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Operation Corporate   >   Equipment   >   Vulcan

   
 

Avro Vulcan


The Avro Vulcan was a massive subsonic delta-winged bomber that served with the British Royal Air Force (RAF). The first prototype flew in 1952, and the aircraft was in squadron service from 1956 to 1984 and carried out the Black Buck raids during the Falklands War.

The aircraft was originally developed as part of the RAF's V-bomber nuclear deterrence force against the Soviet Union, during the early part of the Cold War. The aircraft also had a secondary role as a conventional bomber, being able to carry up to twenty-one 1,000 lb bombs (it also served for a period in a maritime radar reconnaissance role, and as a tanker - but not in either role during the Falklands War).

Avro Vulcan

By the time of the Falklands War, the Vulcan was preparing for retirement, its role as part of Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent role having long passed over to the Royal Navy's Polaris submarines. Nevertheless, despite its age, the Vulcan remained capable of delivering WE.177B freefall nuclear weapons, and continued to be available to support NATO ground forces in a tactical strike role.

In preparation for the Black Buck raids, five Vulcans were selected. Because of their age, many modifications were necessary. The aircrafts' bomb bays were modified, the flight refuelling system (which had long been out of operation) was repaired, the electronics upgraded, and the capability of carrying an ECM pod and Shrike anti-radar missiles added.

Vulcans were to carry out five raids (out seven that were planned) during the war, and bombed Port Stanley airfield, Argentine radar installations and Argentine ground forces. The raids on Stanley airfield, cratered the runway and forced the Argentines to withdraw their fast jets (including Mirage IIIs) back to the Argentine mainland. Each of the raids was flown from Wideawake airfield on Ascension Island over a a range of 3,380 nautical miles (6,300 kilometres), making them the longest range air combat mission then carried out.

The Vulcan finally retired from RAF service in 1984. Of the 134 aircraft that were originally built, 21 are currently on display in museums

Here is a summary of the Vulcan Mk B 2 technical specifications:

Crew 5
Wingspan 111 feet (33.8 metres)
Length 99 feet 11 inches (30.5 metres)
105 feet 6 inches (32.2 metres) with refuelling probe
Height 27 feet 1 inch (8.1 metres)
Wing Area 3,964 ft2 (368 m2)
Maximum Take-off Weight 204,000 lb (92,400 kg)
Cruising Speed Mach 0.86 - 610 mph (980 km/h)
Maximum Speed Mach 0.92 - 625 mph (1,006 km/h)
Range 4,600 miles (3,995 nautical miles, 7,402 kilometres)
Service Ceiling 60,000 feet (18,300 metres)

There is an excellent account of the first Black Buck, and the background to the missions, in the book, Vulcan 607.

Here are some other books about the Vulcan:


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Avro Vulcan Manual 1952 Onwards (B2 model): An insight into owning, restoring, servicing and flying Britain's legacy Cold War bomber (Owners' Workshop Manual)

By Tony Blackman

Haynes Publishing UK
Hardcover (192 pages)

Avro Vulcan Manual 1952 Onwards (B2 model): An insight into owning, restoring, servicing and flying Britain s legacy Cold War bomber (Owners  Workshop Manual)
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Product Description:

The awesome Avro Vulcan is an enduring image of the Cold War era when the world stood on the brink of nuclear annihilation. For many years the RAF's delta-wing jet bomber was the cornerstone of Britain's nuclear deterrent. Read about the Vulcan's operational history and take a close-up look at its construction. Discover what it takes to own and fly the mighty V-bomber, and find out how engineers keep it airworthy. Centrepiece of the manual is Vulcan XH558 - the world's only flying example of an Avro Vulcan.

The Avro Vulcan: A History

By Peter G. Dancey

Fonthill Media
Paperback (176 pages)

The Avro Vulcan: A History
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The delta-wing design of the subsonic bomber Avro Vulcan was years ahead of its time in terms of design when the Ministry accepted the proposal in 1947. Based on top secret Luftwaffe material after the end of the Second World War, the first prototype flew on 18 May 1951 and it went on to serve in the RAF from 1952 to 1984. During this time it carried Britain's first nuclear weapon, the gravity bomb, and played an important part in the deterrence policy of the Cold War. The Avro Vulcan: A History provides a complete history of the design and development of Britain's iconic and much loved bomber, covering the period from 1947 to 1984, when it was finally withdrawn due to mounting costs. The history takes in trials and development, taking flight, and the Vulcan B.2 and Black Buck attacks in the Falklands War, and provides details of all 136 airframes including completion dates, operational services in unit order, worldwide goodwill and flag-waving missions, making it a valuable record of this graceful and famous bomber aircraft.

Avro Vulcan

By Robert Jackson

Patrick Stephens Ltd
Hardcover (192 pages)

Avro Vulcan
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Avro Vulcan (Complete History)

By Tim Mclelland

Crecy Publishing
Hardcover (368 pages)

Avro Vulcan (Complete History)
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This iconic V-bomber was at the heart of Britain's Cold War nuclear force, and the story of the Avro Vulcan is as dramatic as the presence of the aircraft itself. Tim McLelland's Avro Vulcan is both a comprehensive work of reference and an authoritative history. It covers the origins of the Vulcan and delta-winged flight, details of every major production variant, and with newly released information, describes the aircraft's use as a test-bed for a variety of missile, engine, and equipment technologies. The book reproduces the Vulcan's declassified Aircrew Manual together with appendices on the fate of every Vulcan built. It also includes a wealth of information from former Vulcan air and ground crews, plus more than 250 photos, new scale drawings, and color profiles.

