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
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 and hence the
riskiest option. Several scale aircraft, designated
Avro 707, 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 (ECM); 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 was capable of conventional bombing missions, a
capability which was used in
Operation Black Buck
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 circa 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 at London
Southend Airport and
Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield
Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield respectively. B.2
XH558 flew for the last time in October 2015, before also being kept
in taxiable condition at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
Avro 707 and
1.3 Vulcan B.1 and B.2
1.3.1 Prototypes and type certification
1.3.2 Further developments
1.4 Proposed developments and cancelled projects
1.5 Export proposals
2.2 Colour schemes
2.5 Electrical and hydraulic systems
3 Operational history
3.2 Nuclear deterrent
3.3 Conventional role
3.5 Aerial refuelling role
3.6 Vulcan Display Flight
3.7 Engine test beds
Bomber dispersal airfields
6 Accidents and incidents
7 Surviving aircraft
8.1 Vulcan B.1
8.2 Comparison of variants
9 Notable appearances in media
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Further information: V bombers
Silhouettes of an early
Avro 698 concept and the cancelled
The origin of the Vulcan and the other
V bombers is linked with early
British atomic weapon programme and nuclear deterrent policies.
Britain's atom bomb programme began with Air Staff Operational
Requirement OR.1001 issued in August 1946. This anticipated a
government decision in January 1947 to authorise research and
development work on atomic weapons, the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1946
(McMahon Act) having prohibited exporting atomic knowledge, even to
countries that had collaborated on the Manhattan Project. OR.1001
envisaged a weapon not to exceed 24 ft 2 in (7.37 m) in
length, 5 ft (1.5 m) in diameter and 10,000 lb
(4,500 kg) in weight. The weapon had to be suitable for release
from 20,000 ft (6,100 m) to 50,000 ft
In January 1947, the
Ministry of Supply distributed Specification
B.35/46 to UK aviation companies to satisfy Air Staff Operational
Requirement OR.229 for "a medium range bomber landplane capable of
carrying one 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) bomb to a target 1,500
nautical miles (1,700 mi; 2,800 km) from a base which may be
anywhere in the world." A cruising speed of 500 knots (580 mph;
930 km/h) at heights between 35,000 ft (11,000 m) and
50,000 ft (15,000 m) was specified. The maximum weight when
fully loaded ought not to exceed 100,000 lb (45,000 kg). In
addition to a "special" (i.e., atomic) bomb, the aircraft was to be
capable of alternatively carrying a conventional bomb load of
20,000 lb (9,100 kg). The similar OR.230 required a "long
range bomber" with a 2,000 nautical miles (2,300 mi;
3,700 km) radius of action with a maximum weight of
200,000 lb (91,000 kg) when fully loaded; this requirement
was considered too exacting. A total of six companies submitted
technical brochures to this specification, including Avro.
Required to tender by the end of April 1947, work began on receipt of
Specification B.35/46 at Avro, led by technical director Roy Chadwick
and chief designer Stuart Davies; the type designation was
It was obvious to the design team that conventional aircraft could not
satisfy the specification; knowing little about high-speed flight and
unable to glean much from the
Royal Aircraft Establishment
Royal Aircraft Establishment or the US,
they investigated German Second World War swept wing research. The
team estimated that an otherwise conventional aircraft, with a swept
wing of 45°, would have doubled the weight requirement. Realising
that swept wings increase longitudinal stability, the team deleted the
tail (empennage) and the supporting fuselage, it thus became a
swept-back flying wing with only a rudimentary forward fuselage and a
fin (vertical stabilizer) at each wingtip. The estimated weight was
now only 50% over the requirement; a delta shape resulted from
reducing the wingspan and maintaining the wing area by filling in the
space between the wingtips, which enabled the specification to be
Alexander Lippisch is generally credited as the pioneer
of the delta wing, Chadwick's team had followed its own logical design
process. The initial design submission had four large turbojets
stacked in pairs buried in the wing either side of the centreline.
Outboard of the engines were two bomb-bays.
In August 1947, Chadwick was killed in the crash of the
Avro Tudor 2
prototype and was succeeded by Sir William Farren. Reductions in
wing thickness made it impossible to incorporate the split bomb bays
and stacked engines, thus the engines were placed side-by-side in
pairs either side of a single bomb-bay, with the fuselage growing
somewhat. The wingtip fins gave way to a single fin on the aircraft's
centreline. Rival manufacturer Handley Page received a prototype
contract for its crescent-winged HP.80 B.35/46 tender in November
1947. Though considered the best option, contract placement for
Avro's design was delayed whilst its technical strength was
established. Instructions to proceed with the construction of two
Avro 698 prototypes was received in January 1948. As an insurance
measure against both radical designs failing,
Short Brothers received
a contract for the prototype SA.4 to the less-stringent Specification
B.14/46; the SA.4, later named Sperrin, was not required. In April
1948, Vickers also received authority to proceed with their Type 660
which, although falling short of the B.35/46 Specification, being of a
more conventional design would be available sooner; this plane entered
service as the Valiant.
Avro 707 and
The prototype Vulcans (VX777 front, VX770 rear) with four
Avro 707s at
Farnborough Air Show
Farnborough Air Show in September 1953. The large delta wings of
the Vulcan quickly gave it the affectionate nickname of 'Tin
Avro had no flight experience of the delta wing, the company
planned two smaller experimental aircraft based on the 698, the
one-third scale model 707 for low-speed handling and the one-half
scale model 710 for high-speed handling. Two of each were ordered.
However, the 710 was cancelled when it was considered too
time-consuming to develop; a high-speed variant of the 707 was
designed in its place, the 707A. The first 707, VX784, flew in
September 1949 but crashed later that month killing
Avro test pilot
Flt Lt Eric Esler. The second low-speed 707, VX790, built with the
still uncompleted 707A's nose section (containing an ejection
seat) and redesignated 707B, flew in September 1950 piloted by
Avro test pilot Wg Cdr Roland "Roly" Falk. The high speed 707A, WD480,
followed in July 1951.
Due to the delay of the 707 programme, the contribution of the 707B
and 707A towards the basic design of the 698 was not considered
significant, though it did highlight a need to increase the length
of the nosewheel to give a ground incidence of 3.5 degrees, the
optimum take-off attitude. The 707B and 707A proved the design's
validity and gave confidence in the delta planform. A second 707A,
WZ736 and a two-seat 707C, WZ744 were also constructed but they played
no part in the 698's development.
Vulcan B.1 and B.2
Prototypes and type certification
More influential than the 707 in the 698's design was wind-tunnel
testing performed by the
Royal Aircraft Establishment
Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough,
which indicated the need for a wing redesign to avoid the onset of
compressibility drag which would have restricted the maximum
speed. Painted gloss white, the 698 prototype VX770 flew for the
first time on 30 August 1952 piloted by
Roly Falk flying solo. The
prototype 698, then fitted with only the first-pilot's ejection seat
and a conventional control wheel, was powered by four Rolls-Royce RA.3
Avon engines of 6,500 lbf (29 kN) thrust; there were no wing
fuel tanks, temporary tankage was carried in the bomb bay. VX770
made an appearance at the 1952 Society of British Aircraft
Farnborough Air Show
Farnborough Air Show the next month when Falk
demonstrated an almost vertical bank. After its Farnborough
appearance, the future name of the
Avro 698 was a subject of
Avro had strongly recommended the name Ottawa,[N 1] in
honour of the company's connection with
Avro Canada. Weekly
magazine Flight suggested Albion after rejecting Avenger, Apollo and
Assegai. The chief of the air staff preferred a V-class of bombers,
and the Air Council announced the following month that the 698 would
be called Vulcan after the Roman god of fire and destruction. In
January 1953, VX770 was grounded for the installation of wing fuel
Armstrong Siddeley ASSa.6 Sapphire engines of 7,500 lbf
(33 kN) thrust and other systems; it flew again in July 1953.
Comparison of Vulcan wing designs
The second prototype, VX777, flew in September 1953. More
representative of production aircraft, it was lengthened to
accommodate a longer nose undercarriage leg, featured a visual
bomb-aiming blister under the cabin and was fitted with Bristol
Olympus 100 engines of 9,750 lbf (43.4 kN) thrust. At Falk's
suggestion, a fighter-style control stick replaced the control wheel.
Both prototypes had almost pure delta wings with straight leading
edges. During trials in July 1954, VX777 was substantially damaged in
a heavy landing at Farnborough. It was repaired and fitted with
Olympus 101 engines of 11,000 lbf (49 kN) thrust before
resuming trials in October 1955. While exploring the high speed and
high altitude flight envelope, mild buffeting and other undesirable
flight characteristics were experienced while approaching the speed of
sound, including an alarming tendency to enter an uncontrollable dive,
unacceptable to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment
(A&AEE) at Boscombe Down. The solution included the "phase 2"
wing, featuring a kinked and drooped leading edge and vortex
generators on the upper surface, first tested on 707A WD480. An
auto-mach trimmer introduced a nose-up attitude when at high speeds;
the control column had to be pushed rather than pulled to maintain
Meanwhile, the first production B.1,[N 2] XA889, had flown in February
1955 with the original wing. In September 1955, Falk, flying the
second production B.1 XA890, amazed crowds at the Farnborough Air Show
by executing a barrel roll on his second flypast in front of the
SBAC president's tent. After two days flying, he was called in front
of service and civil aviation authorities and ordered to refrain from
carrying out this "dangerous" manoeuvre. Now fitted with a phase 2
wing, XA889 was delivered in March 1956 to the A&AEE for trials
for the type's initial
Certificate of Airworthiness
Certificate of Airworthiness which it received
the following month.
