The Info List - Vickers Valiant

The Vickers-Armstrongs
Valiant was a British four-jet high-altitude bomber, once part of the Royal Air Force's V bomber
V bomber
nuclear force in the 1950s and 1960s. It was developed by Vickers in response to Specification B.35/46 issued by the Air Ministry
Air Ministry
for a nuclear-armed jet-powered bomber. The Valiant was the first of the V bombers to become operational, and was followed by the Handley Page Victor
Handley Page Victor
and the Avro
Vulcan; it was noticeably less advanced than its counterparts. The Valiant has the distinction of being the only V bomber to have dropped live nuclear weapons.[2] As developed, the Valiant was intended for operations as a high-altitude strategic bomber. During the late 1950s, in response to rapid advances in surface-to-air missile (SAM) technology, the Valiant fleet switched to flying a low-level mission profile to perform the strike mission. Beyond the nuclear deterrence role, the Valiant was also used by the RAF for other purposes, a number were converted to perform various support roles such as aerial refuelling tankers and aerial reconnaissance aircraft. Valiants were used for conventional bombing missions over Egypt
for Operation Musketeer during the Suez Crisis of 1956. By late 1964 it was found that all variants of the Valiant showed premature fatiguing and inter-crystalline corrosion in wing spar attachment castings, traced to the use of a poorly understood aluminium alloy, DTD683.[3][N 1] Rather than proceeding with an expensive rebuilding program, the Valiant was formally retired in 1965. Its duties were continued by the other V-bombers which remained in service until the 1980s.


1 Development

1.1 Background and origins 1.2 Prototypes 1.3 Production

2 Design 3 Operational history

3.1 Nuclear deterrent 3.2 Conventional warfare 3.3 Tanker operations 3.4 Countermeasures and reconnaissance roles 3.5 Fatigue failures and retirement

4 Variants 5 Operators 6 Survivors 7 Accidents and incidents 8 Specifications (Valiant B.1) 9 See also 10 References

10.1 Notes 10.2 Citations 10.3 Bibliography

11 External links

Development[edit] Background and origins[edit] In November 1944, the Joint Technical Warfare Committee, along with a separate committee chaired by Sir Henry Tizard, examined the future potential of "weapons of war" and the accompanying Tizard Report published on 3 July 1945 made specific policy directions for the Royal Air Force (RAF) Bomber
Command.[4] After the Second World War, the policy of using heavy four-engined bombers for massed raids continued into the immediate postwar period; the Avro
Lincoln, an updated version of the Avro
Lancaster, became the RAF's standard bomber.[citation needed] In 1946, the Air Staff issued Operational Requirements OR229 and OR230 for the development of turbojet-powered heavy bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons at high altitude and speed, without defensive armament, to act as a deterrent to hostile powers and, if deterrence failed, to perform a nuclear strike.[4] In conjunction with this ambition, Britain set about developing its own atomic weapons.[5] In January 1947, the British Air Ministry
Air Ministry
issued Specification B.35/46 for an advanced jet bomber intended to carry nuclear weapons and to fly near the speed of sound at altitudes of 50,000 ft (15,000 m).[6] Three firms: A.V. Roe, Handley-Page and Vickers-Armstrongs
submitted advanced designs intended to meet the stringent requirements.[7] While Short Brothers
Short Brothers
submitted a design, by Geoffrey T. R. Hill,[8] that was judged too ambitious, the Air Staff accepted another submission from the company for a separate requirement, B.14/46, as "insurance" in case the advanced B.35/46 effort ran into trouble. Aviation authors Bill Gunston and Peter Gilchrist described Specification B.14/46 as "calling for little more than a traditional jet aircraft fitted with jet engines"[9] Short submitted a conservative design to meet B.14/46, which became the S.A.4 Sperrin.[6] Two prototypes were completed, the first conducting its maiden flight in 1951, but the Sperrin was ultimately relegated to research and development purposes only.[7][5] Vickers had emerged from the Second World War as one of the world's pre-eminent companies in the field of aeronautical manufacturing and development. Furthermore, the company operated its own secretive Skunk Works-like development organisation based at Weybridge, Surrey, which had been involved in several secret wartime development projects; it was this secretive division in which the early stages of the development of the Valiant took place, including the later assembly of the initial two prototypes.[10] Vickers initially produced a six-engine jet bomber design proposal to meet Specification B.35/46; however, as rapid progress in the development of more powerful jet engines had been made, this was re-worked to a four-engine proposal in 1948.[11] The proposed design submitted by Vickers was relatively straightforward, being less aerodynamically advanced and "unfunny" in comparison to competing bids made by rival firms.[9][12] Both Handley-Page and Avro
had produced very advanced designs for the bomber competition. These would be produced as the Victor and the Vulcan respectively; the Air Staff decided to award contracts to each company as a form of insurance in case one of these designs had failed. The submissions became known as the V bombers, the aircraft all being given names that started with the letter "V", becoming collectively known as the V-class.[13] Vickers' submission had initially been rejected as not being as advanced as the Victor and the Vulcan,[6][9] but Vickers' chief designer George Edwards lobbied the Air Ministry
Air Ministry
on the basis that it would be available much sooner than the competition, going so far as to promise that a flight-capable prototype would be flown by the end of 1951, that subsequent production aircraft would be flown prior to the end of 1953, and that serial deliveries would commence during early 1955. Gunston and Gilchrist observe that measures offered by Edwards were a "gigantic risk", and that gaining the bomber contract has been deemed of crucial importance to the future of aircraft manufacturing at Vickers.[11] Although developing and operating three overlapping large aircraft in response to a single Operational Requirement (OR) was wasteful and very costly, events such as the Berlin Blockade
Berlin Blockade
had led to officials placing a sense of urgency in the necessity to provide an effective deterrent to the Soviet Union from acts of aggression in Europe.[14][9] In April 1948, the Air Staff issued a specification with the designation B.9/48 written around the Vickers design, which was given the company designation of Type 660; an Instruction to Proceed was received by Vickers on 16 April 1948.[11] In February 1949, two prototypes of the aircraft were ordered. The first of these was to be fitted with four Rolls-Royce RA.3 Avon turbojet engines, while the second was to be fitted with four Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire engines as the Type 667.[15] Prototypes[edit]

