Handley Page Victor was a British jet-powered strategic bomber,
developed and produced by the
Handley Page Aircraft Company, which
served during the Cold War. It was the third and final of the
V-bombers operated by the
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force (RAF), the other two being
Avro Vulcan and the Vickers Valiant. The Victor had been developed
to perform as part of the United Kingdom’s airborne nuclear
deterrent. In 1968, the type was retired from the nuclear mission
following the discovery of fatigue cracks, which had been exacerbated
by the RAF's adoption of a low-altitude flight profile to avoid
A number of Victors had received modifications to undertake the
strategic reconnaissance role, employing a combination of radar,
cameras, and other sensors. As the nuclear deterrence mission was
given to the Royal Navy's submarine-launched Polaris missiles in 1969,
a large V-bomber fleet was deemed surplus to requirements.
Consequently, many of the surviving Victors were converted into aerial
refuelling tankers. During the Falklands War, Victor tankers were
notably used in the airborne logistics operation to repeatedly refuel
Vulcan bombers on their way to and from the Black Buck raids.
The Victor was the last of the V-bombers to be retired, the final
aircraft being removed from service on 15 October 1993. In its
refuelling role, the type was replaced by the
Vickers VC10 and the
1.3 Victor B.1
1.4 Victor B.2
1.5 Further development
1.6 Aerial refuelling conversion
2.2 Armaments and equipment
2.3 Avionics and systems
2.5 Flight profile
3 Operational history
6 Accidents and incidents
8 Specifications (
Handley Page Victor B.1)
9 Notable appearances in media
10 See also
12 External links
Painting of test Victor B1 XA918 by artist and former Handley Page
employee Peter Coombs
The origin of the Victor and the other V bombers is heavily linked
with the early British atomic weapons programme and nuclear deterrent
policies that developed in the aftermath of the Second World War. The
atom bomb programme formally began with Air Staff Operational
Requirement OR.1001 issued in August 1946, which 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, 10,000 lb
(4,500 kg) in weight, and suitable for release from
20,000 ft (6,100 m) to 50,000 ft (15,000 m).
At the same time, the
Air Ministry drew up requirements for bombers to
replace the existing piston-engined heavy bombers such as the Avro
Lancaster and the new
Avro Lincoln which equipped RAF Bomber
Command.[N 1] In January 1947, the
Ministry of Supply distributed
Specification B.35/46 to 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). The weapons load was to include a 10,000 lb
Special gravity bomb" (i.e. a free-fall nuclear weapon), or over
shorter ranges 20,000 lb (9,100 kg) of conventional bombs.
No defensive weapons were to be carried, the aircraft relying on its
speed and altitude to avoid opposing fighters.
The similar OR.230 required a "long range bomber" with a 2,000
nautical miles (2,300 mi; 3,700 km) radius of action at a
height of 50,000 ft (15,000 m), a cruise speed of
575 mph (925 km/h), and a maximum weight of 200,000 lb
(91,000 kg) when fully loaded. Responses to OR.230 were
received from Short Brothers, Bristol, and Handley Page; however, the
Air Ministry recognised that developing an aircraft to meet these
stringent requirements would have been technically demanding and so
expensive that the resulting bomber could only be purchased in small
numbers. As a result, realising that the majority of likely targets
would not require such a long range, a less demanding specification
for a medium-range bomber,
Air Ministry Specification B.35/46 was
issued. This demanded the ability to carry the same 10,000 lb
bomb-load to a target 1,500 nmi (1,725 mi, 2,800 km)
away at a height of 45,000–50,000 ft (13,700–15,200 m)
at a speed of 575 mph.
The design proposed by
Handley Page in response to B.35/46 was given
the internal designation of HP.80. To achieve the required
performance, Handley Page's aerodynamicist Dr.
Gustav Lachmann and his
deputy, Godfrey Lee developed a crescent-shaped swept wing for the
HP.80;[N 2] the sweep and chord of the wing decreased in three
distinct steps from the root to the tip, to ensure a constant limiting
Mach number across the entire wing and consequently a high cruise
speed. Early work on the project included tailless aircraft
designs, which would have used wing-tip vertical surfaces instead;
however as the proposal matured a high-mounted, full tailplane was
adopted instead. The profile and shaping of the crescent wing was
subject to considerable fine-tuning and alterations throughout the
early development stages, particularly to counter unfavourable
pitching behaviour in flight.
The HP.80 and Avro's Type 698 were chosen as the best two of the
proposed designs to B.35/46, and orders for two prototypes of each
were placed. It was recognised, however, that there were many
unknowns associated with both designs, and an order was also placed
for Vickers' design, which became the Valiant. Although not fully
meeting the requirements of the specification, the Valiant design
posed little risk of failure and could therefore reach service
earlier. The HP.80's crescent wing was tested on a ⅓-scale
glider, the HP.87, and a heavily modified Supermarine Attacker, which
was given the
Handley Page HP.88 designation. The HP.88 crashed on 26
August 1951 after completing only about thirty flights and little
useful data was gained during its brief two months of existence. By
the time the HP.88 was ready, the HP.80 wing had changed such that the
former was no longer representative. The design of the HP.80 had
sufficiently advanced that the loss of the HP.88 had little effect on
Two HP.80 prototypes, WB771 and WB775, were built. WB771 was broken
down at the
Handley Page factory at
Radlett and transported by road to
RAF Boscombe Down for its first flight; bulldozers were used to clear
the route and create paths around obstacles. Sections of the aircraft
were hidden under wooden framing and tarpaulins printed with
"GELEYPANDHY / SOUTHAMPTON" to make it appear as a boat hull in
transit. GELEYPANDHY was an anagram of "Handley Pyge" marred by a
signwriter's error. On 24 December 1952, piloted by Handley Page's
chief test pilot Hedley Hazelden, WB771 made its maiden flight, which
lasted for a total of 17 minutes. Ten days later, the Air
Ministry announced the aircraft's official name to be Victor.[N 3]
The prototypes performed well; however, several design failings led to
the loss of WB771 on 14 July 1954, when the tailplane detached whilst
making a low-level pass over the runway at Cranfield, causing the
aircraft to crash with the loss of the crew. Attached to the fin using
three bolts, the tailplane was subject to considerably more stress
than had been anticipated, and the three bolts failed due to metal
fatigue. Additionally, the prototypes were considerably tail
heavy due to the lack of equipment in the nose; this was remedied by
large ballast weights being fitted upon the prototypes. Production
Victors had a lengthened nose that also served to move the crew escape
door further from the engine intakes. The fin was shortened to
eliminate the potential for flutter while the tailplane attachment was
changed to a stronger four-bolt fixing.
