Avro Vulcan B.2 (with Falklands modifications): More than just a bomber

Would you like to see the Vulcan B.2 in game?
  • Yes - as a tech tree vehicle
  • Yes - as a premium / pack vehicle
  • Yes - as an event / battle pass / squadron vehicle
  • No

0 voters

Would you like it to have access to AIM-9G Sidewinder missiles (yes you read that right - see the suggestion for details)?
  • Yes
  • No
  • I said “No” to the first question

0 voters

I would like to suggest the Avro Vulcan B.2 be added to the game. I know a lot of people’s instinctive reaction to this is to say “post-war strategic bombers have no place in the game”, but I ask you read the suggestion before coming to that conclusion. Specifically I am suggesting the Vulcan B.2 be added with the various modifications it received during Falklands War. I feel these modifications; along with the characteristics of the Vulcan B.2 in general make it far more suited to the game than its contemporary Cold War bombers.

History

The Avro Vulcan was one of Britain’s three “V Bombers” (the others being the Vickers Valiant and the Handley Page Victor), the name collectively given to the tree aircraft tasked with delivering Britain’s nuclear deterrent throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

Development began in 1947 and the first Vulcan B.1 entered service in 1956 (having first flown in 1952). Of the three V-bombers the Vulcan was considered to the most advanced and riskiest design featuring a massive delta wing. The Vulcan B.2 was a significantly improved version of the B.1; it featured a larger wing, vastly more powerful engines (20,000 lbf each compared to 11,000 lbf each on the first B.1s) and much better self defence capability.

With the growing threat of Soviet radars and surface-to-air missiles V bomber tactics were changed from high altitude strategic bombing to low altitude penetration. The Vulcan was the only one of the three V bombers to excel under these conditions, there are plenty of stories of Vulcan’s flying at tree to level in American exercises.

By 1982 the Vulcan force was being wound down ready for retirement. When the Falklands War began these plans were paused with the Vulcan being tasked to carry out a series of bombing raids against Argentine positions in the Falkland Islands. These missions were known as Operation Black Buck 1 through 7 and were the longest-ranged bombing raids in history at that time. While their impact on the war is still debated they resulted in a number of unique modifications being carried out to the Vulcan which will be discussed in this suggestion.

Why the Vulcan B.2 should be added to the game

The main criticisms directed at adding post-war strategic bombers can usually be summed up as:

  1. They would be defenceless missile fodder.
  2. If put at a lower BR where they are not defenceless missile fodder they would fly too high to be easily intercepted by enemy fighters.
  3. They carry a massive bomb load capable of ending a game in one bombing run.
  4. All their good for bombing enemy bases from the edge of space.

In my opinion none of these arguments truly apply to the Vulcan in a post-Falklands configuration. To tackle the bomb load matter first: the Vulcan’s maximum bomb load is 21,000 lb; that is less than a Tu-4 (26,000 lb) and not massively more than aircraft like the Phantom and Buccaneer (~15,000 lb). As for the other points I believe the Vulcan’s self-defence capabilities would allow it to be placed at a BR where aircraft have adequate performance to intercept it, while still providing it significant protection from missiles. Meanwhile the weapons the Vulcan could carry, and the characteristics of the aircraft, would allow it to have a more interesting playstyle than most strategic bombers.

Weapons

Bombs

The standard conventional armament of the Vulcan B.2 for most of its service life was 21 x 1,000 lb bombs. This is not an overly impressive bomb load (compared to other strategic bombers), what is however slightly interesting is that it could carry standard British parachute retarded bombs for low level operation.

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A Vulcan deploying retarded bombs:

Anti-Radiation Missiles

Where things get interesting is with the Falklands War modifications. The most well-known of these is the addition of AGM-45 Shrike anti-radiation missiles. But less known is the addition of a second type of anti-radiation missile, the AS.37 Martel. I know we do not have anti-radiation missiles now, but the developers have confirmed they are being worked on, so will likely be in game by the time the Vulcan is added.

