Our Cosford site will be closed to the public on Wednesday 29 September for a schools event.

Back to collections

Vickers Valiant B1

Serial No: XD818
Period: Post-WWII
Reference: 1994/1352/A
Museum: Cosford
Location: National Cold War Exhibition
On Display: Yes

The Valiant was the first of Bomber Command’s V class aircraft and established Britain’s air-borne nuclear deterrent force before pioneering operational in-flight refuelling in the Royal Air Force.

The arrival of the turbojet and the nuclear bomb, in 1945, profoundly influenced the Royal Air Force’s requirements for a heavy bomber replacement. Carrying a weapon with a greater destructive force than a Second World War 1000-bomber raid meant that only small numbers of aircraft were required to drop nuclear bombs. They were designed to fly at high speed and extreme altitude to penetrate the Russian air defences. The new V bombers dispensed with all means of defence, except electronic jamming, to protect the aircraft as it made its high speed, high altitude run into the target.

Thankfully the aircraft were never used for their primary role, but Valiants, armed with conventional bombs, attacked Egyptian airfields during the Suez crisis in 1956.

With the introduction of more advanced V-bombers the Valiant was converted to a tanker role for in-flight refuelling. In January 1965, all Valiants were prematurely scrapped after metal fatigue was found in the wings of a few aircraft.

Buy your gifts online
PLEASE SUPPORT US

Buy your gifts online

Great aviation gift ideas for all the family

Adopt an Artefact
PLEASE SUPPORT US

Adopt an Artefact

Adopt a piece of RAF History

Make a donation
PLEASE SUPPORT US

Make a donation

Make a difference through a donation

Leave a Legacy
PLEASE SUPPORT US

Leave a Legacy

Leave a gift that inspires future generations

Schools and Colleges
ONLINE CLASSES

Schools and Colleges

Fascinating workshops to inspire the next generation

Collections Online
Collections Onliine
DISCOVER MORE

Collections Onliine

Explore our Collections online