First prototype performing a flight display at Farnborough Airshow, 1951

On 18 May 1951, the first prototype, serial number WB210 took to the air for its maiden flight,[16] within the deadline that George Edwards had promised, and preceded the first Short Sperrin
Short Sperrin
into the air by several months, being only 27 months since the contract had been issued. The pilot was Captain Joseph "Mutt" Summers, who had also been the original test pilot on the Supermarine Spitfire, and wanted to add another "first" to his record before he retired. His co-pilot on the first flight was Gabe "Jock" Bryce, who succeeded Summers as Vickers' chief test pilot upon his retirement shortly afterwards.[17][18] The next month, the Vickers Type 660 was given the official name of "Valiant", recycling the name given to the Vickers Type 131 general-purpose biplane of 1931.[N 2] The name Valiant had been selected by a survey of Vickers employees.[19] On 11 January 1952, the first Valiant prototype was lost during a noise estimation trial flight as the result of an in-flight fire on the starboard wing; all of the crew managed to escape the aircraft safely except for the co-pilot, who struck the tail after ejecting.[20][21] After modifications to the fuel system, which had been thought to be the cause of the fire, the second prototype, serial number WB215, the Vickers Type 667, conducted its maiden flight on 11 April 1952.[22] It was fitted with more powerful RA.7 Avon engines with 7,500 lbf (33 kN) thrust each, rather than the Sapphires that had been originally planned; it also featured more rounded air inlets, replacing the narrow slot-type intakes of the first prototype, in order to feed sufficient air to the more powerful engines. The short delay until the second prototype became available for testing, which was accelerated by three months, meant that loss of the initial prototype did not seriously compromise the schedule.[23][24][12] Of the three prototypes, two were representative of the Valiant B.1,[25] while one was built as a further developed version, referred to the Valiant B.2. The B.2 variant was intended to serve as a Pathfinder aircraft, functioning to mark targets for the main bomber force and to reach its targets at low level and high speed. To cope with the rougher ride compared with high altitude operations, the B.2 had a strengthened airframe. In particular, the wing received design alterations to strengthen it, a key change being the removal of the large cut-outs in the wing structure into which the main wheels retracted, allowing the wing torsion box structure to be uninterrupted and giving more room for internal fuel storage; instead the main landing gear, which had four wheels instead of the two large wheels of the B.1, retracted backwards into large fairings set into the rear of the wings.[26] The B.2 had a lengthened fuselage with a total length of 112 ft 9 in (34.37 m), in contrast to a length of 108 ft 3 in (32.99 m) for the Valiant B.1, with the extra length giving room for more avionics.[27] The prototype B.2, serial number WJ954 first flew on 4 September 1953.[28] Finished in a gloss black night operations paint scheme, it became known as the "Black Bomber". Its performance at low level was superior to that of the B.1 (or any other V-bomber), being strong enough to fly at full power at sea level,[29] with the aircraft being cleared to 580 mph (930 km/h) at low level (with speeds of up to 640 mph (1,030 km/h) being reached in testing). This was compared to the B.1's sea-level limit of 414 mph (666 km/h). The Air Ministry
Air Ministry
ordered 17 production B.2s, which were to be powered by Rolls-Royce Conway
Rolls-Royce Conway
turbofans. However, although the Valiant B.2's low-level capabilities would later prove to be highly desirable, the B.2 program was abandoned as the RAF considered that the Pathfinder concept, born in a time of mass raids, was obsolete in the nuclear era.[30] The B.2 prototype was used for tests for a few years, including testing use of rockets to boost takeoff, contributing to improvements for the Valiant B.1, before being scrapped in 1958.[31][32][33] Production[edit]

Valiant B(PR)K.1 WZ393 of 90 Squadron in original all-metal finish displaying at Blackpool Squires Gate airport in 1957

In April 1951, an initial production order for 25 Valiant B.1 (Bomber Mark 1) aircraft was placed by the Ministry of Supply on behalf of the RAF.[34] The timing of this order was key to establishing production quickly. Due to shortages of steel and other materials while setting up an assembly line at Brooklands, substantial portions of the production jigs for the Valiant were composed of concrete.[29] The first five Valiants produced were completed to a pre-production standard, the first of which being WP199. On 21 December 1953, the first production aircraft conducted its first flight, this had occurred again within the schedule that Edwards had promised.[35][29] On 8 February 1955, this first production Valiant was delivered to the RAF.[36][5] Britain's "V-bomber" force, as it had been nicknamed in October 1952, formally entered operational service on that day. The Victor and Vulcan would soon follow the Valiant into service, for a total of three types of nuclear-armed strategic bombers in RAF service. In September 1957, the final Valiant was delivered.[37] According to Bill Gunston and Peter Gilchrist, all production aircraft had been delivered on time and below budget.[30] A total of 108 Valiants would be manufactured, including the sole B.2 prototype. In addition to their principal role as the RAF's delivery platform for Britain's nuclear deterrent, the Valiant was capable of performing, or was otherwise adapted to perform, in other capacities; these included conventional bombing, aerial reconnaissance, aerial refuelling tanker, and electronic countermeasures.[38] Valiants of 90 and 214 squadrons were used for air refuelling through the addition of a Hose Drum Unit (HDU) in the bomb bay, mounted on the same suspension units that were also used for bombs. This meant that for refuelling, the bomb-bay doors had to be opened so that the refuelling hose could be streamed (unlike later tankers where the HDU was flush with the under fuselage rather than inside a bomb bay). Several Valiants were also used for testing and development purposes, such as its use as a flying testbed during trials of the Blue Steel
nuclear-armed standoff missile, which was later added to the arsenal of munitions equipped upon the other V-Bombers.[39][40] Unlike its Vulcan and Victor peers, the Valiant did not see the procurement of a refined and more capable B.2 model.[5] Instead, the Valiant B.1 fleet was later switched to a low-level flight profile, after which fatigue due to increased turbulence was discovered and this ultimately led to the type's premature retirement. Vic Flintham observed that: "There is a fine irony to the situation, for Vickers had produced the Type 673 B Mk 2 version designed as a fast, low-level pathfinder... The Air Ministry
Air Ministry
was not interested..."[40] The Valiant was Vickers' last purpose-built military aircraft. It was followed by the Vanguard, a passenger turboprop designed in 1959, and the Vickers VC10, a jet passenger aircraft in 1962, also used as a military transport and tanker by the RAF.[5] Design[edit]

Forward view of a preserved Vickers Valiant

The Valiant was a conservative design of the era, being equipped with a shoulder-mounted wing and four Rolls-Royce Avon
Rolls-Royce Avon
RA.3 turbojet engines, each capable of providing up to 6,500 lbf (29 kN) of thrust, installed in pairs in fireproof bays embedded within each wing root.[41] The design of the Valiant gave an overall impression of a plain and clean aircraft with simple aerodynamics. George Edwards described the Valiant appropriately and simply as an "unfunny" aircraft.[42] The root chord thickness ratio was 12% and allowed the Avon engines to be within the wing rather than on pods as in the contemporary Boeing B-47.[43] This "buried engine" fit contributed to the aircraft's aerodynamic cleanness, and was viewed as the typical place to locate the engines. However, this arrangement also made engine access for maintenance and repair difficult and increased the risk that the failure of one engine would contribute to the failure of its pair due to flying debris such as turbine blades; it also increased the complexity of the design of the main spar which had to be routed around the engines.[44] The wing of the Valiant used a "compound sweep" configuration, devised by Vickers aerodynamicist Elfyn Richards.[45] Richard found that the inboard section of the wing could be swept forward for positive results, a discovery which he later patented; the Valiant's wing made use of a 37° angle of sweepback for the inner third of the wing, which reduced to an angle of about 21° at the tips.[46][47] This was because the thickness/chord ratio could be reduced closer to the tips, balancing this against the sweep reduction in postponement of Mach effects such as buffeting and drag rise.[45] The choice to have little sweepback around the aerodynamic surfaces meant that in-service speeds were limited to Mach 0.84 and a typical cruise of Mach 0.75 at heights up to 55,000 ft when light.[48][49] A drogue parachute was deemed unnecessary due to the aircraft's easy operation from runways as short as 6,000 ft.[29] The wing was mounted high on the aircraft's fuselage and it caused the problem of limited fuel capacity, necessary compromises were in design were made due to the placement of the engines and main landing gear within the wing's internal space.[41] The leading edge of the wing was fixed while the trailing edge incorporated large outboard two-section ailerons, the inner section featuring trim tabs, alongside double-slotted flaps again split into inboard and outboard sections.[50] Direct electrical drives were used to move the flaps and most other mechanically-powered input devices on the aircraft.[51]