Victor B1A XH588 at an East Anglian
Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain day event, 1959
Production B.1 Victors were powered by the
Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire
ASSa.7 turbojets rated at 11,000 lbf (49 kN), and was
initially deployed with the Blue Danube nuclear weapon, re-deploying
with the more powerful Yellow Sun weapon when it became available.
Victors also carried U.S.-owned Mark 5 nuclear bombs (made available
Project E programme) and the British Red Beard tactical
nuclear weapon. A total of 24 were upgraded to B.1A
standard by the addition of Red Steer tail warning radar in an
enlarged tail-cone and a suite of radar warning receivers and
electronic countermeasures (ECM) from 1958 to 1960.
On 1 June 1956, a production Victor XA917 flown by test pilot Johnny
Allam inadvertently exceeded the speed of sound after Allam let the
nose drop slightly at a high power setting. Allam noticed a cockpit
indication of Mach 1.1 and ground observers from
Watford to Banbury
reported hearing a sonic boom. The Victor maintained stability
throughout the event. Aviation author Andrew Brookes has claimed that
Allam broke the sound barrier knowingly to demonstrate the Victor's
superiority to the earlier V-bombers.[N 4] The Victor was the
largest aircraft to have broken the sound barrier at that time.
Victor B.2 aircraft (XL158), at RAF Wittering, Cambridgeshire
undergoing pre-flight preparations
The RAF required a higher ceiling for its bombers, and a number of
proposals were considered for improved Victors to meet this demand. At
Handley Page proposed use of the 14,000 lbf (62.4 kN)
Sapphire 9 engines to produce a "Phase 2" bomber, to be followed by
"Phase 3" Victors with much greater wingspan (137 ft (42 m))
and powered by Bristol Siddeley Olympus turbojets or Rolls-Royce
Conway turbofans. The Sapphire 9 was cancelled, however, and the
heavily modified Phase 3 aircraft would have delayed production, so an
interim "Phase 2A" Victor was proposed and accepted, to be powered by
the Conway and having minimal modifications.
The "Phase 2A" proposal was accepted by the Air Staff as the Victor
B.2, with Conway RCo.11 engines providing 17,250 lbf
(76.7 kN). The new Conway engines required redesigned enlarged
intakes to provide the greater airflow required. The wingtips were
extended, increasing the wingspan to 120 ft (36.6 m).
The B.2 featured distinctive retractable "elephant ear" intakes not
found on the B.1, located on the rear fuselage forward of the tail
fin. These scoops fed ram air to Ram Air Turbines (RAT) which could
provide electrical power during emergency situations, such as engine
failure, during flight.
The first prototype Victor B.2, serial number XH668 made its maiden
flight on 20 February 1959. It had flown 100 hours by 20 August
1959, when, while high-altitude engine tests were being carried out by
Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment
Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE), it
disappeared from radar screens, crashing into the sea off the coast of
Pembrokeshire. An extensive search operation was initiated to locate
and salvage the wreckage of XH668 to determine the cause of the crash.
It took until November 1960 to recover most of the aircraft; the
accident investigation concluded that the starboard pitot head had
failed inflight, causing the flight control system to force the
aircraft into an unrecoverable dive. Only minor changes were
needed to resolve this problem, allowing the Victor B.2 to enter
service in February 1962.
A total of 21 B.2 aircraft were upgraded to the B.2R standard with
Conway RCo.17 engines (20,600 lbf or 92 kN thrust) and
facilities to carry a Blue Steel stand-off nuclear missile. Their
wings were modified to incorporate two "speed pods" or "Küchemann
carrots". These were anti-shock bodies; bulged fairings that reduced
wave drag at transonic speeds (see area rule), which were also used as
a convenient place to house chaff dispensers. Handley Page
proposed to build a further refined "Phase 6" Victor, with more fuel
and capable of carrying up to four
Skybolt (AGM-48) ballistic missiles
on standing airborne patrols, but this proposal was rejected although
it was agreed that some of the Victor B.2s on order would be fitted to
carry two Skybolts. This plan was abandoned when the U.S. cancelled
Skybolt programme in 1963. With the move to low-level
penetration missions, the Victors were fitted with air-to-air
refuelling probes above the cockpit and received large underwing fuel
Nine B.2 aircraft were converted for strategic reconnaissance purposes
to replace Valiants which had been withdrawn due to wing fatigue, with
delivery beginning in July 1965. These aircraft received a variety
of cameras, a bomb bay-mounted radar mapping system and wing top
sniffers to detect particles released from nuclear testing.
Designated Victor SR.2, a single aircraft could photograph the whole
United Kingdom in a single two-hour sortie. Different camera
configurations could be installed in the bomb bay, including up to
four F49 survey cameras and up to eight F96 cameras could be fitted to
take vertical or oblique daylight photography; nighttime photography
required the fitting of F89 cameras.
Aerial refuelling conversion
Victor K.2 of
No. 55 Squadron RAF
No. 55 Squadron RAF in 1985; note the deployed
The withdrawal of the Valiant fleet because of metal fatigue in
December 1964 meant that the RAF had no front line tanker aircraft, so
the B.1/1A aircraft, now judged to be surplus in the strategic bomber
role, were refitted for this duty. To get some tankers into service as
quickly as possible, six B.1A aircraft were converted to B(K).1A
standard (later redesignated B.1A (K2P)), receiving a two-point
system with a hose and drogue carried under each wing, while the bomb
bay remained available for weapons.
