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Vulcan B1 XA903 never entered RAF service being retained for trials. It was used by Avros for Blue Steel missile development until a Mk2 Vulcan became available. 903 was then transferred to Bristol Siddeley Engines Limited at Filton/Patchway as a flying test bed, replacing XA894 that had been destroyed in a ground fire. As a test bed, 903 initially flew with an Olympus 593 (Concorde engine) in the nacelle. Later it tested the RB199 (Tornado engine). 593 was the last Vulcan B1/B1A to fly being retired to Farnborough in 1979.


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