De Havilland Vengeance B3/II,Edit
The original issuing of Specification B.35/46 on the 7th January 1947 led to the V Bombers but the air staff and the Ministry was worried that the entire specification was too advanced for the UK air industry and the next day issued B.35/47 which called for a piston engined or turbopropped aircraft to fulfill much of the same requirement, seen as a fall back position should the proposed V-bombers fail to deliver their promised performance and range etc.
At the time De Havilland did not have the team to enter the original submission but it did have the team and the expertise to enter the second specification, which by March was already on the drawing board and by December the design was accepted as a tender to the specification, with two flying prototypes ordered in June of 1948 a couple of months before the detailed design was completed.
The first prototype took to the air on the 3rd September 1951 almost a full year ahead of the Vulcan, it was followed over a month later with a full production order of the B1 version of the recently named Vengeance making it the 4th V bomber for the RAF.
The first production B1s were delivered to the RAF (344 OCU) from 2nd February 1955 with the first Squadron (84 Sqn ) forming in January 1956 and declared operational later that year. Though the aircraft missed the initial Suez operation it was however deployed to Cyprus and used in anger against targets in Egypt during the continuation war of 56/57.
With the success of the V bombers it was felt that the need for the Vengeance in the pure bomber role was slipping and that the aircraft could fit into the vital gap that was becoming apparent in the UK's deterent, the role of countermeasures and strike penetration role. The B3/ii version of the aircraft was produced and deployed in the later 1960s as the second of the specialised aircraft to enter squadron service. Carrying the highly powerful Orange Lizard jamming system, multiple chaff dispensers, Green Panda ECM receivers and transmitters, and the hardpoints underwing for the specialised anti defence versions of the Blue Steel missile.
Deployed wherever the New Commonwealth's Bomber force was faced with a possible defence in depth, the bases at Goose Bay, Cyprus, Singapore became almost permanent in their nature with planes there almost 24/7 365 a year.
A Long Long LifeEdit
Originally thought to be obsolete very quickly after entering service the Vengeance soldiered on as one after another the V Bombers slowly fell by the wayside, new roles came for the Vengeance, electronic countermeasures was joined by Elint roles and long range over water recce and even anti piracy patrols. The last of the V bombers was still in service when the 91 disaster happened, flying and fighting in the conflict the aircraft covered herself with honours, like aircraft WZ5677 which shadowed the US Pacific fleet at long range without any hope of of returning to base, she was able to call in New Commonwealth and French forces to finish of the US pirates after their clash with Red Chinese forces.
Still in service to this day over 50 years since she has entered service, and it seems the RAF has no plans to replace her in her roles in the foreseeable future.