Vulcan 607 - Book Review
Vulcan 607, Rowland White. A book review by W.S. Petty.
First published in 2006.
Vulcan 607 tells the story of the most ambitious and complex offensive operation that the British Royal Air Force had mounted since the end of the Second World War, Operation Black Buck.
In April 1982 Argentina launched Operation Rosairo, the invasion of the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory. The UK Government quickly assembled an amphibious task force to retake the islands. Not to be left out of the action, the RAF put together an ambitious plan to deny the Argentinians the use of the runway at Port Stanley Airport. It was feared that Argentinian fast jets would pose a significant threat to the ships of the approaching British task force. The plan was simple, bomb the runway. The execution of the plan was far from simple.
Vulcan 607 is a fantastic account of the struggle to get the aging Vulcan bombers fit to fight in the South Atlantic. These aircraft, along with the Victor (employed as tankers in 1982), were once the spearhead of the British Nuclear Deterrent. Now they were being ask to take part in a conventional war, far from their intended theatre of operations.
Containing first-hand accounts, Vulcan 607 details the technical, sometimes unconventional, aspects of reequipping the Vulcans to undertake air-to-air refuelling, selection of the aircraft, training the crews and details of the operation itself. The air-to-air refuelling with the Victor tanker aircraft is simply astounding and White’s descriptions of the difficulty in passing fuel from aircraft to aircraft under operational circumstances is gripping.
The book contained a number of surprises for me. Among them, the Victor tanker aircraft were still equipped with a ground mapping radar from their cold war bomber days. This radar was put to use in mapping the South Atlantic in search of any Argentinian naval units which could have threatened the British task force as it steamed South.
This is a really GOOD book. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys military and aviation history.
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