Model Airplane News|
Model Airplane News Cover Art for June, 1954
by Jo Kotula
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The Handley Page Victor was a British jet bomber aircraft produced by the Handley Page Aircraft Company. It was the third and final of the "V bombers" which provided Britain's nuclear deterrent. The other two V-bombers were the Avro Vulcan and the Vickers Valiant. It was designed for high-altitude, high-speed penetration of Soviet airspace to deliver a free-fall nuclear weapon. It was intended to fly higher and faster than contemporary fighter aircraft.
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The Victor was a futuristic-looking machine. It was streamlined with the engines buried in the thick wing roots and a large, highly-swept T-tail. A feature of the Victor was the prominent chin bulge that contained the targeting radar, cockpit, nose landing gear unit and an auxiliary bomb aimer's position. The Victor's pilots sat at the same level as the rest of the crew, thanks to a large pressurised compartment that extended all the way to the nose.
In 1963. Some aircraft were modified to conduct high altitude reconnaissance and air sampling. In order to complete low-level penetration missions, the Victors were fitted with air to air refuelling probes above the cockpit, large underwing fuel tanks and received a two-tone camouflage finish in place of the Anti-flash white. Trials were also conducted with terrain following radar and a side scan mode for the bombing and navigation radar but neither became operational. Nine B.2 aircraft were converted for strategic reconnaissance purposes to replace Valiants withdrawn due to wing fatigue. They received cameras, a bomb-bay mounted radar mapping system and wing-top sniffers to detect particles released from nuclear testing. The Victor was the last of the V-bombers to enter service and the last to retire, nine years after the last Vulcan (although the Vulcan survived longer in its original role as a bomber). It saw service in the Falklands War and 1991 Gulf War as an in-flight refuelling tanker. During the Borneo conflict of 1962–66, two aircraft flew the Victor's only offensive mission.
Here is a video of the Handley-Page Victor in action:
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