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Tuesday, September 22, 2020 Military Aviation » Royal Air Force Luqa » Major Exercises » Air Defence, 1966 (Testing of)  
 
Testing of Air Defences – October 1966

This report was originally written by my friend, Carmel J. Attard, and first published in the newsletter TAKE-OFF of July, 1975. He is both a photographer and constructs model aircraft. Some of his photographs of Vulcan aircraft can be seen on www.avrovulcan.org.uk

        
 

In past years, we have had many an opportunity to watch massive NATO exercises taking place in the Mediterranean with our island being a major base from which these exercises were directed. These exercises varied in scale, and on this occasion, I am recording one that took place nine years ago, in October 1966. The object of the air exercise was the testing of the air defences of the Maltese Islands. This purpose was more elaborately described as "to ensure that adequate protection can be given to the Maltese people and military installations during a conventional air attack'.

The aircraft that took part in the exercise were Vulcans, Javelins, Lightnings and Canberras. The Vulcans were a mix of B.IA and B.2 types, and came from three squadrons, Nos. 44, 50 and 617 (Dambusters).

Most of the Vulcans sported the squadron crest on the crew door. The Vulcans carrying live ammunition were easily identified from outside the fence by the presence of a yellow rectangular notice, with the word 'ARMED' in large black capitals, placed along side each aircraft.

The Javelin FAW.9s belonged to No. 29 Squadron, based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. These carried the red-and-white squadron crest on the tail. Some of these aircraft showed signs of heavy weathering, so extensive, that in some cases, the serial number under the wings could barely be made out, despite its large size.

These Javelins had the refuelling probe deleted, and it was frequently seen that one of these aircraft might be carrying a fuel tank under the port inner pylon, and a Firestreak missile on each outer pylon. Another common sight was an aircraft carrying one Firestreak missile as the only store, no fuel drop tanks being carried. The Javelin pilots used the afterburners on their aircraft frequently. The aircraft normally flew in pairs, and despite their bulky fuselage, they often seemed to dive in at an incredible speed before they pulled out and landed on runway 24.

The Lightning contingent comprised five F.3s and one T.5, from No.56 Squadron, based at RAF Wattisham.

Twelve Canberras taking part in the exercise were also spotted. Details in the table below.
        
 