The first 15 B.1s were powered by the Olympus 101 with 11,000 lbf
(49 kN) thrust. Many of these early examples in a metallic finish
remained the property of the
Ministry of Supply being retained for
trials and development purposes. Those entering RAF service were
delivered to No 230 Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), the first in
July 1956. Later aircraft, painted in anti-flash white and powered
by the Olympus 102 with 12,000 lbf (53 kN) thrust, began to
enter squadron service in July 1957. The Olympus 102s were quickly
modified to the Olympus 104 standard, ultimately rated at
13,500 lbf (60 kN) thrust. As far back as 1952, Bristol
Aero Engines had begun development of the BOl.6 (Olympus 6) rated at
16,000 lbf (71 kN) thrust but if fitted to the B.1, this
would have re-introduced the buffet requiring further redesign of the
The decision to proceed with the B.2 versions of the Vulcan was made
in May 1956. It was anticipated that the first B.2 would be around the
45th aircraft of the 99 then on order. As well as being able to
achieve greater heights over targets, it was believed that operational
flexibility could be extended by the provision of in-flight refuelling
equipment and tanker aircraft. The increasing sophistication of
Soviet air defences required the fitting of electronic countermeasure
(ECM) equipment and vulnerability could be reduced by the introduction
Avro Blue Steel stand-off missile, then in development. In
order to develop these proposals, the second Vulcan prototype VX777
was rebuilt with the larger and thinner phase 2C wing, improved flying
control surfaces and Olympus 102 engines, first flying in this
configuration in August 1957. Plans were in hand to equip all
Vulcans from the 16th aircraft onwards with in-flight refuelling
receiving equipment. A B.1, XA903, was allocated for Blue Steel
development work. Other B.1s were used for the development of the
BOl.6 (later Olympus 200), XA891; a new AC electrical system, XA893;
and ECM including jammers within a bulged tail-cone and a tail warning
Avro Vulcan B.2 XH533, the first B.2 Vulcan, flying at Farnborough in
The 46th production aircraft and first B.2, XH533, first flew in
September 1958 fitted with Olympus 200 engines with 16,000 lbf
(71 kN) thrust, six months before the last B.1 XH532 was
delivered in March 1959. Rebuilding B.1s as B.2s was considered
but rejected over cost. Nevertheless, to extend the B.1's service
life, 28 were upgraded by
Armstrong Whitworth between 1959 and 1963 to
the B.1A standard, including features of the B.2 such as ECM
equipment, in-flight refuelling receiving equipment, and UHF
radio. The second B.2, XH534, flew in January 1959. Powered by
production Olympus 201 with 17,000 lbf (76 kN) thrust, it
was more representative of a production aircraft, being fitted with an
in-flight refuelling probe and a bulged ECM tail cone. Some subsequent
B.2s were initially lacking probes and ECM tail cones, but these were
fitted retrospectively. The first 10 B.2s outwardly showed their B.1
ancestry, retaining narrow engine air intakes. Anticipating even more
powerful engines, the air intakes were deepened on the 11th (XH557)
and subsequent aircraft. Many of the early aircraft were retained for
trials and it was the 12th B.2, XH558, that was the first to be
delivered to the RAF in July 1960. Coincidentally,
XH558 would also be
the last Vulcan in service with the RAF, before being retired in
The 26th B.2, XL317, the first of a production batch ordered in
February 1956, was the first Vulcan, apart from development aircraft,
capable of carrying the Blue Steel missile; 33 aircraft were delivered
to the RAF with these modifications. When the Mk.2 version of Blue
Steel was cancelled in favour of the Douglas GAM-87 Skybolt
air-launched ballistic missile in December 1959, fittings were
changed in anticipation of the new missile, one under each wing.
Though Skybolt was cancelled in November 1962, many aircraft were
delivered or retrofitted with "Skybolt" blisters. Later aircraft
(XL391 and XM574 onwards) were delivered with Olympus 301 engines with
20,000 lbf (89 kN) thrust. Two earlier aircraft were
re-engined (XH557 and XJ784) for trials and development work; another
seven aircraft (XL384-XL390) were converted around 1963.
The last B.2 XM657 was delivered in 1965 and the type served till
1984. Whilst in service the B.2 was continuously updated with
modifications including rapid engine starting, bomb-bay fuel tanks,
wing strengthening to give the fatigue life to enable the aircraft to
fly at low level (a tactic introduced in the mid-1960s), upgraded
navigation equipment, terrain following radar (TFR), standardisation
on a common nuclear weapon (WE.117) and improved ECM equipment.
The B.1As were not strengthened, thus all were withdrawn by 1968.
Nine B.2s were modified for a maritime radar reconnaissance (MRR)
role and six for an airborne tanker role. An updated bomb rack
assembly allowed the carriage of 30 1,000lb bombs, up from 21 and
the updated wing profile increased range to 4,000nm (7,400km).
Proposed developments and cancelled projects
Avro Type 718
Avro 718 was a 1951 proposal for a delta-winged military transport
based on the Type 698 to carry 80 troops or 110 passengers. It would
have been powered by four
Bristol Olympus BOl.3 engines.
Avro Type 722 Atlantic was a 1952 proposal (announced in June
1953) for a 120-passenger delta-winged airliner based on the Type
Avro Type 732
Avro 732 was a 1956 proposal for a supersonic development of the
Vulcan and would have been powered by 8 de Havilland Gyron Junior
engines. Unlike the proposed
Avro 721 low-level bomber of 1952 or the
Avro 730 supersonic stainless steel canard bomber dating from 1954
(cancelled in 1957 before completion of the prototype), the Type 732
showed its Vulcan heritage.
Vulcan Phase 6 (Vulcan B.3)
Silhouette of the original study for the Vulcan B.3 patrol missile
In 1960, the Air Staff approached
Avro with a request into a study for
a patrol missile carrier armed with up to six Skybolt missiles capable
of a mission length of 12 hours. Avro's submission in May 1960 was the
Phase 6 Vulcan, which if built would have been the Vulcan B.3. The
aircraft was fitted with an enlarged wing of 121 ft (37 m)
span with increased fuel capacity; additional fuel tanks in a dorsal
spine; a new main undercarriage to carry an all-up-weight of
339,000 lb (154,000 kg); and reheated Olympus 301s of
30,000 lbf (130 kN) thrust. An amended proposal of October
1960 inserted a 10 ft 9 in (3.28 m) plug into the
forward fuselage with capacity for six crew members including a relief
pilot, all facing forwards on ejection seats, and aft-fan versions of
the Olympus 301.
Other countries expressed interest in purchasing Vulcans but, as with
the other V-bombers, no foreign sales materialised.
As early as 1954, Australia recognised that the English Electric
Canberra was becoming outdated and evaluated aircraft such as the Avro
Handley-Page Victor as potential replacements.
Political pressure for a Canberra replacement only rose to a head in
1962; at which point more modern types such as the BAC TSR-2, General
Dynamics F-111C, and
North American A-5 Vigilante
North American A-5 Vigilante had become
available. The RAF would have transferred several V-bombers, including
Vulcans, for interim use by the
RAAF if they had purchased the TSR-2,
RAAF selected the F-111C.
In the early 1980s,
Argentina approached the UK with a proposal to buy
a number of Vulcans. An application, made in September 1981, requested
the 'early availability' of a 'suitable aircraft'. With some
reluctance, ministers approved the export of a single aircraft but
emphasised that clearance had not been given for the sale of a larger
number. A letter from the British
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office to
the Ministry of Defence in January 1982 stated that little prospect
was seen of this happening without ascertaining the Argentine interest
and whether such interest was genuine: 'On the face of it, a strike
aircraft would be entirely suitable for an attack on the
Argentina invaded the
Falkland Islands less than three
XH558 at Duxford Airshow 2012
Despite its radical and unusual shape, the airframe was built along
traditional lines. Except for the most highly stressed parts, the
whole structure was manufactured from standard grades of light alloy.
The airframe was broken down into a number of major assemblies: the
centre section, a rectangular box containing the bomb-bay and engine
bays bounded by the front and rear spars and the wing transport
joints; the intakes and centre fuselage; the front fuselage,
incorporating the pressure cabin; the nose; the outer wings; the
leading edges; the wing trailing edge and tail end of the fuselage;
the wings were not sealed and used directly as fuel tankage, but
carried bladders for fuel in the void spaces of the wings; and there
was a single swept tail fin with a single rudder on the trailing
A five-man crew, the first pilot, co-pilot, navigator radar, navigator
plotter and air electronics officer (AEO) was accommodated within the
pressure cabin on two levels; the pilots sitting on
(3KS on the B.2) ejection seats whilst on the lower level, the other
crew sat facing rearwards and would abandon the aircraft via the
entrance door. The original B35/46 specification sought a
jettisonable crew compartment, this requirement was removed in a
subsequent amendment, the rear crew's escape system was often an issue
of controversy, such as when a practical refit scheme was
rejected. A rudimentary sixth seat forward of the navigator
radar was provided for an additional crew member; the B.2 had an
additional seventh seat opposite the sixth seat and forward of the
AEO. These seats were no more than cushions, a full harness and an
oxygen and intercom facility. The visual bomb-aimer's compartment
could be fitted with a T4 (Blue Devil) bombsight, in many B.2s
this space housed a vertically mounted
Vinten F95 Mk.10 camera for
assessing simulated low-level bombing runs.
Fuel was carried in 14 bag tanks, four in the centre fuselage above
and to the rear of the nosewheel bay and five in each outer wing. The
tanks were split into four groups of almost equal capacity, each
normally feeding its respective engine though cross-feeding was
possible. The centre of gravity was automatically maintained by
electric timers which sequenced the booster pumps on the
tanks. B.2 aircraft could be fitted with one or two additional
fuel tanks in the bomb-bay.
Despite being designed before a low radar cross-section (RCS) and
other stealth factors were ever a consideration, a Royal Aircraft
Establishment technical note of 1957 stated that of all the aircraft
so far studied, the Vulcan appeared by far the simplest radar echoing
object, due to its shape: only one or two components contributed
significantly to the echo at any aspect, compared with three or more
on most other types.[N 3]
Aerial view of a Vulcan B.2 in late RAF markings on static display at
RAF Mildenhall, 1984
The two prototype Vulcans were finished in gloss white. Early Vulcan
B.1s left the factory in a natural metal finish; the front half of the
nose radome was painted black, the rear half painted silver.
Front-line Vulcan B.1s had a finish of anti-flash white and RAF "type
D" roundels. Front-line Vulcan B.1As and B.2s were similar but with
'type D pale' roundels.
With the adoption of low-level attack profiles in the mid-1960s, B.1As
and B.2s were given a glossy sea grey medium and dark green disruptive
pattern camouflage on the upper surfaces, white undersurfaces and
"type D" roundels. (The last 13 Vulcan B.2s, XM645 onwards, were
delivered thus from the factory). In the mid-1970s: Vulcan B.2s
received a similar scheme with matte camouflage, light aircraft grey
undersides, and "low-visibility" roundels; B.2(MRR)s received a
similar scheme in gloss; and the front half of the radomes were no
longer painted black. Beginning in 1979, 10 Vulcans received a
wrap-around camouflage of dark sea grey and dark green
because, during Red Flag exercises in the US, defending SAM forces had
found that the grey-painted undersides of the Vulcan became much more
visible against the ground at high angles of bank.
