VC10 Swansong

As the meritous, 50 year, service of the RAF VC-10 draws to a close, the last two aircraft (ZA147 and ZA150) will conduct their final air-to-air refuelling sortie, then diverge to carry out fly pasts of various locations around the UK, on Friday 20th September 2013.

50 years of service and all you get is piss taking!




The official MoD video

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September 21, 2013 10:10 am

Personally I won’t be sorry to see these aircraft go. They may have been a great technically achievement in their day but they were a monumental pain in the ass to load and unload. Putting a TPU in those things or stacking the ‘Vent’ with baggage was brutal at times.

Bring on the KC-30 Voyager and a more modern RAF.

September 21, 2013 12:58 pm

I hope they will save as many for museums as possible and not just scrap them not many of the civy ones made it.
I know the MOD does not like giving equipment away.

September 21, 2013 6:27 pm

If I remember right, RAF sold lots of Vulcans at end of service at quite reasonable prices (£9000 springs to mind, something like £20000 in today’s money) providing the new owner took them away. There used to be one that was bought this way at Wellesbourne near Warwick:,-1.607394&spn=0.02299,0.036049&t=h&z=15&layer=c&cbll=52.198093,-1.615314&panoid=H_uWGIkbbm3HxpeLgkA3lw&cbp=12,238.03,,1,1.97

Personally despite this being a defence website I’d like at least one VC10 tarted up in its earliest BOAC livery – by far its most elegant paint job. Better still if it flies; better yet if it takes paying passengers. No doubt CAA will bolster up all its ‘we know better than you’ expertness and bar such from ever happening. Shame.

September 23, 2013 9:46 pm

Oh great ! I hope we can look forward now to a whole series of farewell tours of equipment going out of service; can;t see a Bowman LCIP 5.2 P:BISA sendoff getting quite such a heartfelt eulogy

September 24, 2013 7:59 am

Twecky – you misunderestimate the heartfelt joy at the departure of BOWMAN – that much loved entirely perfect miniaturized low power consumption jewel of a communication system. Having in the past had some small involvement in trying to architect and provide installation measures for BMN in a wider system, the number of boxes, bulk of cabling, power consumption and cooling needs I can state were all far larger than you ought to expect from a modern comms system. One with I suspect less functionality than the mobile you carry in your pocket. One built on a false premise that the environment in which tactical comms will operate will be one of absolute and total radio silence. Well the world’s not like that – everybody carries an active radio device (mobile) and increasingly machines are being fitted with their own too (is it Nissan that’s just put a 3G interface in its cars so their on board electronics can communicate with owner/maintainer beyond line of sight? Don’t know how we ever survived before that became standard). The world is awash with radiated datapackets of absolute drivel and trivia; surely tactical comms can hide itself away in the general sort of radio mish-mash and in doing so adopt the miniaturisation and functionality of the £200 mobile handset? Anyway. Let’s hope whatever replaces BMN is modern and capable and can operate on silent watch for more than a half hour before the vehicle’s batteries need recharging.

On the subject of vehicle fitted comms, I found myself in a group at the Tank Museum being given a talk about some of their Russian/Soviet built vehicles by an ex-DDR T-72 tank commander. Very interesting, very entertaining. While looking at the museum’s BRDM2 amphibious wheeled recce vehicle, the point was made that the design particularly rejected electronics if at all possible (mechanical fuel metered engine, mechanical controlled transmission, volts switches and loads not controllers and databuses). Deliberately done so that the vehicle was jam-proof, EMP-proof, and most importantly repairable by any half competent mechanic whether in the Urals, the Gobi desert or the rice paddy of Cambodia. He pointed out the radio equipment was deliberately non-solid-state because old fashioned thermionic valve technology was immune to EMP at a fraction of the cost and complexity of radiation hardened semiconductor based equipment. A case of using equipment that was robust, simple, repairable and functionally good enough for the job. Not that he mentioned it but this approach also meant each vehicle was dirt-cheap and contained no high tech hardware that would threaten national security if it fell into enemy hands. This makes pretty good sense all round; perhaps our requirement writers should take notes…