Corgi AA39402 RAF Vickers Valiant Strategic Bomber - "XD829", 207 Squadron, Marham, England (1:144 Scale)
"In the future, war will be waged essentially against the unarmed populations of the cities and great industrial centers."
- Italian General Giulio Douhet
The Vickers-Armstrongs Valiant was a British four-jet bomber, once part of the Royal Air Force's V bomber nuclear force in the 1950s and 1960s. The Valiant was originally developed for use as high-level strategic bomber, but its role, like other V bombers, was changed to low-level attacks. Low-level flying brought a number of serious problems as the Valiant's wing spar attachment castings showed premature fatiguing and inter-crystalline corrosion traced to the use of an inappropriate type of aluminium alloy. The Valiant had been the first of the V bombers to become operational, and its role was already shifting to that of a tanker. Rather than repair or rebuild the fleet, the Valiant was grounded and the Handley Page Victor took over the tanker role.
While both Handley-Page and Avro came up with very advanced designs for the bomber competition. These would become the Victor and the Vulcan respectively, the Air Staff decided to award contracts to each company as a form of insurance in case one design failed. The submissions were known as V bombers, with all the aircraft names starting with the letter "V" and consequently, were known collectively as the V-class. Vickers' submission had initially been rejected as not as advanced as the Victor and Vulcan, but Vickers' chief designer George Edwards lobbied the Air Ministry on the basis that it would be available much sooner than the competition, going so far as to promise delivery of a prototype in 1951 and production aircraft in 1953. Although developing and putting into service three entirely different large aircraft in response to a single Operational Requirement (OR) was wasteful and very costly, the imperative of deterring Stalin's Soviet Union from aggression in Europe created a situation of urgency.
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. In February 1949, two prototypes of the aircraft were ordered. The first was to be fitted with four Rolls-Royce RA.3 Avon engines, while the second was to be fitted with four Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire engines as the Type 667.
The first prototype took to the air on May 18th, 1951, as George Edwards had promised, and beat the first Short Sperrin into the air by several months. It had been 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 replaced Summers on his retirement. The Vickers Type 660 was given the official name of "Valiant" the next month, recycling the name from the Vickers Type 131 general-purpose biplane of 1931. The name Valiant was selected by a survey of Vickers employees.
The Valiant jet bomber prototype was lost due to an in-flight fire in January 1952, all the crew escaping safely except for the co-pilot, who struck the tail after ejecting. After modifications to the fuel system (thought to be the cause of the fire), the second prototype, Vickers Type 667, first flew on April 11th, 1952. It was fitted with RA.7 Avon engines with 7,500 lbf (33 kN) thrust each, rather than the Sapphires originally planned. The loss of the initial prototype did not seriously compromise the schedule, since the accident occurred late in the flight test programme.
An initial order for 25 production Valiant B.1 (Bomber Mark 1) aircraft had already been placed in April 1951. The first production aircraft flew in December 1953, again more or less on the schedule Edwards had promised, and was delivered to the RAF in January 1955. Britain's "V-bomber" force, as it had been nicknamed in October 1952, was now in operation. The Victor and Vulcan would follow.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a RAF Vickers Valiant Strategic Bomber that was attached to 207 Squadron, then deployed to Marham, England.
Wingspan: 11 inches
Length: 11.25 inches
Release Date: October 2011
Historical Account: "Premature Aging" - Entering RAF service in 1955, the Valiant was originally developed for use as high-level strategic bomber. However, by 1963 its role, like the other V bombers, was changed to lowlevel tactical operations. An appropriate grey/green camouflage scheme was introduced in 1964. B MK.1 XD829 was one of very few Valiants to be finished in this tactical camouflage scheme before fatigue cracks, brought on by low-level flights, caused the rapid grounding of the fleet. With the Victor and Vulcan performing well, the cost of refurbishing the Valiant fleet was considered too high and in early 1965 they were retired from service. XD829 was broken up as scrap at Marham in March 1965.