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Saturday, October 1, 2022 Military Aviation » Royal Air Force Luqa » Major Exercises » Sunspot  
 


Sunspot

Sunspot detachments can be considered as the successors to the Sun Bronze detachments in the post-WW II era, utilising Lancaster and Lincoln aircraft. They were designed to give crews experience in operating in the hotter climates of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.

Initially, Sunspot exercises were with Canberra aircraft.

The following is a list of some of the Vulcan squadrons which came to Luqa.

The list is in numerical order according to squadron.

        
 


9 Squadron

07 – 28 October 1968

 

SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XH560 28.09.68 28.10.68 Completed 30.9.60. Olympus 201 engines. 230 OCU 3.10.60, Manufacturers 28.11.60, 12 Squadron 26.9.62, 230 OCU 29.11.63, Cottesmore Wing 23.8.65, Waddington Wing 10.4.67, Cottesmore Wing 2.2.68, Akrotiri Wing 15.1.69, Manufacturers for storage 20.10.71. Conversion to B.2(MRR) 1.2.73, 27 Squadron 15.3.74, Waddington Wing 25.3.82. Conversion to K.2 15.6.82, 5 Squadron 23.8.82. Waddington Station Flight 4.84, Marham dump 29.11.84, later scrapped. Flew direct from RAF Cottesmore to Nicosia on the 27th, flying to Luqa the following day.
XH562 07.10.68 28.10.68 Completed 30.11.60. Olympus 201 engines. 35 Squadron 1.3.63, 230 OCU 11.3.63, 35 Squadron 30.4.63, 230 OCU 19.9.63, Cottesmore Wing 1.8.65, 50 Squadron 8.3.66, Waddington Wing 10.2.67, Cottesmore Wing 24.4.68, Akrotiri Wing 15.1.69, Waddington Wing 9.5.75, 230 OCU 27.9.77, 35 Squadron 16.12.80, 9 Squadron 7.81, 101 Squadron 6.82. Firefighting School Catterick 19.8.82 (8758M). Scrapped 1984.
XJ780 08.10.68 Completed 10.1.61. Olympus 201 engines. 83 Squadron 16.1.61, 12 Squadron 26.11.62, 230 OCU 16.8.63, Waddington Wing 10.10.67, Cottesmore Wing 6.12.68, Waddington Wing 18.4.69, Akrotiri Wing 12.1.70, Waddington Wing 17.1.75. Modification to B.2(MRR) standard 31.3.76. 27 Squadron 23.11.76. Allocated for spares recovery 31.3.82. Sold to Bird Group as scrap 11.82.
XJ782 27.09.68 28.10.68 Completed 2.61. Olympus 201 engines. 83 Squadron 2.3.61, 12 Squadron 23.10.62, 230 OCU 20.12.63, Waddington Wing 25.3.661 Cottesmore Wing 9.4.68, Akrotiri Wing 19.3.69, Waddington Wing 8.1.75. Modification to B.2(MRR) standard 1.77. 27 Squadron 15.2.77. Flew last Vulcan sortie at Scampton 31.3.82. Allocated to Scampton dump 31.3.82. Reallocated to 101 Squadron 22.5.82. To Finningley for preservation 4.9.82 (8766M). Later transferred to dump and scrapped. Aircraft was to serve as a reserve aircraft for the Fire power demonstration.
XJ823 08.10.68 28.10.68 Completed 6.3.61. Olympus 201 engines. 83 Squadron 13.3.61, 9 Squadron 7.11.62, 230 OCU 28.2.64, Waddington Wing 3.1.66, Cottesmore Wing 22.3.68, Akrotiri Wing 15.1.69, 35 Squadron 16.1.75, 230 OCU 11.8.76, 35 Squadron 23.8.76, 617 Squadron 23.11.78, 35 Squadron 3.4.81. Spares recovery 1.3.82. Sold to Bird Group as scrap 11.82.
XJ824 08.10.68 19.10.68 Completed 30.3.61. Olympus 301 engines. A&AEE 29.3.61, 230 OCU 22.12.66, Akrotiri Wing 21.7.70, Waddington Wing 15.1.75, 9 Squadron 2.75, 44 Squadron 6.79, 101 Squadron 6.80. Spares recovery 10.9.82. Sold to Bird Group as scrap 8.12.82.
XJ825 07.10.68 Completed 27.7.61. Olympus 201 engines. 27 Squadron 28.7.61, 35 Squadron 4.2.63, 230 OCU 30.4.64, Cottesmore Wing 3.9.65, Waddington Wing 11.4.67 Cottesmore Wing 19.2.68, Akrotiri Wing 26.2.69, 35 Squadron 16.1.75. Modification to B.2(MRR) standard 13.1.76. 27 Squadron 15.12.76, 35 Squadron 6.4.81, 101 Squadron 1.3.82. Conversion to K.2 11.5.82. 50 Squadron 25.6.82. Allocated 8810M 22.3.84, battle damage repair duties. Struck off charge 5.4.84. Scrapped 1992.
XM572 08.10.68 28.10.68 Completed 28.2.63. Olympus 201 engines. Blue Steel modifications. 83 Squadron 28.2.63, Scampton Wing, Cottesmore Wing 5.4.68, Akrotiri Wing 19.3.69, 35 Squadron 24.1.75, 9 Squadron 2.9.81. Grounded 10.9.82. Sold to Bird Group as scrap 30.11.82.
        