Handley Page worked day and night
to convert these six aircraft, with the first being delivered on 28
April 1965, and 55 Squadron becoming operational in the tanker role in
While these six aircraft provided a limited tanker capability suitable
for refuelling fighters, the Mk 20A wing hosereels could only deliver
fuel at a limited rate, and were not suitable for refuelling bombers.
Work therefore continued to produce a definitive three-point tanker
conversion of the Victor Mk.1. Fourteen further B.1A and 11 B.1 were
fitted with two permanently fitted fuel tanks in the bomb bay, and a
high-capacity Mk 17 centreline hose dispenser unit with three times
the fuel flow rate as the wing reels, and were designated K.1A and K.1
The remaining B.2 aircraft were not as suited to the low-level mission
profile that the RAF had adopted for carrying out strategic bombing
missions as the Vulcan with its strong delta wing. This, combined
with the switch of the nuclear deterrent from the RAF to the Royal
Navy (with the Polaris missile) meant that the Victors were considered
to be surplus to requirements. Hence, 24 B.2 were modified to K.2
standard. Similar to the K.1/1A conversions, the wing was trimmed to
reduce stress and the bomb aimer's nose glazing was plated over.
During 1982, the glazing was reintroduced on some aircraft, the former
nose bomb aimer's position having been used to mount F95 cameras in
order to perform reconnaissance missions during the Falklands War.
The K.2 could carry 91,000 lb (41,000 kg) of fuel. It served
in the tanker role until withdrawn in October 1993.
Head-on view of a Victor during a ground taxi run, 2006
The Victor was a futuristic-looking, streamlined aircraft, with four
turbojet (later turbofan) engines buried in the thick wing roots.
Distinguishing features of the Victor were its highly swept T-tail
with considerable dihedral on the tail planes, and a prominent chin
bulge that contained the targeting radar, cockpit, nose landing gear
unit and an auxiliary bomb aimer's position. It was originally
required by the specification that the whole nose section could be
detached at high altitudes to act as an escape pod, but the Air
Ministry abandoned this demand in 1950.
The Victor had a five-man crew, comprising the two pilots seated
side-by-side and three rearward-facing crew, these being the
navigator/plotter, the navigator/radar operator, and the air
electronics officer (AEO). Unlike the Vulcan and Valiant, the
Victor's pilots sat at the same level as the rest of the crew, thanks
to a larger pressurised compartment that extended all the way to the
nose. As with the other V-bombers, only the pilots were provided
with ejection seats; the three systems operators relying on "explosive
cushions" inflated by a CO2 bottle that would help them from their
seats and towards a traditional bail out in the event of high
g-loading, but despite this, escape for the three backseaters was
extremely difficult.[N 5]
While assigned to the nuclear delivery role, the Victor was finished
in an all-over anti-flash white colour scheme, designed to protect the
aircraft against the damaging effects of a nuclear detonation. The
white colour scheme was intended to reflect heat away from the
aircraft; paler variations of RAF's roundels were also applied for
this same reason. When the V-bombers were assigned to the low-level
approach profile in the 1960s, the Victors were soon repainted in
green/grey tactical camouflage to reduce visibility to ground
observation; the same scheme was applied to subsequently converted
Armaments and equipment
Victor landing near Yeovilton, 1984, note airbrakes extended
The Victor's bomb bay was much larger than that of the Valiant and
Vulcan, which allowed heavier weapon loads to be carried at the cost
of range. As an alternative to the single "10,000 lb" nuclear
bomb as required by the specification, the bomb bay was designed to
carry several conventional armaments, including a single
22,000 lb (10,000 kg) Grand Slam or two 12,000 lb
(5,500 kg) Tallboy earthquake bombs, up to forty-eight
1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs[N 6] or thirty-nine 2,000 lb
(900 kg) sea mines. One proposed addition to the Victor were
underwing panniers capable of carrying a further 28 1,000 lb
bombs to supplement the main bomb bay, but this option was not
In addition to a range of free-fall nuclear bombs, later Victor B.2s
operated as missile carriers for standoff nuclear missiles such as
Blue Steel; it had been intended for the American
Skybolt missile to
be introduced; however, development of
Skybolt was cancelled.
Target information for Blue Steel could be input during flight, as
well in advance of the mission. It was reported that, with intensive
work, a B.2 missile carrier could revert to carrying free-fall nuclear
weapons or conventional munitions within 30 hours.
Like its sibling V-Bombers, the Victor made use of the Navigational
and Bombing System (NBS); a little-used optical sight had also been
installed upon early aircraft. For navigation and bomb-aiming
purposes, the Victor employed numerous radar systems. These included
the H2S radar, the first airborne ground-scanning radar, and the Green
Radar information was inputted into the onboard
electromechanical analogue bomb-aiming apparatus. Some of the
navigation and targeting equipment was either directly descended from,
or shared concepts with, those used on Handley Page's preceding
Halifax bomber. Operationally, the accuracy of the bomb-aiming system
proved to be limited to roughly 400 yards, which was deemed sufficient
for high-level nuclear strike operations.
Avionics and systems
The Victor had fully duplicated powered controls; many of the flight
controls and flight surfaces were designed with redundancies. Pilot
control movements were transmitted via a low-friction mechanical
system. This setup was developed to provide, amongst other
capabilities, a level of artificial feel to the pilot. Eight separated
hydraulic circuits were present on the aircraft, which comprised the
landing gear, flaps, nose flaps, air brakes, bomb doors, wheel brakes,
nose-wheel steering, and the ram-air turbine scoops. An AC
electrical system and auxiliary power unit were significant additions
upon the later Victor B.2, electrical reliability being noticeably
To evade enemy detection and interception efforts, the Victor was
outfitted with an extensive electronic countermeasures (ECM) suite
which were operated by the air electronics officer (AEO), who had
primary responsibility for the aircraft's electronics and
communication systems. The ECM equipment could be employed to disrupt
effective use of both active and passive radar in the vicinity of the
aircraft, and to provide situational awareness for the crew. Enemy
communications could also be jammed, and radar guided missiles of the
era were also reportedly rendered ineffective. The Victor B.2
featured an extended area located around the base of the tail fin
which contained cooling systems and some of the ECM equipment.
