Corgi AA27204 RAF Avro Vulcan B.2 Strategic Bomber - XM575, RAF No.101 Squadron, Waddington Wing, RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, England, 1975 (1:72 Scale)
"They have retreated, our troops have reached the outskirts of Port Stanley. A large number of Argentinian soldiers have lain down their arms. White flags are flying over Port Stanley. Our troops have been issued the command to shoot only in self-defence. Discussions among the commanders on the capitulation of the Argentinian troops in the Falklands have begun."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, reporting on the British victory over Argentine forces, June 14th, 1982
The Avro Vulcan, sometimes referred to as the Hawker Siddeley Vulcan, is a delta wing subsonic jet strategic bomber that was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1953 until 1984. It was developed in response to a specification released by the Air Ministry. At the time, both jet engines and delta wings were considered cutting-edge and relatively unexplored; thus, the small-scale Avro 707 was produced to test the principles of the design. In flight, the Vulcan was an agile aircraft for its size.
The Vulcan B.1 was first delivered to the RAF in 1956. In service, the Vulcan was armed with nuclear weapons and was a part of the RAF's V bomber force, the United Kingdom's airborne deterrent against aggression from other powers such as the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In addition to an extensive electronic countermeasures suite, the Vulcan had a small radar cross-section, aiding its deterrent role by evading detection and therefore increasing the likelihood of penetrating Soviet airspace and deploying its weapons load successfully. A second batch of aircraft, the B.2, was produced with new features, including a larger wing and greater fuel capacity, along with more advanced electronics and radar systems.
The B.2s were adapted into several other variants, the B.2A carrying the Blue Steel missile, the B.2 (MRR) for Marine Radar Reconnaissance use, and the K.2 tanker for air-to-air refuelling. The Vulcan was also used in the secondary role of conventional bombing near the end of its service life in the 1982 Falklands War against Argentina during Operation Black Buck. One example, XH558, was recently restored for use in display flights and commemoration of the employment of the aircraft in the Falklands conflict.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a RAF Avro Vulcan B.2 strategic bomber that was attached to No.101 Squadron, Waddington Wing, during 1975.
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Historical Account: "Blue Steel" - One of the most distinctive military aircraft ever to take to the skies, the mighty Avro Vulcan provided Britain with a high-profile nuclear deterrent during the period known as the 'Cold War', as the second of Britain's famous V-Bombers to enter RAF service. Continuing a proud heritage of Avro bomber types which began with the twin engined Manchester, the Vulcan was a highly advanced tail-less delta design which possessed the ability to effectively deliver either nuclear or conventional weapons, including the fearsome 'Blue Steel' standoff nuclear missile. Operating at higher altitudes, the first Vulcan's in RAF service were finished in an overall white anti-flash scheme, intended to protect the aircraft in the seconds following detonation of a nuclear device, however, advances in Soviet anti-aircraft missile defenses brought about a significant change in the aircraft's attack profile. Moving from high to low altitude strike operations during the early to mid 1960s, Vulcans retained their white undersides, but were given a striking grey and green camouflage on their upper surfaces, markings which really suited the huge delta shape of this magnificent aircraft. Although moving to low-level bombing operations, retention of the white anti-flash undersides clearly illustrates the Vulcan's continued role as a nuclear armed strategic bomber.
Lincolnshire's RAF Waddington base will always be inextricably linked with the operation of the Avro Vulcan bomber, with the station welcoming the first Vulcans to enter RAF service with No.83 Squadron in 1957 and going on to serve as home to the last flying Vulcan (XH558) of the Vulcan Display Flight until its disbandment in 1992. At their height of operations, the Vulcans of the Waddington Wing must have made for an impressive sight, particularly when performing a four-ship scramble, with these mighty bombers, which possessed fighter-like performance, blasting into Lincolnshire skies, one after the other, in a high-profile demonstration of Britain's aerial might. Avro Vulcan XM575 was the second B.2 Blue Steel equipped aircraft to be fitted with the upgraded Olympus 301 engines and would go on to see service with Nos.617, 101, 50 and 44 Squadrons, as part of both the Scampton and Waddington Wings during its career. She was one of three Vulcans which took part in the Falklands Victory Flypast over central London in October 1982, but was retired from RAF service the following year. Her final flight would be to East Midlands Airport and a new career as the much loved center piece exhibit of the East Midlands Aeropark, where she can still be admired to this day. She is displayed wearing the colours of RAF No.44 Squadron, the unit in which she was operating when this icon of the Cold War was withdrawn from service.