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Nine Avro Vulcan B2 Blue Steels plus crews parading for a visit by HM the Queen to RAF Scampton in June 1963. Identifying individual aircraft is difficult. The second aircraft has a 617 Squadron badge. Indeed the first five aircraft belong to 617 as they are all fitted with in-flight refuelling probes. The only non-617 aircraft to be so fitted at the time was XL392 of No 83 Squadron and that was on the ORP for a demonstration scramble. The last four aircraft above belong to No 27 Squadron and/or No 83 Squadron. The occasion was marked by the presentation of a new standard to No 83 Squadron.

No 83 was the first squadron to be equipped with the Mk2 Vulcan, the first being delivered in December 1960 (XH563). No 27 Squadron formed with B2s the following year, the first delivery being in April (XJ783). No 617 Squadron, flying the Mk1/1A Vulcan was also based at Scampton but at the end of July 1961 its aircraft and much of its personnel reformed as No 50 Squadron at Waddington and its place taken at Scampton by a reformed 617 Squadron, the first squadron equipped with B2 Blue Steels (XL318 September 1961.)

After 617 Squadron had been brought up to unit establishment, the next seven Vulcans delivered to the RAF were intended for free-fall. However, when Blue Steel deliveries were recommenced in July 1962 (XL392), these aircraft were used to replace the free-fall aircraft in both Nos 83 and 27 Squadrons. By the time the above photograph was taken, reequipment of the whole Scampton Wing was largely complete.

John Irving Collection. © Crown Copyright >>

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