The BAC Concorde bomber is the RAF's principal strategic bomber in the 1980-1990s. It is based on the Concorde supersonic airliner.
During the late 1960s the RAF had come to decision the the V force would have to be redeployed into a low level role. However the air staff issued a new requirement for a new supersonic bomber with trans continental range to fulfill the world spanning role still envisioned by UK planners. B.A.C. looked at the proposal and came back with a bomber version of their new Anglo French airliner, Concorde.
At first the RAF where frankly dismissive of the idea but once the detailed proposal landed on the desk of the accountants whom saw the saving of using an existing airframe, the deal was done. The Concorde B1 entered service with the RAF rapidly with all the UK's initial production being of this version, leaving Air France to be the worlds first supersonic airliner operator, but not the last with Concorde serving in the national carriers of the UK, Australia, Canada and Portugal as well as 12 other airlines.
Into ServiceEditThe first B1 entered RAF service in August 1976 with the famous 617 Sqn on quick readiness alert. The RAF then started to use its new bomber on a series of high profile world wide deployments, nominally to help "western" countries deter Soviet encroachment but more a glorified sales tour.
Unfortunately no new customers appeared and so the UK stayed the only operator of the bomber, meanwhile BAC had proposed a new upgrade of the airframe, installing canard wings, new power plant, digital flight controls and the ability to carry the new and upgraded Blue Steel missile. Though expensive the RAF accepted this radical plan and put the UK's 32 airfames into a series of rolling updates over the next 8 years.
Concorde B.1 Edit
Externally there was little to tell the difference between the civilian Concorde and its more deadly bomber variant especially since both had similar white colour schemes. The Concorde B.1 carried most of its weaponry externally since it had a rather paltry bomb bay.
The B.2 introduced a whole host of ECM upgrades to improve survivability.
Concorde B.3EditThe first major redesign the aircraft was fitted with large canards behind the cockpit which were intended to improve agility at low speeds where the basic Concorde B.1/2 suffered from clumsy handling. During supersonic flight the canards were fixed in place since they were not cleared for use above Mach 1. More powerful Rolls-Royce Olympus engines were added which negated the loss of speed from the drag incurred by the canards and external weapons.
The B.4 introduced a wholly upgraded cockpit intended at easing aircrew workload. Multi-function displays (MFD) replaced most steam gauges and both pilots were given Heads Up Displays (HUD).
A New DirectionEditAfter the Falklands war the French Air Force was in full receipt of the Commonwealth's after action reports (as a close ally) and saw the ease with which the Concordes had evaded the best equipment that the US could supply Argentina. A total of 6 airframes were acquired from Air France for conversion into a large strategic recce platform. fitted with the best equipment France could produce or buy they served all over the world in support of French interests. Differing little externally from the RAF's B1 the only obvious difference was the large underwing fuel tanks to extend the already large range, though with these fitted the aircraft could not reach supersonic speeds.
The '91 Disaster & BeyondEdit
During The '91 Disaster the Concorde was tasked with the main transatlantic attacks upon the continental USA causing much damaged but at a high price in airframes. One such attack was against Goldman's Harbour on the US East Coast.
The older airframes stayed in the classic anti flash white for their entire service life and became a beloved sight at airshows around the world not to mention its popularity to this day with plastic kit manufacturers. The newer B.3 and B.4 aircraft retained their camouflage schemes however reflecting their optional low-level penetration role.