Air International 2007-06
A.Brookes - Avro Vulcan /Aircraft profile/
Vulcan B.1 XA912, of 101 Squadron circa 1957. XA912 was delivered to 101 Squadron at RAF Finningley in December 1957 and was converted to B.1A standard in 1960. Having served with the Waddington Wing it was declared surplus to requirements and sold for scrap in May 1968.
Vulcan B.2 XL446 illustrated in the all-white anti-nuclear flash colour scheme it wore while in service with 27 Squadron, circa 1963. Built initially to carry Blue Steel it was modified in 1966 for free-fall weapons.
Vulcan B.2 XL321, of 617 Squadron illustrated with a Blue Steel stand-off weapon. No 617 Squadron was the first to get Blue Steel, becoming operational with the missile in February 1963.
Vulcan B.2 XL444 illustrated in the later camouflage scheme of dark sea grey/green, and low visibility roundels and fin flash. Note also the change in the 617 Squadron crest.
Vulcan B.2 XM597 carrying Shrike anti-radar missiles flown for its Black Buck sorties in May/June 1982 during Operation Corporate. Two Shrikes were carried on the first mission and four on the second.
Vulcan B.2(K) XH561 shown in the markings of 50 Squadron. This aircraft initially served as a B.2 with 230 Operational Conversion Unit and later with 50 Squadron. It was the first of six aircraft to be modified to the B.2(K) tanker configuration in June 1982.
Initially flown in an all-white scheme, with pastel roundels and fin flash, for protection against nuclear flash, as shown in this photograph of Blue Steel Vulcan B.2 XL445 of 27 Squadron, the Vulcans later carried grey/green camouflage on their upper surfaces. This was more appropriate for the bomber's low-level role.
Vulcan XH558 seen over its home base of RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, in September 1992. In July 1960, XH558 became the first B.2 to enter RAF service when it was delivered to 'B' Flight 230 Operational Conversion Unit at Waddington. It later became part of the Waddington Wing and was subsequently flown by 101, 44 and 50 Sqn crews, also at Waddington. XH558's final role was as the Vulcan Display Team aircraft and it made its last flight in RAF hands on March 23, 1993.
When the Vulcan was conceived in the 1940s, use of the strategic bomber as an air-refuelling tanker would have been inconceivable. In order to meet the RAF's sizeable air-to-air refuelling requirement in support of the Falklands garrison, immediately following the conflict, six Vulcans of 50 Sqn were modified with hose drum units in a box-like fairing under the rear fuselage.