Handley Page Victor SR2 Profile

coldwarwarrior

Lutterworth, United Kingdom

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The Handley Page Victor was the last and most sophisticated of the “V” Bombers to enter service with the RAF, like the Valiant and Vulcan the Victor was designed to carry a nuclear payload deep into Soviet Russia at very high altitude and high subsonic speeds. The Victor was distinguished by it’s crescent wing which was the most efficient high subsonic wing planform on any drawing board when the Victor was first designed in 1947. Also the wing design meant that the spar was placed well forward, allowing the construction of a truly capacious bomb bay with a massive payload of 35,000 lbs, (the Vulcan and the American B 52 carried 21,000 lb’s of payload). The Victor B1 entered service with 232 OCU in 1957 and with the Avro Vulcan became the cutting edge of Britains nuclear deterrent. The definitive B2 version with Rolls Royce Conway engines entered service 1962 and like the Vulcan were equipped with a “Blue Steel” stand-off bomb carrying a multi megaton warhead.

When Gary Powers was shot down over Soviet Russia by guided missiles, it was realised immediately that the V force would have to be switched to low level to fill in before the TSR-2 entered service. The Victor performed beautifully in this role until the late 1960’s when the inevitable happened and the wing spars started to fail, like the Valiant. The Victor was switched to the airborne tanker role and served until 1993. The Victor took part in two armed conflicts, the first being the Falklands war where Victors refuelled the attacking Vulcans over the south atlantic and the second was the Gulf War where Victor tankers refuelled all manner of allied aircraft.

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