Aircraft Type Index

Bomber Planes Index



Vickers Valiant B Mk.1 Bomber Plane

At the end of WW2 the British Ministry of Supply issued specification B.35/46 for a 500 knot strategic bomber with a service ceiling of 50,000 ft with the ability to carry a 10,000 lb bomb load 3,300 nautical miles. Thee aircraft were built to meet or exceed the B.35/46 specification, they were all jet aircraft and became known as the V-force or V-bombers as they all had swept or "V" wings, they were the Avro Vulcan, Handley Page Victor and the Vickers Valiant.

Vickers Valiant B Mk.1 Bomber Plane


The Valiant was the first of the three V-bombers to enter RAF service (May 1951), the first to drop a nuclear bomb, the first to drop a bomb in anger (Egyptian airfields in the Suez Crisis) and the first to be withdrawn from service.

The Vickers Valiant prototype was first flown by 'Mutt' Summers Vicker's chief test pilot on the 18th of May 1951 and the first production aircraft became operational with the RAF in June 1954. When Vickers Valiant production ended in 1957 a total of 107 aircraft had been produced, they remained in RAF service until January 1965 when they were withdrawn from service due to metal fatigue resultant of  inappropriate low level use which the aircraft had never been designed.

On the 11th October 1956 a RAF Vickers Valiant B.1 dropped the UK's first nuclear bomb from an altitude of 35,000 ft over the Maralinga test range in Australia, the bomb was a 3 kiloton Blue Danube and was detonated at 750 ft. Within weeks the RAF's Valiants were dropping conventional bombs for real in the Suez Canal crisis against Egyptian military targets, this was destined to be the only time the Valiants would see action, indeed the next time a V-bomber would drop a bomb in anger would be in the 1982 Falklands War when Avro Vulcans bombed Port Stanley airfield.


Valiant B.1 Specifications:

  • Crew: Two pilots, two navigators and a electronics engineer
  • Length: 108 ft 3 in (32.99 m)                     Wingspan: 114 ft 4 in (34.85 m)
  • Height: 32 ft 2 in (9.80 m)
  • Wing area: 2,362 ft (219 m)                    Empty weight: 75,880 lb (34 420 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 138,000 lb (62 600 kg)
  • Overload take-off: 175,000 lb (79 400 kg) with twin under-wing tanks
  • Engines: Four 10,000 lb (44 kN) Rolls-Royce Avon RA28 Mk 204 turbojets
  • Maximum speed: Mach 0.84 (414 mph - 666 km/h) at 30,000 ft
  • Range: 4,500 miles (7200 km) with a 10,000 lb bomb load and under-wing tanks fuel tanks
  • Service ceiling 54,000 ft (21,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 4,000 ft/min (20 m/s)
Vickers Valiant Bomber

Valiant B.1 Armament:

  • Single 10,000 lb (4500 kg) conventional (or)
  • Nuclear bombs including the Yellow-Sun Hydrogen bomb pictured below. (or)
  • Twenty 1,000 lb (450 kg) of conventional bombs.



Yellow-Sun Atomic Bomb

Yellow Sun was a thermonuclear gravity bomb which entered RAF service in 1958. Yellow Sun Mk2, with the Red Snow warhead entered service in 1961. Yellow Sun bombs were retired from service in 1972.

  • Length: 21 feet

  • Diameter: 4 feet

  • Weight: 7,250 pounds

  • Mk1 warhead: Green Grass 400 kt Uranium

  • Mk2 warhead: Red Snow 1.1 Mt Plutonium  / Hydrogen

    1.1 Megaton Yellow-Sun Hydrogen bomb

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