A) and B.2 from around 1960. A change to low-level tactics was made in the mid-1960s. In the mid-1970s, nine Vulcans were adapted for maritime radar reconnaissance operations, redesignated as B.2 (MRR). In the final years of service, six Vulcans were converted to the K.2 tanker configuration for aerial refuelling.After retirement by the RAF, one example, B.2 XH558, named The Spirit of Great Britain, was restored for use in display flights and air shows, whilst two other B.2s, XL426 and XM655, have been kept in taxiable condition for ground runs and demonstrations. B.2 XH558 flew for the last time in October 2015 and is also being kept in taxiable condition. (Wikipedia)

(RAF Photo)

Avro Vulcan.

(RAF Photo)

Avro 698 Vulcan Prototype VX 770 1952/3.

(RAF Photo)

Avro Vulcan.

(Ahunt Photo)

Avro Vulcan, Goose Bay, CFB Goose Bay, Labrador Military Museum (LMM).

(Chris Charland Photos)

Avro B.2 Vulcan (Serial No. XL 361). Avro B.2 Vulcan (Serial No. XL 361), Goose Bay, CFB Goose Bay, Labrador Military Museum (LMM).  Completed 14 March 1962, being delivered to 617 Squadron the next day. Latterly with 9 Squadron, due to a fire in the fuselage during a trans-Atlantic flight from Woodford to Offutt AFB in Nebraska, XL361 had to make an emergency landing at CFB Goose Bay on 13 November 1981, site of an RAF unit and used regularly as a Vulcan exercise base. With the fleet being retired, it was not repaired, instead being positioned as the RAF unit's gate guardian. At the request of the mayor of the adjacent town of Happy Valley, the RAF gifted it to the community on 14 June 1982, on condition it was displayed within the locality in a dignified manner in RAF colours, with any future changes in its status to be agreed with the British government. Presented to the Labrador Heritage Society Museum in 1983 but remaining at the airbase, which doubles as a civilian airport, it is still displayed in the open air.

(RAF Photo)

Armourers at RAF Waddington pose with an Avro Vulcan in 1984 just ahead of the fleet’s service retirement.

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