Some of the ECM equipment which initially saw use on the Victor, such
as the original chaff dispenser and Orange Putter tail warning radar,
had been developed for the earlier
English Electric Canberra
English Electric Canberra bomber
and were already considered to be near-obsolete by the time the Victor
had entered service. Significant improvements and alterations
would be made to the avionics and ECM suites, as effective ECMs had
been deemed critical to the Victor's role; for example, the
introduction of the more capable Red Steer tail warning radar. The
introduction of the Victor B.2 was accompanied by several new ECM
systems, including a passive radar warning receiver, a metric radar
jammer and communications jamming equipment. Streamlined fairings on
the trailing edges of the wings that could house large quantities of
defensive chaff/flares were also new additions. While trials were
conducted with terrain-following radar and a side scan mode for the
bombing and navigation radar, neither of these functions were
integrated into the operational fleet.
Rolls-Royce Conway RCo.17 Mk201 on static display
The Victor B.1 was powered by an arrangement of four Armstrong
Siddeley Sapphire turbojet engines. The engines were embedded in pairs
into the aircraft's wing root. Because of the high mounted position of
the wing, the tail had to adopt a high mounting to maintain clearance
of the jet turbulence, but the airbrakes were ideally situated to take
advantage of this phenomenon. Difficulties were encountered with
the Sapphires when stationed in tropical environments as several
engines were destroyed by the turbine blades striking the outer engine
casing. The Victor B.2 adopted the newer Rolls-Royce Conway
turbofan which at one point held the distinction of being the most
powerful non-afterburning engine outside of the Soviet Union, and were
significantly more powerful than the preceding Sapphire engines
employed upon on the B.1.
The Victor B.2 featured a distinct change in the aircraft's engine
arrangements; incorporated into the right wing root was a Blackburn
Artouste airborne auxiliary power unit (AAPU), effectively a small
fifth engine. The AAPU was capable of providing high-pressure air for
starting the main engines, and also providing electrical power on the
ground or alternatively in the air as an emergency back-up in the
event of main engine failures. The AAPU also acted to reduce the need
for external specialist support equipment. Turbine-driven alternators,
otherwise known as ram air turbines (RATs), had been introduced on the
B.2 to provide emergency power in the event of electrical or hydraulic
power being lost. Retractable scoops in the rear fuselage would open
to feed ram air into the RATs, which would provide sufficient
electrical power to operate the flight controls. In the event of
engine flameout RATs would assist the crew in maintaining control of
the aircraft until the main engines could be relit.
The Victor was commonly described as having good handling and
excellent performance, along with favourable low speed flight
characteristics. During the flight tests of the first prototype,
the Victor proved its aerodynamic performance, flying up to Mach 0.98
without handling or buffeting problems; there were next to no
aerodynamic changes between prototype and production aircraft.[N
8] Production aircraft featured an automated nose-flap operation to
counteract a tendency for the aircraft to pitch upwards during
low-to-moderate Mach numbers. At low altitude, the Victor
typically flew in a smooth and comfortable manner, in part due to its
narrowness and flexibility of the crescent wing. One unusual
flight characteristic of the early Victor was its self-landing
capability; once lined up with the runway, the aircraft would
naturally flare as the wing entered into ground effect while the tail
continued to sink, giving a cushioned landing without any command or
intervention by the pilot.
The Victor has been described as an agile aircraft, atypical for a
large bomber aircraft; in 1958, a Victor had performed several loops
and a barrel roll during practices for a display flight at Farnborough
Airshow. Manoeuvrability was greatly enabled by the light
controls, quick response of the aircraft, and the design of certain
flight surfaces such as the infinitely-variable tail-mounted
airbrake. The Victor was designed for flight at high subsonic
speeds, although multiple instances have occurred in which the sound
barrier was broken. During development of the Victor B.2, the RAF
had stressed the concept of tactical manoeuvrability, which led to
much effort in development being given to increasing the aircraft's
height and range performance.
Victor B.1 (XA922) on a landing approach, circa 1959
The Victor was the last of the V bombers to enter service, with
deliveries of B.1s to
No. 232 Operational Conversion Unit RAF
No. 232 Operational Conversion Unit RAF based at
Warwickshire taking place in late 1957. The first
operational bomber squadron, 10 Squadron, formed at
RAF Cottesmore in
April 1958, with a second squadron, 15 Squadron forming before the end
of the year. Four Victors, fitted with Yellow Astor reconnaissance
radar, together with a number of passive sensors, were used to equip a
secretive unit, the
Radar Reconnaissance Flight at RAF Wyton.
The Victor bomber force continued to build up, with 57 Squadron
forming in March 1959 and 55 Squadron in October 1960. At its
height, the Victor was simultaneously operating with six squadrons of
According to the operational doctrine developed by the RAF, in the
circumstance of deploying a large scale nuclear strike, each Victor
would have operated entirely independently; the crews would conduct
their mission without external guidance and be reliant upon the
effectiveness of their individual tactics to reach and successfully
attack their assigned target; thus great emphasis was placed on
continuous crew training during peacetime. Developing a sense of a
crew unity was considered highly important; Victor crews would
typically serve together for at least five years, and a similar
approach was adopted with ground personnel. In order to maximise
the operational lifespan of each aircraft, Victor crews typically flew
a single five-hour training mission per week. Each crew member was
required to qualify for servicing certificates to independently
undertake inspection, refuelling and turnaround operations.