The Vulcan could carry up to four AGM-45 Shrike missiles, or potentially two Martel missiles (in testing only a single missile was carried, but as Shrike could be carried under both wings Martel probably could of too). Having the choice between Shrike and Martel would give an interesting gameplay dilemma as each missile has its own benefits. Shrike is a much faster missile and twice as many can be carried; while Martel is a large sub-sonic missile (easier to shoot down) but features a larger warhead, better range, and a limited ability to hit a target after it has shut its radar down. The Vulcan would also be the only British aircraft capable of carrying two different types of anti-radiation missile.

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Martel missiles:


Shrike missiles:


Sidewinder (yes really)

Far less known (but arguably more interesting in game) than the integration of Martel and Shrike, was that AIM-9G sidewinder missiles were briefly trailed on the Vulcan. No photos are known to exist of this happening, but a declassified RAF report on the Falklands War confirms that “the installation [of AIM-9Gs] was successful”, but that “the project was not taken further during the Operation”. That would strongly suggest that that at least one Vulcan was successfully modified to be able to carry the AIM-9G missile. How many missiles could be carried is not clear, but as it says the Martel pylons (rather than the shrike pylons) were used that would imply one missile under each wing.

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Laser Guided Bombs

The final weapon added to the Vulcan during the Falklands War was the 1,000 lb Paveway II laser guided bomb. The Vulcan could carry up to three laser guided bombs in the bomb bay, but did not feature a targeting pod so had to rely on external laser designators (either from ground units or other aircraft). This means the Paveways would not be any use in game unless Gaijin adds buddy lasing.

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Self defence

Countermeasures

For an early cold war bomber the Vulcan has excellent self defence systems. The Vulcan B.2 had a large “window compartment” in each wing (window was the old British name for chaff). Each window compartment could house either a Primary Conventional Window Dispenser (PCWD) or a Cartridge Discharger, alongside a Secondary Conventional Window Dispenser (SCWD).

Each PCWD could hold up to 1,872 chaff packets and each SCWD could hold up to 468 chaff packets (and these were seriously big chaff packets – as in 9” x 3” x 1.5” blocks of chaff). Each cartridge discharger could hold 264 flare or chaff cartridges, and again these were big cartridges (2.25” diameter cylinders). That means a Vulcan could carry up to 4,680 chaff packets (in two PCWDs and two SCWDs) or a mixed load of 528 flares and 936 packets of chaff (in two cartridge dischargers and two SCWDs). The Vulcan achieved this massive countermeasure count using belt fed countermeasure dispensers (diagrams below).

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Primary Conventional Window Dispenser and Secondary Conventional Window Dispenser:

Chaff packet used by the Vulcan:

Cartridge discharger:

Tail Warning Radar

Another self defence system the Vulcan B.2 had was the Red Steer Mk 2, tail warning radar. This was essentially a rearward facing search radar (presumably that can’t be a hard thing for Gaijin to implement), that allowed the crew to detect aircraft and missiles approaching the Vulcan from behind. It could apparently detect targets out to 20 nautical miles with a search area ±70° in azimuth and ±25° in elevation.

Gaijin could either implement this as a rear facing search radar for the player to monitor or make the warning somewhat more automatic to simulate the fact that a separate crewman would be monitoring the tail warning radar in real life.

Here is a section from Red Steer Mk.1 manual, which confirms it can detect approaching missiles. The Red Steer Mk.2 was known to be a far more capable radar, so it likely could too.

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Radar Warning Reciever

The Vulcan B.2 did of course also have a radar warning receiver. There’s not much to talk about here; it was the ARI 18228, which was a pretty decent RWR used on many British aircraft.

Electronic Countermeasures

Finally the Vulcan B.2 had a large Electronic Counter Measures suite, with the tail of the aircraft containing a number of powerful radar jammers. In the Falklands War this was improved with the addition of an ALQ-101-10 ECM pod to counter modern (at the time) anti-aircraft radars.

The howl

A final feature of the Vulcan B.2 worth discussing is the “howl”. For those unaware this is a unique noise made by the B.2 version of the Vulcan at certain throttle settings due to the massive amount of air being sucked through the air intakes creating a harmonic resonance. Despite being an unintentional design feature (that gradually caused fatigue in the intakes) it has become a very iconic part of the Vulcan.

