The Avro 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 a Ministry of Defense Specification for an aircraft to carry Britain’s nuclear deterrent and was the brainchild of Avro’s chief designer, Roy Chadwick.
Named after the Roman god of fire it initially carried the UK’s first nuclear weapon, the Blue Danube gravity bomb. It was also capable of conventional bombing missions and played a vital role in Operation Black Buck during the Falklands War in 1982. The Black Buck combat missions saw the planes fly 3,889 miles from Ascension Island to Stanley on the Falkland Islands, supported by 17 tankers to render the airfield at Port Stanley unusable by Argentine fighter aircraft. The aircraft were retired in 1984.
Avro Vulcan XM655 was third from last of the Vulcan bombers produced for the Royal Air Force, being delivered in late 1964 and was part of the UK’s nuclear deterrent force throughout the 1960s and 1970s. It is now owned by Wellesbourne Airfield and is looked after by 655 Maintenance and Preservation Society (655MaPS) which is a volunteer organisation of Vulcan enthusiasts.