AIRCRAFT TYPE SERIAL HISTORY NOTES
A. Vulcan B.IA XA910 Delivered 31.10.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 101 Squadron, 230 OCU, 50 Squadron, 44 Squadron. Became instructional airframe (7995M) and later scrapped. Arr 08 Oct.
A. Vulcan B.IA XA911 Delivered 1.11.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 230 OCU, Waddington Wing. Delivered to St. Athan 2.2.67, sold as scrap 8.11.68. Arr 08 Oct.
A. Vulcan B.IA XA912 Delivered 2.12.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1960. Olympus 104 engines. 101 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Arr 08 Oct.
A. Vulcan B.IA XA913 Delivered 19.12.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 101 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Stored St. Athan 21.12.66, sold as scrap 20.5.68. Arr 08 Oct.
A. Vulcan B.IA XH502 Delivered 10.11.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. To Scampton fire dump 1.68, nose section to Waddington for instructional duties. Arr 08 Oct.
A. Vulcan B.IA XH506 Delivered 17.4.59. Converted to B.IA standard 1960. Olympus 104 engines. 101 Squadron, 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Withdrawn from use 10.1.68, sold as scrap 8.11.68. Arr 08 Oct.
A. Vulcan B.2 XJ781 Completed 20.2.61. Olympus 201 engines. 83 Squadron 23.2.61, 12 Squadron 29.10.62, 230 OCU 4.2.64, Waddington Wing 10.2.66, Cottesmore Wing 22.4.68, Akrotiri Wing 18.4.69. Damaged during landing, Shiraz, Iran 23.5.73. Struck off charge 27.5.73. Arr 11 Oct.
A. Vulcan B.2 XL319 Completed 19.10.61. Olympus 201 engines. Blue Steel modifications. 617 Squadron 23.10.61, 230 OCU 14.5.70, Scampton Wing 12.11.70, 617 Squadron 22.4.71, 230 OCU 19.9.72, 35 Squadron 16.10.78, 44 Squadron 1.3.82. Sold to North Eastern Aircraft Museum 20.1.83, delivered to Sunderland 21.1.83.  
A. Vulcan B.2 XA913 Delivered 19.12.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 101 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Stored St. Athan 21.12.66, sold as scrap 20.5.68.  
A. Vulcan B.IA XH476 Delivered 4.2.58. Converted to B.IA 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 101 Squadron, 44 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Withdrawn from use 4.5.67, sold as scrap 21.1.69.  
A. Vulcan B.IA XH479 Delivered 28.3.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. Waddington Wing. Delivered to Halton as instructional airframe (7974M), scrapped 1973. Arr 08 Oct.
A. Vulcan XL388 Completed 13.6.62. Olympus 301 engines. Blue Steel modifications. 9 Squadron 14.6.62 (Coningsby Wing), 230 OCU 19.4.71, 617 Squadron 15.9.72, 230 OCU 29.9.72, 617 Squadron 2.2.73, 230 OCU 14.5.73, 617 Squadron 1.11.73, 230 OCU 5.3.741 617 Squadron 6.3.74, 44 Squadron 1.4.74. To Honington fire dump 2.4.82 (875OM). Sold to Swefeling Group as scrap 13.6.85. Arr 11 Oct.
Gl. Javelin FAW.9 XH848/L w/o 14/12/1966. 29 Sqdn, arr 10 Oct.
Gl. Javelin FAW.9 XH865   29 Sqdn, arr 10 Oct.
Gl. Javelin FAW.9 XH873/A d/d 04/07/1960, scr. 1967 at No.27 MU Shawbury. 29 Sqdn, arr 10 Oct.
Gl. Javelin FAW.9 XH882/B d/d 29/01/1960, scr. 1967 at No.27 MU Shawbury. 29 Sqdn, arr 10 Oct.
Gl. Javelin FAW.9 XH888/S d/d 28/04/1960, w/o 18/01/1967. 29 Sqdn, arr 11 Oct.
Gl. Javelin FAW.9 XH891/R d/d 27/04/1960, w/o 12/09/1967, to Chivenor fire dump 13/12/1967. 29 Sqdn, arr 10 Oct.
Gl. Javelin FAW.9 XH892/B d/d 1960, to 7982M. 29 Sqdn, arr 10 Oct.
Gl. Javelin FAW.9 XH899/H d/d 12/02/1959, scr. 1968 at No.27 MU Shawbury. 29 Sqdn, arr 10 Oct.
EE Lightning F.3 XP743/K c/n 95171. F/f 18.02.64,. Used by, or served with, 33 Maintenance Unit (MU) 18.02.64, 56 Sqdn ‘G’ 04.65, 60 MU 28.03.68, returned to 56 Sqdn 11.69, 60 MU 09.11.71, 29 Sqdn ‘B’ 21.08.72, store Wattisham 09.01.75. To 60 MU for storage and disposal. SoC 29.01.75, sold for scrap. All Lightnings from No. 56 Squadron.
EE Lightning F.3 XP746/K c/n 95174. F/f 26.03.64, Used by, or served with, 33 Maintenance Unit (MU) 03.65, 56 Sqdn ‘K’ 15.04.65, 60 MU 12.11.69, 111 Sqdn ‘J’ 04.08.70, stored Wattisham 04.74. SoC 04.75, PEE Shoeburyness 10.76.  
EE Lightning F.3 XP748/M c/n 95176. F/f 04.05.64. Used by, or served with, 33 Maintenance Unit (MU) early 65, Warton 06.65, 56 Sqdn ‘M’ 04.08.65, 60 MU 08.69, 111 Sqdn ‘G’ 05.05.70, 11 Sqdn ‘P’ 20.12.74, storeD Binbrook. Allocated 8446M 19.05.75. Mounted on a plinth on 29.05.77 at RAF Binbrook gate in 5 & 11 Sqdn markings. Scrapped late summer 1988.  
EE Lightning F.3 XP717 c/n 95200. F/f 19.11.64, 56 Sqdn ‘B’ 26.03.65, 60 MU 14.01.69, 56Sqdn ‘B’ 10.70, 60 MU 11.71, A&AEE 29.03.72, Stored 08.74 Boscombe Down, 09.74 Scrapped.  
EE Lightning F.3 XR719/D c/n 95202. F/f 18.12.64, 56 Sqdn ‘D’ 16.04.65, 60 MU 09.68, 56 Sqdn ‘D’ 16.04.69, 60 MU 09.11.71, 226 OCU ‘719’ 12.71. Crashed Coltishall, SoC 07.06.73. Arr 08 Oct.
EE Lightning T.5 XS456/A c/n B1/95016. F/f 26.10.65, 56 Sqdn ‘A’ 20.12.65, ‘X’ 08.69, 60 MU 23.02.73, 11 Sqdn ‘T’ 16.04.74, ‘Z’ ‘C’ Flt, 11 Sqdn .74, Open Storage 10.76, LTF 02.77, ‘T’ BY 05.77, ‘DT’ LTF 11.80, Stored 08.85, LTF ‘DX’ 02.86, stored 05.87. Scrapped early 1988, 2,314 hours. Arr 08 Oct.
Victor BK.1A XH667 d/d 03/02/1961, to Hal Far dump, Malta 23/09/1975, perished. Provided in flight refuelling support for Lightnings. 55 Squadron. Arr 09 Oct.
EE Canberra PR.9 XH133 d/d 18/04/1960, (N) scr. Hanningfield Metals, Stock 01/1996 These aircraft were from no. 13 & 39 sqaudrons.
EE Canberra PR.9 XH134 d/d 09/10/1959, d/d 31/07/2006 to Kemble.  
EE Canberra PR.9 XH136 d/d 1959, to 8782M 08/02/1983.  
EE Canberra PR.9 XH163    
EE Canberra PR.9 XH164 w/o 07/01/69  
EE Canberra PR.9 XH165    
EE Canberra PR.9 XH166 d/d 15/10/1982 to FACh as 341.  
EE Canberra PR.9 XH168 d/d 04/05/1960.  
EE Canberra PR.9 XH169 d/d 04/08/1960.  
EE Canberra PR.9 XH170 d/d 1960.  
EE Canberra PR.9 XH171/M d/d 1960.  
EE Canberra PR.9 XH176 d/d 02/11/1960, w/o 25/05/1978.  


        
 
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