The original Vulcan B.1 radio fit was: two 10-channel VHF
transmitter/receivers (TR-1985/TR-1986) and a 24-channel HF
transmitter-receiver (STR-18). The Vulcan B.1A also featured a UHF
transmitter-receiver (ARC-52). The initial B.2 radio fit was
similar to the B.1A though it was ultimately fitted with the
ARC-52, a V/UHF transmitter/receiver (PTR-175), and a single-sideband
modulation HF transmitter-receiver (Collins 618T).
The navigation and bombing system (NBS) comprised an H2S Mk9 radar and
a navigation bombing computer (NBC) Mk1. Other navigation aids
included a Marconi radio compass (ADF), GEE Mk3, Green Satin Doppler
radar to determine the groundspeed and drift angle, radio and radar
altimeters, and an instrument landing system.
TACAN replaced GEE
in the B.1A and B.2 in 1964 . Decca Doppler 72 replaced Green
Satin in the B.2 around 1969  A continuous display of the
aircraft's position was maintained by a ground position indicator
Vulcan B.2s were eventually fitted with the twin-gyro free-running
gyroscopic heading reference system (HRS) Mk.2, based upon the
inertial platform of the Blue Steel missile, which had been integrated
into the system when the missile had been carried. With the HRS a
navigator's heading unit (NHU) was provided which enabled the
navigator plotter to adjust the aircraft heading, through the
autopilot, by as little as 0.1 degrees. The B.2 (MRR) was additionally
fitted with the
LORAN C navigation system.
The original ECM fit as fitted to the B.1A and B.2 was: one Green Palm
voice communications' jammer; two Blue Diver metric jammers; three Red
Shrimp S-band jammers; a Blue Saga passive warning receiver with four
aerials (PWR); a Red Steer tail warning radar; and window (chaff)
dispensers. The bulk of the equipment was carried in a large
extended tail cone, and a flat ECM aerial counterpoise plate mounted
between the starboard tailpipes.[N 4] Later equipment on the B.2
L band jammer (replacing a Red Shrimp); the ARI 18146
X-band jammer; replacing the Green Palm; the improved Red Steer
Mk.2; infra-red decoys (flares); and the ARI 18228 PWR with its
aerials that gave a squared top to the fin.
Vulcan B.1 XA890 in early silver scheme landing at Farnborough in
September 1955 after Roly Falk's "aerobatic" display. Note the lower
outer starboard airbrake, which was later deleted
The aircraft was controlled by a fighter-type control stick and rudder
bar which operated the powered flying controls (PFCs). Each PFC had a
single electro-hydraulic powered flying control unit (PFCU) except the
rudder which had two, one running as a back-up. Artificial feel and
autostabilisation in the form of pitch and yaw dampers were provided,
as well as an auto mach trimmer.
The flight instruments in the B.1 were traditional and included G4B
compasses; Mk.4 artificial horizons; and zero reader flight
display instruments. The B.1 had a Smiths Mk10 autopilot. In
the B.2, these features were incorporated into the Smiths Military
Flight System (MFS), the pilots' components being: two beam compasses;
two director-horizons; and a Mk.10A or Mk.10B autopilot. From
1966, B.2s were fitted with the ARI 5959 Terrain-following radar
(TFR), built by General Dynamics, its commands being fed into the
The B.1 had four elevators (inboard) and four ailerons
(outboard). In the B.2, these were replaced by eight
elevons. The Vulcan was also fitted with six electrically
operated three-position (retracted, medium drag, high drag) airbrakes,
four in the upper centre section and two in the lower. There were
originally four lower airbrakes but the outboard two were deleted
before the aircraft entered service. A brake parachute was
installed inside the tail cone.
Electrical and hydraulic systems
The main electrical system on the B.1/B.1A was 112V DC supplied by
four 22.5kW engine-driven starter-generators. Backup power was
provided by four 24V 40Ah batteries connected in series providing 96V.
Secondary electrical systems were 28V DC, single-phase 115V AC at
1600 Hz, and three-phase 115V AC at 400 Hz, driven by
transformers and inverters from the main system. The 28V DC system was
backed up by a single 24V battery.
For greater efficiency and higher reliability, the main system on
the B.2 was changed to three-phase 200V AC at 400 Hz supplied by
four 40kVA engine-driven constant speed alternators. Engine starting
was then by air-starters supplied from a Palouste compressor on the
ground. Standby supplies in the event of a main AC failure were
provided by a ram air turbine (RAT) driving a 17kVA alternator that
could operate from high altitudes down to 20,000 ft
(6,100 m), and an airborne auxiliary power plant (AAPP), a
Rover gas turbine driving a 40kVA alternator, which could be
started once the aircraft was below an altitude of 30,000 ft
(9,100 m). Secondary electrical supplies were by
transformer-rectifier units (TRUs) for 28 V DC and rotary frequency
converters for the 115V 1600 Hz single phase supplies.
The change to an AC system was a significant improvement. The Vulcan's
powered flying controls were hydraulically actuated but each powered
flying control unit (PFCU) had a hydraulic pump which was driven by an
electric motor. Because there was no manual reversion, a total
electrical failure would result in a loss of control. The standby
batteries on the B.1 were designed to give enough power for 20 minutes
of flying time but this proved to be optimistic and two aircraft,
XA891 and XA908, crashed as a result.
The main hydraulic system provided pressure for undercarriage raising
and lowering and bogie trim; nosewheel centring and steering;
wheelbrakes (fitted with Maxarets); bomb doors opening and closing;
and (B.2 only) AAPP air scoop lowering. Hydraulic pressure was
provided by three hydraulic pumps fitted to Nos. 1, 2 and 3 engines.
An electrically operated hydraulic power pack (EHPP) could be used to
operate the bomb doors and recharge the brake accumulators. A
compressed air (later nitrogen) system was provided for emergency
Main article: Rolls-Royce Olympus
The Rolls-Royce Olympus, originally known as the "Bristol BE.10
Olympus",[N 5] is a two-spool axial-flow turbojet that powered
the Vulcan. Each Vulcan had four engines buried in the wings,
positioned in pairs close to the fuselage. The engine's design began
in 1947, intended to power the Bristol Aeroplane Company's own rival
design to the Vulcan. A serendipitous arrangement in air intakes
could cause the Vulcan to emit a distinctive "howl" when the engines
were at approximately 90% power, which can be heard as the
aircraft performs a flypast, such as at public airshows.
Gas-flow diagram of an Olympus Mk 101 engine
As the prototype Vulcan VX770 was ready for flight prior to the
Olympus being available, it first flew using
Rolls-Royce Avon RA.3
engines of 6,500 lbf (29 kN) thrust. These were quickly
Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire
Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire ASSa.6 engines of
7,500 lbf (33 kN) thrust. VX770 later became a flying
test bed for the Rolls-Royce Conway. The second prototype VX777
first flew with Olympus 100s of 10,000 lbf (44 kN) thrust.
It was subsequently re-engined with Olympus 101 engines of
11,000 lbf (49 kN) thrust. When VX777 flew with a Phase
2C (B.2) wing in 1957, it was fitted with Olympus 102 engines of
12,000 lbf (53 kN) thrust.
Early B.1s were engined with the Olympus 101. Later aircraft were
delivered with Olympus 102s. All Olympus 102s became the Olympus 104
of 13,000 lbf (58 kN) thrust on overhaul and ultimately
13,500 lbf (60 kN) thrust on uprating. The first B.2
flew with the second-generation Olympus 200 of 16,000 lbf
(71 kN) thrust, design of which began in 1952.
Subsequent B.2s were engined with either the uprated Olympus 201 of
17,000 lbf (76 kN) thrust or the Olympus 301 of
20,000 lbf (89 kN) thrust. The Olympus 201 was designated
202 on being fitted with a rapid air starter. The engine would
later be developed into a reheated (afterburning) powerplant for the
BAC TSR-2 strike bomber and the supersonic
passenger transport Concorde.
In September 1956, the RAF received its first Vulcan B.1, XA897, which
immediately embarked upon a round-the-world tour. The tour was to be
an important demonstration of the range and capabilities of the
aircraft, but it also had other benefits in the form of conducting
goodwill visits in various countries; in later life Vulcans routinely
visited various nations and distant parts of the former British Empire
as a show of support and military protection. This first tour,
however, was struck by misfortune; on 1 October 1956, while landing in
bad weather at
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport at the completion of the world
tour, XA897 was destroyed in a fatal accident.
A Vulcan B1A of the Waddington Wing at Filton during a public air
display in the 1960s.
The first two aircraft were delivered to 230 OCU in January 1957 and
the training of crews started on 21 February 1957; in the following
months more aircraft were delivered to the OCU. The first OCU
course to qualify was No. 1 Course, on 21 May 1957, and they went on
to form the first flight of No. 83 Squadron. No. 83 Squadron was
the first operational squadron to use the bomber, at first using
borrowed Vulcans from the OCU, and on 11 July 1956 it received the
first aircraft of its own. By September 1957, several Vulcans had
been handed over to No. 83 Squadron. The second OCU course also
formed a Flight of 83 Squadron, but subsequent trained crews were also
used to form the second bomber squadron, 101 Squadron. The last
aircraft from the first batch of 25 aircraft had been delivered by the
end of 1957 to 101 Squadron.
In order to increase the mission range and flight time for Vulcan
operations, in-flight refuelling capabilities were added in 1959
onwards; several Valiant bombers were refurbished as tankers to refuel
the Vulcans. Continuous airborne patrols proved untenable,
however, and the refuelling mechanisms across the Vulcan fleet fell
into disuse in the 1960s. Both Vulcans and the other V-force
aircraft routinely visited the Far East, in particular Singapore,
where a fully equipped nuclear weapons storage facility had been
constructed in 1959. During the Indonesia–Malaysia
confrontation Britain planned to deploy three squadrons of V-bomber
aircraft and 48 Red Beard tactical nuclear weapons to the region;
although this was ultimately decided against, Vulcans trained in the
region for both conventional and nuclear missions. Britain
regularly deployed Vulcans to the Far East as a part of their
SEATO operations, often to test the defenses of
friendly nations in joint exercises. In the early 1970s, the RAF
decided to permanently deploy two squadrons of Vulcans overseas in the
Near East Air Force
Bomber Wing, based at
RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus; the
Vulcans were withdrawn as
Cypriot intercommunal violence intensified
in the mid-1970s.