 


12 Squadron

09 – 21 June 1967

Aircraft arrived from their Cottesmore base, and included crews from No. 9 squadron.

SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XH602 09.06.67 21.06.67 Completed 11.11.63. Olympus 301 engines. 12 Squadron 13.11.63, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Waddington Wing 24.4.68, 9 Squadron 12.75, 230 OCU 19.10.76, 35 Squadron 29.10.76, Waddington Wing 1.11.76, 101 Squadron 5.80. To St. Athan 7.1.82. Transferred to St. Athan Historic Aircraft Museum 16.3.83 (8771 M).
XH607 09.06.67 21.06.67 Completed 11.11.63. Olympus 301 engines. 12 Squadron 13.11.63, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Waddington Wing 24.4.68, 9 Squadron 12.75, 230 OCU 19.10.76, 35 Squadron 29.10.76, Waddington Wing 1.11.76, 101 Squadron 5.80. To St. Athan 7.1.82. Transferred to St. Athan Historic Aircraft Museum 16.3.83 (8771 M).
XM597 12.06.67 21.06.67 Completed 26.8.63. Olympus 301 engines. Blue Steel modifications. 12 Squadron 27.8.63, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing 18.12.64, Waddington Wing 18.4.68, A & AEE 29.11.71, 101 Squadron 8.73, 44 Squadron 9.75, 50 Squadron 4.76, 9 Squadron 5.79, 44 Squadron 10.81, 101 Squadron 7.82. Modified for 'Black Buck' operations. 44 Squadron 1.7.82, 50 Squadron 24.12.82. Delivered to Royal Scottish Museum of Flight, East Fortune, 12.4.84.
XM647 09.06.67 21.06.67 Completed 15.4.64. Olympus 301 engines. 35 Squadron 15.4.64, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Akrotiri Wing 26.2.69, Waddington Wing 15.1.75, 9 Squadron 1.75, 44 Squadron 9.79, 50 Squadron 9.81. Delivered to Laarbruch 17.9.82 for ground instruction (8765M). Sold to Solair UK 25.2.85 as scrap. Scrapped 1.3.85.
XM654 09.06.67 21.06.67 Completed 22.10.64. Olympus 301 engines. 12 Squadron 26.10.64, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Waddington Wing 30.4.68, 101 Squadron 8.73, 50 Squadron 9.75, 101 Squadron 9.81, 50 Squadron 10.81. Grounded 29.10.82. Sold to Bird Group as scrap 30.11.82.

        
 


35 Squadron

01 – 12 June 1967

Six crews shared four aircraft for this detachment, which coincided with the Israeli six-day war. Aircraft were prohibited from overflying Libya from the 6th onwards.

Two crew were recalled on the 9th, whilst another two crew returned to the UK via British Eagle.

SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XM605 01.06.67 12.06.67 Completed 17.12.63. Olympus 301 engines. 9 Squadron 30.12.63, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Waddington Wing 16.12.68, 101 Squadron 8.73, 50 Squadron 5.79. Delivered to Castle AFB, USA, 2.9.81. Presented to USAF 8.9.81.
XM607 01.06.67 09.06.67 Completed 11.11.63. Olympus 301 engines. 12 Squadron 13.11.63, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Waddington Wing 24.4.68, 9 Squadron 12.75, 230 OCU 19.10.76, 35 Squadron 29.10.76, Waddington Wing 1.11.76, 101 Squadron 5.80. To St. Athan 7.1.82. Transferred to St. Athan Historic Aircraft Museum 16.3.83 (8771M)
XM651 01.06.67 12.06.67 Completed 19.6.64. Olympus 301 engines. 12 Squadron 22.6.64, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Waddington Wing 24.4.68, 101 Squadron 5.72, 50 Squadron 9.75, 101 Squadron 9.79. Grounded 10.9.82. Sold to Bird Group as scrap 30.11.82.
XM652 01.06.67 09.06.67 Completed 12.8.64. Olympus 301 engines. 9 Squadron 17.8.64, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Waddington Wing 24.12.67, 44 Squadron 9.75, 9 Squadron 10.81, 50 Squadron 10.82. Sold to Boulding Group 20.2.84. Dismantled and transported to Sheffield 7.5.84. Nose to Burntwood 2.85, rest of airframe scrapped 2.85.

        
 

19 Feb. – 11 March 1968

Originally meant to have eight aircraft from 35 squadron participate, this number was reduced to six Vulcans.

Due to a combination of bad weather at RAF Cottesmore, and aircraft technical problems, the Vulcans’ arrival at RAF Luqa was staggered over a five-day period. A seventh aircraft joined the group towards the end of the deployment.

Other hindrances to the exercise were two crews falling sick towards the end of February, and sand storms over the Libyan bombing range preventing sorties from being flown.