Avro Vulcan

By Robert Jackson

Patrick Stephens Ltd
Hardcover (184 pages)

Avro Vulcan
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Avro Vulcan Manual: 1952 Onwards (all marks) (Owners' Workshop Manual)

By Alfred Price

Brand: Haynes Publishing UK
Hardcover (160 pages)

Avro Vulcan Manual: 1952 Onwards (all marks) (Owners  Workshop Manual)
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Product Description:

The awesome Avro Vulcan is an enduring image of the Cold War era when the world stood on the brink of nuclear annihilation. For many years the RAF’s delta-wing jet bomber was the cornerstone of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Read about the Vulcan’s operational history and take a close-up look at its construction. Discover what it takes to own and fly the mighty V-bomber, and find out how engineers keep it airworthy. Centrepiece of the manual is Vulcan XH558 – the world’s only flying example of an Avro Vulcan.

Avro Vulcan (Crowood Aviation)

By Kev Darling

Brand: The Crowood Press
Hardcover (216 pages)

Avro Vulcan (Crowood Aviation)
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Product Description:
The Avro Vulcan is probably the most famous and best loved of the three V-Bombers that constituted the Royal Air Force's nuclear strike force during the 1960s. Immediately recognizable thanks to its huge delta wing, it was at the forefront of Britain's strategic nuclear defenses for over a decade. As the nuclear deterrent was passed to the Royal Navy at the end of the 1960s, the Vulcan was redeployed onto tactical interdiction duties. During the 1982 Falklands War, the Vulcan saw the only combat service of its career. This detailed study surveys the history of the aircraft from its inception in 1947 to its final role as an inflight-refueling tanker in the mid-1980s, and beyond.

Avro Vulcan: Britain's Famous Delta-wing V-bomber (Aerofax)

By Tony Buttler

Specialty Pr Pub & Wholesalers
Paperback (144 pages)

Avro Vulcan: Britain s Famous Delta-wing V-bomber (Aerofax)
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The Avro Vulcan was one of three aircraft designed to form part of Britain's V-bomber fleet alongside the Valiant and Victor. The Avro Vulcan was perhaps one of the most iconic aircraft designed and built in the UK in the postwar years. Ironically, the type's most famous action did not involve combating the international communism threat, but rather the Argentinean invasion of the Falkland Islands in April 1982. In two of the most carefully planned and audacious aviation raids in history, Vulcans from RAF Waddington attacked the airfield at Port Stanley in early May 1982 in order to prevent Argentinean Air Force fighters from using the airfield. The success of the raids was an essential part of Britain's ultimate victory in the South Atlantic.
By 1982, the Vulcan design was already more than 30 years old and the newest aircraft was almost 20 years old. Between 1952 and 1964, 89 delta-winged aircraft were built and by the time of the Falklands War, the type was rapidly approaching withdrawal. The final examples of this highly regarded aircraft were withdrawn from Squadron service in 1984. It is a tribute to the popularity of the Vulcan among aviation enthusiasts that numerous examples survive in preservation both in Britain and overseas.

The Avro Type 698 Vulcan: The Secrets Behind its Design and Development

By David W. Fildes

Pen and Sword
Hardcover (328 pages)

The Avro Type 698 Vulcan: The Secrets Behind its Design and Development
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The Avro Vulcan was the last V Bomber to see active service in its primary role during the Falklands conflict. It is the most popular of the three and one aircraft has recently become airborne again after a long period of rejuvenation. It has always been a major attraction at air shows throughout the world, attracting crowds who delight in its unique delta-wing shape and amazing maneuverability.

The book examines the origins of the design, the prototypes and experimental aircraft, and goes on to explain the modifications that were made to the last of the breed.

A leading member of the Avro Historical Society, the author has discovered many photographs and experimental design plans in their archives which are here published for the first time.

Boeing B-47, B-52 and Avro Vulcan (Legends of the Air) (v. 5)

By Stewart Wilson

Brand: Australian Aviation
Paperback (200 pages)

Boeing B-47, B-52 and Avro Vulcan (Legends of the Air) (v. 5)
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The fifth volume in the Legends of the Air series, Vulcan, Boeing B-47 & B-52 examines in detail these three remarkable Cold War warriors which were aerodynamic pioneers of the era. It features around 70,000 words of text, hundreds of photographs, 48 specifically commissioned color sideview drawings, technical drawings, specification and production tables, and more.

There had certainly never before been an aircraft of the design concept of the Vulcan with its incredible delta wing, aptly named the 'tin triangle'. Meanwhile across the Atlantic, Boeing had forged ahead with the then black art of high speed swept wing high altitude bomber design that culminated in the B-47 Stratojet, an aircraft that hopefully would be able to outfly the Soviet fighters of the time.

Almost before the B-47 was fully operational though its successor, the incredibly long ranging eight engined B-52 was airborne and preparing to become one of the legendary aircraft of the modern era. In fact, on present plans, this multi war veteran should still be flying in 2030, three quarters of a century after the prototype appeared!


   


 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
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