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Vulcan B.2 being prepared for flight on 25 May 1985
Vulcans did some very long range missions. In June 1961, one of them
took off from
RAF Scampton to Sydney, with an 18,507 km long
journey, flown in only a bit more than 20 hours and three air
refuellings. Vulcans frequently visited the United States during the
1960s and 1970s to participate in air shows and static displays, as
well as to participate in the Strategic Air Command's Annual Bombing
and Navigation Competition at such locations as Barksdale AFB,
Louisiana and the former McCoy AFB, Florida, with the RAF crews
Bomber Command and later Strike Command. Vulcans also
took part in the 1960, 1961, and 1962
Operation Skyshield exercises,
NORAD defences were tested against possible Soviet air
attack, the Vulcans simulating Soviet fighter/bomber attacks against
New York, Chicago and Washington. The results of the tests were
classified until 1997. The Vulcan proved quite successful during
the 1974 "Giant Voice" exercise, in which it managed to avoid USAF
As part of Britain's independent nuclear deterrent, the Vulcan
initially carried Britain's first nuclear weapon, the Blue Danube
gravity bomb. Blue Danube was a low-kiloton yield fission bomb
designed before the United States detonated the first hydrogen bomb.
These were supplemented by U.S.-owned Mk 5 bombs (made available under
Project E programme) and later by the British Red Beard tactical
nuclear weapon. The UK had previously embarked on its own
hydrogen bomb programme, and to bridge the gap until these were ready
the V-bombers were equipped with an Interim Megaton Weapon based on
the Blue Danube casing containing Green Grass, a large pure-fission
warhead of 400 kt (1.7 PJ) yield.[N 6] This bomb was
known as Violet Club. Only five were deployed before the Green
Grass warhead was incorporated into a developed weapon as Yellow Sun
The later Yellow Sun Mk 2, was fitted with Red Snow, a
British-built variant of the U.S. W28 warhead. Yellow Sun Mk 2 was the
first British thermonuclear weapon to be deployed, and was carried on
both the Vulcan and Handley Page Victor. The Valiant retained U.S.
nuclear weapons assigned to
SACEUR under the dual-key arrangements.
Red Beard was pre-positioned in
Singapore for use by Vulcan and Victor
bombers. From 1962, three squadrons of Vulcan B.2s and two
squadrons of Victor B.2s were armed with the Blue Steel missile, a
rocket-powered stand-off bomb, which was also fitted with the
1.1 Mt (4.6 PJ) yield
Red Snow warhead.
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command and the U.S. Strategic Air Command
cooperated in the
Single Integrated Operational Plan
Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) to ensure
coverage of all major Soviet targets from 1958, 108 aircraft of the
RAF's V-Bombers were assigned targets under SIOP by the end of
1959. From 1962 onwards, two jets in every major RAF base were
armed with nuclear weapons and on standby permanently under the
principle of Quick Reaction Alert (QRA). Vulcans on QRA standby
were to be airborne within four minutes of receiving an alert, as this
was identified as the amount of time between warning of a USSR nuclear
strike being launched and it arriving in Britain. The closest the
Vulcan came to taking part in potential nuclear conflict was during
Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, where
Bomber Command was
moved to Alert Condition 3, an increased state of preparedness from
normal operations; however, it stood down in early November.
XH558 taking off; 2008 Farnborough Airshow
The Vulcans were intended to be equipped with the American Skybolt Air
Launched Ballistic Missile to replace the Blue Steel, with Vulcan B.2s
carrying two Skybolts under the wings; the last 28 B.2s were modified
on the production line to fit pylons to carry the Skybolt. A
B.3 variant with increased wingspan to carry up to six Skybolts was
proposed in 1960. When the
Skybolt missile system was cancelled
by U.S. President
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy on the recommendation of his
Secretary of Defense,
Robert McNamara in 1962, Blue Steel was
retained. To supplement it until the
Royal Navy took on the deterrent
role with Polaris ICBM-equipped submarines, the Vulcan bombers adopted
a new mission profile of flying high during clear transit, dropping
down low to avoid enemy defences on approach, and deploying a
parachute-retarded bomb, the WE.177B. However, since the aircraft
had been designed for high-altitude flight, at low altitudes it could
not exceed 350 knots. RAF Air Vice Marshal Ron Dick, a former Vulcan
pilot, said "it is [thus] questionable whether it could have been
effective flying at low level in a war against ... the Soviet
After the British Polaris submarines became operational and Blue Steel
was taken out of service in 1970, the Vulcan continued to carry
WE.177B in a tactical nuclear strike role as part of the British
contribution to Europe's standing NATO forces, although they no longer
held aircraft at 15 minutes' readiness in peacetime. Two
squadrons were also stationed in
Cyprus as part of the Near East Air
Force and assigned to
Central Treaty Organization
Central Treaty Organization in a strategic
strike role. With the eventual demise of the
WE.177B and the Vulcan
bombers, the Blackburn Buccaneer, SEPECAT Jaguar, and Panavia Tornado
continued with the WE.177C until its retirement in 1998. While
not a like-for-like replacement, the multi-role Tornado
interdictor/strike bomber is the successor for the roles previously
filled by the Vulcan.
A Vulcan at the National Museum of Flight; note the Operation Black
Buck markings and the small Brazilian flag indicating the aircraft's
internment in Brazil
engineers and flight crew with the Vulcan prior to deployment in the
See also: Operation Black Buck
Although in operational use the Vulcan typically carried various
nuclear armaments, the type also had a secondary conventional role.
While performing conventional combat missions, the Vulcan could carry
up to 21 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs inside its bomb
bay. From the 1960s, the various Vulcan squadrons would routinely
conduct conventional training missions; the aircrews were expected to
be able to perform conventional bombing missions in addition to the
critical nuclear strike mission the Vulcan normally performed.
The Vulcan's only combat missions took place towards the end of the
type's service in 1982. During the Falklands War, the Vulcan was
deployed against Argentinian forces which had occupied the Falkland
Islands. This conflict was the only occasion in which any of the
V-bombers would participate in conventional warfare. The missions
performed by the Vulcan became known as the Black Buck raids, each
aircraft had to fly 3,889 mi (6,259 km) from Ascension
Island to reach Stanley on the Falklands. Victor tankers conducted the
necessary air-to-air refuelling for the Vulcan to cover the distance
involved; approximately 1,100,000 imp gal (5,000,000 l)
of fuel was used in each mission.
Five Vulcans were selected to participate in the operation. In order
to do so, each aircraft had to receive various last-minute
adaptations; including modifications to the bomb bay, the
reinstatement of the long out-of-use in-flight refuelling system, the
installation of a new navigational system derived from the Vickers
VC10, and the updating of several onboard electronics. Underneath the
wings, new pylons were fitted to carry an ECM pod and Shrike
anti-radar missiles at wing hardpoint locations; these hardpoints had
originally been installed for the purpose of carrying the cancelled
Skybolt nuclear missile. Engineering work to retrofit these Vulcans
had begun on 9 April.
A Vulcan flying over
Ascension Island on 18 May 1982
On 1 May, the first mission was conducted by a single Vulcan (XM607)
that flew over
Port Stanley and dropped its bombs on the airfield
concentrating on the single runway, with one direct hit, making it
unsuitable for fighter aircraft. The Vulcan's mission was quickly
followed up by strikes against anti-air installations, flown by
British Aerospace Sea Harriers from nearby
Royal Navy carriers.
Three Vulcan missions were flown against the airfield, a further two
missions in which missiles were launched against radar installations;
an additional two missions were cancelled. At the time, these
missions held the record for the world's longest-distance
raids. The ECM systems on board the Vulcans proved to be
effective at jamming Argentine radars; while a Vulcan was within the
theatre, other British aircraft in the vicinity had a greatly reduced
chance of coming under effective fire.
On 3 June 1982, Vulcan B.2 XM597 of No. 50 Squadron took part in the
"Black Buck 6" mission against Argentinian radar sites at Stanley
airfield on the Falkland Islands. While attempting to refuel for its
return journey to Ascension Island, the probe broke, leaving the
Vulcan with insufficient fuel, forcing a diversion to Galeão Air
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro in neutral Brazil. En route, secret papers
were dumped along with the two remaining AGM-45 Shrike missiles,
although one failed to launch. After a mayday call, the Vulcan,
Brazilian Air Force
Brazilian Air Force
Northrop F-5 fighters, was permitted
an emergency landing at Rio with very little fuel left on board.
The Vulcan and her crew were detained until the end of hostilities
nine days later.
In November 1973, as a result of the planned closure of the Victor
SR.2 equipped No. 543 Squadron, No. 27 Squadron reformed at RAF
Scampton equipped with the Vulcan as a replacement in the maritime
radar reconnaissance role.[N 7] The squadron carried out patrols
of the seas around the British Isles, including the strategically
GIUK gap between Iceland and the United Kingdom, flying at
high level and using the Vulcan's
H2S radar to monitor shipping. In
peacetime, this could be followed up by visual identification and
photography of targets of interest at low level. In wartime, a Vulcan
would leave visual identification of potential targets to Buccaneers
or Canberras, and could coordinate attacks by Buccaneers against
hostile shipping. Though initially equipped with a number of B.2
aircraft, the Squadron eventually operated nine B.2 (MRR)
aircraft (also known by the unofficial designation SR.2). The
aircraft were modified for the role by removing the Terrain Following
Radar (and its thimble radome) and adding the
LORAN C radio navigation
aid. The main external visual difference was the presence of a gloss
paint finish, with a light grey undersurface, to protect against sea
The squadron also inherited its secondary role of air sampling from
No. 543 Squadron. This involved flying through plumes of airborne
contamination and using onboard equipment to collect fallout released
from both above ground and underground nuclear tests for later
analysis at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at
Aldermaston. Five aircraft had small pylons fitted to the
redundant Skybolt hardpoints, which could be used to carry sampling
pods modified from drop tanks.[N 8] These pods would collect the
needed samples on a filter, while an additional smaller "localiser"
pod was fitted to the port wing, inboard of the main
The squadron disbanded at
Scampton in March 1982, passing on its radar
reconnaissance duties to the RAF's Nimrods.