The wing root and air intakes of a Valiant

Production aircraft were powered by an arrangement of four Avon 201 turbojet engines, each capable of generating 9,500 lbf (42 kN) of thrust. In addition to being the aircraft's primary source of propulsion, the engines also provided bleed air for the pressurization, ice protection, and air conditioning systems as well as the aircraft's assorted electrical generators.[51] Napier Spraymat electric heaters were present within the engine inlets as a de-icing measure. The shape of the engine inlets were long rectangular slots in the first prototype, while the production Valiants featured oval or "spectacle" shaped inlets to permit greater airflow for the more powerful engines that were installed.[43] The jet exhausts emerged from fairings above the trailing edge of the wings.[43] For additional takeoff performance in hot and high conditions, such as tropical climates, a jettisonable rocket booster engines pack was developed for the Valiant.[30] Trials were performed with two underwing de Havilland Sprite boosters; however these were ultimately deemed unnecessary due to the availability of more powerful variants of the Avon engine, as well as fears of potential accidents if one booster rocket failed on takeoff, resulting in asymmetric thrust.[33] A number of Valiants received water injection equipment, which had the effect of increasing takeoff thrust by about 1,000 lb (450 kg) per engine.[52] The crew of the Valiant was contained in a pressurized "egg" in the forward area of the aircraft and consisted of a pilot, co-pilot, two navigators, and an electronics operator;[53] the manufacturing of this pressured section was subcontracted to Saunders-Roe. The pilot and co-pilot were located on an upper level in a side-by-side arrangement akin to the flight deck of an airliner, the remaining three crewmen sat at stations set lower in the cockpit to the rear.[54] A crew of five had been enabled by the discontinuation of use of defensive gun turrets and accompanying air gunners, a design philosophy proved by the successful De Havilland Mosquito
De Havilland Mosquito
bomber of World War II.[47][N 3] The pilot and copilot were provided with Martin-Baker
Mk.3 ejector seats, while the rear crewmen were expected to bail out of the oval main entrance door.[55] It has been claimed that the survivability of the rear crewmen was substantially reduced due to the ineffectiveness of this method of escape.[41]

The crewmen's entry door on the side of the forward fuselage

The fuselage area behind the pressurised crew section and forward of the wing was used to house much of the Valiant's avionics, air conditioning, and the retractable main landing gear.[41] The Valiant featured a tricycle landing gear arrangement, with twin-wheel nosegear and tandem-wheel main gear that retracted outwards recessed set into the wing. Each of the main gear were equipped with multipad anti-skid disc brakes, and were telescopically linked so that a single drive could pull them up into the wing recesses.[41] Most of the aircraft's systems were electrically powered, including the flaps and undercarriage.[56] The brakes and steering gear were hydraulically powered, the pumps themselves were electrically driven.[57][58] The lower half of the aircraft's nose contained the scanner of a powerful H2S radar in a large glass fiber radome; in addition, a visual bomb sight was set beneath the lower floor of the pressurised section.[41] The avionics bay could be accessed via an entrance at the base of the rear fuselage leading to an internal catwalk above the aft of the bomb bay.[59] The electrics were powered by 112 volt direct current generators for functions requiring large amounts of electrical power, and a 28 V DC system provided a controlling voltage for other systems and the actuators that initiated the high-voltage system functions. Backup batteries were a bank of 24 V units and 96 V batteries. 115 V alternating current was provided to systems such as radio and radar that required it; the actuators for the flight surfaces, flaps, air brakes and undercarriage were also powered via this facility.[57][60][58] It was decided during development that as much of the aircraft would be electrically-driven as was possible; this design choice was due to electrical cabling being lighter than its hydraulic counterparts, and the already-present high power electrical generators to meet requirements of energy-hungry equipment such as the radar.[51] The flight controls of the Valiant consisted of two channels of power control with full manual backup; flying in manual was allowed but limited, being intended to be used only in the event of complete electrical failure.[57] The flight controls reportedly required considerable effort to manually operate.[58] All three axis of the flight controls featured a dynamic artificial feel system, the pressure for which was provided via a ram-air inlet.[51] A Smith Aerospace autopilot and instrument landing system (ILS) functionality was installed along with various navigational aids, such as the Marconi Company-built Green Satin doppler radar, Gee radio navigation, Automatic Direction Finder (ADF), VOR/Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), and radar altimeters.[29] Provisions for additional equipment and sensors, such as side looking airborne radar, were also made.[29]

Landing gear
Landing gear
and wing of a Valiant

The main centre fuselage of the Valiant was immensely strengthened around a massive backbone beam to appropriately support the weight and stresses of the two widely-set wing spars and five protected fuel cells located in the upper portions of this section, the sizable bomb bay was also present in the lower half of the centre fuselage.[41][61] The aft fuselage used a semi-monocoque structure, being far lighter than the centre fuselage; the Boulton-Paul-produced electro-hydraulic power units for the ailerons, elevators, and rudder were contained within this space.[51] The tail, which was attached onto the rear fuselage was of a simple design, being tapered rather than swept back,[41] the horizontal tailplane was mounted well up the vertical fin to keep it clear of the engines' exhaust.[45] The tailcone contained a tail warning radar.[30] The main structural components, spars and beams of the Valiant had been constructed from a zinc/magnesium/copper aluminium alloy designated as DTD683 in the UK, which later proved problematic.[62][63] The Valiant had been designed with a 'Safe-Life' strategy;[64] this combination of 'Safe-Life' and DTD683 came to be viewed as a severe mistake. In 1956, a publication within the Journal of the Institute of Metals[65][N 4] condemned the material DTD683 as being unstable and capable of catastrophic failure while stressing the airframe close to its design limits. The "Safe-Life" design strategy was dismissed by a Lockheed engineer in a talk given to the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1956, because it did not guarantee safety in a catastrophic failure.[66] The Valiant B.1 could carry a single 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) nuclear weapon or up to 21 1,000 lb (450 kg) conventional bombs in its bomb bay. The Valiant had been designed not only to accommodate the early fission-based nuclear weapons, but also the newer and larger thermonuclear hydrogen bombs.[41] A "clean" Valiant (one without underwing tanks) could climb straight to 50,000 ft after takeoff unless it had heavy stores in the large bomb bay.[citation needed] In the aerial reconnaissance role, a camera crate would be installed in the bomb bay, along with a pair of cameras set into the fuselage and larger rear fuel tanks to extend the aircraft's endurance.[67] Large external fuel tanks under each wing with a capacity of 1,650 Imp gal (7,500 L), could be used to extend range; an auxiliary fuel tank could also be installed in the forward area of the bomb bay; the external wing tanks were fitted as standard on Valiants that were operated as aerial refuelling tankers.[67] For receiving fuel, a fixed refuelling probe was fitted onto the aircraft's nose, this was connected to the fuel tanks via a pipe running along the outside of the canopy to avoid penetrating the pressure cabin.[68] Operational history[edit]

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Nuclear deterrent[edit]

Side view of a Yellow Sun nuclear bomb under the wing of a Vickers Valiant at RAF Cosford
RAF Cosford

