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Photograph by David Taylor
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Vulcan B2 Blue Steel XL361 of No 617 Squadron carrying a semi-recessed 'Blue Steel' training round at the Farnborough Air Show in September 1962. Training rounds were designated W103A and 16 were delivered, 10 made of light alloy and 6 from stainless steel. The production rocket-powered 'Blue Steel' (W105) was armed with a 1MT 'Red Snow' thermonuclear warhead, similar to that fitted to the 'Yellow Sun' Mk2 free-fall weapon. It was not until April 1964 that 'filled and fuelled' operational missiles were cleared for use. 361 was delivered to 617 Squadron in March 1962 and was pooled into the Scampton Wing in 1964. It remained at Scampton with 230 OCU, 617 Squadron and 35 Squadron after being converted to the free-fall configuration (1969) until April 1981 when it was transferred to IX Squadron at Waddington. A cat 3 accident at Goose Bay in November 1981 probably saved 361 from the breakers as it was declared cat 5 (written-off) and presented to the township of Happy Valley - Goose Bay where it remains on display.

Copyright © David Taylor.

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