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Avro Vulcan B2s of the Cottesmore Wing at RAAF Darwin circa 1965. The nearest aircraft is Vulcan B2 XM611 and No 3 has been identified as XM606. As early as 1957, detachments of V-bombers had been sent to the Far East (Vulcans from 1959). Though 'in theatre' the detachments did not directly participate in the 'Malayan Emergency' that ended in 1960 (Lincolns and Hornets were preferred) though the presence of nuclear-capable aircraft presumably sent a message to potential adversaries. Recently declassified documents state that in 1958, it was decided to build nuclear weapon storage facilities at RAF Tengah in Singapore and in 1960 it was also planned to move 48 Red Beard tactical nuclear bombs to Tengah as well as three V-bomber squadrons and one squadron of Canberras. A dummy Red Beard was flown to Tengah in 1960. In 1962, live and more dummy rounds were sent (the live rounds not to leave storage) and the following year, permission was given to train with dummy rounds in the open. No 45 Squadron flying Canberra B15s was stationed at Tengah but the three proposed squadrons of V-bombers never materilised though detachments were regular. The 'Indonesian Confrontation' (1963-66) saw detachments to RAAF Butterworth and RAF Tengah (armed conventionally but not used in anger) as well as regular SEATO reinforcement exercises. With the storage of nuclear weapons in other countries being a highly sensitive issue, it is virtually impossible to know the extent of their deployment and whether Vulcans practiced loading and dispersing with Red Beard training rounds is speculative. The Far Eastern detachments sometimes included air-defence exercises with the Royal Australian Air Force. Photo information courtesy Chris Bogg and Craig Bulman, author of The Vulcan B.Mk2 from a Different Angle >>. 611 was delivered to IX Squadron in 1964 and absorbed into the Coningsby Wing which moved to Cottesmore later that year. Transferred to Waddington in 1968, 611 was eventually allocated to No 101 Squadron, retired to St Athan in 1982 and scrapped the following year.

Paul O'Gorman collection. Thought to be © Crown Copyright >>

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