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Avro Vulcan by Walter Colvin

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3d fine art render of a Avro Vulcan. Post work done with photoshop.
Best viewed Large.
Model By Iris.

Avro Vulcan
The Avro Vulcan (sometimes referred to as the Hawker Siddeley Vulcan) is a jet-powered delta wing strategic bomber, which was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) from 1956 until 1984. Aircraft manufacturer A.V. Roe and Company (Avro) designed the Vulcan in response to Specification B.35/46. Of the three V bombers produced, the Vulcan was considered the riskiest option. Several scale aircraft, designated Avro 707, were produced to test and refine the delta wing design principles.

The Vulcan B.1 was first delivered to the RAF in 1956; deliveries of the improved Vulcan B.2 started in 1960. The B.2 featured more powerful engines, a larger wing, an improved electrical system and electronic countermeasures (ECM); many were modified to accept the Blue Steel missile. As a part of the V-force, the Vulcan was the backbone of the United Kingdom’s airborne nuclear deterrent during much of the Cold War. Although the Vulcan was typically armed with nuclear weapons, it was capable of
conventional bombing missions, a capability which was used in Operation Black Buck during the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina in 1982.

The Vulcan had no defensive weaponry, initially relying upon high-speed high-altitude flight to evade interception. Electronic countermeasures were employed by the B.1 (designated B.1A) and B.2 from circa 1960. A change to low-level tactics was made in the mid-1960s. In the mid 1970s nine Vulcans were adapted for maritime radar reconnaissance operations, redesignated as B.2 (MRR). In the final years of service six Vulcans were converted to the K.2 tanker configuration for aerial refuelling. Since retirement by the RAF one example, B.2 XH558, named “The Spirit of Great Britain” has been restored for use in display flights and air shows, whilst two other B.2s, XL426 and XM655, are kept in taxiable condition for ground runs and demonstrations at
London Southend Airport and Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield respectively.

Colour schemes
The two prototype Vulcans were finished in gloss white. Early Vulcan B.1s left the factory in a natural metal finish; the front half of the nose radome was painted black, the rear half painted silver. Front-line Vulcan B.1s had a finish of anti-flash white and RAF “type D” roundels. Front-line Vulcan B.1As and B.2s were similar but with ‘type D pale’ roundels.

With the adoption of low-level attack profiles in the mid-1960s, B.1As and B.2s were given a glossy medium sea grey/olive green disruptive pattern camouflage on the upper surfaces, white undersurfaces and “type D” roundels. (The last 13 Vulcan B.2s, XM645 onwards, were delivered thus from the factory. In the mid-1970s: Vulcan B.2s received a medium sea grey/olive green matte camouflage with light grey undersides and “low-visibility” roundels; B.2(MRR)s received a similar scheme in gloss; and the front half of the radomes were no longer painted black. Beginning in 1979, 10 Vulcans received a wrap-around camouflage of dark sea grey and olive green because, during Red Flag exercises in the USA, defending SAM forces had found that the grey-painted undersides of the Vulcan became much more visible against the ground at high angles of bank.

Nuclear deterrent
As part of Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent, the Vulcan initially carried Britain’s first nuclear weapon, the Blue Danube gravity bomb. Blue Danube was a low-kiloton yield fission bomb designed before the United States detonated the first hydrogen bomb. These were supplemented by U.S.-owned Mk 5 bombs (made available under the Project E programme) and later by the British Red Beard tactical nuclear weapon. The UK had previously embarked on its own hydrogen bomb programme, and to
bridge the gap until these were ready the V-bombers were equipped with an Interim Megaton Weapon based on the Blue Danube casing containing Green Grass, a large pure-fission warhead of 400 kt (1.7 PJ) yield. This bomb was known as Violet Club. Only five were deployed before the Green Grass warhead was incorporated into a developed weapon as Yellow Sun Mk.1.
The later Yellow Sun Mk 2, was fitted with Red Snow, a British-built variant of the U.S. W28 warhead. Yellow Sun Mk 2 was the first British thermonuclear weapon to be deployed, and was carried on both the Vulcan and Handley Page Victor. The Valiant retained U.S. nuclear weapons assigned to SACEUR under the dual-key arrangements. Red Beard was pre-positioned in Singapore for use by Vulcan and Victor bombers. From 1962, three squadrons of Vulcan B.2s and two squadrons of Victor B.2s were armed
with the Blue Steel missile, a rocket-powered stand-off bomb, which was also armed with the 1.1 Mt (4.6 PJ) yield Red Snow warhead.

