How the Avro Vulcan was reinvented as a tanker

Following the Falklands Conflict, the Vulcan abandoned its bomber role and re-emerged as a flying gas station. Tim McLelland details its time as a tanker, which ended up being the big delta’s operational swansong

Within a matter of weeks from the end of the Falklands War, the Vulcan’s retirement process was resumed, but even at this late stage in the Vulcan’s story, there were more developments to come. As a direct result of the Falklands conflict, the RAF suddenly had a huge requirement for air-to-air refuelling tankers, to support the seemingly endless supply flights to and from the Falklands (and Ascension Island) whilst still maintaining day-to-day activities back in the UK, refuelling the RAF’s fighter and offensive support squadrons. The Victor tankers were heavily committed to the AAR task and although the conversion of VC10s into tankers was now underway, there was still a short-term requirement for more tankers.

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