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Vickers Valiant BK.1 – XD818, White livery, Preserved RAF Museum Cosford 1/144

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1 in stock


1 in stock

Aviation Inceptor Series 1/144 scale AV72FB003; Vickers Valiant BK.1 XD818; the only surviving example which is now preserved at the RAF museum Cosford.

Length 9 inches Wingspan 9.5 inches

The only remaining full example of a Valiant anywhere on the planet, XD818 was the actual aircraft that dropped Britain’s first hydrogen bomb. First flown on 4th September 1956, she was delivered to 49 Squadron at RAF Wittering on 14th November 1956. XD818 was one of eight Valiants modified by Vickers for Operation Grapple – the testing of Britain’s first hydrogen bomb. These mods included anti-flash curtains in the cockpit and bomb-bay-mounted cameras to record the drop. In March 1957, XD818 was flown to Christmas Island and on 15th May 1957 dropped the first British h-bomb – this drop was codenamed ‘Short Granite’. The aircraft had strengthened control surfaces, additional cameras and sensors and metal anti-flash window screens. Piloted by Wg Cdr Kenneth Hubbard, at 09:00 hours on May 15th 1957, Valiant XD818 took off carrying Britain’s first thermo-nuclear “H” bomb, code named “Grapple 1”. Released at 10:36 hours from an altitude of 45000ft and detonated at 8000ft, the shock wave from the 0.3 megaton device was felt by the crew some 2.5 minutes after the blast. Wg Cdr Hubbard observed the mushroom cloud before landing back on Christmas Island at 11:20 hours. In recognition of their skill and professionalism, the crew of Valiant XD818 each received the Air Force Cross. She returned to Christmas Island on several other occasions for further bomb drop tests and with their cessation in December 1958 returned to normal duties, with her Grapple mods being removed in November 1959. In July 1961 XD818 was converted to a BK.1 tanker. She was repainted into low level green/grey camouflage in September 1964 but in December was grounded along with every other Valiant due to the spar fatigue problems that had been discovered.

The Vickers-Armstrong Valiant was a British four-jet high-altitude bomber, once part of the Royal Air Force’s V bomber nuclear force in the 1950s and 1960s. It was developed by Vickers in response to Specification B.35/46 issued by the Air Ministry for a nuclear-armed jet-powered bomber. The Valiant was the first of the V bombers to become operational, and was followed by the Handley Page Victor and the Avro Vulcan; it was noticeably less advanced than its counterparts. The Valiant has the distinction of being the only V bomber to have dropped live nuclear weapons. The Valiant was intended for operations as a high-altitude strategic bomber. During the late 1950s, in response to rapid advances in surface-to-air missile (SAM) technology, the Valiant fleet switched to flying a low-level mission profile to perform the strike mission. Beyond the nuclear deterrence role, the Valiant was also used by the RAF for other purposes, a number were converted to perform various support roles such as aerial refuelling tankers and aerial reconnaissance aircraft. Valiants were used for conventional bombing missions over Egypt for Operation Musketeer during the Suez Crisis of 1956. By late 1964 it was found that all variants of the Valiant showed premature fatiguing and inter-crystalline corrosion in wing spar attachment castings, traced to the use of a poorly understood aluminium alloy, DTD683. Rather than proceeding with an expensive rebuilding program, the Valiant was formally retired in 1965. Its duties were continued by the other V-bombers which remained in service until the 1980s.

Sold By : Plane Store SKU: AV72FB003 Categories: , ,
Weight 1.1 kg