Operationally, RAF Bomber Command and the U.S. Strategic Air Command cooperated in the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) to ensure coverage of all major Soviet targets from 1958, 108 aircraft of the RAF’s V-Bombers were assigned targets under SIOP by the end of 1959. From 1962 onwards, two jets in every major RAF base were armed with nuclear weapons and on standby permanently under the principle of Quick Reaction Alert (QRA). Vulcans on QRA standby were to be airborne within four
minutes of receiving an alert, as this was identified as the amount of time between warning of a USSR nuclear strike being launched and it arriving in Britain. The closest the Vulcan came to take part in potential nuclear conflict was during the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962, where Bomber Command was moved to Alert Condition 3, an increased state of preparedness from normal operations, however stood down in early November.
XH558 taking off; 2008 Farnborough Airshow the Vulcans were intended to be equipped with the American Skybolt Air Launched Ballistic Missile to replace the Blue Steel, with Vulcan B.2s carrying two Skybolts under the wings; the last 28 B.2s were modified on the production line to fit pylons to
carry the Skybolt. Proposed in 1960 was a B.3 variant of the Vulcan, with increased wingspan to carry up to six Skybolts. When the Skybolt missile system was cancelled by U.S. President John F. Kennedy on the recommendation of his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara in 1962, Blue Steel was retained. To supplement it until the Royal Navy took on the deterrent role with Polaris submarines, the Vulcan bombers adopted a new mission profile of flying high during clear transit, dropping down low to avoid enemy defenses on approach, and deploying a parachute-retarded bomb, the WE.177B.
After the British Polaris submarines became operational and Blue Steel was taken out of service in 1970, the Vulcan continued to carry WE.177B in a tactical nuclear strike role as part of the British contribution to Europe’s standing NATO forces, although they no longer held aircraft at 15 minutes readiness in peacetime. Two squadrons were also stationed in Cyprus as
part of the Near East Air Force and assigned to CENTO in a strategic strike role. With the eventual demise of the WE.177B and
the Vulcan bombers, the Blackburn Buccaneer, SEPECAT Jaguar, and Panavia Tornado, continued with the WE.177C until its retirement in 1998. While not a like-for-like replacement, the multi-role Tornado strike bomber is the successor for the roles previously filled by the Vulcan.

Conventional role
Although the aircraft’s armament was primarily a nuclear weapon, in a conventional secondary role it was possible for the Vulcans to carry up to 21 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs. Since the 1960s, the RAF’s Vulcan squadrons had conducted routine training missions in practice for performing conventional bombing missions in addition to nuclear strike missions. A Vulcan flying over Ascension Island on 18 May 1982 The only combat missions involving the Vulcan took place in 1982 during the Falklands War with Argentina. This was also the only time V-bombers took part in conventional warfare.150 The missions flown by the Vulcans became known as the Black Buck raids, which flew 3,889 mi (6,259 km) from Ascension Island to Stanley on the Falklands.151 On 1 May, the first mission was conducted by a single Vulcan that flew over Port Stanley and dropped its bombs on the airfield concentrating on the single runway, with one direct hit, making it unsuitable for fighter aircraft. The Vulcan’s mission was quickly followed up by strikes against anti-air installations, flown by British Aerospace Sea Harriers from nearby Royal Navy carriers.
In total, three missions were flown against the airfield, two further missions to launch missiles at radar installations; another two missions were cancelled. Victor tankers conducted the air-to-air refuelling; approximately 1.1 million gal (5 million L) of fuel were used in each mission. At the time, these missions held the record for the world’s longest-distance raids. The Vulcan’s ECM system was effective at jamming Argentine radars, British aircraft in the vicinity had a greatly reduced chance of coming under effective fire.
Five Vulcans were selected for the operation; their bomb bays were modified, the flight refuelling system that had long been out of use was reinstated, the electronics updated, and new wing pylons fitted to carry an ECM pod and Shrike anti-radar missiles at wing hardpoint locations originally installed for carrying Skybolt missiles. The engineering work began on 9 April.

Comments

  • Steven  Agius
    Steven Agiusabout 2 years ago

    Excellent work my friend.

  • Thank you My friend.

    – Walter Colvin

  • Edward Denyer
    Edward Denyerabout 2 years ago

    Good one Walter. – Ted

  • Thank you Ted.

    – Walter Colvin

  • Woodie
    Woodieabout 2 years ago

    Hi Walter, brill artwork.
    This is the time I serviced the Vulcan in it’s all white paint scheme. The 3 red flashes on it’s tail denotes it belongs to 617 sqdn, the Dambuster, later to be fitted with Blue Steel on which I did the trials in Australia, 1960-63. Cheers Neil

  • I made this one for you Neil. You said you work on this model. I have a model of the blue steel bomb. I am thinking of a way to us it with this plane.

    – Walter Colvin

  • Keith Reesor
    Keith Reesorabout 2 years ago

    Awesome Walter!! :)

  • Thank you my friend.

    – Walter Colvin

  • Woodie
    Woodieabout 2 years ago

    I’ve photos of the Blue Steel missile, see one here for you to use if you wish.
    It was dropped and the HTP rocket propelled it up to 40/50,000 ft towards the target and the bomber had a chance to get away. Cheers Neil

  • THank you for the info Neil. I can use it.

    – Walter Colvin

  • Colin J Williams Photography
    Colin J Willia...almost 2 years ago

    Brilliant Work !

  • Thank you Colin.

    – Walter Colvin

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