God Save the Vulcan!

The Royal Air Force Vulcan, immense cold war bomber and aerodynamic marvel, has been sentenced to permanent museum exhibition.

The prototype’s wing had a constant angle of sweep; tests led to a trademark leading edge kink in wings of production craft. (BAE Systems/NASM (SI Neg. #1A-04984))
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Conceived in the year of the Berlin airlift, constructed during Joe McCarthy’s heyday, and primed to counterattack the U.S.S.R. during the Cuban missile crisis, the Vulcan bomber was an integral part of the most terrible calculations human warriors have ever made. It was a frontline offensive weapon whose mission was to rain destruction and death on a virtually unimaginable scale. That it ended its active life half a century later as a sentimental favorite is the ironic fate of many weapons. It is a happy irony to contemplate, however, whatever happens on Dr. Pleming’s private Everest.

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