Aerial refuelling role
After the end of the
Falklands War in 1982, the Vulcan B.2 was due to
be withdrawn from RAF service that year. However, the Falklands
campaign had consumed much of the airframe fatigue life of the RAF's
Victor tankers. While
Vickers VC10 tanker conversions had been ordered
in 1979 and Lockheed TriStar tankers would be ordered subsequent
to the conflict, as a stopgap measure six Vulcans were converted
into single point tankers. The Vulcan tanker conversion was
accomplished by removing the jammers from the ECM bay in the tail of
the aircraft, and replacing them with a single Hose Drum Unit
(HDU). An additional cylindrical bomb-bay tank was fitted, making
a total of three, giving a fuel capacity of almost 100,000 lb
The go-ahead for converting the six aircraft was given on 4 May
1982. Just 50 days after being ordered, the first Vulcan tanker,
XH561, was delivered to RAF Waddington. The Vulcan K.2s were
operated by No. 50 Squadron, along with three Vulcan B.2s, in support
of UK air defence activities until it was disbanded in March
Vulcan Display Flight
Vulcan B.2 in formation with the Red Arrows
Main article: Vulcan Display Flight
After the disbandment of No. 50 Squadron, two Vulcans continued flying
with the RAF in air displays as part of the Vulcan Display Flight,
based at Waddington but administered through No. 55 Squadron, based at
RAF Marham. Initially displaying using XL426, in 1986 that aircraft
was sold, having been replaced by XH558, which began displays in 1985.
The VDF continued with
XH558 until 1992, finishing operations after
the Ministry of Defence determined it was too costly to run in light
of budget cuts. Both aircraft subsequently entered preservation and
survived, although a third, XH560, kept in reserve in the first years,
was later scrapped.
Engine test beds
The first prototype VX770 had its Sapphire engines replaced with four
15,000 lbf (67 kN)
Rolls-Royce Conway RCo.7 turbofans in
1957. It was transferred to Rolls-Royce as the Conway test bed.
It flew with the Conways, the first turbofans in the world, until its
fatal crash in September 1958.
The first Vulcan B.1 XA889 was used for the flight clearances of the
Olympus 102 and 104.
Vulcan B.1 XA891 was fitted with four Olympus 200 engines in the
spring of 1958 for intensive flying trials. The aircraft crashed in
July 1958 during a routine test flight.
Vulcan B.1 XA894 flew with five Olympus engines, the standard four
Mk.101s, plus a reheated Olympus 320 destined for the
BAC TSR-2 in an
underslung nacelle. This aircraft was destroyed in a ground fire at
Filton on 3 December 1962.
Vulcan B.1 XA896 was withdrawn from RAF service in June 1964 and
transferred to be converted to the test bed for the Bristol Siddeley
BS100 vectored thrust turbofan for the
Hawker Siddeley P.1154. The
P.1154 was cancelled in February 1965 and XA896 was scrapped before
Vulcan B.1 XA902 was withdrawn from RAF service after a landing
accident in 1958. After rebuilding, it replaced VX770 as the Conway
test bed, fitted with four RCo.11s. The two inner Conways were
replaced with Rolls-Royce Speys, flying for the first time in this
configuration on 12 October 1961.
Vulcan B.1 XA903, surplus to Blue Steel trials, was converted to a
similar layout to XA894 to flight test the Olympus 593 Concorde
installation. The first flight was on 1 October 1966 and testing
continued through to June 1971. In April 1973, XA903 flew with an
Rolls-Royce RB.199 turbofan destined for the Panavia
Tornado. The RB.199 engine included both the reheat and thrust
reverser functions. XA903 was the last B.1 to fly, being retired in
Vulcan B.2 XH557 was used by BSEL for developing the Olympus 301 and
first flew with the larger engine in May 1961. It was returned to
Woodford in 1964 to be refurbished for the RAF.
The initial production aircraft. First few with straight leading edge,
later retrofitted with Phase 2 (kinked) wing. Early examples finished
in silver, later changed to "anti-flash" white. Many converted to B.1A
standard 1959–1963. Last few unmodified B.1s in RAF service with No.
230 OCU retired by 1966. Last flight by any B.1, an engine
testbed XA903, March 1979.
The B.1 with an
Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) system in a new
larger tail cone (as in B.2). Unlike the B.2, the B.1As did not
undergo extensive wing strengthening for low-level flying
and were withdrawn from service 1966–67.
Developed version of the B.1. Larger, thinner wing than the B.1 (Phase
2C wing) and fitted with Olympus 201-202 engines of 17,000 lbf (76 kN)
each, or Olympus 301 engines of 20,000 lbf (89 kN) each. Uprated
electrics with Auxiliary Airborne Power Plant (AAPP) (Auxiliary power
Ram Air Turbine
Ram Air Turbine (RAT). ECM similar to B.1A.
Terrain-Following Radar (TFR) in nose thimble radome fitted to most
aircraft in mid-60s. New
Radar warning receiver
Radar warning receiver aerials on tail fin
giving it a square top from the mid-1970s.[N 9]
Nine B.2s converted to Maritime Radar Reconnaissance (MRR). TFR
deleted. Five aircraft further modified for Air Sampling Role.
Distinctive gloss finish with light grey underside.
Six B.2s converted for air-to-air refuelling with Mark 17 Hose Drum
Unit (HDU) mounted semi-recessed in tail cone. TFR deleted. Fitted
with three bomb-bay drum tanks, it was the only mark of Vulcan that
could jettison fuel in an emergency.
Proposed version intended as a long endurance missile carrier capable
of carrying up to six Skybolt ALBMs on flights of up to 12 hours
duration. Never built.
97 feet 1 inch (29.59 m)
105 feet 11 inches (32.28 m)
110 feet 0 inches (33.53 m)
26 feet 6 inches (8.08 m)
27 feet 2 inches (8.28 m)
99 feet 0 inches (30.18 m)
111 feet 0 inches (33.83 m)
121 feet 0 inches (36.88 m)
4 x Bristol-Siddeley Olympus 101/102/104
4 x Bristol-Siddeley Olympus 201 or 301
4 x Bristol-Siddeley Olympus 301
1 x Blue Danube or Yellow Sun;
21 x 1000 lb free-fall bombs
1 x Blue Steel;
21 x 1000 lb free-fall bombs
Up to 6 x Skybolt
A total of 134 production Vulcans were assembled at Woodford
Aerodrome, 45 to the B.1 design and 89 were B.2 models, the last being
delivered to the RAF in January 1965.
6 July 1948
Two prototypes delivered in August 1952 and September 1953
14 August 1952
First flight of production aircraft 4 February 1955, delivered between
June 1955 and December 1957.
30 September 1954
Delivered between January 1958 and April 1959.
30 September 1954
Delivered between September 1959 and December 1960
31 March 1955
Delivered between January and May 1961
25 February 1956
Delivered between July 1961 and November 1962
22 January 1958
Delivered between February 1963 and January 1965, one aircraft not
flown and used as a static test airframe
The Vulcan to the Sky Trust's
Avro Vulcan XH558
Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment
Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment aircraft used for
trials and evaluation
Royal Air Force
No. 9 Squadron RAF
No. 9 Squadron RAF (Operated the B.2 from 1962 to 1982)
No. 12 Squadron RAF
No. 12 Squadron RAF (Operated the B.2 from 1962 to 1967)
No. 27 Squadron RAF
No. 27 Squadron RAF (Operated the B.2 from 1961 to 1972 and the B.2
(MRR) from 1973 to 1982)
No. 35 Squadron RAF
No. 35 Squadron RAF (Operated the B.2 from 1962 to 1982)
No. 44 Squadron RAF (Operated the B.1/B.1A from 1960 to 1967 and the
B.2 from 1966 to 1982)
No. 50 Squadron RAF
No. 50 Squadron RAF (Operated the B.1/B.1A from 1961 to 1966, the B.2
from 1966 to 1984 and the K.2 from 1982 to 1984)
No. 83 Squadron RAF
No. 83 Squadron RAF (the first Vulcan squadron operated the B.1/B.1A
from 1957 to 1960 and the B.2 from 1960 to 1969)
No. 101 Squadron RAF
No. 101 Squadron RAF (Operated the B.1/B1A from 1957 to 1967 and the
B.2 from 1967 to 1982)
No. 617 Squadron RAF
No. 617 Squadron RAF (Operated the B.1/B1A from 1958 to 1961 and the
B.2 from 1961 to 1981)
No. 230 Operational Conversion Unit RAF from 1956 to 1981. The
first unit to operate the Vulcan, it provided conversion to type and
operational training for Vulcan aircrew
Bomber Command Development Unit
Vulcan To The Sky Trust
Vulcan To The Sky Trust (flying G-VLCN (formerly XH558) currently
based at Doncaster Sheffield Airport)
Aircraft were also operated at various times under the direction of
the Ministry of Supply/Aviation for trials and evaluation by Avro,
Bristol Siddeley Engines, Rolls-Royce and the Blind Landing
Experimental Unit (BLEU).
RAF Akrotiri in
Cyprus was the base for two operational B.2 squadrons
from 1969 to 1975
9 Squadron 1969–1975, moved from Cottesmore in 1969 it returned to
the UK in 1975 to Waddington.
35 Squadron 1969–1975, moved from Cottesmore in 1969 it returned to
the UK in 1975 to Scampton.
RAF Coningsby was the base for three operational squadrons from 1962
9 Squadron 1962–1964, formed in 1962 to operate the B.2 it moved to
Cottesmore in 1964.
12 Squadron 1962–1964, formed in 1962 to operate the B.2 it moved to
Cottesmore in 1964.
35 Squadron 1962–1964, formed in 1962 to operate the B.2 it moved to
Cottesmore in 1964.
Avro Vulcans of No 617 Squadron at
RAF Cottesmore circa 1975.
RAF Cottesmore was the base for three operational squadrons from 1964
9 Squadron 1964–1969, moved in from Coningsby in 1964, it moved to
Akrotiri in 1969.
12 Squadron 1964–1967, moved in from Coningsby in 1964 until it
disbanded in 1967.
35 Squadron 1964–1969, moved in from Coningsby in 1964, it moved to
101 Squadron 1957–1961, formed in 1957 to be the second operational
B.1 squadron, moved to Waddington in 1961.
