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V Bombers

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V-Bombers

by
Tim Laming

In 1947 the Chiefs of Staff issued Operational Requirement OR.229
This demanded a 4 engined jet bomber capable of delivering a 10,000lb nuclear bomb at 500 knots from a height of 45,000ft, with a range of 3,500 miles.
The result was... The V Bombers.
Vickers Valiant Avro Vulcan Handley-Page Victor
The Vickers Valiant won the race into service. However as a result, though a worthy aircraft, it was not as advanced as its rivals. It dropped the UK's first test atomic bomb in 1956, and saw active operations during the Suez crisis. It was also the first to leave service, when serious structural flaws forced its demise.
The Avro Vulcan followed the Valiant into service, a stunning wing shape giving it the most radical appearance of the three. It became an integral part of the UK's nuclear deterrent, and was based all around the country, ready to react to any attack. RAF Valley was such a dispersal airfield. The Vulcan took part in the Falklands war and was retired soon afterwards.
The Handley Page Victor was the last of the three into and out of service. All three V bombers were designed with high-level attacks in mind, but ended up being asked to perform low-level missions. As the cold war ended, Victors were re-tasked to recce and tanking duties.
 
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