Designed and in service as a strategic nuclear bomber, some were converted to in-flight refuelling tankers and remained in service until 1993. Much use was made of them in the 1982 Falklands campaign and the 1991 Gulf War.
The Victor was produced to Specification B35/46 and fifty MkI aircraft powered by Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire engines were built and delivered as bombers. Most were converted to tankers in 1965 and their bombing role taken over by the more powerful and higher flying MkII aircraft with Rolls-Royce Conway engines. After initial service carrying free-fall nuclear weapons, the Avro Blue Steel stand-off missile was fitted. Eight aircraft were converted to the Strategic Reconnaissance role and served with No.543 Squadron.
The Victor 2 bomber fleet was withdrawn in 1968.
Due to the failure of the Handley Page company, the conversion of 24 MkII aircraft to tankers was undertaken by Hawker Siddeley at Woodford.
The Victor K2 aircraft carried out all of the in-flight tanking requirements during the Falklands campaign. The final major use of these machines occurred in the Gulf War when 299 sorties were demanded and all were completed successfully in spite of the aircraft being over 30 years old.