The Handley Page prototype HP.80 was designed to carry a 10,000lb bomb load up to 1,725 miles away at a height of 45,000 to 50,000 ft at a speed of 575 mph.
The weapons load was also to include a 10,000lb nuclear 'Special Gravity Bomb' or up to 20,000lb of conventional bombs over a relatively short range.
The design was given a cresent wing to ensure a constant limiting Mach number across the entire wing and hence a high cruise speed.
The cresent wing design was tested on a one third scale glider which crashed after about 30 flights. By the time the glider was ready to fly again the wing design had changed such that the former was no longer representative.
Two prototypes 'WB771' & 'WB775' were manufactured with thick wing roots, highly swept T-tail with considerable dihedral on the horizontal stabilisers and powered by four turbojet engines.
The pilots sat at the same level as the rest of the crew in a large pressurised compartment. The pilots were provided with ejection seats and the three systems operators were equipped with 'explosive cushions' to help them towards a traditional bail out.
The prototypes performed well but due to a design miscalculation the tailplane of 'WB771' detatched during a low level pass over Cranfield runway with the loss of the aircraft and crew.
The tailplane was under more stress than anticipated and the three bolts attaching it to the fin failed due to metal fatigue.
To rectify the problem the fin was shortened to reduce the potential for 'flutter' and the tailplane attachment was amended to a stronger four bolt fixing.
A contract was awarded and the aircraft was manufactured as the Victor B.1, powered by four Armstron Siddeley Saphire ASSa.7 turbojets producing 11,000lbf.
Initially the Victor was equipped with the Blue Danube nuclear weapon and then re-equipped with the Yellow Sun weapon as it became available.
A total of 50 Victor B.1 aircraft were produced with 24 of them being upgraded to a B.1A by the addition of Red Steer tail warning radar mounted in an enlarged tailcone and a suite of radar warningreeivers and electronic counter-measures (ECM).
The Handley Page 'Victor' was the third of the V-bombers providing Britain's nuclear deterent, the others being the Avro Vulcan and the Vickers Valiant.
The last Handley Page Victor was retired from service on the 15th of October 1993.
|Specifications (B.1): -|
|Length:||114ft 11in (35.05m)|
|Wingspan:||110ft 0in (33.53m)|
|Height:||28ft 1.5in (8.57m)|
|Empty Weight:||89,030lb (40468kg)|
|Max. Weight:||205,000lb (93182kg)|
|Engines (x4):||Sapphire A.S.Sa.7|
producing 11,050 lbf each.
|Max. Speed:||627 mph (1009 km/h)|
|Range:||6,000 miles (9660 km)|
|Armament: - (Refer to Variants for fitment)|
|Conventional:||Up to 35 × 1,000lb bombs|
|Nuclear:||1× Yellow Sun free-fall nuclear bomb|
Prototype, 2 built.
Strategic bomber aircraft, 50 built.
Updated B.1, 24 modified.
Victor B.1A (K.2P)
2 point in-flight refuelling tanker, 6 modified.
3 point in-flight refuelling tanker, 11 modified.
Strategic bomber aircraft, 34 built.
Blue Steel-capable aircraft with RCo.17 Conway 201 engines, 21 modified.
Strategic reconnaissance aircraft, nine modified.
In-flight refuelling tanker. 24 modified from B.2 and B(SR).2.
The Handley Page Victor was a British jet bomber aircraft produced during the cold war as a nuclear deterrent.
After the Royal Navy assumed the role of nuclear deterrence with their submarines armed with Polaris missiles, many Victors were decommissioned in that role and converted to aerial refuelling tankers.
Photographed above, an RAF Victor at Farnborough in 1961.