Large, delta-wing jet bomber. Its service life was reduced when its role was changed from highaltitude to low-altitude bombing, but it can be considered the most successful of the V-bombers. According to the fans, it was also the most beautiful one. Its saw operational use in the Falklands war, when Vulcan bombers attacked the local airfield at Port Stanly after a long flight during which they were refuelled several times by Victor tankers. There was also a reconnaissance version.
Built by A.V.Roe of Manchester, England, between 1956 - 1964, and only in service with the RAF, Vulcan bombers came in two main variants, the B1 and B2, with the B2(K) tanker conversions only being added during the Falklands War. The Vulcan was known by many as the ”Tin Triangle” due to its massive and imposing delta wing shape, the B2 having a wing span of 111 feet (33.83m) compared to it’s total length of only 105.6 feet (32.16m). Even on the ground it is imposing, standing well over 6 feet (1.8m) high up on the undercarriage, making it possible to walk upright underneath the whole airframe.
|Vulcan B Mk.2|
ceiling these gave the Vulcan a much more fighter style feel.
Vulcan’s were part of Britain’s three pronged nuclear deterrent V-force of the 50’s and 60’s, the other aircraft being the Vickers Valiant and Handley Page Victor. During the early 60’s Vulcan’s had the added capability of being able to start all four of their engines at once, and could be airborne within 4 minutes in the event of a nuclear attack.The planes main function then were as a high level nuclear bomber, although in it’s later life, due to the strength of its airframe, the Vulcan was the only one of the three that could also be used for low level bombing and maritime reconnaissance. Several of the airframes in their later lives were used as the test bed for the engines of the Tornado, Concorde and the ill fated BAC TSR2. The Vulcan was finally phased out during 1984 and replaced by the all weather Panavia Tornado fighter-bomber.
At present there are no Vulcan’s left flying, most are now in museums or on airfields, the full list is below. The last Vulcan to fly was XH558, as the RAF’s display aircraft at airshows, a sight and, especially sound, unmatched by any other single aircraft, with it’s ability to be thrown about like a fighter. XH558 was also the first B2 variant to be delivered to the RAF, her maiden flight being on 21 May 1960 and delivery was on 1 July 1960, going to No.230 OCU based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. She last flew as the RAF’s display aircraft on 20 Sept 1992 in an airshow at RAF Cranfield, starting her display behind the Red Arrows display team in a V shape formation. Her farewell flight was on 23 March 1993 and she was sold on by the RAF to C.Walton and now resides at Bruntingthorpe airfield in Leicestershire, England. Only 3 airframes are still in working condition - XH558 , XL426 , and XM655. All are regularly ground run with their engines
taken up to 100% thrust and are taxied around the airfield.