Avro Vulcan B2 XL426

Usually if I’m going to Southend Airport – or should I say London Southend Airport – it’s to catch an EasyJet flight for a jaunt to some European destination or another. However today I made my way to Southend Airport to see a fantastic piece of RAF history – Vulcan B2 bomber XL426.

This is a model of aeroplane brought into service as the Cold War began to get decidedly chilly in the 1950s, designed by the same company as the famous Lancaster bomber used in the Second World War. The Vulcan, with its distinctive delta wing and four jet engines, was designed to deliver nuclear bombs to enemy targets should hostilities take a turn for the most horrific worst.

XL426 itself entered service in 1962, and stayed in operational service until 1984. By then the nuclear deterrent role had passed from the RAF to the Royal Navy, with missiles launched from stealth submarines a far more effective system of delivering nuclear armageddon.

The plane was sold in 1986 and delivered to Southend Airport where a new owner had ambitious plans to keep her running as a display aircraft. Huge expenses meant that never quite came together, but eventually it ended up in the hands of the Vulcan Restoration Trust, a team of volunteers who have restored the aircraft to almost fully working condition. The team organise regular public open days to keep funding for the project trickling in, and that’s what I attended today.


Thanks to Matt Parsons at the Vulcan Restoration Trust for showing me around and giving me the full lowdown. More information on the trust website.


One thought on “Avro Vulcan B2 XL426

  1. Fantastic photos, as ever! Love the captions as well, really helps to put the aircraft into historical context, like the juxtaposition of technology, ie having the capability to deploy thermonuclear weapons but still using a sextant (technology from the 1500s) to navigate!

    Liked by 1 person

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