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#TheXH558Story - Part 7


by Ian Homer. Posted to category: General

focus on XH558's career

Avro Vulcan serial number XH558 was ordered under a MoD contract placed in September 1954.

XH558 was completed at Avro’s Woodford factory in 1960 and was first flown on 25 May that year. The aircraft was finally completed on 30 June and on the 1 July XH558 became the first Vulcan B Mk.2 to enter RAF service at RAF Waddington.

XH558 then moved to RAF Finningley in 1961, serving with No 230 operational conversion unit (OCU) training Vulcan Pilots for Squadron service. Between 1968 and August 1973 the aircraft served with Nos 44, 50 and 101 Squadrons at RAF Waddington.

In August 1973 the aircraft was converted to maritime radar reconnaissance (MRR) standard, remaining in this role with No 27 Squadron at RAF Scampton until March 1982 when she was returned to Waddington and No 44 Squadron.

XH558 in her MRR role. Note the air-intake for equipment cooling on the tail-cone and the air sampling pod under the wing. You will also notice she does not have the complete camouflage paint wrap of her later display years. Picture courtesy of Terry Senior. 

With the outbreak of the Falklands conflict in April 1982, XH558 was converted again, this time to a stop-gap tanker role, known as the K2 version. This enabled the RAF to keep a home-based tanker fleet capacity as the Victors of RAF Marham were deployed elsewhere! 

XH558 in the K2 tanker role of the early 80s. All images again courtesy of Terry Senior.

The 'make-shift' construction of the drogue chute housing is clearer in these black and white images.

The Hose Drum Unit (HDU), feeding the fuel supply line was positioned in the ECM bay just under the rudder, that meant a modification to the internal structure of this area. Fuel came from large cylindical tanks fitted in the bomb-bay.
More on #TheXH558Story next week.
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