The Victor Story
After the success of the Halifax bomber that pulverised the Third Reich, Handley Page soon looked at new designs. Attracting the interest of the Air Ministry in 1947, Handley Page developed a new bomber that could drop the atom bomb on Moscow. The Victor was born, one of three V-bombers with the Valiant and Vulcan. After relative smooth test flights, the first Victor B.1s came off the production line in early 1956 and proved to be a remarkable bomber - a pilot inadvertently achieved Mach 1.1 in a 1- or 2-degree dive! A stalwart part of the nuclear deterrent force, the Victor saw service with Bomber Command with the Yellow Sun hydrogen bomb. By 1959, minor improvements saw the B.2 variant take shape.Flying faster and higher than the Vulcan, the Victor also saw action as a low-level bomber and also carried the Blue Steel nuclear missile. However, by the early 1960s, Handley Page was in trouble as the government merged aviation companies and the future of the Victor was in doubt. Giving sterling service, many Victors were scrapped and surviving examples were converted into fuel tankers. Cancelling the Victor force was a costly mistake as fuel tankers were desperately needed. Seeing action twice, the Victor was the unsung hero of the Falklands conflict as it was the only aircraft with the range to fuel a Vulcan on the famous Black Buck raid. The Victor also pounded Saddam Hussein's forces in 1991, dropping an awesome 35 1000lb bombs.
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