Occupying a significant position in the history of post war British aviation, the Avro Vulcan, with its huge delta wing profile, was without doubt one of the most distinctive aircraft ever to take to the skies. Built to satisfy an extremely demanding Air Ministry requirement for a fast, high altitude strategic bomber, capable of carrying a nuclear device, the Vulcan represented a 100% increase in the capabilities of any previous British bomber aircraft. When the Vulcan made its maiden flight in August 1952, the Avro team were well on the way to presenting the Royal Air Force with not only the world’s first delta bomber, but also one of the world’s most effective strike bombers. When the Vulcan entered squadron service with No.83 Squadron at RAF Waddington in July 1957, Britain now possessed the fastest nuclear capable bomber in the world.
By the time of the Falklands conflict in 1982, the venerable Avro Vulcan was facing retirement. The task of nuclear deterrent had been handed over to the Royal Navy submarines and the writing was on the wall for the distinctive delta jet, However, the Argentine invasion of the Falklands Islands meant the RAF was to call upon the ageing bomber for one more task. The Vulcan was the only aircraft capable of delivering a payload to the Island from RAF Wideawake on Ascension Island even though it would require multiple mid-air re-fuelling. The Vulcans of the last three squadrons still using the bomber (Nos 44, 50 & 101) conducted a series of raids codenamed ‘Black Buck’ between April and June, the most famous raid being ‘Black Buck One’ when XM607 managed to damage the runway at Port Stanley with one of its twenty-one bombs. This surprise attack prevented fast jets from using the airfield and was, at that time, the longest bombing raid in history.