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Avro Vulcan Nuclear Weapons Carriage

JFC Fuller

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I have a question based on a comment one of my professors made whilst I was still at University relating to the Yellow Sun and the Avro Vulcan. The suggestion was that for the Yellow Sun Mk2 the decision was taken to reuse the the Mk1 casing despite the fact that it was considerably oversized for the Red Snow physics package. Apparently a Vulcan (and one therefore assumes the Victor and Valiant too) could only carry 1 Yellow Sun Mk1 and consequently only one Yellow Sun Mk2. However, my professors remark was that a new casing was suggested that would have allowed the Vulcan to carry 2 weapons with Red Snow physics packages.

I have never been able to confirm the number of Yellow Sun's that a V Bomber could carry but I have done a comparison of the known dimensions of Blue Danube and Yellow Sun which suggests that the Vulcan would only be able to carry one Yellow Sun. This analysis is based on the fact that the V Bombers were designed around Blue Danube.

Blue Danube Length: 290 inches / 252 inches for Yellow Sun
Blue Danube Diameter: 62 inches / 48 inches for Yellow Sun

Clearly the Yellow Sun is considerably smaller (weight is 10,000lbs for Blue Danube and 7,000lbs for Yellow Sun) at no point does it come within 50% of any of the dimensions of Blue Danube thus implying that the V Bombers could only carry a single weapon. Apparently the Red Snow Warhead had a diameter (minus a case) of 21.2 inches which suggests that a new case could have allowed for twin carriage of megaton weapons on the V bombers. In reality it appears that the only way the V Bombers could carry multiple nuclear weapons prior to the WE.177 was with Red Beard which was comparatively tiny (with an obviously smaller yield of around 15 kt) and at 28 inches in diameter only two of these would have been possible.

In addition I am aware of the OR.1171 requirement of 1959 for a common megaton warhead capsule that was conceived with Red Snow in mind, could this have been the casing I am looking for or have I misunderstood the term 'capsule' in this context? If anybody has any further information on this subject I would be fascinated to see it!!!

Thank you in advance, sealordlawrence.
 

alertken

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SLL: Brian Burnell's site has mock up twin WE177B for TSR.2 and layout scheme for twin WE177A(N)/Bucc.2, but I believe the only dual carriage by UK Forces was of some Project 'E' stores: TBF Valiant, Mk.28, 13/7/61-9/12/64; RAFG Canberra B(I)6/8, B-43, 1966-6/6/72; RAFG F-4M, B43, 30/6/70-30/6/76. UK's slow, expensive production of WE177 never gave RAF/FAA the luxury of risking 2 stores on one aircraft. Beard could physically have been dual in cavernous V-bays, but production was curtailed in favour of free 'E's and it was confined as single-carriage in 3 Valiant Sqdns., 1/9/60-30/9/62 (and NEAF Canberra B.15/16, and Bucc.S.1). YS was hefty to accommodate its Green Grass warhead; (Mk.28) Red Snow warhead was quickly deployed to replace it as YS Mk.2 in ex-YS 1 casing, as an interim store pending WE177B.
 
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Vahe Demirjian

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An Avro Vulcan B.1 could carry the following nukes:

1x Blue Danube
1x Violet Club 400 kt nuclear gravity bomb
1x U.S. Mark 5 nuclear gravity bomb supplied under Project E
1x Yellow Sun Mk.1 400 kt nuclear gravity bomb
1x Yellow Sun Mk 2 1.1 Mt thermonuclear gravity bomb
1x Red Beard nuclear gravity bomb
1x WE.177B parachute-retarded nuclear gravity bomb

On the other hand, a Vickers Valiant could carry the following nukes:

1x Blue Danube
1x B28 nuclear bomb

In other words, only the Valiant and Vulcan carried the Blue Danube, while the Victor could only carry Yellow Sun nukes.
 

alertken

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MBF Valiant carried Red Beard 1/9/60-30/9/62. Saceur's TBF Valiant carried Mk.5, 1/1/60-12/7/61, 2xMk.28,
13/7/61- 31/3/63, 2xB-43 -26/1/65. 90 Sqd carried Mk.15/39, 12/58 - 30/6/61.

Victor B.1 carried Blue Danube 1/7/58-mid-59, Mk.5, YS Mk.1 and 2.
Victor B.2 carried YS2, mid-62 - 22/5/63, then Blue Steel.
Vulcan B.2 carried YS2, Blue Steel, WE177B. No WE177B were issued to Vulcan B.1.
 
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