Victor K2 (XM669) refuelling a pair of English Electric Lightnings,
In times of high international tension, the V-bombers would be
dispersed and have been maintained at a high state of readiness; if
the order was given to deploy a nuclear strike, Victors at high
readiness would have been airborne in under four minutes from the
point the order had been issued. British intelligence had
estimated that the Soviets' radar network was capable of detecting the
Victor at up to 200 miles away, so to avoid interception, the Victor
would follow carefully planned routes to exploit weaknesses in the
Soviet detection network. This tactic was employed in conjunction with
the Victor's extensive onboard electronic countermeasures (ECM) to
increase the chances of evasion. Whilst originally the Victor
would have maintained high-altitude flight throughout a nuclear strike
mission, rapid advances of the Soviet anti-aircraft warfare
capabilities (exemplified by the downing of a U2 from 70,000 ft in
1960) led to this tactic being abandoned: a low-level high-speed
approach supported by increasingly sophisticated ECMs was adopted in
The improved Victor B.2 started to be delivered in 1961, with the
first B.2 Squadron, 139 Squadron, forming in February 1962, and a
second, 100 Squadron, in May 1962. These were the only two bomber
squadrons to form on the B.2, as the last 28 Victors on order were
cancelled. The prospect of
Skybolt ballistic missiles, with which
each V-bomber could strike at two separate targets, meant that fewer
bombers would be needed, while the government was unhappy with Sir
Frederick Handley Page's resistance to their pressure to merge his
company with competitors. While Skybolt's development would be
terminated, Victor B.2s were retrofitted as carrier aircraft for the
Blue Steel standoff nuclear missile. The introduction of standoff
weapons and the switch to low-level flight in order to evade radar
detection were said to be decisive factors in the successful
penetration of enemy territory.
A Victor and a Vulcan at Richmond Air Show, New South Wales, 1964
In 1964–1965, a series of detachments of Victor B.1As was deployed
to RAF Tengah,
Singapore as a deterrent against Indonesia during the
Borneo conflict, the detachments fulfilling a strategic deterrent role
as part of
Far East Air Force, while also giving valuable training in
low-level flight and visual bombing. In September 1964, with
the confrontation with Indonesia reaching a peak, the detachment of
four Victors was prepared for rapid dispersal, with two aircraft
loaded with live conventional bombs and held on one-hour readiness,
ready to fly operational sorties. However, they were never required to
fly combat missions and the high readiness alert finished at the end
of the month.
Following the discovery of fatigue cracks, developing due to their
low-altitude usage, the B.2R strategic bombers were retired and
placed in storage by the end of 1968. The RAF had experienced intense
demand on its existing aerial refuelling tanker fleet, and its
existing fleet of Victor B.1 tankers that had been converted earlier
were due to be retired in the 1970s, so it was decided that the stored
Victor B.2Rs would be converted to tankers also. Handley Page
prepared a modification scheme that would see the Victors fitted with
tip tanks, the structure modified to limit further fatigue cracking in
the wings, and ejection seats provided for all six
crewmembers. The Ministry of Defence delayed signing the order
for conversion of the B2s until after
Handley Page went into
liquidation. The contract for conversion was instead awarded to Hawker
Siddeley, who produced a much simpler conversion than that planned by
Handley Page, with the wingspan shortened to reduce wing bending
stress and hence extend airframe life.
Victor K2 (XL161) near Abingdon, September 1979
While the Victor was never permanently based with any units stationed
overseas, temporary deployments were frequently conducted, often in a
ceremonial capacity or to participate in training exercises and
competitions. Victor squadrons were dispatched on several extended
deployments to the Far East, and short term deployments to
also conducted for training purposes. At one point during the
South Africa showed considerable interest in the
acquisition of several bomber-configured Victors; in the end, the
Victor would not serve with any other operator other than the
Several of the Victor B.2s had been converted for Strategic
Reconnaissance missions following the retirement of the Valiant in
this capacity. In service, this type was primarily used in
surveillance of the Atlantic and Mediterranean Seas, capable of
surveying 400,000 square miles in an eight-hour mission; they were
also used to sample the fallout from French nuclear tests conducted in
the South Pacific. Originally reconnaissance Victors were
equipped for visual reconnaissance; however, it was found to be
cheaper to assign Canberra light bombers to this duty and as such the
cameras were removed in 1970. Subsequently, radar-based reconnaissance
was emphasised in the type's role. The reconnaissance Victors
remained in use until 1974 when they followed the standard bombers
into the tanker conversion line; a handful of modified Avro Vulcans
assumed the maritime radar reconnaissance role in their place.
Two of the V-bombers, the Victor and the Vulcan, played a high-profile
role during the 1982 Falklands War. In order to cross the vast
distance of the Atlantic Ocean, a single Vulcan required refuelling
several times from Victor tankers. A total of three bombing missions
were flown against Argentine forces deployed to the Falklands, with
approximately 1.1 million gal (5 million L) of fuel consumed
in each mission. At the time, these missions held the record
for the world's longest-distance bombing raids. The deployment of
other assets to the theatre, such as the
Hawker Siddeley Nimrod and
Lockheed Hercules, required the support of the Victor tanker fleet,
which had been temporarily relocated to
RAF Ascension Island
RAF Ascension Island for the
campaign. The Victor also undertook several reconnaissance
missions over the South Atlantic. These missions provided valuable
intelligence for the retaking of South Georgia by British forces.
Documentary on the Black Buck raids
RAF training film focused on the Victor
Following the invasion of Kuwait by neighbouring
Iraq in 1991, a total
of eight Victor K.2s were deployed to
Bahrain to provide in-flight
refuelling support to RAF and other coalition aircraft during the
subsequent 1991 Gulf War. RAF strike aircraft such as the
Panavia Tornado would frequently make use of the tanker to refuel
prior to launching cross-border strikes inside of Iraq. Shortly after
the Gulf War, the remaining Victor fleet was quickly retired in 1993,
at which point it had been the last of the three V-bombers in
operational service; retiring nine years after the last Vulcan,
although the Vulcan had survived longer in its original role as a
Ventral plan of a Victor K.2
3-view of Victor B.1
3-view of Victor B.2
Prototype, two aircraft built.
Strategic bomber aircraft, 50 built.
Strategic bomber aircraft, B.1 updated with Red Steer tail warning
radar and ECM suite, 24 converted.
Victor B.1A (K.2P)
2 point in-flight refuelling tanker retaining bomber capability, six
3 point in-flight refuelling tanker (renamed K.1 after bombing
capability removed), 11 converted.
3 point in-flight refuelling tanker (renamed K.1A as for K.1), 14
Strategic bomber aircraft, 34 built.