230 OCU 1961–1969, moved from Waddington in 1961, moved to Scampton
RAF Scampton was the base for three operational squadrons at different
times between 1961 and 1981
27 Squadron 1961–1972, formed in 1961 to operate the B.2 until it
disbanded in 1972. Reformed in 1973 to operate the B.2 (MRR) variant
83 Squadron 1960–1969, a former B.1/B.1A squadron at Waddington,
reformed in 1960 to operate the B.2 until disbanded in 1969.
617 Squadron 1958–1981, formed in 1958 to operate the B.1, reformed
to operate the B.2 in 1961 until disbanded in 1981.
230 OCU 1969–1981, moved from Finningley in 1969 until disbanded in
RAF Waddington was the base for a number of operational squadrons at
different times between 1957 and 1984, it was the first and last
operational Vulcan base
9 Squadron 1975–1982, moved in from Akrotiri in 1975 until it was
44 Squadron 1960–1982, formed in 1960 to operate the B.1/B.1A, it
converted to the B.2 in 1966 and disbanded in 1982.
50 Squadron 1961–1984, formed in 1961 to operate the B.1/B.1A, it
converted to the B.2 in 1966, from 1982 it also flew the tanker
version until disbanding in 1984.
83 Squadron 1957–1960, formed in 1957 to be the first operational
squadron to operate the B.1 until 1960, it reformed at
in the year as a B.2 unit.
101 Squadron 1961–1982, moved from Finningley in 1961 with the
B.1/B.1A, converted to B.2 in 1967 and disbanded in 1982.
230 OCU 1956–1961, formed in 1956 to train Vulcan crews it moved to
Finningley in 1961.
Bomber dispersal airfields
Further information: List of V
Bomber dispersal bases
In the event of transition to war, the V
Bomber squadrons were to
deploy four aircraft at short notice to each of 26 pre-prepared
dispersal airfields around the United Kingdom. In the early 1960s the
RAF ordered 20
Beagle Basset communication aircraft to move the crews
to dispersal airfields; the importance of these aircraft was only
brief, diminishing when the primary nuclear deterrent switched to the
Royal Navy's Polaris Missile.
Accidents and incidents
Vulcan B.1 XA897 prior to the accident, stopping over at RAF
On 1 October 1956, Vulcan B.1 XA897, the first to be delivered,
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport during Operation Tasman Flight, a
flag-waving trip to Australia and New Zealand. After a GCA approach in
bad weather, it struck the ground 700 yd (640 m) short of
the runway just as engine power was applied. The impact probably
broke the drag links on the main undercarriage, allowing the
undercarriage to be forced backwards and damaged the wing's trailing
edge. After the initial impact, XA897 rose back in the air.
The pilot, Squadron Leader D. R. Howard, and co-pilot Air Marshal Sir
Harry Broadhurst, AOC-in-C
Bomber Command, both ejected and survived,
the other four occupants (including a spare pilot and an Avro
representative) were killed when the aircraft hit the ground again and
In 1957, a Vulcan B.1 XA892 attached to the Aeroplane and Armament
Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at
Boscombe Down for acceptance
testing was unintentionally flown to an Indicated Mach Number (IMN)
above 1.04, alarming the crew that it had reached supersonic speed.
XA892's commander, Flt Lt Milt Cottee (RAAF), and co-pilot, Flt Lt Ray
Bray (RAF), were tasked to fly at 478 mph (769 km/h) and
0.98 IMN, taking the aircraft to a load factor of 3 g. It climbed
to 35,000 ft (11,000 m) and then dived, intending to reach
the target speed at 27,000 ft (8,200 m). Approaching the
target altitude, the throttles were closed and full up-elevator
applied, but XA892 continued to pitch nose-down. Cottee contemplated
pushing forward to go inverted and then rolling upright; instead, he
opened the speed brakes. Although the airspeed was above their maximum
operating speed, the speed brakes were undamaged and did slow the
aircraft, which came back past the vertical at about 18,000 ft
(5,500 m) and leveled off at 8,000 ft (2,400 m). There
were no reports of a sonic boom, it is unlikely a true Mach Number of
1.0 was reached.[N 10] Afterwards, a rear bulkhead was found to be
The prototype Vulcan VX770 in 1954, retaining the original "pure
delta" wing shape
On 20 September 1958, Vulcan VX770 was flown by a Rolls-Royce test
pilot on an engine performance sortie with a fly past at RAF Syerston
Battle of Britain At Home display. It flew along the main runway then
started a roll to starboard and climbed slightly, during which the
starboard wing disintegrated and the main spar collapsed. VX770 went
into a dive with the starboard wing on fire and struck the ground,
killing three occupants of a controllers' caravan and all four crew on
board. Proposed causes of the structural failure have included pilot
error, metal fatigue due to air intake vibration, and inadequate
On 24 October 1958, Vulcan B.1 XA908 of No. 83 Squadron crashed east
of Detroit, Michigan, USA. A complete electrical failure occurred at
around 30,000 ft (9,100 m). The backup system should have
provided 20 minutes of emergency power, allowing XA908 to reach one of
several airports in the area, but backup power only lasted three
minutes due to a short circuit in the service busbar, locking the
controls. XA908 went into a steep dive before crashing, leaving a
40-ft (13 m) crater in the ground, which was later excavated while
retrieving wreckage. Despite extensive property damage, there were no
ground fatalities, only one person on the ground was hospitalized. All
six crew members were killed, including the co-pilot, who had ejected.
The co-pilot's ejection seat was found in Lake St Clair, but his body
was not recovered until the following spring. They were buried at
Oak Ridge Cemetery in Trenton, Michigan, alongside 11 RAF student
pilots killed during the Second World War in accidents at nearby Naval
Air Station Grosse Ile.
On 24 July 1959, Vulcan B.1 XA891 crashed due to an electrical failure
during an engine test. Shortly after take-off, the crew observed
generator warning lights and loss of busbar voltage. The aircraft
Avro Chief Test Pilot Jimmy Harrison, climbed XA891 to
14,000 ft (4,300 m), steering away from the airfield and
populated areas while the AEO attempted to solve the problem. When it
became clear that control would not be regained, Harrison instructed
the rear compartment crew to exit the aircraft and the co-pilot to
eject, before ejecting himself. All the crew survived, making
them the first complete Vulcan crew to successfully escape. The
aircraft crashed near Kingston upon Hull.
On 26 October 1959, Vulcan B.1 XH498 participated in an airshow
marking the opening of Wellington International Airport, formerly
Rongotai Airport. After a ' touch-and-go landing' on Runway 34, it
came around for a full stop landing. Turbulence and wind shear caused
XH498 to land short of the runway threshold. The port undercarriage
leg clipped the embankment at the Moa Point or southern end, damaging
wing attachments, engine fuel lines and the main landing gear drag
link, which was ruptured and unable to support the aircraft. The port
wing tip nearly scraped the runway surface before it was able to lift
off again, spilling fuel over the crowd. Pilot actions prevented a
possible disaster as spectators were present on the western apron.
XH498 flew to RNZAF Ohakea for a safe emergency landing on just the
nose and starboard landing gear with little further damage. A UK
repair team returned it to airworthiness; on 4 January 1960, XH498
departed, remaining in service until 19 October 1967.
On 16 September 1960, Vulcan B.2 XH557 damaged the "Runway Garage" at
Filton. XH557 had been allocated to
Bristol Siddeley Engines to test
the Olympus 301 engine and was being delivered to Filton. Approaching
in poor weather conditions, the aircraft touched down halfway along
the runway. The braking parachute was streamed but realising the
aircraft would not stop in time, the captain opened the throttles to
go round. The Runway Garage took the full force of the jet blast and
property damage was sustained: four petrol pumps were blown flat, a
street light on the A38 was knocked down, railings were blown over,
and multiple cars had their windscreens shattered. The aircraft
diverted to St. Mawgan, flying into Filton days later.
On 12 December 1963, Vulcan B.1A XH477 of No. 50 Squadron crashed
during an exercise in Scotland. Flying no less than 1,000 ft
(300 m) above ground, XH477 struck the ground while climbing
slightly, the cause was likely poor visibility.
On 11 May 1964, Vulcan B.2 XH535 crashed during a demonstration. The
aircraft entered a spin while a very low speed and high rate of
descent was being demonstrated. The landing parachute was deployed,
stopping the spin briefly before it began to spin again. At around
2,500 ft (760 m) the aircraft commander instructed the crew
to abandon the aircraft. The commander and co-pilot ejected
successfully, but none of the rear compartment crew did so, presumably
due to the g forces in the spin.
On 16 July 1964, Vulcan B.1A XA909 crashed in
Anglesey after a midair
explosion caused both No. 3 and No. 4 engines to be shut down. The
explosion was caused by failure of a bearing in No. 4 engine. The
starboard wing was extensively damaged, the pilot had insufficient
aileron power, and both airspeed indications were highly inaccurate.
The whole crew successfully abandoned XA909 and were found within a
few minutes and rescued.
On 7 October 1964, Vulcan B.2 XM601 crashed during overshoot from an
asymmetric power practice approach at Coningsby. The copilot had
executed the asymmetric power approach with two engines producing
thrust and two at idle. He was being checked by the Squadron
Commander, who was unfamiliar with the aircraft. When he commenced the
overshoot the copilot moved all the throttles to full power. The
engines that had been producing power reached full power more quickly
than the engines at idle and the resultant asymmetric thrust exceeded
the available rudder authority, causing the aircraft to spin and
crash. All the crew perished.
On 25 May 1965, Vulcan B.2 XM576 crash-landed at Scampton, causing it
to be written off within a year of delivery.
On 11 February 1966, Vulcan B.2 XH536 of IX SQN Cottesmore Wing
crashed in the
Brecon Beacons during a low level exercise. The
aircraft struck the ground at 1,910 ft (580 m) near the
Fan Bwlch Chwyth
Fan Bwlch Chwyth 1,978 ft (603 m), 20 mi
(32 km) northeast of Swansea. All crew members died. Hilltops at
the time were snow-covered and cloud extended down to 1,400 ft
On 6 April 1967, Vulcan B.2 XL385 burnt out on the runway at RAF
Scampton at the beginning of its take-off run. The aircraft was
carrying a Blue Steel missile training round. All the crew, including
Air Training Corps
Air Training Corps cadet, escaped unhurt. The aircraft was engulfed
in flames and totally destroyed. The accident was caused by failure of
an Olympus 301 HP turbine disc as the engine reached full power.
