The Avro Vulcan is a delta wing subsonic bomber that was operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984. The Vulcan was part of the RAF V-bomber force, which fulfilled the role of nuclear deterrence against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It was also used in a conventional bombing role during the Falklands conflict with Argentina.
The Air Ministry required a bomber with a top speed of 500 knots (930 km/h), an operating ceiling of 50,000 ft (15,000 m), a range of 3,000 nautical miles (5,500 km) and a bomb load of 10,000 lb (4,500 kg); intended to carry out delivery of Britain's nuclear armed gravity bombs to strategic targets within Soviet territory (east of the Ural mountains). Design work began at A. V. Roe in 1947 under Roy Chadwick. The Type 698 as first envisaged was a delta wing tailless, almost flying wing design. This design was reworked and became more conventional adopting a centre fuselage with four paired engines and a tail.
In September 1956, the RAF received its first Vulcan B.1; the second Vulcan was not delivered until 1957 and the delivery rate then increased. The B.2 variant was first tested in 1957 and entered service in 1960. A total of 134 production Vulcans were manufactured (45 B.1 and 89 B.2), the last being delivered to the RAF in January 1965. The last operational Vulcan squadron was disbanded in March 1984.