Blue Steel-capable aircraft with RCo.17 Conway 201 engines, 21
Strategic reconnaissance aircraft, nine converted.
In-flight refuelling tanker. 24 converted from B.2 and B(SR).2.
Proposed military transport of 1950 with new fuselage carrying 85
1950 civil airliner project. Not built.
Proposed pathfinder version with remotely operated tail guns and
powered by Conway engines. Rejected in favour of Valiant B.2.
Proposed military transport version of HP.97. Not built.
Proposed "Phase 3" bomber of 1955 powered by Bristol Olympus or
Sapphire engines. Not built.
1958 project for military or civil transport, powered by four Conway
engines. Capacity for 200 troops in military version or 145 passengers
in airliner in a double-decker fuselage.
Proposed "Phase 6" bomber designed for standing patrols carrying two
GAM-87 Skybolt ballistic missiles.
Proposed military tactical transport based on HP.111 and fitted with
blown flaps. Rejected in favour of Armstrong Whitworth AW.681.
Victor B.1A (K.2P) XH648 preserved at the Imperial War Museum Duxford
Royal Air Force
No. 10 Squadron RAF
No. 10 Squadron RAF operated B.1 from April 1958 to March 1964 at RAF
No. 15 Squadron RAF operated B.1 from September 1958 to October 1964
at RAF Cottesmore.
No. 55 Squadron RAF
No. 55 Squadron RAF operated B.1 and B.1As from RAF Honington from
October 1960, moving to
RAF Marham and receiving B.1(K)A tankers
in May 1965. These were replaced by K.2 in July 1975, with
the squadron continuing to operate Victors in the tanker role until
disbanding in October 1993.
No. 57 Squadron RAF
No. 57 Squadron RAF operated B.1As, K.1 & K.2s from March 1959 to
No. 100 Squadron RAF
No. 100 Squadron RAF operated B.2s at
RAF Wittering from May 1962 to
No. 139 (Jamaica) Squadron RAF operated B.2s from February 1962 to
No. 214 Squadron RAF
No. 214 Squadron RAF operated K.1 tankers from July 1966 to January
No. 543 Squadron RAF
No. 543 Squadron RAF operated B(SR).2s from December 1965 to May
No. 232 Operational Conversion Unit RAF.
Radar Reconnaissance Flight RAF Wyton.
Accidents and incidents
14 July 1954: WB771 the prototype HP.80 crashed during a test flight
at Cranfield, England. All four crewmen died. The tailplane became
detached from the top of the fin.
16 April 1958: XA921 a B.1 undertaking
Ministry of Supply trials
experienced a collapse of the rear bomb bay bulkhead while cycling the
bomb bay doors, damaging hydraulic and electrical systems; the
aircraft successfully returned to base. Following the incident,
in-service Victors had restrictions put in place on the opening of the
bomb doors until Modification 943 was applied to all aircraft.
20 August 1959: XH668 a B2 of the A&AEE lost a pitot head and
dived into the sea off Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire.
19 June 1960: XH617 a B1A of 57 Squadron caught fire in the air and
was abandoned near Diss, Norfolk.
23 March 1962: XL159 a B2 of the A&AEE stalled and dived into a
house at Stubton, Lincolnshire.
14 June 1962: XH613 a B1A of 15 Squadron lost power on all engines and
was abandoned on approach to RAF Cottesmore.
16 June 1962: XA929 a B1 of 10 Squadron overshot the runway and broke
RAF Akrotiri following an aborted takeoff.
2 October 1962: XA934 a B1 of 'A' Squadron, 232 OCU had an engine fail
on takeoff from
RAF Gaydon after which two engines failed on
approach. The aircraft crashed into a copse several miles from
RAF Gaydon. Of the four crew on board only the co-pilot survived.
20 March 1963: XM714 a B2 of 100 Squadron stalled after takeoff from
29 June 1966: XM716 a SR2 of 543 Squadron was giving a demonstration
flight for the press and television at RAF Wyton. The aircraft
had made one high-speed circuit and was flying low in a wide arc to
return over the airfield when the starboard wing was seen to break
away and both it and the rest of the aircraft burst into flames.
All four crew were killed. The aircraft was the first SR2 to
enter service with the squadron, and released evidence suggests that
it was overstressed.
19 August 1968: Victor K1 XH646 of 214 Squadron collided in midair
Norfolk in bad weather with a 213 Squadron English Electric
Canberra WT325; all four crew members of the Victor
10 May 1973: XL230 a SR2 of 543 Squadron bounced during landing at RAF
Wyton and exploded.
24 March 1975: Victor K1A XH618 of 57 Squadron was involved in a
midair collision with
Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer XV156 during a
simulated refuelling. The Buccaneer hit the Victor's tailplane causing
the Victor to crash into the sea 95 mi (153 km) east of
Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, four crew killed.
29 Sept 1976: XL513 a K2 of No 55 Squadron aborted take off and
overshot the runway at
RAF Marham after a bird strike. The crew
escaped with no serious injuries. The aircraft caught fire and was
damaged beyond repair.
15 October 1982: XL232 a K2 of No 55 Squadron suffered an uncontained
turbine failure early in the take off run. The aircraft was stopped
and the crew evacuated the aircraft with no injuries. Debris from the
turbine penetrated a fuselage fuel tank, starting an uncontrolled
fire, destroying the aircraft and damaging the runway.
19 June 1986: XL191 a K2 of 57 Squadron undershot approach in bad
weather at Hamilton, Ontario.
3 May 2009: During a "fast taxi" run at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome,
XM715 made an unplanned brief flight, reaching a height of about
30 ft (9 m) at maximum. The aircraft did not have a permit
to fly; however, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) stated that they
would not be conducting an investigation. The co-pilot had failed
to reply to the command "throttles back"; the pilot then had to
control the throttles himself, the confusion temporarily disrupting
firm control of the aircraft.
Victor XL231 Lusty Lindy, 2011
Victor XM715 Teasin' Tina, 2008
A total of five Victors have survived and are on display in the United
Kingdom. None are flightworthy as of 2013.
