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HP Victor K.2
HistoryThe Handley Page Victor was a British jet-powered strategic bomber, developed and produced by the Handley Page Aircraft Company, which served during the Cold War. It was the third and final of the V-bombers operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), the other two V-bombers being the Avro Vulcan and the Vickers Valiant. The Victor had been developed to perform as part of the United Kingdom’s airborne nuclear deterrent. In 1968, the type was retired from the nuclear mission following the discovery of fatigue cracks, which had been exacerbated by the RAF's adoption of a low-altitude flight profile to avoid interception.
A number of Victors had received modifications to undertake the strategic reconnaissance role, employing a combination of radar, cameras, and other sensors. As the nuclear deterrence mission was given to the Royal Navy's submarine-launched Polaris missiles in 1969, a large V-bomber fleet was deemed surplus to requirements. Consequently, many of the surviving Victors were converted into aerial refuelling tankers. During the Falklands War, Victor tankers were notably used in the airborne logistics operation to repeatedly refuel Vulcan bombers on their way to and from the Black Buck raids.
History shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia.
XL231XL231 was selected as the prototype K2 Tanker aircraft and began trials in 1972 at Woodford and the AAEE at RAF Boscombe down, it was not modified up to the full K2 specification for the trials until later in the programme when another fully converted aircraft became available. XL231 was then put through the full conversion process which not only permanently changed the aircraft’s role it also meant the airframe was ’zero fatigued’ to as new.
XL231 made her last flight on 25th November 1993 to former RAF Elvington, near York, for display at The Yorkshire Air Museum. To date she is maintained to serviceable and taxiable condition by a team of dedicated volunteers.
This short history of XL231 was adapted from XL231's Blogspot. A much more thorough exploration of the aircraft's entire service history may be found there.
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