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Victors, Vulcans and Cuba

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Victors, Vulcans and Cuba

Old 4th Apr 2011, 19:55
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Victors, Vulcans and Cuba

I watched the above programme on the Discovery channel last Saturday and found it really interesting. During the programme they mentioned Blue Steel and Skybolt, So this started me wondering. I have often seen films and pictures of Blue Steel on a Vulcan but never on a Victor, so I googled it but couldn't find a satisfactory answer to my question, hence this post!

I was wondering how difficult it was to arm a Victor with Blue Steel because of the aircrafts ground clearance, and was the missile ever tried on the Valiant or were they out of service by then?
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 20:14
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Valiant WP204 was the trials aircraft for the Blue Steel test firings in Australia.

The Victor Blue Steel squadrons all had specially selected Armourers, who were all under 5 Feet 2 inches, to enable them to work in confined spaces.
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 21:49
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Mmmm, what could've been


Possibly apocryphal, but I seem to remember reading that a Vulcan, possibly with a larger span, could've carried 6, as opposed to the B-52's 4!

Edit: Proposed Vulcan B3 would've accommodated 6 AGM-48s.


Last edited by Willard Whyte; 4th Apr 2011 at 22:32.
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 02:57
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Blue Steel was only operationally fitted to the Victor and Vulcan between 1962 and 1970. The limited space below the Victor meant it had to be loaded over a special pit and the misslie carried by the Victor was modified with a folding fin which was lowered once airborne.
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 07:33
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Sorry Dan but during all the years I was at Wittering I never saw a special pit. It was a case of jacking the bloody things up, 35 ins for a "wet one" and 37 ins for a training round as I recall. The Victor did have bomb bay side fairings that were supposed to be removed to allow Blue Steel to be wheeled in from the side, loaded and tested and then replace the fairings, but it was quicker to jack up. If a Mick or a Mickey Fynn was called it was a case of everyone in and jack up and then hang around and wait for the armourers.

I'm not completely sure but I think the lower B.S. fin had originally been connected to the landing gear mechanism but after a couple of failures when the fin didn't fold when U/C down was selected, the standy blowdown system was used. BTW please don't ask about the sterile area on each pan or the ex MQ baths that you were supposed to jump into if you got an HTP leak on you and your denims caught fire !!!

Willard, there were some Vulcans that had 4 wing hardpoints originally intended for Skybolt. These were subsequently used during Black Buck missions when a variety of presents from Uncle Sam were hung on.
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 11:20
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All Blue Steel had a folding fin.

The later Mk 2 Vulcans had two hard points for Skybolt (not 4) and of course the more powerful 301 series engines for the greater AUW.

The generation time for the bomber wings was IRO 5 hours for free-fall, 16 hrs or more for Vulcan BS and could be measured in days for the Victor force.

IIRC the Mk 2 Victor only ever carried the Blue Steel.

BTW, the load to acceptance time for a Yellow Sun on a Vulcan was about 7 minutes. With WE177 our staish went spare when it took about 95 minutes. Once the teams were worked up is was cut to about 35 minutes.

One way of saving time was for the Load Chief's final inspection to be overseen by the Nav Rad's take-over checks. With WE177 and the additional weapons settings that changed and both Navs had to do it after the load was checked.
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Old 7th Apr 2011, 13:27
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Wynn's RAF Nuclear Deterrent Forces has upto 24 Scampton Vulcan 2/Blue Steel operational 16/4/64 - 21/12/70, 16 Wittering Victor 2, 24/10/63-31/12/68. From 28/3/63 capability existed to drop them inert. Release heights progressively reduced, readiness/QRA capability progressively increased. Between 29/3/60 -11/12/62 2 Vulcan 2 Wings (Scampton, Coningsby) were planned, each a/c to carry 2 Skybolt 1966-1970, replacing Blue Steel. You will find hopeful schemes for Phase 6 Vulcan, carrying 4, for Victor B.3 carrying 2, and VC10, carrying 4: none were funded. 1961/62 archives have Ministers seeking to deploy SSBN/FBM from c.1970; others have PM Macmillan thinking he might let UK strategic nuclear presence lapse after Skybolt ceased to be able to penetrate. US SecDef McNamara's cancellation of Skybolt bounced Mac into prolonging Blue Steel, adapting the intended tactical WE177 (to be:A) as a bigger bang (to be WE177B), and extracting Polaris "and any (the sense of the deal was: ) derivative", thus causing later UK PMs to be able to sail deep beyond 2030.
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Old 16th May 2011, 12:50
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OK, does my memory play tricks on me? I have recollections of a furniture van arriving at R.A.F Cottesmore, late 1960 or very early 1961, for tests to fit to a Victor Mk1. Anyone shoot this one down or confirm?
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Old 16th May 2011, 12:56
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The later Mk 2 Vulcans had two hard points for Skybolt (not 4) and of course the more powerful 301 series engines for the greater AUW.
Perfect compromise.The Vulcan had four hardpoints. Two for each Skybolt.
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Old 16th May 2011, 13:32
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My Dad was at Handley Page's experimental site in Radlett in the fifties and I'm sure he's told me about the trials they did where Blue Steel was fitted to a Victor.

I will ask the question and update as necessary.

Cheers,
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Old 16th May 2011, 18:16
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Lancelot it is almost certain that a Blue Steel was fitted to a Victor 1. Probbably as a trial as no Mk 2s might have been available.

Torkadoken, I see where the confusion may arise over the Gnat/Vulcan fit. Brookes in his History of the Airborne Deterrent at page 131 has the diagram stating fighter-support for the Vulcan. According to the Avro proposal they were supposed to land in friendly territory or return to mother for refuelling from a specially installed flight-refuelling drogue.

Apart from the need to modify all the Gnats as fighters and AAR capability it would have been essential to provide the Vulcan with its own AAR to top it up.
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Old 16th May 2011, 18:20
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Why did they want to fit a furniture van to a Victor?
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Old 16th May 2011, 18:28
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Wander, it was probably a cabinet decision.
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Old 16th May 2011, 18:50
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I think they were delivering a tallboy
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Old 16th May 2011, 19:18
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Rumour was it contained a war chest.
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Old 16th May 2011, 19:31
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All very good but PN wins.


So far.
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Old 17th May 2011, 10:33
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The Valiant, when first designed, was envisaged with underwing bomb carriers that could take a 10,000 lb bomb or similar. It was never carried through but it enabled a 12,500lb capacity fuel tank to be fitted in its place. The Americans adopted a similar idea that was hung on to the Skybolt carriers on the B52 which enabled them to truck even more explosives to North Vietnam.

What they should have done was.......

When the Valiants were scrapped they should have shipped the underwing tanks to 1 Group and asked A V Roe to make some fairing adapters so that they could be hung from the Vulcan 2's Skybolt fittings.
The Valiant tanks were fully independent with their own pumps, pressurisation and jettison system. A bit of plumbing and electrical work and you had another 25,000lbs fuel capacity.
It would not have been able to take off with this and a full bomb load but topped up after take off it would have made Black Buck a lot easier.
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Old 17th May 2011, 10:47
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Aah! - the prospect of TRIPLE night limiteds!
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