AUBRY GRATTON COLLECTION
No. 8419. Vickers 660 Valiant (WB210) Royal Air Force
Aeroplane Photo Supply (APS) Photo No. 4770

Vickers 660 Valiant

12/31/2008. The British Air Ministry finalized Specification B.35/46 for an advanced strategic bomber on January 1, 1947, eight days later six firms were invited to tender: Armstrong Whitworth, Avro, English Electric, Handley Page, Short, and Vickers. Eventually the Avro 698 and the Handley Page H.P.80 were selected in April 1948, while as an "insurance policy" the Specification B.9/48 was drawn around the aerodynamic less advanced Vickers 660, that could be operational before the former two. In the fifties the three types became known as the V-force by their names, respectively Vulcan, Victor and Valiant.

Designed by George R. Edwards, the Vickers 660 prototype, s/n WB210, was ordered on February 2, 1949, together with the second prototype, the Vickers 667, s/n WB215. WB210 made its brief first flight (5 min) from Wisley on May 18, 1951, with Chief Test Pilot J. "Mutt" Summers and Test Pilot G.R. "Jack" Bryce at the controls. Eight months later, January 12, 1952, after suffering an engine fire in the port wing, the aircraft was abandoned in flight over the Hampshire coast. The co-pilot, Squadron Leader B.H.D. Foster was killed, upon ejection he struck the fin.

Created December 31, 2008