The first squadron to be equipped with the Valiant was 138 Squadron, which formed at RAF Gaydon
RAF Gaydon
on 1 January 1955, with 232 Operational Conversion Unit forming at Gaydon on 21 February 1955 to convert crews onto the new bomber.[69] Since the Valiant was part of an entirely new class of bombers for the RAF, the crews for the new type were selected from experienced aircrew, with first pilots requiring 1,750 flying hours as an aircraft captain, with at least one tour flying the Canberra, with second pilots needing 700 hours in command and the remaining three crewmembers had to be recommended for posting to the Valiant by their commanding officers.[70] Valiants were originally assigned to the strategic nuclear bombing role, as were the Vulcan and Victor B.1s when they became operational. At its peak, the Valiant equipped nine RAF squadrons. According to Gunston and Gilchrist, the Valiant had performed "extremely well" during bombing competition hosted by American Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
(SAC).[68] Edwards claimed that the five most senior United States Air Force
United States Air Force
generals had been impressed by the Valiant during a visit to Wisley Airfield
Wisley Airfield
and that there had been a lot of top-level American interest in the type, including in potentially operating it from aircraft carriers due to its take-off performance; Edwards alleged that the Valiant had influenced the design of the American Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress
bomber.[71] On 11 October 1956, a Valiant B.1 (WZ366) of No 49 Squadron was the first RAF aircraft to drop a British operational atomic bomb when it performed a test drop of a down-rated Blue Danube weapon on Maralinga, South Australia.[72] Windscreen blinds were fitted in advance of the test to protect the crew from the intense flash of light from the nuclear detonation. Following the landing of the aircraft after deploying the weapon, WZ366 was assessed for potential damage and for radioactive contamination.[73] On 15 May 1957, a Valiant B(K).1 dropped the first British hydrogen bomb, the "Short Granite" (AKA "Green Granite Small"), over the Pacific as part of Operation Grapple. No 49 Squadron was selected to perform the live weapon drop, and were equipped with specially-modified Valiants to conform with the scientific requirements of the tests and other precautionary measures to protect against heat and radiation.[74] The test was largely a failure, as the measured yield was less than a third of the maximum expected and while achieving the desired thermonuclear explosion the device had failed to operate as intended. The first British hydrogen bomb that detonated as planned, "Grapple X Round A" (AKA "Round C1"), was dropped on 8 November 1957.[75] The Grapple series of tests continued into 1958, and in April 1958 the "Grapple Y" bomb exploded with ten times the yield of the original "Short Granite".[76] Testing was finally terminated in November 1958, when the British government decided it would perform no more air-delivered nuclear tests.[68] Originally the bombing role was to have been carried out at from high altitude, but following the shooting down in 1960 of the Lockheed U-2 flown by Gary Powers by an early Soviet SA-2
Guideline missile, the SAM threat caused the V-force to train for low-level attack as means of avoiding radar detection when flying within hostile airspace. They were repainted in grey/green camouflage with normal markings, replacing their anti-flash white scheme.[40] By 1963, four Valiant squadrons (49, 148, 207 and 214) had been assigned to SACEUR
in the low-level tactical bombing role.[68] By this point, there had been a noticeable decline in flying rates for the type.[68] Conventional warfare[edit]

Camouflaged Valiant at Filton, England. Circa mid-1960s

Peacetime practice involved the dropping of small practice bombs on instrumented bombing ranges, also a system of predicted bombing using radio tones to mark the position of bomb drop over non-range targets, the bomb error being calculated by a ground radar unit and passed either to the crew during flight or to a headquarters for analysis. Use of the Valiant's Navigational and Bombing System (NBS) and the high quality of assigned crews, which were typically veterans and often had been previously decorated for wartime service, a high level of bombing accuracy could be achieved, greater than that of aircraft during the Second World War. According to Gunston and Gilchrist, Valiant crews were able to place practice bombs from an altitude of 45,000 ft within a few meters of their assigned target.[68] The Valiant was the first of the V-bombers to see combat, during the Anglo-French-Israeli Suez intervention in October and November 1956. During Operation Musketeer, the British military operation in what became popularly known as the Suez Crisis, Valiants operating from the airfield at Luqa on Malta
repeatedly dropped conventional bombs on targets inside Egypt. Egyptian military airfields were the principal target of these bombing raids; other targets included communications such as radio stations and transport hubs.[77] On the first night of the operation, six Valiants were dispatched to bomb Cairo West Air Base (which was aborted in flight due to potential risk to US personnel in the vicinity) while six more attacked Almaza Air Base
Almaza Air Base
and a further five bombed Kibrit Air Base
Kibrit Air Base
and Huckstep Barracks.[78][79] Although the Egyptians did not oppose the attacks and there were no Valiant combat losses incurred, the results of the raids were reportedly disappointing. Although the Valiants dropped a total of 842 tons (856 tonnes) of bombs, only three of the seven airfields attacked were seriously damaged.[N 5] However, the Egyptian Air Force had been effectively destroyed in a wider series of multinational attacks of which the Valiant bombing missions had been a part.[80] It was the last time the V-bombers flew a live combat mission until Avro
Vulcans bombed Port Stanley airfield in the Falkland Islands during the Falklands War
Falklands War
in 1982. Tanker operations[edit] Valiant tankers were flown by No. 214 Squadron at RAF Marham, operational in 1958, and 90 Squadron at Honington, operational in 1959.[37] Aircraft assigned to the tanker role were fitted with a Hose Drum Unit (HDU or "HooDoo") in the bomb bay. The HDU was mounted on bomb-mounting points and could be removed if necessary; this arrangement meant that the bomb bay doors had to be opened in order to give fuel to a receiver aircraft. A control panel at the radar navigator station in the cockpit was used to operate the HDU. All of the HDU equipment was designed to be easily removable so that the aircraft could be reverted to the bomber role.[81] With in-flight refuelling probes fitted to Valiants, Vulcans and Victors and Valiant tankers available to give fuel and extend the range of the aircraft being refuelled, the RAF Medium Bomber
Force could go beyond "medium range", and the RAF had a long range capability. Long-range demonstration flights were made using Valiant tankers pre-deployed along the route. In 1960, a Valiant bomber flew non-stop from Marham in the UK to Singapore and in 1961 a Vulcan flew non-stop from the UK to Australia.[37] The two tanker squadrons regularly practised long range missions, refuelled by other Valiant tankers on the way. These included flights from the UK to Nairobi for which the tanker was stationed at RAF Idris in Libya, and flights from Aden (RAF Khormaksar) to the UK with tankers from Idris or RAF El Adem in Libya. In 1963 a squadron of Gloster Javelin
Gloster Javelin
fighters was refuelled by tankers from 214 squadron in stages from the UK to India (Exercise "Shiksha") to support the Indian Air Force in a dispute over their border with China. The 214 squadron tankers flew on to the airfield at Butterworth near Penang
in Malaysia, then a station of the Royal Australian Air Force. Later, they re-deployed to India (Calcutta Dum Dum airport) in order to refuel the Javelins in stages back to the UK three weeks later. Other aircraft refuelled by Valiants at this time included Victor and Vulcan bombers and English Electric Lightning
English Electric Lightning
fighters, also the de Havilland Sea Vixen fighter of the Royal Navy. [82] Countermeasures and reconnaissance roles[edit] Valiants of No. 18 Squadron RAF
No. 18 Squadron RAF
at RAF Finningley
RAF Finningley
were modified to the "radio countermeasures" (RCM) role – RCM is now called "electronic countermeasures" (ECM). These aircraft were ultimately fitted with APT-16A and ALT-7 jamming transmitters, Airborne Cigar and Carpet jammers, APR-4 and APR-9 "sniffing" receivers, and chaff dispensers. At least seven Valiants were configured to the RCM role. Valiants of No. 543 Squadron at RAF Wyton
RAF Wyton
were modified to serve in the photographic reconnaissance role. In one notable operation in 1965, Valiants of No. 543 Squadron photographed around 400,000 square miles of Rhodesia
across an 11-week period.[37] Fatigue failures and retirement[edit] In 1956, Vickers had performed a series of low level tests in WZ383 to assess the type for low level flight at high speed. Several modifications to the aircraft were made, including a metal radome, debris guards on the two inboard engines, after six flights the aileron and elevator artificial feel was reduced by 50%. Pilots reported problems with cabin heating and condensation that would need remedying. The aircraft was fitted with data recording equipment and this data was used by Vickers to estimate the remaining safe life of the type under these flying conditions. Initially a safe life of 75 hours was recommended, which became "the real figure might be less than 200 hours".[83] The number of hours flown by each Valiant in a year was viewed as being an operational issue for the RAF.[84]

