Valiant: The First V-Bomber

Overshadowed by the Vulcan and Victor, the Valiant was the only one of the V-bombers to drop a nuclear bomb, the first to see combat and the RAF’s initial operational tanker. However, its career was cut short by structural problems, as Stephen Skinner describes

A number of Valiants were kept on 15 minute readiness to scramble in retaliation against an incoming Warsaw Pact nuclear attack.
All photos Key Collection unless stated

In early 1951, the Vickers Valiant heavy jet bomber prototype, WB210, was transported down the A3 trunk road to Wisley in Surrey, the manufacturer’s test airfield a few miles from its main base at Brooklands. It had been built at Foxwarren, Vickers’ experimental works seven miles north, and was now ready for final assembly.

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