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Avro Vulcan B2 XH534 at the Farnborough Air Show in September 1960. 534 was the second Mk2 Vulcan and differed considerably from the first - XH533. As well as being fitted with production Olympus 201 engines, 534 was completed with an ECM tail cone and a probe that were lacking from the next few aircraft (retrofitted later) though it was by no means complete. For example, the aircraft lacks any VHF or UHF blade aerials. Quite possibly, 534 was originally fitted with the somewhat primitive TR 1934/1935 twin 10-channel VHF transceivers as fitted to Mk 1 Vulcans with their single aerial under the fin cap. Since no jammer aerials are located on the plate between the starboard nacelles and no Blue Saga PWR aerials can be seen, it seems likely that no ECM equipment was fitted. The ILS dielectric panels on the wing tips are missing.

Intriguingly, 534 is fitted with a sophisticated type of tail bumper that gave an additional illuminated warning in the cockpit that was not fitted to other B2s with ECM tail cones until around 1964. Perhaps 534 received the upgraded bumper because it was used for flight testing and the fleet only received the modification after service experience of scrapes.

As well as the AVRO badge on the fin, 534 has a Hawker Siddeley badge between the roundel and the intakes as well as the words BRISTOL SIDDELEY OLYMPUS ENGINES in the intake. Although 534 carries the identity of the manufacturers and exhibited on their behalf, it was based at A&AEE Boscombe Down for Controller of Aircraft release (issued May 1960) and ongoing trials until being returned to Avros for a refit in January 1965. The amount of work to bring the aircraft to standard must have been considerable for it was not issued to the RAF until 23 months later. 534 never served with a front line bomber squadron. After service with No 230 OCU, it was put into storage (April 1972) until being modified to B2 MRR standard (August 1973 - August 1974) and issued to No 27 Squadron.

Martin Fenner Collection. © Unknown.

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