Victor B.1A XH648: a B.1A (K.2P) at the Imperial War Museum Duxford,
Cambridgeshire. This is the sole B.1 to survive.
Victor K.2 XH672: Maid Marian, at the
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Museum, Cosford,
Shropshire, in the National
Cold War Exhibition.
Victor K.2 XH673:
Gate guardian at RAF Marham, Norfolk, the Victor's
Victor K.2 XL231: Lusty Lindy, at the Yorkshire Air Museum, York. The
prototype for the B.2 to K.2 conversion. XL231 is one of two
Victors currently in taxiable condition.
Victor K.2 XM715: Teasin' Tina/Victor Meldrew, at the British Aviation
Heritage Centre, Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire. XM715 is also
one of two Victors currently in taxiable condition.
Handley Page Victor B.1)
Handley Page Aircraft since 1907
Length: 114 ft 11 in (35.05 m)
Wingspan: 110 ft 0 in (33.53 m)
Height: 28 ft 11⁄2 in (8.57 m)
Wing area: 2,406 sq ft (223.5 m2)
Empty weight: 89,030 lb (40,468 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 205,000 lb (93,182 kg)
Powerplant: 4 ×
Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire A.S.Sa.7 turbojets,
11,050 lbf (49.27 kN) each
Maximum speed: 627 mph (545 knots, 1,009 km/h) at 36,000 ft
Range: 6,000 mi (5,217 nmi, 9,660 km)
Service ceiling: 56,000 ft (17,000 m)
Up to 35 × 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs or
1× Yellow Sun free-fall nuclear bomb
Notable appearances in media
Handley Page Victor in fiction
Gerhard Richter painting titled XL 513 depicts Victor K.2,
which was lost in a 1976 accident at RAF Marham.
Handley Page HP.88, British research aircraft
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Boeing B-47 Stratojet
Tupolev Tu-16/Xian H-6
List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force
^ Frederick Handley Page, the founder and owner of Handley Page, had
anticipated that there would be a need to replace the Lincoln bomber
well in advance of any requirement, having issued a memo on 14 June
1945 requesting the immediate investigation of two new bomber
^ Aviation author Andrew Brookes describes that Victor's
compound-sweep crescent wing as having been "undoubtedly the most
efficient high-subsonic wing on any drawing board in 1947".
^ According to aviation author Jon Lake, the name 'Victor' had
originated from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
^ Paul Langston, an observer on-board while XA917 broke the sound
barrier, has the distinction of being the first man to break the sound
barrier seated backwards.
^ Martin Baker developed and tested rearward ejection systems for both
the Valiant and the Vulcan, proceeding to the point of a modified
Valiant undergoing testing; however the company concluded that the
same approach on the Victor would be substantially more difficult due
to structural reasons.
^ In operational service with the RAF, a maximum payload of 35
1,000 lb bombs could be carried.
^ Godfrey Lee, one of the aircraft's designers, stated of the
electrical changes that "an unbelievable improvement followed from
going over from DC to AC".
^ Hedley Hazelden, Handley Page's chief test pilot, stated that "From
a pilot's point of view, the Victor wasn't that much of a problem. In
spite of innovations such as powered controls and nose flaps, it flew
like any other aeroplane".
^ Sidney, William. "Supply of Aircraft (Hansard, 17 February 1953)".
millbanksystems. Hansard. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
^ Wynn 1997, pp. 7, 16.
^ Wynn 1997, p. 18.
^ Brookes 2011, p. 6.
^ a b Buttler
Air Enthusiast January/February 1999, pp. 28–31.
^ Wynn 1997, pp. 44–46.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 7.
^ Brookes 2011, pp. 6–7.
^ Brookes 2011, p. 7.
^ Lee, G.H. "Aerodynamics of the Crescent Wing." Flight, 14 May 1954,
^ Flight 30 October 1959, p. 463.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 9.
^ a b Lake 2002, p. 364.
Air Enthusiast January/February 1999, pp. 38–39.
^ Donald 2008, pp. 127–128.
^ Barnes 1976, p. 502.
^ Barnes 1976, p. 503.
^ "This British
Bomber Leads The World." The Age, 15 January 1953. p.
^ Brookes 2011, p. 9.
^ Barnes 1976, p. 506.
Aeroplane Monthly February 1981, p. 61.
^ Darling 2012, p. 49.
Aeroplane Monthly February 1981, pp. 61–62.
^ a b c Mason 1994, p. 388.
^ Brookes 2011, p. 29.
Air Enthusiast September/October 2003, pp. 55, 58.
^ a b c d e "Handley page Victor K.2". Gatwick Aviation Museum.
Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 12 April
^ a b Gunston
Aeroplane Monthly February 1981, p. 63.
^ a b Brookes 2011, p. 10.
Aeroplane Monthly February 1981, p. 62.
^ Barnes 1976, pp. 509–511.
^ Darling 2012, p. 50.
^ ap Rees Air Pictorial June 1972, p. 220.
^ a b Fraser-Mitchell 2009, pp. 86–87.
^ a b c Flight 30 October 1959, p. 472.
^ Barnes 1976, p. 514.
Air Enthusiast Winter 1993, pp. 70–71.
^ Barnes 1976, p. 516.
^ a b Barnes 1976, pp. 519–520.
^ Mason 1994, pp. 388–389.
^ ap Rees Air Pictorial June 1972, p. 222.
^ a b Barnes 1976, p. 518.
^ Rodwell Flight 13 February 1964, p. 241.
^ Darling 2012, pp. 52–53.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Mason 1994, p. 389.
^ a b Gunston
Aeroplane Monthly February 1981, pp. 64–65.
^ Darling 2012, p. 53.
^ Darling 2012, pp. 162–163.
^ a b Flight 19 September 1958, p. 495.
^ ap Rees Air Pictorial May 1972, p. 166.
Aeroplane Monthly January 1981, pp. 6–7.
^ Flight 19 September 1958, pp. 494–495.
Aeroplane Monthly January 1981, p. 9.
^ "The V-
Bomber Ejector Seat Story." BBC. Retrieved: 27 September
^ Hamilton-Paterson 2010, p. 156.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, pp. 38–39.
