The Handley Page Victor K.2 tanker evolved from the original Victor B.2, ‘V’-bomber, which entered service with the Royal Air Force in October 1961. The first K.2 flew at Woodford on 1 March 1972. It had a crew of five, and was powered by four Rolls-Royce Conway turbofans of 20,600 lb thrust each. It had a maximum speed of 640 mph (Mach 0.92) at 40,000 feet, a ceiling of 59,000 feet and a range of 3,500 miles.
Victor K.2s made a substantial contribution in the Falklands War, flying over 3,000 hours and making over 600 air refuelling sorties from Ascension Island, in support of the Vulcans, Nimrods, Hercules and Harriers. They also flew in the Gulf War, refuelling the Tornado and other allied aircraft. The Victor’s outstanding versatility and advanced design enabled it to have the longest service of all the ‘V-bomber’ generation.
XL231 joined 139 Squadron on 1 February 1962, returning to Handley Page for conversion to a B(S.R) Mk 2 in November 1963 and joining the Wittering Wing in July 1964. It was converted to become the prototype K.2 Tanker on 23 January 1972 and saw service in the Falklands War, in support of the air operations from Ascension Island, and later in the Gulf War. It was flown into retirement at Elvington in November 1993. The aircraft is kept in ground operational condition by Andre Tempest and his ground crew.
Statistics and Status
Maintained in Ground Running, Taxy and High Speed Run Condition
Length: 114 ft 11 in (35.05 m)
Wingspan: 110 ft 0 in (33.53 m)
Height: 28 ft 1½ in (8.57 m)
Powerplant: 4 × Rolls-Royce RB.80 Conway