Gallery No 30 - Avro Vulcan

Aircraft - 3 Images

My thanks to Roger Dunn and the MOD for supplying these images.Wikipedia for text.

The Avro Vulcan was a British-built jet-engined, delta-winged subsonic bomber, once part of the RAF's V bomber force.

Design work began at A. V. Roe in 1947 under Roy Chadwick.The Ministry of Defence specification required a bomber with a top speed of 500 knots (930 km/h), an operating ceiling of 50,000 ft (15,000 m), a range of 3,000 nautical miles (5,500 km) and a bomb load of 10,000 lb (4,500 kg). Design work also began at Vickers and Handley Page, all three designs were approved — the Valiant, the Victor, and the Vulcan. The Vulcan was the first fly-by-wire aircraft to enter service.

Avro began scale prototype testing in 1948 with the single-seater Type 707, and despite the crash of the first prototype on 30 September 1949 work continued. The first full-scale prototype aircraft, the Type 698, made its maiden flight on 31 August 1952. The Vulcan name was not chosen until 1953.

Operational aircraft
In September 1956, the RAF received its first Vulcan B.1, XA897, which immediately went on a fly-the-flag mission to New Zealand. On 1 October, while approaching London Airport to complete the tour, XA897 crashed short of the runway in bad weather conditions. The second Vulcan was not delivered until 1957, and the delivery rate picked up from then. The B.2 variant was first tested in 1957 and entered service in 1960. It had a larger wing and better performance than the B.1 and had a distinctive kink in its delta wing to reduce turbulence. In all, 134 Vulcans were produced (45 B.1 and 89 B.2), the last being delivered to the RAF in January 1965. The last operational Vulcan squadron was disbanded in March 1984.

Nuclear deterrent
As part of Britain's independent nuclear deterrent the Vulcan initially carried Britain's first nuclear weapon, the Blue Danube gravity bomb. The bomb load was gradually updated to Yellow Sun and then Red Beard and from 1962 26 Vulcan B.2A were armed with the Blue Steel missile. When Blue Steel was decommissioned and the replacement program for the Skybolt ALBM was cancelled the bombers reverted to gravity bomb loads, despite the lack of credible deterrent value in this delivery method.

Conventional role
Although the primary weapon for the Vulcan was nuclear, Vulcans could carry up to 21 x 1000 lb (454 kg) bombs in a secondary role. The only combat missions involving the Vulcan took place in the 1982 Falklands War with Argentina, when a number of Vulcans flew the 3,380 nautical miles (6,300 km) from Ascension Island to Port Stanley to bomb the occupied airfield there with conventional bombs in Operation Black Buck. By this date the number of Victors available for air-to-air refueling was extremely limited, so some Vulcan aircraft were adapted in just 50 days to fulfill that role during the conflict. Five Vulcans were chosen for the operation: their bomb bays were modified, the fuel systems replaced and the electronics updated. The first bombing mission was on April 30–May 1 and there were five further bombing missions. At the time these missions held the record for the world's longest distance raids.

Role Strategic nuclear bomber
Crew 5
First prototype flight 30 August 1952
First production flight 4 February 1955
Entered Service 20 July 1956
Manufacturer A. V. Roe & Co., Woodford
Length 97 ft 1 in 29.6 m
Wingspan 99 ft 30.2 m
Height 26 ft 6 in 8.1 m
Wing area 3554 ft² 330 m²
Empty 83,573 lb 37,144 kg
Loaded lb kg
Maximum takeoff 170,000 lb 77,100 kg
Engines Four Rolls-Royce Olympus turbojets
Power hp kW
Thrust lb kN
Maximum speed Mach 0.95 at 12,000 m
Cruising speed Mach 0.92 at 15,200 m
Combat range miles km
Ferry range miles km
Service ceiling 55,000 ft 16,750 m
Rate of climb ft/min m/min
Wing loading lb/ft² kg/m²

Some aircraft may appear identical but there are differences which will not be discernible from the image.

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35 Squadron Mk2
83 Squadron Mk2
617 Squadron Mk2



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