Avro Vulcan High-Altitude Long-Range Heavy Bomber
The Avro Vulcan was an impressive design feat as 1950s bombers went - though the aircraft itself saw only limited combat action for its time aloft.
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The Avro Vulcan formed the second point on the triangle in the British "V-Bombers" collection - a series of three high-altitude, long range, nuclear-capable systems developed during the Cold War from a post-World War 2 British Air Ministry requirement. The three aircraft making up this defensive triangle became the Vickers Valiant, the Avro Vulcan and the Handley Page Victor - entering into service in that very order. The Vulcan formed an integral part of the British strategic nuclear air arm throughout the height of the Cold War years and could also double as a conventional bomber, as it did in the British Falklands War against Argentina - interestingly enough assisted with in-flight refueling by a tanker form of the Handley Page Victor. The Avro Vulcan would be Avro's one and only jet-powered aircraft design to enter production.
British Air Ministry Specification B.35/46 was born in early 1947. The specification called for a nuclear-capable platform able to operate out of reach of enemy air defenses and provide exceptional range from British and allied bases as needed. Avro answered the call and devised an all-new design centered around a straight, delta-wing arrangement. This design was unique in that it featured vertical tail surfaces at the extreme wingtips as opposed to a traditional tail section, offering up a great deal of surface area for improved payload, fuel load and maneuverability. The lack of a true tail section meant that, in some ways, the design was in fact a flying wing. The cockpit was positioned well forward on the fuselage, ahead of the wings and engines, and featured four engines in a staggered internal placement- two engines to a wing. The engines were to be fed by a single large rounded intake. The massive expanse of the wings would have also provided maximum space for internal armament in the form of bomb bays mounted outboard of the dual engine arrangements. Avro designated the new design Type 698 and received the British Air Ministry contract in December of 1947. Along with the Avro design, approval of the Valiant and Victor were also granted, essentially beginning the formation of the V-bomber triangle.