Vickers Valiant
Vickers Valiant
on display

Later the RAE ran a similar series of tests that more closely resembled actual operational conditions including low level and taxiing, the corresponding report published in 1958 produced data that could be used to get a better grasp on which flight conditions produced the most damage, and better enable a projection of the future life span for the type.[85] In May 1957 Flight reported an "incident at Boscombe Down, when a Valiant cracked a rear spar member after a rocket-assisted takeoff in overload conditions"[86] This aircraft was the second prototype WB 215, it was subsequently broken up for wing fatigue testing after it had flown 489 hours[87] In July 1964, a cracked spar was found in one of the three Valiants (either WZ394 – Wynne, or WZ389 – Morgan) on Operation Pontifex.[88] This was followed on 6 August by a failure of the starboard wing rear spar at 30,000 ft,[89] in WP217, an OCU aircraft from Gaydon captained by Flight Lieutenant "Taffy" Foreman. The aircraft landed back at Gaydon but without flap deployment because damage to the starboard rear spar caused the flap rollers to come out of their guides so that the flap would not lower on that side. Later inspection of the aircraft also showed the fuselage skin below the starboard inner plane had buckled, popping the rivets; the engine door had cracked and the rivets had been pulled and the skin buckled on the top surface of the mainplane between the two engines.[90] Both of these aircraft were PR variants.[91] Inspections of the entire fleet showed that the wing spars were suffering from fatigue at between 35% and 75% of the assessed safe fatigue life, probably due to low level turbulence.[69] After this inspection, the aircraft were divided into three categories, Cat A aircraft continuing to fly, Cat B to fly to a repair base, and Cat C requiring repair before flying again. The tanker squadrons had the highest proportion of Cat A aircraft because their role had been mainly at high level.[69] This also caused the methods of assessing fatigue lives to be reviewed.[92] By the time the type was scrapped, only about 50 aircraft were still in service, the rest had been slowly accumulating at various RAF Maintenance Units designated as "Non effective Aircraft"[93] Initially there was no question of retiring the type, or even the majority of affected aircraft. Repairs were actively taking place at Valiant bases such as Marham using working parties from Vickers plus RAF technicians from the base. However, in January 1965, the Wilson government with Denis Healey
Denis Healey
as Secretary of State for Defence
Secretary of State for Defence
decided that the expense of the repairs could not be justified, given the short operational life left to the Valiant and the fleet was permanently grounded as of 26 January 1965.[94] The QRA alert that had been in place for SACEUR
was maintained until the final grounding and was then allowed to lapse.[95] When asked to make a statement regarding the Valiant's scrapping in the House of Commons, Denis Healey stated that it "was not in any way connected with low-level flying" and that "last Government took the decision to continue operating the Valiant force for another four years after its planned fatigue life was complete".[96] Aviation author Barry Jones commented in his book that: "A question has to be asked. For two years before the demise of the Valiant, Handley Page at Radlett had 100 Hastings go through their shops. They were completely dismantled and rebuilt, having DTD683 components removed and replaced by new alloy sections. What was so special about the Hastings and why was the Valiant not treated similarly? Perhaps we will know one day – but I doubt it." [97] A Flight report about the scrapping it states "Fatigue affected all Valiants ... not only those that had been used for some low flying".[98] On 9 December 1964, the last Valiant tanker sortie in XD812 of 214 Squadron was refuelling Lightning aircraft over the North Sea and was recalled to land back at Marham before the scheduled exercise was completed. On the same day, the last Valiant bomber sortie was carried out by XD818.[N 6] Variants[edit] Including three prototypes, a total of 107 Valiants were built.

Valiant B.1: 39 pure bomber variants, including five pre-production Type 674s, which were powered by Avon RA.14 engines with the same 9,500 lbf (42 kN) thrust each as the earlier Avon 201 and 34 Type 706 full-production aircraft, powered by Avon RA.28 204 or 205 engines with 10,500 lbf (47 kN) thrust each, longer tailpipes, and water-methanol injection for takeoff boost power. Type 710 Valiant B(PR).1: eight bomber/photo-reconnaissance aircraft. Edwards and his team had considered use of the Valiant for photo-reconnaissance from the start, and this particular type of aircraft could accommodate a removable "crate" in the bomb-bay, carrying up to eight narrow-view/high resolution cameras and four survey cameras. Type 733 Valiant B(PR)K.1: 13 bomber/photo-reconnaissance/tanker aircraft Type 758 Valiant B(K).1: 44 bomber / tanker aircraft. Both tanker variants carried a removable tanker system in the bomb bay, featuring fuel tanks and a hose-and-drogue aerial refuelling system. A further 16 Valiant B(K).1s were ordered, but cancelled. Vickers also considered an air transport version of the Valiant, with a low-mounted wing, wingspan increased to 140 ft (42.7 m) from 114 ft 4 in (34.8 m), fuselage lengthened to 146 ft (44.5 m), and uprated engines. Work on a prototype, designated the Type 1000, began in early 1953. The prototype was to lead to a military transport version, the Type 1002, and a civilian transport version, the Type 1004 or VC.7. The Type 1000 prototype was almost complete when it, too, was cancelled.

Valiant production ended in August 1957; the last six had been cancelled in 1956. Operators[edit]

Silhouette of the Valiant B.1

 United Kingdom

Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
operated Valiants out of RAF Gaydon, RAF Finningley, RAF Honington, RAF Marham, RAF Wittering
RAF Wittering
and RAF Wyton
RAF Wyton

No. 7 Squadron – Reformed at Honington on 1 November 1956, moving to Wittering on 26 July 1960 and disbanding 30 September 1962.[99] No. 18 Squadron – Valiant equipped C Flight of 199 Squadron renumbered 18 Squadron at Finningley on 17 December 1958 and disbanded 31 March 1963.[99] No. 49 Squadron – Reformed Wittering 1 May 1956, moving to Marham 26 June 1961 and disbanding 1 May 1965.[99] No. 90 Squadron – Reformed at Honington on 1 January 1957 and disbanded on 1 March 1965 .[99] No. 138 Squadron – Reformed at Gaydon on 1 January 1955, moving to Wittering on 6 July 1955 and disbanding 1 April 1962.[99] No. 148 Squadron – Reformed Marham 1 July 1956 and disbanded 1 May 1965.[99] No. 199 Squadron – C Flight of 199 Squadron received Valiants on 29 May 1957 at Honington in the ECM training role, replacing Avro Lincolns, with the rest of the Squadron operating the Canberra. 199 Squadron was disbanded in December 1958, with C Flight becoming 18 Squadron.[99][100] No. 207 Squadron – Reformed at Marham on 1 April 1956, disbanding on 1 May 1965.[99] No. 214 Squadron – Reformed at Marham on 21 January 1956 and disbanded on 1 March 1965.[99] No. 543 Squadron – Reformed at Gaydon on 1 April 1955 in the strategic reconnaissance role and moved to Wyton on 18 November 1955. It received Victor Mk 1s to replace its grounded Valiants in 1965.[99][101] No. 232 Operational Conversion Unit RAF
No. 232 Operational Conversion Unit RAF
– Formed at Gaydon 21 February 1955 to train Valiant flight crews, with Victor training added in 1957. The Valiant equipped B flight disbanded in February 1965.[99] No. 1321 (Valiant/Blue Danube Trials) Flight[102]


Vickers Valiant
Vickers Valiant
B1 XD818 – RAF Museum Cosford
RAF Museum Cosford
in 2006

