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Photograph by Don Gilham
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Vulcan B2 XH538 in No 1 Group markings at RAF Waddington in September 1979. 538 first flew in 1959 and was retained for trials. As other aircraft entered service, 538 was involved with both the Blue Steel and Skybolt development programmes. Fitted with the complete Skybolt attachment pods, 538 was finally delivered to the RAF in May 1969 after a refit, entering service with the Scampton Wing, then converting to free-fall from Blue Steel. 538 was the only narrow engine intake B2 to have been fitted with TFR. In April 1970, 538 transferred to the Waddington Wing returning to Scampton a year later, serving with No 230 OCU, No 27 Squadron and No 35 Squadron. In September 1978, 538 was at Waddington, being prepared for participation in Exercise Giant Voice, a SAC bombing and navigation competition held in the USA. In the inset photograph, the position of a stick-on crest can clearly be seen on the radome between the TFR pod and roundel. This was a SAC crest as fixed to other aircraft that are known to have participated in GV78 (XL446 and XM599). 538 also participated in GV79. However, by November 1979, 538 was back on 35 Squadron's strength at Scampton and remained there until March 1981 when it was flown to St Athan for scrapping.

Copyright © Don Gilham

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