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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.
 

blackkite

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Thanks very interesting movie.
 

FighterJock

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I've read that the Victor could carry five of those 10-bomb clips, plus two 5-bomb clips in each wing pannier pods
I did not know that about the bomb carrying capabilities of the Victor. Being more interested in the Vulcan, I neglected the most advanced bomber of the V-force. Thanks kitnut617. :cool:
 

Forest Green

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I've read that the Victor could carry five of those 10-bomb clips, plus two 5-bomb clips in each wing pannier pods
So the Victor was basically a British B-52, carrying as many 1,000lb bombs as the B-52 could carry 750lb bombs.
 

sferrin

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I've read that the Victor could carry five of those 10-bomb clips, plus two 5-bomb clips in each wing pannier pods
You sure about that? I knew they could carry 35 in the fuselage from this classic picture:

HU-81578.jpg

But I'd not heard 50 or 10 more in the wings. (And can't find any evidence to support it.)
 

sferrin

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I've read that the Victor could carry five of those 10-bomb clips, plus two 5-bomb clips in each wing pannier pods
So the Victor was basically a British B-52, carrying as many 1,000lb bombs as the B-52 could carry 750lb bombs.
Probably not. Ah, those are SEVEN-bomb clips, not ten bombs. So 5 seven-bomb clips max.
 

kitnut617

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I've got a two volume set called The Handley Page Victor, the history & development of a classic jet by Roger R. Brooks, Pen & Sword Aviation. Lots of info and drawings in there.

sferrin, the last piece of that video shows a 10-bomb clip being loaded. It's the first time I've seen evidence of what I've read that the 10-bomb clip had been successfully designed (shows just before the end of the video, at 1:17)
 
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sferrin

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I've got a two volume set called The Handley Page Victor, the history & development of a classic jet by Roger R. Brooks, Pen & Sword Aviation. Lots of info and drawings in there.

sferrin, the last piece of that video shows a 10-bomb clip being loaded. It's the first time I've seen evidence of what I've read that the 10-bomb clip had been successfully designed (shows just before the end of the video, at 1:17)

Is there any evidence those 10-bomb clips made it to the Victor fleet? Everything I've found says 35 of the 1000lb bombs was the max and don't mention anything in the wings at all. :confused:
 

kitnut617

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I've got a two volume set called The Handley Page Victor, the history & development of a classic jet by Roger R. Brooks, Pen & Sword Aviation. Lots of info and drawings in there.

sferrin, the last piece of that video shows a 10-bomb clip being loaded. It's the first time I've seen evidence of what I've read that the 10-bomb clip had been successfully designed (shows just before the end of the video, at 1:17)

Is there any evidence those 10-bomb clips made it to the Victor fleet? Everything I've found says 35 of the 1000lb bombs was the max and don't mention anything in the wings at all. :confused:
I'd have to re-read the books I have to find where I read about it. The bomb clips were interchangeable throughout the V-Bombers, so if the arrangement fit in one type then it fitted in the others, so I've read. The video is the first time I've seen any sort of pictures of the 10-bomb arrangement though, I had figured that the only way the bombs could be hung, was what you see there (since then I've thought of another way). Only it doesn't quite show how the bottom row of four are hung from the top row though and I haven't seen any photo evidence of that clip in a Victor.
 

Forest Green

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Is there any evidence those 10-bomb clips made it to the Victor fleet? Everything I've found says 35 of the 1000lb bombs was the max and don't mention anything in the wings at all. :confused:
That's the question really, but even with 7 bomb clips and two 5 clips on the pylons, that would still make 45 for the Victor.

The Vulcan certainly only carried 21x1,000lb bombs for the Black Buck raid, but fuel was a factor there.
 

sferrin

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Is there any evidence those 10-bomb clips made it to the Victor fleet? Everything I've found says 35 of the 1000lb bombs was the max and don't mention anything in the wings at all. :confused:
That's the question really, but even with 7 bomb clips and two 5 clips on the pylons, that would still make 45 for the Victor.
Are there any pictures of the Victor bomber with 5x1000lb bomb clips on the wings?
 

kitnut617

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Despite what I've read somewhere, I think I'll have to retract what I've said. Looking at the technical drawings in Volume 1 of the two book set and looking at some photos of 7-bomb clips installed in the Victor bomb bay, I don't think it's possible for 10-bomb clips to go in there with the way the bay doors operate. But I've noticed something else I had missed before. Photos of the 7-bomb clip that are available, show four bombs in the top row and three hanging below those. These clips are staggered in height when in the bay, first, third and fifth are mounted lower in the bay, second and forth clip up higher so the nose and tail overlap the ones below. The cross-section of the upper clip shows that the way the bombs are mounted in the clip are reversed, three bombs in the top row and four in the bottom row.
And the 5-bomb clips in the wing panniers was just a proposal according to this book.
Sorry folks.
 

RLBH

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And the 5-bomb clips in the wing panniers was just a proposal according to this book.
Panniers were proposed for one of the V-bombers to carry 13 bombs in two 5-bomb and one 3-bomb clip, I'm not sure whether this was for the Vulcan or Victor but presumably could have been adapted to either.
 

CJGibson

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The Multi-Role VC10 was to be fitted with eight underwing bomb panniers, each carrying eight 1,000lb bombs.