Vickers Valiant
Vickers Valiant
B1 XD818 – RAF Museum Cosford, on display with the other two V bombers, the Victor and Vulcan in the National Cold War Exhibition, this is the only fully intact example in existence, and so is the only place where an example of all three V bombers can be seen together.[103] Cockpit sections surviving comprise XD816 at Brooklands Museum
Brooklands Museum
in Surrey
and XD875 at the Highland Aviation Museum at Inverness Airport.[104][105] A third surviving section is the cockpit of XD826 which is part of a private collection in Essex and the flight deck of XD857 is displayed at the Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum
Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum
at Flixton, Suffolk.[106]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

12 January 1952; the first Valiant prototype WB210 crashed near Hurn following a midair fire.[107] 29 July 1955; Valiant B1 WP222 of No. 138 Squadron crashed on takeoff at RAF Wittering
RAF Wittering
following aileron malfunction, killing all four crew.[108][109] 11 May 1956; Valiant B1 WP202 of the Royal Aircraft Establishment lost control and crashed attempting to land at Southwick Recreation Ground, near Hove in Sussex.[108] 13 September 1957: Valiant B(PR)K1 WZ398 of No. 543 Squadron caught fire in a hangar at RAF Wyton, not repaired.[110] 11 September 1959: Valiant BK1 XD869 of No. 214 Squadron flew into the ground after a night takeoff from RAF Marham.[111] 12 August 1960: Valiant BK1 XD864 of No. 7 Squadron nosewheel failed to retract on takeoff from RAF Wyton, while sorting it out the aircraft stalled and crashed into the ground at RAF Spanhoe
RAF Spanhoe
disused airfield.[111] 11 July 1961: Valiant B1 WP205 of the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment overshot runway and hit control caravan at Boscombe Down.[108] 3 November 1961: Valiant B(PR)K1 WZ399 of No. 543 Squadron abandoned takeoff at Offut AFB, Nebraska, United States, caught fire after overshooting runway onto a railway line.[110] 14 March 1961 Valiant B. 1 WP200 at RRFU Pershore, failed to complete takeoff, written off [108][112] 6 May 1964: Valiant B1 WZ363 of No. 148 Squadron (although a 148 Sqn aircraft, it was on loan to, and crewed by, members of 207 Sqn) dived into the ground at night at Market Rasen, Lincolnshire.[110] 23 May 1964: Valiant B(PR)K1 WZ396 of No. 543 Squadron landed on foam with landing gear problems at RAF Manston, not repaired.[110]

Specifications (Valiant B.1)[edit]

Data from Vickers Aircraft since 1908,[113] Jet Bombers[71] General characteristics

Crew: five – two pilots, two navigators (one navigator plotter + one navigator bomber), air electronics officer Length: 108 ft 3 in (32.99 m) Wingspan: 114 ft 4 in (34.85 m) Height: 32 ft 2 in (9.80 m) Wing area: 2,362 ft2 (219 m2) Empty weight: 75,881 lb (34,491 kg) Max. takeoff weight: 140,000 lb (63,600 kg) Powerplant: 4 × Rolls-Royce Avon
Rolls-Royce Avon
RA28 Mk 204 turbojet, 10,000 lb (44.6 kN) each


Maximum speed: 567 mph (493 knots, 913 km/h) at 30,000 ft (9,150 m) Range: 4,500 mi (3,910 nmi, 7,245 km) with underwing tanks Service ceiling: 54,000 ft (16,500 m) Rate of climb: 4,000 ft/min (20 m/s)



1 × 10,000 lb (4500 kg) Blue Danube nuclear bomb[114] or 21 × 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs

See also[edit]

External video

Newsreel footage of Valiant following 1955 Speed Record

Footage and Description of the Valiant B2

Period footage of RAF Valiant operations

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Vulcan Boeing B-47 Stratojet Convair XB-46 Handley Page Victor Martin XB-48 North American B-45 Tornado Tupolev Tu-16/Xian H-6

Related lists

List of aircraft of the Royal Air Force

References[edit] Notes[edit]

^ The rapid development of aircraft during World War II
World War II
led to a demand for very high strength aluminium alloy, especially for use in highly loaded tension and compression members. One result was a zinc /magnesium based alloy given the identification DTD 683. It was ideal for such applications as wing spar caps providing, as was the case with wartime operations, the life of the aircraft was short. Use in early post-War transport aircraft showed that DTD 683 was very crack sensitive and hence prone to fatigue failure. In many cases it had to be replaced by steel components. DTD 683 is an example of a material developed to meet a particular need, but whose wider characteristics were not investigated until too late. D.Howe 1998 ^ Traditionally, RAF bombers had been named after towns and cities, for example Lancaster, Halifax and Canberra, but the new aircraft technology seemed to suggest a break from tradition; the name also fitted in with an equally long held tradition of alliteration in aircraft names. ^ Vickers had proposed the installation of a pair of 20 mm cannons in the tailcone, however this concept was never explored beyond the drawing board.[30] ^ Structural Changes Caused by Plastic Strain and by fatigue in Aluminium-Zinc-Magnesium-Copper Alloys Corresponding to DTD.683 (Broom and Mezza) ^ The Valiants had not yet been fitted with their operational Navigational and Bombing System (NBS) and were dropping largely using Second World War techniques. ^ XD818 was also the aircraft which had dropped nuclear weapons during Operation Grapple.


