Britain’s Cold War nuclear bombers:
The Short Sperrin - August 1951, an insurance policy for the truly space-age endeavors being undertaken at Handley Page and Avro - only two were built.
The Vickers Valiant - May 1951, a very capable but less advanced aircraft, crucially available much sooner than the competition.
The Avro Vulcan - August 1952, the most iconic and enduring design, rugged and highly maneuverable at high altitude, they were effectively immune to interception by early jets.
The Handley Page Victor - December 1952, with its crescent-shaped swept wing it was the most aerodynamically advanced aircraft to fly at that time. Downward lift on the tailplane also meant that in calm winds the aircraft would level itself out and land smoothly without input from the pilot.
The Vickers Valiant B.2 - September 1953, an all black one-off badass independently developed by Vickers. Capable of 640 mph (1030 km/h) at sea-level it could even outrun the Boeing B-47 Stratojet. It was scrapped in 1958 however, ironically as new missiles would force the ill-suited V-Bombers to low altitude - where this thing thrived. When Vickers test pilot Brian Trubshaw saw the bomber’s muscular shape in the Vickers design office, he signalled his approval, then added “And paint the fucker black”. Best of the lot.
The TSR-2 - September 1964, it represented the same generational jump in capability as the Vulcan and Victor had from the Lancaster. As an all-weather mach 2+ low level penetrator, the aircraft was groundbreaking. Spiraling costs, a hostile press and an idiotic Labour government however, all contrived to steal a truly magnificent aircraft and valuable export product from the nation. As James Holland said: ”…it’s the culmination of 20 years of being at the top of their game - makes you wanna weep".