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Vickers Supersonic Valiant

High-Speed, High-Altitude Jet Bomber Proposal [ 1952 ]

The Vickers Supersonic Valiant was proposed as a high-speed, high-altitude version of the original Valiant during the early 1950s.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/13/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

While a slew of concepts concerning long-range nuclear-capable, medium-class, jet-powered bombers were conceived of, and entertained, by the British Air Ministry during the Cold War period (1947-1991), only three were eventually taken into service. These three - the Avro "Vulcan", Handley Page "Victor", and Vickers "Valiant" - went on to form the "V-bomber" airborne nuclear deterrent force for the Royal Air Force for decades. Other design studies centered on these three aircraft were also taken under consideration though ultimately swept aside before the end (for various reasons).

For Vickers and their Valiant, there was the "Supersonic Valiant" offering which intended to make the subsonic production bomber something more of a fast-attack bombing platform. High-speed aided aircraft in being able to outrun ground-based defenses and interceptors attempting to meet them. Retaining a useful conventional and nuclear war load capability also ensured the revised bomber form could produce the required results over the battlefield - mainly destruction in the former and deterrence in the latter.

The challenges in making the subsonic Valiant a sustained supersonic performer were many. Chief changes were to be greater sweepback of the mainplanes and sweepback at each of the tailplane members. Four engines would continue to power the design and engineers centered on the Rolls-Royce "Conway" line. The aircraft could therefore cruise near Mach 1 speeds and reach speeds of Mach 1.4 when it needed to. Capable of flying up to 58,000 feet, the bomber also maintained an advantage of altitude against ground-based fire and potentially missiles and interceptors. Fuel drop tanks would ensure a useable operational range under war loads - reaching perhaps as far as 5,110 miles.

The end-result of 1952, as drawn up, was to become a much sleeker version of the original 1955 Valiant. The mainplanes were shoulder-mounted with slim intakes at the leading edges aspirating the quadruple engine arrangement within the wing roots (two engines per wing root). The members also had a anhedral (downward angle) form to them and conformal nacelles to house the main landing gear legs. The primary components of the bomber would all be centralized in the tubular fuselage encompassing the pressurized cockpit (presumably seating five crewmen as in the original Valiant), the bomb bay, and the various systems and sub-systems needed to make the aircraft a success. At the aft-end of the fuselage was to be a single vertical tail surface with high-mounted horizontal plan in a "T-style" arrangement. A wholly-retractable, wheeled tricycle undercarriage would allow for the necessary ground-running actions.

Like other proposed models of the complex and expensive V-bomber force, the Supersonic Valiant was not furthered beyond preliminary drawing work - authorities not being sold on the feasibility of the design nor its promised capabilities.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

United Kingdom national flag graphic
United Kingdom

Development Ended.


National flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.

130.0 ft
(39.62 m)
85.0 ft
(25.90 m)
207,235 lb
(94,000 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Vickers Supersonic Valiant production variant)
Installed: 4 x Rolls-Royce "Conway" Co.3 turbojet engines with afterburning capability of unknown thrust output.
Max Speed
1,074 mph
(1,728 kph | 933 kts)
58,005 ft
(17,680 m | 11 mi)
5,109 mi
(8,222 km | 15,227 nm)
5,000 ft/min
(1,524 m/min)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Vickers Supersonic Valiant production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
Supersonic Valiant - Proposed supersonic form of the original Valiant V-Bomber.

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