^ Lord de L'Isle and Dudley (Sidney, William) (17 February 1953), "Supply of Aircraft", House of Lords Debates, Hansard, vol 180, cc463, retrieved 30 May 2016  ^ Blackman and Wright 2015, p. 33. ^ “Pitfalls of the substitution of sophistication for Common Sense” D Howe, Cranfield University. IMechE Vol 212 Part G, Sec 5.1 Metals, p. 307. May 1998 ^ a b Turpin 2002, p. 71. ^ a b c d e Flintham 2008, p. 131. ^ a b c Rosemeyer 2009, p. 52. ^ a b Burnet and Morgan Aeroplane Monthly
Aeroplane Monthly
August 1980, p. 397. ^ "Aerocinema-The Lost V Bomber". aerocinema.com. Archived from the original on 24 November 2014.  ^ a b c d Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, p. 72. ^ Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, pp. 72–73. ^ a b c Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, p. 73. ^ a b Blackman and Wright 2015, p. 17. ^ Downey 1985, p. 5. ^ Rosemeyer 2009, pp. 52–53. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1988, p. 438. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1988, p. 439. ^ Turpin 2002, p. 72. ^ Blackman and Wright 2015, p. 10. ^ Jones 2007, pp. 31, 33. ^ Flight 4 July 1958, p. 13. ^ Blackman and Wright 2015, pp. 11–16. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1988, p. 440. ^ Turpin 2002, p. 74. ^ Jones 2007, p. 34. ^ Jones 2007, p. 26. ^ Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, pp. 77–78. ^ Jones 2007, pp. 32, 36. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1988, p. 445. ^ a b c d e f Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, p. 77. ^ a b c d e Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, p. 78. ^ Jones 2007, pp. 36–37. ^ Brookes 2012, pp. 83–84. ^ a b Blackman and Wright 2015, p. 20. ^ Burnet and Morgan Aeroplane Monthly
Aeroplane Monthly
August 1980, p. 400. ^ Jones 2007, p. 37. ^ Brookes 2012, p. 12. ^ a b c d Hubbard and Simmons 2008, p. 26. ^ Blackman and Wright 2015, pp. 19–20. ^ Blackman and Wright 2015, pp. 24–26. ^ a b c Flintham 2008, p. 133. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, p. 75. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1988, p. 449. ^ a b c Andrews and Morgan, p. 442. ^ Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, pp. 73–74. ^ a b c Barfield Air International
Air International
September 1992, p. 158. ^ Burnet and Morgan Aeroplane Monthly
Aeroplane Monthly
August 1980, p. 398. ^ a b Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, p. 74. ^ Andrews 1966, p. 16. ^ Blackman and Wright 2015, pp. 17–18. ^ Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, pp. 75–76. ^ a b c d e Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, p. 76. ^ Darling 2012, p. 41. ^ Blackman and Wright 2015, p. 28. ^ Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, pp. 74–75. ^ Turpin 2002, pp. 79–80. ^ Darling 2012, p. 39. ^ a b c Flight 4 July 1958, p. 19. ^ a b c Blackman and Wright 2015, p. 18. ^ Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, pp. 76–77. ^ Turpin 2002, p. 78. ^ Flight 4 July 1958, p. 18. ^ Flight 14 December 1951, p. 756. ^ Flight 17 July 1953, p. 91. ^ Brookes Valiant Units of the Cold War, pp. 83. ^ The Journal of the Institute of Metals (JIM), Vol. 86, No. 1790, 1957–1958. ^ Flight 6 April 1956, p. 394. ^ a b Blackman and Wright 2015, p. 19. ^ a b c d e f Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, p. 79. ^ a b c Darling 2012, p. 40. ^ Jones 2007, pp. 79–82. ^ a b Gunston and Gilchrist 1993, p. 80. ^ Mason 1994, p. 378. ^ Blackman and Wright 2015, pp. 33–36. ^ Hubbard and Simmons 2008, pp. 61, 68. ^ Hubbard and Simmons 2008, p. 157. ^ Hubbard and Simmons 2008, p. 167. ^ Bowman 2016, p. 158 ^ Blackman and Wright 2015, p. 42. ^ Darling 2012, p. 42. ^ Bowman 2016, pp. 158, 161. ^ Tanner 2006, pp. 113–114. ^ Wing ^ Morgan p. 66-68 ^ Valiant Units of the Cold War, Brookes p. 88. ^ "Fatigue Loadings in Flight-Loads in the Nose Undercarriage and Wing of a Valiant." E.W. Wells, ARC C.P. No. 521. ^ Flight May 17, 1957 p. 651 ^ Morgan p. 44 & p. 89. ^ Humphrey Wynne "The RAF Strategic Nuclear Deterrent Forces" p. 469. ^ Brookes, Victor Units of the Cold War, p. 67. ^ Darling 2012, pp. 39–40. ^ Morgan, App 2, Individual Valiant Histories pp. 89–94. ^ Wynn 1996, p. 465. ^ Morgan App2, pp. 89–94. ^ "Valiants to be Scrapped." Glasgow Herald, 27 January 1965. ^ Wynn 1996, pp. 464–471, 500. ^ "ROYAL AIR FORCE (VALIANT AIRCRAFT)", House of Commons Debates, vol 705, cc723-7, 1 February 1965  ^ "V-Bombers” Barry Jones p. 117. ^ "End of the Valiants", Flight International, p. 184, 4 February 1965  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Brookes 2012, p. 92. ^ Halley 1980, p. 203. ^ Halley 1980, p. 315. ^ Brookes 2012, pp. 34–35. ^ "60th Anniversary of Valiant’s First Flight." Royal Air Force Museum, 17 May 2011. ^ "Powered Aircraft, Gliders & Aircraft Cockpit Sections." Brooklands Museum, Retrieved: 19 August 2012. ^ "Exhibits – External ." Highland Aviation Museum, Retrieved: 19 August 2012. ^ "Our Aircraft." Archived 6 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation Museum, Retrieved: 19 August 2012. ^ "Sole British Jet Atom Bomber
Crashes." New York Times, 13 January 1952. ^ a b c d Halley 2003, p. 95. ^ "Valiant Crash Inquest Verdict." The Times, Issue 53289, August 1955, p. 11. ^ a b c d Halley 2003, p. 128. ^ a b Halley 2001, p. 20. ^ Morgan 1994, p. 32. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1988, p. 450. ^ Mason 1994, p. 379.


Andrews, C.F. The Vickers Valiant
Vickers Valiant
(Aircraft in profile no. 66). Leatherhead, Surrey, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1965. Andrews, C.F. and Eric B. Morgan. Vickers Aircraft since 1908. London: Putnam, 1988. ISBN 978-0851778150 . Barfield, Norman. "Vickers Valiant: Precient programme management par excellence". Air International, Vol. 43, No. 3, September 1992, pp. 153–161. ISSN 0306-5634. Blackman, Tony and Anthony Wright. Valiant Boys: True Stories from the Operators of the UK's First Four-Jet Bomber. Grub Street Publishing, 2015. ISBN 1-9106-9087-2. Bowman, Martin. Cold War Jet Combat: Air-to-Air Jet Fighter Operations 1950–1972. Casemate Publishers, 2016. ISBN 1-4738-7463-7. Brookes, Andrew. Force V: The History of Britain's Airborne Deterrent. London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1982. ISBN 0-7106-0238-3. Brookes, Andrew. Valiant Units of the Cold War (Osprey Combat Aircraft: 95). Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2012. ISBN 978-1-84908753-7. Burnet, Charles and Eric B. Morgan. "The V-Bombers: Vickers Valiant, Part 1." Aeroplane Monthly, Volume 8, No. 8, August 1980. Burnet, Charles and Eric B. Morgan. "The V-Bombers: Vickers Valiant, Part 2." Aeroplane Monthly, Volume 8, No. 9, September 1980. Darling, Kev. RAF Strike Command 1968 -2007: Aircraft, Men and Action, Casemate Publishers, 2012. ISBN 1-8488-4898-6. Downey, Bob. V Bombers (Warbirds Illustrated No. 35). London: Arms and Armour Press, 1985. ISBN 0-85368-740-4. Ellis, Ken. Wrecks & Relics: 20th Edition. Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing, 2006. ISBN 1-85780-235-7. Flintham, Vic. High Stakes: Britain's Air Arms in Action 1945–1990. Pen and Sword, 2008. ISBN 1-8441-5815-2. Gunston, Bill. Bombers of the West. London: Ian Allan Ltd., 1973, pp 38–53. ISBN 0-7110-0456-0. Gunston, Bill and Peter Gilchrist. Jet Bombers: From the Messerschmitt Me 262 to the Stealth B-2. Osprey, 1993. ISBN 1-85532-258-7. Halley, James. Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
Aircraft WA100 to WZ999. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Limited, 2003, First edition 2001. ISBN 0-85130-321-8. Halley, James J. The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1980. ISBN 0-85130-083-9. Hubbard, Kenneth and Michael Simmons. Dropping Britain s First H-Bomb: Story of Operation Grapple
Operation Grapple
1957. Pen and Sword, 2008. ISBN 1-7834-0336-5. Jackson, Robert. Modern Combat Aircraft: 11 – V-Bombers. Shepperton, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Ltd. ISBN 1-901945-03-0. Jones, Barry. V-Bombers: Valiant, Vulcan and Victor. Ramsbury, Malborough, UK: The Crowood Press, Paperback edition, 2007. ISBN 978-1-86126-945-4. Laming, Tim. V-Bombers: Vulcan, Victor and Valiant – Britain's Airborne Nuclear Deterrent. London: Patrick Stephens Limited, 1997. ISBN 978-1-85260-529-2. "Light Alloys and Production Problems: Two Further Papers from the A.F.I.T.A. Congress." Flight, 17 July 1953, pp. 91–93. Mason, Francis K. The British Bomber
since 1914. London: Putnam, 1994. ISBN 0-85177-861-5. McBrearty, J. F. "Fail-Safe airframe design: The Lockheed philosophy: 'Fail-Safe' preferred to 'Safe Life'." Flight, 6 April 1956, pp. 394–397. Morgan, Eric B. Vickers Valiant: The First V-Bomber. Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing, 2002. ISBN 1-85780-134-2. Rosemeyer, Maurice Patrick. Adventure in the Air: Memoirs of a Flight Test Engineer. London, Ontario, Canada: Insomniac Press, 2009. ISBN 1-926582-14-4. "Structural Problems – and Some Suggested Solutions: a Digest of Mr H. H. Gardiner's R.Ae.S Lecture." Flight, 14 December 1951, pp. 756–758. Tanner, Richard. History of Air-To-Air Refuelling. Pen and Sword, 2006. ISBN 1-8441-5272-3. Turpin, Brian. "Database: Vickers Valiant." Aeroplane, Volume 30, No. 2, Issue 346, February 2002. "Valiant: Last of the Vickers Bombers?" Flight, 4 July 1958, pp. 13–20. Wilson, Stewart. Combat Aircraft since 1945. Fyshwick, Australia: Aerospace Publications, 2000. 1-875671-50-1. Wynn, Humphrey. RAF Nuclear Deterrent Forces. London: The Stationery Office. 1996. ISBN 0-11-772833-0.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vickers Valiant.