Wing panniers for the Valiant were intended to carry six in each, for a total bombload of 33,000lb.

See Vickers VC10 - AEW, Pofflers and other Unbuilt Variants

I think I have seen a drawing of a Victor with wing panniers. There was definitely a proposal to fit the HP.111 with wing panniers for paratroops.

Chris
 

JFC Fuller

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Thanks for posting the video, like others I had only ever seen the ten round clips as drawings and had assumed it had never been tried in practice. It does not seem to have been a widely used (if ever operationally?) configuration though.

There are drawings on this forum of the proposed wing mounted panders for both the Vulcan and Victor on this forum, to my knowledge these were never built though.
 

pf matthews

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Reading through the posts regarding the Victor and supplementary bomb carriers, I was pretty sure that I had seen something about this previously.
The following illustrations seem to cover the subject matter quite well (sorry HUGE CONFESSION - do not recall the origin of the drawings)Victor Wing Bomb Containers 22e8d3d5.jpgVictor Wing Bomb Containers a40376b5.jpgVictor Wing Bomb Containers f7b35483.jpgVictor with Bomb Nacelles bc6a04a3.jpg
 
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kitnut617

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Those drawings can be found in the two-volume book set I quoted further up. Now I just need to find where I read the additional info from, it doesn't seem to be in these two books.
 

pf matthews

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Reading through the posts regarding the Victor and supplementary bomb carriers, I was pretty sure that I had seen something about this previously.
The following illustrations seem to cover the subject matter quite well (sorry HUGE CONFESSION - do not recall the origin of the drawings)
Maybe here: https://www.whatifmodellers.com/index.php?topic=12733.30
Thanks for that jstar - it was some time ago that I downloaded the images, I really should have kept a record of their provenance
 

Silencer1

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Hello, pf matthews!

Reading through the posts regarding the Victor and supplementary bomb carriers, I was pretty sure that I had seen something about this previously.
The following illustrations seem to cover the subject matter quite well (sorry HUGE CONFESSION - do not recall the origin of the drawings)
Vickers Wellesley comes to my mind, when I see these external bomb containers ("panniers"). Trying to remember any other bombers, equipped with such devices and failed.
Could it be "UK-only" invention?
Thanks for sharing!

Here is the picture from "Air Enthusiast 1996-03", made by Mike Badrocke (http://aviadejavu.ru/Site/Arts/Art8808.htm)

P.S. There were at least one non-UK type - Convair B-58 Hustler, with it's massive external weapon container
 

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pathology_doc

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Of interest, I distinctly recall two bombs being removed from the Vulcan that is stolen in the James Bond film Thunderball. Much as I am sure this is plot-driven rather than being based in operational reality, it suggests a grain of truth that two weapons of an appropriate size COULD have been carried if it were considered both necessary and desirable.
 

Kadija_Man

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Of interest, I distinctly recall two bombs being removed from the Vulcan that is stolen in the James Bond film Thunderball. Much as I am sure this is plot-driven rather than being based in operational reality, it suggests a grain of truth that two weapons of an appropriate size COULD have been carried if it were considered both necessary and desirable.

Thunderball was almost completely fictional in it's depiction of how a Vulcan was. It had a non-existent passeway between the cockpit and the bombbay and the bombs were too small compared to Yellow Sun A-Bombs,
 

Forest Green

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just musing, was the Vulcan cleared to carry Red Beard ? at 12ft in length it would have been theoretically possible to hold two in the bomb bay ... https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Beard_(nuclear_weapon)
Why not 4? 2 x 2. The Red Beard was 0.71m in diameter, which is less than 2 x 1,000lb HE bombs, and the Vulcan carried 4 abreast. The two external pylons were also capable of carrying a Skybolt each during testing, so probably another two externally too.
 

alertken

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But Joe there was no point. This was not a good weapon. We chose quickly to unload it from Valiant and to confine it to Cyprus and Singapore and on carriers, where US custodials could not stroke their superior Marks 5 etc. Never cleared for Vulcan 1.
 

JFC Fuller

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Apparently the Victor bomb bay was 32 ft 10" long and 9ft 10" across, does that make it the longest continuous bomb bay of any bomber?
 

kitnut617

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I've read somewhere, that the Victor could have had the fuselage stretched too, as the wing spars were both in front of the bomb bay, whereas the Vulcan was hamstrung by having a spar at each end of the bay.
 

RLBH

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I've read somewhere, that the Victor could have had the fuselage stretched too, as the wing spars were both in front of the bomb bay, whereas the Vulcan was hamstrung by having a spar at each end of the bay.
Structurally, yes, but the Victor's wing design was quite sensitive to shifts in the centre of gravity.
 

Fluff

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If you are in the UK, you can visit RAF Cosford, you can stand underneath the open bomb bay in the Vulcan, and the Valliant and Victor are also there - this is in the real world BTW.
 

kitnut617

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I've read somewhere, that the Victor could have had the fuselage stretched too, as the wing spars were both in front of the bomb bay, whereas the Vulcan was hamstrung by having a spar at each end of the bay.
Structurally, yes, but the Victor's wing design was quite sensitive to shifts in the centre of gravity.
What I read was a plug would have been inserted in front and behind the wing, to maintain the cg.
 
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