The Vulcan, the second of the three V bombers built to guard the UK during the Cold War has become an aviation icon like the Spitfire, its delta shape is instantly recognisable as is the howling noise it makes when the engines are opened for take-off. Vulcan Boys is the first Vulcan book recounted completely first hand by the operators themselves. It tells the story of the aircraft from its design conception through the Cold War when it played out its most important job as Britain’s nuclear deterrent; before unbelievably, at the end of its service life, also playing a significant role, with its bombs and missiles, in liberating the Falkland Islands for which it gained much celebrity. The individual accounts detail how hours at a time were spent on readiness, waiting to be scrambled to defend their country in the event of a third world war. In addition how their aggressive skills were honed by carrying out Lone Ranger sorties flying to the States and westward around the world, and taking part in Giant Voice and Red Flag, competitive exercises against the United States Strategic Air Command. The attacks in the Falklands using Shrike missiles are described accurately and in great detail for the first time including the landing at Rio de Janeiro alongside a vivid account of Black Buck 2. Vulcan Boys is a fascinating and completely authentic read reminding us of the Cold War, how it was fought and the considerable effort required to prevent all-out nuclear war.
The Handley Page Victor was the third of the three V Bombers and the most long lasting, serving in the RAF until 1993, and still doing invaluable service in the first Iraq war. Moreover, in 1982 it was only the Victor tanker fleet based on Ascension Island that made possible the Vulcan Black Buck bombing of Port Stanley airfield and the long-range reconnaissance of Argentina by Nimrods. “Victor Boys” tells the story of all the great things that were achieved, recounted first hand by the operators themselves, aircrew and ground crew. Starting with accounts by test pilot Johnny Allam, who undertook the major development of the aircraft, through its work as a nuclear bomber during the cold war, testing Blue Steel in Australia, to its superb work during the Falklands war and later as a first class air-to-air refuelling tanker and vital support tool for fighters and other aircraft. Published to co-incide with the Victor’s 60th anniversary, the gripping text is superbly illustrated with photographs from the operators themselves, never released before. The stories are collated and set in context by Tony Blackman, ex chief test pilot of Avros who helped develop the Vulcan and initiated the development of the Victor K2 tanker. For him, initially, the Victor seemed a competitor but he now readily admits what a wonderful aircraft the Victor became.