RAF Museum Valiant History "High Encounter" on YouTube

v t e

Vickers and Vickers-Armstrongs

By type number

54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 66 67 69 71 72 73 74 76 78 79 81 83 84 85 87 91 94 95 96 99 100 103 105 106 108 112 113 115 116 117 121 123 124 125 127 128 129 130 131 132 134 139 141 142 143 145 146 150 151 160 161 162 163 169 170 172 173 177 192 194 195 196 198 199 203 204 207 209 210 212 214 216 217 220 244 245 246 252 253 255 258 259 262 264 266 271 277 281 285 286 287 289 290 291 292 294 298 299 401 402 406 407 408 410 413 416 417 418 419 421 424 427 428 429 432 435 437 439 440 442 443 445 446 447 449 451 452 454 455 456 457 458 459 460 461 462 463 464 465 466 467 469 470 474 478 485 486 487 488 490 491 492 495 496 498 559 571 579 581 602 604 607 610 614 615 616 618 619 620 621 623 624 626 627 628 630 632 634 635 636 637 639 641 643 644 648 649 651 660 667 668 674 700 701 702 706 707 708 710 720 723 724 730 733 734 735 736 737 739 742 744 745 748 749 754 756 757 758 760 761 763 764 765 768 769 772 773 776 779 781 782 784 785 786 789 793 794 798 800 801 802 803 804 806 807 808 810 812 813 814 815 816 818 827 828 831 832 836 837 838 839 843 870 950 951 952 953 1000 1100 1101 1103 1106 1151

Type C

Early types


Monoplane No.1 Monoplane No.2 Monoplane No.3 Monoplane No.4 Monoplane No.5 Monoplane No.6 Monoplane No.7 Monoplane No.8

Tractor Biplane Tractor Scout

HM Airship No. 1 HM Airship No. 9r


Merchantman Vimy Commercial Vulture Viget Vagabond Vulcan 170 Vanguard Vellox VC.1 Viking VC.2 VC.3 Viscount Vanguard VC10

Airships: R80 R100


C.O.W. Gun Fighter E.F.B.1 E.F.B.2 E.F.B.3 E.F.B.4 F.B.5 F.B.6 E.F.B.7 E.F.B.8 F.B.9 F.B.11 F.B.12 F.B.14 F.B.16 F.B.19 F.B.23 F.B.24 F.B.25 F.B.26 (Vampire)

F.B.27 E.S.1 E.S.2

Vimy Viking Vivid Vixen Valparaiso Venture Wibault Scout 123 Valiant 141 143 161 162 163 177 207 253 581 C Jockey Vespa Wibault Viastra Vellore Virginia Vanox Valentia (flying boat) Valentia (Type 264) Vampire Vanellus Vendace Venom Vernon Victoria Vildebeest V.I.M Vincent Vireo Vulture Wellesley Wellington Warwick Windsor Valetta Varsity Valiant "Victory Bomber"

v t e

Military aircraft
Military aircraft
manufactured in Britain since World War II


de Havilland Vampire de Havilland Venom English Electric Lightning Eurofighter Typhoon Gloster Javelin Hawker Hunter Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado
ADV Supermarine Swift

Naval fighters

BAE Sea Harrier de Havilland Sea Hornet de Havilland Sea Vampire de Havilland Sea Venom de Havilland Sea Vixen Hawker Sea Fury Hawker Sea Hawk Supermarine Attacker Supermarine Scimitar

Strike / Ground attack

BAC Strikemaster BAE Harrier II Blackburn Buccaneer Eurofighter Typhoon Hawker Hunter Hawker Siddeley Harrier Panavia Tornado
Panavia Tornado
IDS SEPECAT Jaguar Westland Wyvern
Westland Wyvern


Lincoln Avro
Vulcan English Electric Canberra Handley Page Victor Vickers Valiant

Maritime patrol

Shackleton Fairey Gannet Hawker Siddeley Nimrod


Athena BAC Jet Provost BAE Hawk Boulton Paul Balliol de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk Folland Gnat Handley Page Jetstream British Aerospace Jetstream Percival Provost Percival Prince/Sea Prince Short Tucano Vickers Varsity

Prototype and experimental

Armstrong Whitworth A.W.52 Avro
707 BAC TSR-2 BAe EAP Blackburn Firecrest Boulton Paul P.111 Boulton Paul P.120 Bristol 188 Cierva Air Horse Fairey Delta 1 Fairey Delta 2 Fairey Ultra-light Helicopter Folland Midge Handley Page HP.88 Handley Page HP.115 Hawker P.1052 Hawker P.1072 Hawker Siddeley P.1127 Heston JC.6 Hunting H.126 Rolls-Royce Thrust Measuring Rig Saro P.531 Saunders-Roe
SR.A/1 Saunders-Roe
SR.53 Short Seamew Short SB.5 Short SC.1 Short Sperrin Slingsby T.53 Supermarine 508 Supermarine 545 Supermarine Seagull Youngman-Baynes High Lift


Armstrong Whitworth Argosy Auster AOP.9 Beagle Basset Blackburn Beverley Handley Page Hastings Hawker Siddeley Andover Percival Pembroke Scottish Aviation Pioneer Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer Short Belfast Vickers Valetta


AgustaWestland Apache AgustaWestland Merlin Bristol Belvedere Bristol Sycamore Saro Skeeter Westland Dragonfly Westland Gazelle Westland Lynx Westland Scout Westland Sea King Westland Wasp Westland Wessex Westland Whirlwind


Slingsby Grasshopper Slingsby Prefect

v t e

Strategic nuclear weapon systems of the United Kingdom

V bomber
V bomber
force (1955–1969)

launch platforms

Vickers Valiant Avro
Vulcan Handley Page Victor


Blue Steel Skybolt (cancelled)

bomb casings

Blue Danube Yellow Sun WE.177B


Mk.1 atom bomb Green Grass Red Snow WE.177B

Blue Streak (1960, cancelled)

launch platforms

Missile launch facility
Missile launch facility
at RAF Spadeadam


Blue Streak



Polaris (1968–1996)

launch platforms

Resolution-class submarine


Polaris A3T and A3TK


ET.317 Chevaline

Trident (1994–present)

launch platforms

Vanguard-class submarine
Vanguard-class submarine
(1994–present) Dreadnought-class submarine
Dreadnought-class submarine


Trident II D5


manufactured at the Atomic Weapons Establishment

part of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
nuclear weapo