^ Barnes 1976, p. 508.
^ a b Rodwell Flight 13 February 1964, pp. 241–242.
^ Rodwell Flight 13 February 1964, p. 245.
^ a b c Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 61.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 40.
^ Brookes 2011, p. 21.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 44.
^ Brookes 2011, p. 13.
^ a b Brookes 2011, p. 24.
^ Barnes 1976, p. 519.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 39.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 39-40.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, pp. 44, 47.
^ Flight 30 October 1959, pp. 463–465.
^ Flight 30 October 1959, pp. 463–466.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 60.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 31.
^ a b Brookes 2011, p. 18.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 33.
^ Hamilton-Paterson 2010, p. 112.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 29.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 35.
^ "Farnborough Week: The most Memorable S.B.A.C. Display Yet." Flight
International, 12 September 1958. pp. 438, 442.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 32.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, pp. 33–34.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, pp. 60–61.
^ a b c Mason 1994, p. 387.
^ a b Gunston
Aeroplane Monthly February 1981, pp. 62–63.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 63.
^ Flight 19 September 1958, p. 493.
^ Flight 19 September 1958, pp. 493–495.
^ Flight 19 September 1958, p. 494.
^ Brookes 2011, pp. 23–24.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 49.
^ Windle and Bowman 2009, p. 21.
^ Barnes 1976, pp. 518–519.
^ a b c Lake 2002, p. 369.
^ a b c Barnes 1976, p. 527.
^ Rodwell Flight 6 May 1965, p. 703.
^ Brookes 2011, p. 65.
^ Darling 2012, pp. 110–111.
^ Barnes 1976, p. 526.
^ Fraser-Mitchell 2009, pp. 88–89.
^ Fraser-Mitchell 2009, pp. 90–91.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, pp. 72, 75.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 75.
^ Butler and Buttler 2009, p. 72.
^ Brookes 2011, p. 69.
^ "The Falkland Islands: A history of the 1982 conflict." Royal Air
Force, 29 April 2010.
^ "Operation Black Buck." Royal Air Force, Retrieved: 20 April 2014.
^ Bull 2004, p. 84.
^ Thompson, Julian. "Falklands Conflict Gallery." BBC, June 2007.
^ "Narrative of RAF Contribution to the Falklands Campaign." The
National Archives, Retrieved: 20 April 2014.
^ Darling 2012, pp. 162–165.
^ "RAF Aircraft in Operation Granby." Royal Air Force, Retrieved: 20
^ Brookes 2011, pp. 90–91.
^ Brookes and Davy 2011, pp. 14–15.
^ a b c d "
Handley Page Victor K2".
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Museum, 2010.
Retrieved 12 April 2011.
^ a b Barnes 1976, p. 498.
^ Barnes 1976, p. 501.
^ Barnes 1976, p. 605.
^ Barnes 1976, pp. 527–529.
^ a b Barnes 1976, p. 529.
Aeroplane Monthly February 1981, p. 65.
^ Ashworth 1989, p. 131.
^ The Determination of the Flutter Speed of a
T-tail Unit by
Calculations, Model Tests and Flight Flutter Tests, Baldock, October
1958, AGARD Report 221 para.2.6
^ Darling 2012, p. 55.
^ a b c d e Halley 2001, p. 42.
^ a b c Halley 2001, p. 54.
^ a b Halley 2001, p. 9.
^ Halley 2001, p. 64.
^ a b c "A Victor 2 Falls In Flames Four killed in display run." The
Times, Issue 56671, 30 June 1966, p. 1, Column G.
^ a b "
Handley Page Victor". Ejection History. Retrieved 12 April
^ Barnes 1976, p. 525.
^ "UK Military Aircraft Losses: 1968". ukserials.com. Wolverhampton
Aviation Group. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
^ ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 55300, retrieved 22 Aug 2015
^ "Pictures: Victor bomber accidentally becomes airborne during taxi
demo." Flight International, 9 September 2009. Retrieved: 24 July
^ "Hero pilot, 70, averted air show disaster after co-pilot hit
throttle of giant bomber by mistake." Daily Mail, 9 September 2009.
Retrieved: 24 July 2010.
^ "Probe into unauthorised Victor flight." Archived 27 September 2009
WebCite Leicester Mercury, 9 September 2009. Retrieved: 24 July
^ "Victor test flight." YouTube video. Retrieved: 25 July 2010.
^ "Concorde will never fly again, says Vulcan restoration expert"
Institute of Mechanical Engineers, 28 June 2013.
Handley Page Victor."
Imperial War Museum Duxford
Imperial War Museum Duxford via The National
Archive, Retrieved: 20 April 2014.
^ Simpson, Andrew. "Individual History:
Handley Page Victor K.2
XH672/9242M: Museum Accession Number 1995/1001/A". Royal Air Force
Museum Cosford. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
^ Thunder & Lightnings (2 October 2008). "Survivor XH673". Thunder
& Lightnings. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
^ The Victor Association. "XL 231 Lindy Updates". The Victor
Association. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved
12 April 2011.
^ Thunder & Lightnings (25 May 2010). "Survivor XM715". Thunder
& Lightnings. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
^ Fraser-Mitchell 2009, p. 86.
^ XL 513 » documenta 9 » Exhibitions » Gerhard
Richter, retrieved 22 Aug 2015
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ap Rees, Elfan. "
Handley Page Victor: Part 2". Air Pictorial, June
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Winter 1993. pp. 60–75. ISSN 0143-5450.
"Parade of Victors: No. 10 Squadron at RAF Cottesmore". Flight, 19
September 1958, pp. 493–496.
Rodwell, Robert R. "Lo-Hi Victor: Mixed Mission over Malaya". Flight,
6 May 1965. pp. 700–703.
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V-force". Flight, 13 February 1964, pp. 241–245.
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Handley Page Victor.
Victor information from "Thunder and Lightnings"
Handley Page Victor at Greg Goebel's "In The Public Domain"
Nuclear weapon drop methods including from a Victor
RAF gallery of Victor nose art
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