There are plenty of videos online if you search “Vulcan howl”, but none of them can truly convey what it is like to hear the noise in person (it is incredibly loud - you can feel it). Here is one of the better videos:

Unfortunately however the howl was exclusive to Vulcans fitted with less powerful Olympus Mk 201 engines; this raises the issue of how the Vulcan should be represented in game. One the one hand the howl one of the most iconic features of the Vulcan, so it would be a shame not to see it in game. On the other hand it would be nice if the Vulcan in game represented the ultimate version of the aircraft with the more powerful Olympus Mk 301 engines. From a historical accuracy point of view I believe all Vulcans used in the Falklands were fitted with Mk 301 engines.

I’m not sure how best to handle this. Perhaps a Mk 201 engined Vulcan could be added as a separate event vehicle, maybe a modification could be added to switch the engines from Mk 201 to Mk 301 (letting us choose howl or more thrust), or perhaps Gaijin could just take creative liberty and give the Mk 301 engines a howl noise.

Specifications

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General

  • Crew: 5
  • Length: 105 ft 6 in (32.16 m)
  • Wingspan: 111 ft (33.83 m)
  • Height: 27 ft 1 in (8.26 m)
  • Engines: 4 x Bristol-Siddeley Olympus 301 (20,000 lbf each)

Performance

  • Never exceed speed: 450 kts
  • Max speed at altitude: Mach 0.93 indicated
  • Max g: +3
  • Empty weight 101,000 lb
  • Max takeoff weight: 204,000 lb

Weapons

  • 21 x 1,000 lb bomb (normal or retarded)
  • 2 x AS.37 Martel
  • 4 x AGM-45 Shrike
  • 2 x AIM-9G
  • 3 x 1,000 lb Paveway II

Sources

12 Likes

I really want more cold war jet bombers, and this would be a great addition! +1

4 Likes

+1, I would really love to see more Cold War bombers, especially the V-Bombers

3 Likes

I’d love to see the Vulcan in game it’ll be amazing +1

2 Likes

Would be an interesting addition. Can you imagine being in a fighter in SB looking over your shoulder to find a Vulcan firing an Aim9G at you. Oh god that would be hilarious.

Maybe concerned about it being TT, would be a hard jet to fly. Buc S2 is already a hard jet in ARB. But would be a really interesting event, premium or SQ vehicle. An optional aircraft. ( I suppose it could also be foldered under something else. Maybe the Buc)

Though either way, it would be a priority acquistion for me and I’d fly it all day long,

2 Likes

On the point of the Vulcans I would like to suggest something.

I am an active Volunteer at 655MaPS at Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield with XM655 and I assist with maintenance when I can but I am mainly one of the people who gives Cockpit Tours and Group Tours when it comes to the bomb-bay and weapons. I assisted with Flame on the original suggestion on the old forum with the discussions around the engines.

On the topic of the engines, though we at XM655 are the last and only taxiable Avro Vulcan running Bristol Olympus 301 engines we were not given the “falklands” upgrade for missile pylon use as the pylon modification was never fully added to our aircraft as the Skybolt was cancelled so we have the forward mounting points but not the rear underwing mounting points. Our aircraft was also not chosen to go to RAF Ascension for the Falklands Conflict.

Now the 301s are a striking aspect of our aircraft and the fact our 301’s growl/roar with such tremendous thrust compared to the 201s, has us informing people when asked why the other two aircraft: XH558 and XL426 make a “Howling” sound with their 201’s as mentioned above whilst we do not.

So my proposal is this:

Add Avro Vulcan B.2 XH558 as a premium/event aircraft as it is well renowned for it’s display flights across the United Kingdom until 2015 and was featured in many films about the Avro Vulcan. With only the 21x1000lb bomb payload as it is pre-skybolt modifications.

And add the Avro Vulcan B.2 XM607 with the 301 engine upgrade and pylon modifications for the famous Black Buck Raids for the Falklands Conflict (including the bombing of Port Stanley Runway) to be added as a tech tree bomber with the additions of the pylons for the AS.37’s, AGM-45 Shrikes and AIM-9G to be carried with the 21X1000lb bomb payload.

This will allow those who favour and enjoy the “Howl” to be able to procure XH558 from famous air shows when it becomes available as a Premium or Event vehicle with just the bombs and countermeasures.

