Thursday, 5 December 2013

Cold War Warriors: Which were the best fighter and bomber?

There has been an active online discussion taking place amongst the 'Jockey's Field Irregulars' today about which was the best British fighter and bomber used by the RAF during the Cold War.

The current contenders are:

Hawker Hunter


vs.

English Electric Lightning


Handley Page Victor


vs.

Avro Vulcan


My votes are for the Lightning and Vulcan ... but I think that the Vickers Valiant B2 'Pathfinder' would have been a real contender if it had been built.

12 comments:

  1. Hunter and Vulcan.

    The Lightning - whilst the more evocative aircraft (as remembered from childhood airshows) it was a bit of a one trick pony- poor armament and short 'legs'. The Hunter is elegant versatile and combat proven.

    The Victor- a more advanced design and faster but too clever for its own good - the design out stripped metallurgical science at the time. Metal fatigue saw it relegated to the tank role while the 'built like a brick privy' (especially after the strengthening for the abortive Skybolt) proved it could deliver the goods.

    Just my £0.02.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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  2. Isn't the Vulcan the aircraft that successfully conducted the bombing raid over Port Stanley airport in 1982? Rather than looking to theoretical capabilities, I would defer to actual performance under the most demanding conditions.

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  3. Lightning and Vulcan. Accept no substitutes.

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  4. Pete,

    Thanks for your contribution to the discussion.

    It is said that no Lightning pilot (or ex-pilot) ever ran out of petrol whilst driving their car as they had become paranoid about their fuel levels after flying the Lightning!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. DestoFante,

    You are right about the Vulcan being the only one of the two bombers to actually see action when it took part in the famous 'Black Buck' mission to bomb Port Stanley airfield ... but it needed a fleet of Victor tankers to get there and back, so it is possible to argue that they both proved their worth that day.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. Tim Gow,

    No surprises when it comes to your vote!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. The Hawker Hunter is undoubtedly one of the best looking aircraft ever and performs pretty well too!

    The AVRO Vulcan stuffed B52s umpteen times in the States in their 'top bomber' tests.

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  8. Jim Duncan,

    I agree that the Hunter was a beautiful aircraft, but the Lightning had a brutality that was almost as beautiful.

    The Avro Vulcan was undoubtably a better aircraft than the B52 ... and I wonder what a supersonic version might have looked like.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. It has to be the Lightning as the last 'all British' fighter made (and also because I always wanted to make the Airfix kit as a kid but never did!).

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  10. Stryker,

    That sounds like two very good reasons to vote for the Lightning!

    All the best,

    Bob

    PS. Did you ever manage to build a model of the Lightning?

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  11. Personally I would include the Buccaneer on the list. 30 years service with both Navy and Air Force, capable of carrying nukes, saw active service, took two different aircraft to replace it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackburn_Buccaneer

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  12. Xaltotun of Python,

    Now the good old Buccaneer WAS an aircraft that was machined from solid metal ingots! Very hardy and very long-lived ... and you are right to suggest that it should be a contender.

    All the best,

    Bob

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