On 30 January 1968, Vulcan B.2 XM604 crashed following a loss of
control during an overshoot at RAF Cottesmore. The rear crew members
were killed though both pilots ejected. The captain ejected at a very
late stage and only survived because his deploying parachute was
snagged by some power cables. The accident was caused by failure of an
Olympus 301 LP turbine disc after the aircraft had returned to the
airfield following indications of a bomb-bay overheat.
On 7 January 1971, Vulcan B.2 XM610 of No.44 Squadron crashed due to a
blade fatigue failure in the No. 1 engine, damaging the fuel system
and causing a fire. The crew abandoned the aircraft safely, after
which it crashed harmlessly in Wingate.
On 14 October 1975, Vulcan B.2 XM645 of No.9 Squadron lost its left
undercarriage and damaged the airframe when it undershot the runway at
RAF Luqa in Malta. The aircraft broke up over the village of Żabbar
while turning inbound for an emergency landing. The pilot and co-pilot
escaped using their ejection seats, the other five crew members were
killed. Large aircraft pieces fell on the village; one woman, Vincenza
Zammit, was killed by an electric cable, some 20 others were
On 17 January 1977, Vulcan B.2 XM600 of No. 101 Squadron crashed near
Spilsby, Lincolnshire. During a practice emergency descent, the bomb
bay fire warning light flashed on followed by No.2 engine fire warning
light. The captain shut the engine down and the AEO reported flames
coming from the area of No.2 engine, just behind the deployed Ram air
turbine (RAT). As the fire intensified, the captain ordered the
aircraft to be abandoned. The three rear crew members escaped at
around 6,000 ft (1,800 m). After ordering the co-pilot to
eject, the captain ejected at around 3,000 ft (910 m), as
control was lost. The cause was due to arcing on the RAT's electrical
terminals, burning a hole in an adjacent fuel pipe and setting the
fuel on fire.
On 12 August 1978, Vulcan B.2 XL390 of No. 617 Squadron crashed during
an air display at Naval Air Station Glenview,
Illinois in the United
States. The crew had been authorised to carry out a display at Chicago
Lakeside airport, the captain had elected to carry out an unauthorised
display at Glenview beforehand. After a low-level run, probably below
100 ft (30 m), the aircraft pulled up for an improperly
executed wingover, resulting in a low-level stall and crash, killing
all on board.
On 3 June 1982, Vulcan XM597 broke its probe while attempting to
refuel in flight, while returning from a mission over the Falkland
Islands. With insufficient fuel to reach its base on Ascension Island,
the pilot discarded classified information over the
Atlantic Ocean and
diverted to Rio de Janeiro. Shortly after entering Brazilian airspace,
Brazilian Air Force
Brazilian Air Force sent two Northrop F-5s to escort the British
plane until it landed on Galeão Air Force Base. This led to
high-level diplomatic talks between the UK and Brazil, which remained
neutral during the Falklands War. After seven days of detainment, the
Vulcan and its crew were allowed to return home on the condition that
XM597 played no further part in the conflict.
On 28 May 2012, Vulcan B.2
XH558 suffered failure of the two port
engines while starting a take-off roll from Robin Hood airport,
Doncaster, UK. Bags of silica gel desiccant were inadvertently left in
the air intake after maintenance. Less than a second after increasing
power from 80% to 100% these were ingested by one of the port engines,
immediately destroying it. The remaining port engine ingested debris
from the first engine, destroying this one as well. The fire
prevention systems proved effective, neither the airframe nor control
systems suffered damage. The pilot had no difficulty bringing the
aircraft to a safe stop, having remained on the ground throughout. On
3 July 2012,
XH558 returned to flight.
Main article: List of surviving
Avro Vulcan XL361 on display at
CFB Goose Bay
CFB Goose Bay in 1988
Avro Vulcan XL319 on display at North East Aircraft Museum
XH558 performs its first post-restoration public display on
5 July 2008
Several Vulcans survive, housed in museums in both the United Kingdom
and North America (USA & Canada). One Vulcan,
Spirit of Great Britain, was used as a display aircraft by the RAF as
part of the
Vulcan Display Flight
Vulcan Display Flight until 1993. After being grounded it
was later restored to flight by the
Vulcan To The Sky Trust
Vulcan To The Sky Trust and
displayed as a civilian aircraft from 2008 until 2015, before being
retired a second time for engineering reasons. In retirement,
to be retained at its base at
Doncaster Sheffield Airport
Doncaster Sheffield Airport as a
taxi-able aircraft, a role already performed by two other survivors,
XL426 (G-VJET) based at Southend Airport, and XM655 (G-VULC), based at
Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield.
Data from Polmar, Laming
Crew: 5 (pilot, co-pilot, AEO,
Length: 97 ft 1 in (29.59 m)
Wingspan: 99 ft 5 in (30.3 m)
Height: 26 ft 6 in (8.0 m)
Wing area: 3,554 ft² (330.2 m²)
Empty weight: 83,573 lb (including crew) (37,144 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 170,000 lb (77,111 kg)
Powerplant: 4 ×
Bristol Olympus 101, or 102 or 104 turbojet, 11,000
lbf (49 kN) each
Maximum speed: Mach 0.96 (645 mph ( 1038.03km/h)) at altitude – Mach
1+ in a shallow dive
Cruise speed: Mach 0.86 (567 miles per hour (912 km/h)) at 45,000
feet (14,000 m)
Range: 2,607 mi (4,171 km)
Service ceiling: 55,000 ft (17,000 m)
21 × 1,000 pounds (454 kg) of conventional bombs
1 x Blue Danube nuclear gravity bomb
Violet Club 400 kt nuclear gravity bomb
1 x U.S. Mark 5 nuclear gravity bomb supplied under Project E
1 x Yellow Sun Mk.1 400 kt nuclear gravity bomb
1 x Yellow Sun Mk 2 1.1 Mt thermonuclear gravity bomb
1 x Red Beard nuclear gravity bomb
WE.177B parachute-retarded nuclear gravity bomb
Comparison of variants
99 ft 5 in (30.30 m)
111 ft 0 in (33.83 m)
97 ft 1 in (29.59 m)
105 ft 6 in (32.16 m) [99 ft 11 in
(30.45 m) without probe]
26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)
27 ft 1 in (8.26 m)
3,554 sq ft (330.2 m2)
3,964 sq ft (368.3 m2)
Maximum takeoff weight
167,000 lb (76,000 kg)
185,000 lb (84,000 kg) (operational necessity)
204,000 lb (93,000 kg)
Mach .86 indicated
Mach .95 indicated
Mach .93 indicated
(Mach .92 with 301 engines)
55,000 ft (17,000 m)
45,000 to 56,000 ft (14,000 to 17,000 m)[nb 2]
115/200V AC 3-phase 400 Hz
Ram air turbine
Ram air turbine and Airborne Auxiliary Power Plant
4 × Bristol
Olympus 101, 102 or 104
4 × Bristol
4 × Bristol Siddeley
Olympus 200-series, 301
4 × Bristol Siddeley
Fuel capacity (main)
9,280 gal (74,240 lb avtur)[nb 3]
9,260 gal (74,080 lb avtur)
Fuel capacity (bomb bay)
0–1990 gal (15,920 lb avtur)
1990 gal[nb 4]
(15,920 lb avtur)
2985 gal[nb 5]
(23,880 lb avtur)
Powered flying controls
1 x rudder (duplex), 4 x elevators, 4 x ailerons
1 x rudder (duplex), 8 x elevons
1 × free-fall nuclear bomb or
21 × 1,000 lb (450 kg)
1 × Blue Steel missile or
1 × free-fall nuclear bomb or
21 × 1,000 lb (450 kg)
^ Two extra seats could be fitted for Crew Chiefs if required, for a
total of seven crew.
^ Depended upon oxygen equipment fitted. No airframe limitation on
^ At specific gravity of .8 (8lb/gal).
^ 2 x 995 gal cylindrical tanks.
^ 3 x 995 gal cylindrical tanks.
Notable appearances in media
Avro Vulcan in fiction
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force portal
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Boeing B-47 Stratojet
Handley Page Victor
Tupolev Tu-16/Xian H-6
List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force
List of bomber aircraft
List of surviving
^ RAF bombers had been traditionally named after inland towns in the
British Commonwealth, or towns associated with industry.
^ A contract for 25 production models had been made in July 1952. The
same number of the rival Handley Page design were also ordered.
^ Writing for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics,
J. Seddon and E. L. Goldsmith noted that "Due to its all-wing shape,
small vertical fin, and buried engines, at some angles [The Avro
Vulcan] was nearly invisible to radar". While writing about radar
systems, authors Simon Kingsley and Shaun Quegan singled out the
Vulcan's shape as reducing the RCS. While aviation author Doug
Richardson has credited the Vulcan as having been difficult to acquire
on radar, he went on to state that this was unlikely to have conferred
a great military advantage. In contrast, electronic warfare author
and ex-Vulcan AEO Dr Alfred Price maintains "the Vulcan [...]
possessed a large radar signature."
^ Some B.2 aircraft armed with Blue Steel had an additional aerial
plate fitted between the port tailpipes as the Blue Steel fin, in the
lowered position, blanked signals from the starboard side.
^ Bristol Aero Engines merged with
Armstrong Siddeley in 1959 to form
Bristol Siddeley which in turn was taken over by Rolls-Royce in
^ According to UK parlance of the time, "megaton range" was understood
to correspond to 500 kt or greater. The Green Grass warhead
had a predicted yield of 500 kt.
^ The other two squadrons of the
Scampton Wing, No. 35 and 617
Squadron, also had secondary maritime reconnaissance role.
^ Some sources state that the pods were modified from de Havilland Sea
Vixen drop tanks. while others claim that they were based on
Hawker Hunter tanks.
^ Some sources have attested to the existence of a Vulcan B.2A. This
designation supposedly referred either to Vulcan B.2s fitted with
Olympus Mk 301 engines or those modified to carry the Blue Steel
missile. However, irrespective of the role or engine fit,
the B.2 was the only official designation except for the MRR and
^ When flying at a speed of Mach 1.0, the Vulcan suffered a
position error of about 0.07.
Avro Chief Test Pilot Tony Blackman notes that when
pilots carried out aerobatics, the displays were followed by a careful
but little-known inspection of the inside of the wing's leading edge.