And those who wish to have the late modifications to have an aircraft like XM607 which took part in the only conflict Vulcans ever saw service in, with the full power of growling/roaring 301’s whilst having the extra payloads such as anti-radiation missiles and AIM-9G’s making it a unique addition just as Flame2512 has mentioned.

Now I will not be lying if I say that if XM607 gets added in the tech tree, I would SINCERELY hope that there was also an XM655 skin (though for those like myself I can fly that skin with just the bomb payload and maybe pretend “what if” her modification was completed for the full set of pylon mounting points), as I would absolutely love to spend my Saturdays as I do, greeting the public, informing them of our great project and helping with maintenance, to then come home and wind down by flying the aircraft who’s cockpit I was just in hours earlier that day in a game like this.

On a similar note it would also be great to see XL426 from London Southend Airport to have it’s skin as an alternative to the XH558 Premium/Event Vehicle for those who are a fan and enjoy that aircraft that still runs today in taxiable form like 558 and 655.

Like Flame posted, though it may seem like it would be overpowering in game, it at this very moment in time would be an upgrade for the British Bomber Line in comparison to the Buccaneer (which is not a bomber at all and should be in the Naval Strike Fighter Line and is a standin) as it has 16,000lbs of bombs. This being only 5,000lbs less than either non-pylon/pylon upgraded B.2’s.

And currently as far as I have experienced as a bomber player in warthunder since 2013, if in a team of 4 Vulcans you had the same payload as 4 buccaneers except with 5 more bombs each, they would not destroy matchmaking or matches in general, with the addition of the 2xAIM-9G’s being an interesting defensive armament just like the Harriers Jump Jet Strike Aircraft.

If there are any questions people may have I will do my best to gain the answers to assist, but to hopefully finally see after 10 years of playing, these iconic aircraft ingame would be incredible especially considering my current work on the weekends!

Definite + 1 from me,

                                 -FutureFlash2034.
6 Likes

The Buccaneer with the Vulcans Addition and hopefully later the Valiant and Victor, will finally be placed into the Naval Strike Aircraft line where it should be placed. Instead of as a standin for these missing bombers.

1 Like

Yeah, that is a true and great addon suggestions as well, Im officially jealous of your job

1 Like

Hopefully we will get the Valiant, Victor, B-47, Tu-16 and Tu-22 added sometime soon.

3 Likes

TSR.2 as well

6 Likes

Definitely would be a good ending addition to the Bomber tree.

We just did an engine test today whilst closed to the public at the airfield. Love the sound of our 301’s, can’t wait for them ingame if we can get this passed.

3 Likes

Im really… really… jealous of your job now!

2 Likes

My hands were covered in towing arm greese and such so I had to have a long scrub in the sink.

1 Like

I think it would be interesting +1

1 Like

I just want to mention on the point of the countermeasures of flare and chaff dispensers, the port side has a large and small window dispenser. The starboard only has a one window dispenser, this is because the Rover/AAPP is in the starboard position directly behind the starboard rear undercarraige and takes up space. This is why the Vulcan does not have symetrical dispenser positioning with more flares and chaff than it had.

1 Like

On the topic of conventional payloads though I do not think it should come to the game as the Avro Vulcan NEVER got this modification, but Avro did suggest to the RAF a 10 store bomb carrier for a max payload of 30x1000lbs. However since the aircraft was designed to be foremost a nuclear bomber, and the 10 store carrier would potentially have a dispensable rack section/pieces (causing cost increase to replace that piece(s) each time it was used) the RAF kept the standard 7 store carrier and it never went further than that.

The 10 store is an interesting what if for the Avro Vulcan as it would a payload capacity closer to the Victor which carries 35x1000lbs.

Again I do believe though the 10 store carrier should not to come to the Vulcan, however since we are discussing the AIM-9 being added and since a 10 store carrier from what I have seen with archival footage was loaded into a vulcan for testing, we could then say it could be added.

^ This would if we did follow a 3x 10 store carrier system lead to a steady progression in armament for the british bomber line of:

Vickers Valiant: 21x1000lbs
Avro Vulcan: 21x1000lbs/30x1000lbs
Handley Page Victor: 35x1000lbs.

yes +1, glad you put it on the new forum

1 Like

If you fly the Buccaneer at low altitudes in an arc using cover as you fly you can more than easily drop all of your payload and make it back to the airfield without being shot down.