Members' Military History Lecture - Vulcan Bombers in the Cold War

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This presentation by Andrew Brookes, Aerospace Analyst, International Institute for Strategic Studies, will outline Vulcan development, service deployments, nuclear and conventional weaponry, training and targeting for high and low level operations and the Falklands swansong.


The best of the three RAF jet bombers in the early years of the Cold War, the Vulcan was designed as the Avro 698, and possessed fighter-like manoeuvrability at low level despite its size. First flown in August 1952, the Vulcan entered service in February 1957. Many were equipped to carry the Blue Steel stand-off missile, but in 1966 around 50 Vulcans were re-deployed in a tactical low-level bombing role. Three flew during the Falklands War, and the last Vulcans in service were used as aerial tankers until April 1984. This talk will examine the design of the Vulcan, exploring the improvements made to its engine and its evolving combat role and is a timely examination of a distinctive and ground-breaking aircraft.

Andrew Brookes completed RAF pilot training after reading history at Leeds University.  Following recce and strike tours on Victors, Canberras and Vulcans, during which he logged 3,500 flying hours, he served as a UK nuclear release officer in NATO and was the last operational RAF Commander at the Greenham Common cruise missile base.  He was coordinator of air power studies at the RAF Advanced Staff College. He is now Aerospace Analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.  He publishes and broadcasts widely.  He has written twelve aviation books and he received the Defence Aerospace Journalist of the Year Award in 2004 and 2006.



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