Rolls-Royce pilots also carried out aerobatics, but Blackman
speculates that Rolls-Royce did not know of the inspections, and VX770
may have already been severely structurally damaged.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, p. 9.
Hawker Siddeley Vulcan B2". National
Cold War Exhibition. Trustees
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Museum. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
Hawker Siddeley Aviation Ltd." Flight, 29 August 1963, p. 342.
^ Wynn 1997, pp. 7, 16.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 18.
^ Wynn 1997, pp. 44–46.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 47.
^ a b c Gunston, W.T. "The Vulcan Story." Flight, 31 January 1958, p.
^ Laming 2002, pp. 23, 24.
^ a b c Laming 2002, p. 26.
^ a b Buttler 2003, p. 31.
^ Wynn 1997, pp. 52–54.
^ Laming 2002, p. 27.
^ Laming 2002, p. 29.
^ a b Blackman 2007, p. 21.
^ Laming 2002, p. 32.
^ Blackman 2007, p. 33.
^ Laming 2002, p. 43.
^ Blackman 2007, pp. 38, 40.
^ Hamilton-Paterson 2010, pp. 18–19.
^ a b Wansbrough-White 1995, p. 44.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, p. 8.
^ Blackman 2007, p. 41.
^ Blackman 2007, pp. 40–48.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 62.
^ Blackman 2007, p. 48.
^ a b Blackman 2007, pp. 128–129.
^ Laming 2002, p. 48.
^ Laming 2002, pp. 217–219.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 145.
^ Baxter 1990, p. 46.
^ 16,000 lb Thrust Flight 15 February 1957 p 200
^ a b Laming 2002, p. 62.
^ Wynn 1997, pp. 315, 316.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 154.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 314.
^ Laming 2002, p. 82.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 155.
^ Laming 2002, pp. 218, 219.
^ Laming 2002, p. 230.
^ Brookes and Davey, 2009, p. 12.
^ Pilot's Notes intro. Para. 1.
^ a b Pilot's Notes pt. 1, ch. 16, para. 5.
^ Laming 2002, pp. 63, 64.
^ Bulman 2001, p. 152.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 401.
^ Bulman 2001, pp. 155–161.
^ Bulman 2001, pp. 149, 150.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, pp. 21–23.
^ Laming 2002, pp. 217–220.
^ a b c d e f g Brookes and Davey 2009, p. 83.
^ Darling 2007, p. 122.
^ a b c "
Avro Type List."
Avro Heritage. Retrieved: 4 August 2013.
^ a b Gibson 2011, pp. 117–118.
^ "Labour research, Volume 51." 1962, p. 20.
^ Stephens 1992, p. 142.
^ "Correspondence between the Australian and British Governments
concerning the selection of the F-111 over the TSR-2." National
Archives of Australia. Retrieved: 11 November 2010.
^ Weisbrod, Hanno "Australia's Decision to Buy the F-111." The
Australian Quarterly, 41(2), June 1969, pp. 7–27.
^ Wilson 1989, p. 146.
^ "Falklands: FCO to MOD (sale of Vulcans to
Argentina – no
clearance given for sales – declassified 2012)" Margaret Thatcher
Foundation. Retrieved: 4 August 2013.
^ Gunston, W. T. "Building the Vulcan." Flight, 13 December 1957, p.
^ a b Pilot's Notes pt. 1, leading particulars.
^ Aircrew Manual pt. 1, ch. 2, para. 2.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 50.
^ a b Laming 2002, p. 64.
^ Pilot's Notes pt. 1, introduction, para 2.
^ Price, Blackman and Edmonson 2010, p. 102.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, p. 65.
^ Aircrew Manual pt. 1, ch. 8, paras. 1, 2, 48.
^ Aircrew Manual pt. 1, ch. 8, paras. 3, 12.
^ Sweetman, Bill. "The
Bomber that radar cannot see." New Scientist, 4
^ Dawson 1957, p. 3.
^ Seddon and Goldsmith 1999, p. 343.
^ Kingsley and Quegan 1999, p. 293.
^ Richardson 2001, p. 56.
^ Price, Blackman and Edmonson 2010, p. 113.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, pp. 33–35.
^ Bulman 2001, p. 43.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, pp. 36–41.
^ Bulman 2001, p. 170.
^ a b Buttler 2007, p. 72.
^ a b c Wynn 1997, p. 137.
^ a b Price, Blackman and Edmonson 2010, p. 112.
^ Aircrew Manual pt. 1, ch. 14, paras. 1–12.
^ Pilot's Notes pt. 1, ch. 16, para. 11.
^ a b c Price, Blackman and Edmonson 2010, pp. 102, 103.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 321.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 151.
^ Bulman 2001, p. 153.
^ Price, Blackman and Edmonson 2010, p. 106.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, p. 57.
^ Aircrew Manual pt. 1, ch. 7, paras. 1, 7, 10, 24, 48.
^ Pilot's Notes pt.1, ch. 16, para. 1
^ Pilot's Notes pt.1, ch. 20, para. 3b
^ Pilot's Notes pt.1, ch. 16, para. 3b
^ Pilot's Notes pt. 1, ch. 10.
^ Aircrew Manual pt.1, ch. 12, para. 1.
^ "National Archive file AVIA 2347." National Archives. Retrieved: 11
^ Aircrew Manual pt. 1, ch. 15, p. 5.
^ Pilot's Notes pt. 1, ch. 10, para. 1(a).
^ Aircrew Manual pt. 1, ch. 7, para. 7.
^ Aircrew Manual pt. 1, ch. 7, para 70.
^ Darling 1999, p. 19.
^ Aircrew Manual pt. 1, ch. 7, para. 77.
^ Pilot's Notes, ch. 7.
^ Blackman 2007, pp. 100, 101.
^ a b Aircrew Manual, ch. 4.
^ Aircrew Manual, ch. 7.
^ a b c d e f g Laming 2002, p. 60.
^ Aircrew Manual pt. 1, ch. 10, paras. 1–3, 48.
^ Baxter 1990, p. 18.
^ Baxter 1990, p. 11.
^ Baxter 1990, p. 13.
^ "We all love the howl" Vulcan To The Sky Trust, 13 December 2013.
^ "Will 'howl' of the Vulcan bomber be heard over Bournemouth again?"
The Daily Echo, 30 December 2009.
XH558 Awesome Howl Sounds" YouTube, 28 October 2012.
^ Laming 2002, pp. 45, 46.
^ Laming 2002, p. 108.
^ Laming 2002, p. 47.
^ Laming 2002, p. 63.
^ Baxter 1990, pp. 44–46.
^ Baxter 1990, p. 50.
^ "16,000 lb Thrust." Flight, 15 February 1957, p. 200.
^ Baxter 1990, pp. 50–64.
^ Lambert, C. M. "Bomex By Vulcan." Flight International, January
1958, p. 66.
^ a b c d e Blackman 2007, p. 142.
^ "Vulcans In Service: A visit to the V-force Delta of No.1 Group in
Lincolnshire." Flight International, 27 September 1957, pp. 502–503.
^ a b Brookes and Davey 2009, p. 49.
^ a b c Darling 2007, p. 55.
^ Darling 2007, pp. 65, 108.
^ Mola, Roger A. "The Day Nobody Flew." airspacemag.com, November
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^ Sgarlato, Nico. "
Avro Vulcan." Aerei magazine, Delta Editions,
Parma, November 1996, p. 56.
^ Darling 2007, p. 6.
Air Enthusiast September/October 2003, pp. 55, 58.
^ a b c d Darling 2007, p. 32.
^ Jackson Wings of Fame 1996, p. 48.
Air Enthusiast September/October 2003, p. 57.
^ Darling 2007, p. 19.
^ Darling 2007, p. 76.
^ a b c Brookes and Davey 2009, p. 14.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, p. 43.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, pp. 14–15.
^ Laming 2002, p. 88.
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^ Laming 2002, p. 89.
^ a b c Darling 2007, p. 65.
^ Mellow, Craig (January 2004). "God Save the Vulcan!". Air &
Space. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force loses nuclear arsenal." AP Online, 31 March 1998.
^ Segell 1997, p. 124.
^ a b Bull 2004, p. 84.
^ Darling 2007, p. 63.
^ a b Polmar and Bell 2004, p. 261.
^ a b "The Falkland Islands: A history of the 1982 conflict." Royal
Air Force, 29 April 2010. Archived 18 March 2007 at the Wayback
^ Darling 2007, pp. 116–117.
^ a b c d Braybook 1982, p. 17.
^ Hearn 2007, p. 268.
^ White 2006
^ Darling 2007, p. 118.
^ Kev Darling, RAR Illustrated:
Avro Vulcan Part 1, Big Bird
Publications 2007, ISBN 978-1-84799-237-6 (p.119)
^ Chris Chant, Air War in the Falklands 1982, Osprey Publishing
Limited 2001, ISBN 1841762938 (p.92)
^ Jones V-Bombers 2007, pp. 158–159.
^ a b Jackson Wings of Fame 1996, p. 67.
^ Jackson Wings of Fame 1996, pp. 67, 78.
^ Bulman 2001, p. 87.
^ a b c d Jones V-Bombers 2007, p. 159.
^ Brookes 2011, p. 70.
^ Bulman 2001, p. 90.
^ "Defence." Flight International, 14 April 1979, p. 1136.
^ Frawley 2002, p. 44.
^ Halpenny 2006, p. 244.
^ a b Halpenny 2006, p. 243.
^ Darling 2007, p. 124.
^ Jackson 1990, pp. 409–411.
^ a b c Jackson 1990, p. 411.
^ Baxter 1989, p. 44.
^ Baxter 1989, p. 50.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, p. 15.
^ Austin 2009, pp. 111–113.
^ Austin 2009, p. 113.
^ Baxter 1989, pp. 60, 64.
^ Darling 2007, p. 60.
^ Laming 2002, p. 99.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, pp. 16–17.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, pp. 14, 92.
^ Darling 2007, pp. 62–63.
^ a b Brookes and Davey 2009, p. 10.
^ Brookes and Davey 2009, pp. 92–93.
^ Polmar and Bell 2004, p. 262.
^ Bulman 2001, p. 154.
^ Darling 2007, pp. 122–124.
^ a b c d e f g Laming 2002, pp. 217–227.
^ Halley 2003, p. 8.
^ a b Halley 2003, p. 41.
^ Halley 2003, p. 50.
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