The Avro Vulcan was designed in the late 1940s – the main purpose of the Vulcan was to carry nuclear bombs and drop them over the Soviet Union, luckily they were never needed to do this, and with the Cold War coming to an end the Vulcans were due to be scrapped.
But then in April 1982 Argentina invaded The Falkland Islands and the Vulcans were called into action. Sir Michael Beetham, the chief of the air staff, planned to send a Vulcan to Port Stanley and bomb the runway, therefore making it impossible for Argentina to utilise the runway and provide air attacks on the British. This was a huge challenge for the aging Vulcan as the trip was 8000 miles each way, meaning it would need to be refuelled several times in the air and nobody had tried this for 20 years! Nevertheless the old nuclear bombers were converted into regular bombers and the crews were prepped.
The refuelling was the difficult part of the mission, 11 Victor tankers were needed. Group Captain Jeremy Price said “It was really a question of Victors refuelling Victors refuelling Victors refuelling and it went on and on and on, and all the time the formation was being reduced as one Victor has given all its fuel and had to go back to Ascension“
Sir Michael Beetham audacious plan paid off, luckily there was just enough fuel for the Vulcan to make it to The Falklands and bomb the runway, although on the way back to Ascension Island the Vulcan and the last Victor had to refuel. Argentina surrendered in June 1982, ending the Falklands War.
Source – Channel 4, Falklands’ Most Daring Raid Link