Technical support was provided by 3 Argosies and two Hercules for the inbound flight to Malta, with 2 Argosies and 2 Britannia’s being used for the return flight to Cottesmore. Due to technical difficulties, the Britannia’s were late in delivering their assigned cargo/personnel.

The list below shows the arrival of the Vulcans in order of serial number, as given in the squadron’s Operational Records Book (ORB).


SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XJ780 21.02.68 11.03.68 Completed 10.1.61. Olympus 201 engines. 83 Squadron 16.1.61, 12 Squadron 26.11.62, 230 OCU 16.8.63, Waddington Wing 10.10.67, Cottesmore Wing 6.12.68, Waddington Wing 18.4.69, Akrotiri Wing 12.1.70, Waddington Wing 17.1.75. Modification to B.2(MRR) standard 31.3.76. 27 Squadron 23.11.76. Allocated for spares recovery 31.3.82. Sold to Bird Group as scrap 11.82. Delayed by weather at Cottesmore.
XJ825 21.02.68   Completed 27.7.61. Olympus 201 engines. 27 Squadron 28.7.61, 35 Squadron 4.2.63, 230 OCU 30.4.64, Cottesmore Wing 3.9.65, Waddington Wing 11.4.67 Cottesmore Wing 19.2.68, Akrotiri Wing 26.2.69, 35 Squadron 16.1.75. Modification to B.2(MRR) standard 13.1.76. 27 Squadron 15.12.76, 35 Squadron 6.4.81, 101 Squadron 1.3.82. Conversion to K.2 11.5.82. 50 Squadron 25.6.82. Allocated 8810M 22.3.84, battle damage repair duties. Struck off charge 5.4.84. Scrapped 1992. Delayed by weather at Cottesmore.
XM569 23.02.68 11.03.68 Completed 4.1.63, Olympus 201 engines. Blue Steel modifications. 27 Squadron 1.2.63, Scampton Wing, Waddington Wing 17.11.66, Cottesmore Wing 19.1.68, Akrotiri Wing 26.2.69, 27 Squadron 4.7.74, 9 Squadron 23.11.76, 50 Squadron 6.79, 101 Squadron 9.81, 44 Squadron 8.82. Sold to Wales Aircraft Museum 21.1.83. Delivered to Cardiff 2.2.83. Delayed by unserviceabilities.
XM570 *   09.03.68 Completed 26.2.63. Olympus 201 engines. Blue Steel modifications. 27 Squadron 27.2.63, Scampton Wing, Waddington Wing 2.1.67, Cottesmore Wing 26.1.68, Akrotiri Wing 26.2.69, 27 Squadron 8.3.74, 35 Squadron 8.12.76, 230 OCU 28.2.77, 35 Squadron 2.3.77, 617 Squadron 4.9.78, 35 Squadron 31.10.78. Delivered to St. Athan 11.3.81. Sold to Harold John & Co as scrap 29.1.82. * The serial number as written on RAF Form 541 was XJ570. However, as Vulcan serial numbers in the XJ series start from XJ870, it is assumed this is a typo.
XM600 19.02.68 11.03.68 Completed 30.9.63. Olympus 301 engines. 35 Squadron 3.10.63, Coningsby Wing, Waddington Wing 3.5.68, 101 Squadron 8.73. Crashed near Spilsby following engine bay fire 17.1.77.  
XM602 21.02.68   Completed 11.11.63. Olympus 301 engines. 12 Squadron 13.11.63, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Waddington Wing 24.4.68, 9 Squadron 12.75, 230 OCU 19.10.76, 35 Squadron 29.10.76, Waddington Wing 1.11.76, 101 Squadron 5.80. To St. Athan 7.1.82. Transferred to St. Athan Historic Aircraft Museum 16.3.83 (8771 M). Delayed by weather at Cottesmore.
XM611 07.03.68 11.03.68 Completed 12.2.64. Olympus 301 engines. 9 Squadron 14.2.64, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Waddington Wing 28.5.68, 101 Squadron 5.72. To St. Athan 27.1.82. Sold to T. Bradbury as scrap 2.6.83. Trial 554A, used to test a low-level pilots' sight.
XM646 21.02.68 11.03.68 Completed 7.4.64. Olympus 301 engines. 12 Squadron 8.4.64, Coningsby Wing, Cottesmore Wing, Akrotiri Wing 5.2.69, 9 Squadron 17.1.75, 101 Squadron 6.81. To St. Athan 26.1.82. Sold to T. Bradbury as scrap 29.6.83. Delayed by weather at Cottesmore.

 

        


44 (Rhodesia) Squadron

24 May – 08 June 1962

One Vulcan was provided by 101 squadron, three crews had to be temporarily reconstituted, and two complete crews had to be borrowed from 50 squadron. As the exercise dates coincided with dates for promotion examinations, no crew changing was permitted.

The Squadron Wing Commander flew out on the 23rd, to make preparations for the squadrons’ arrival. Due to a lack of transport, one third of the ground support crew and two reserve crews arrived on the 25th.

A high level of sickness was also reported during this detachment, and it was deemed more prudent to have an additional crew for future detachments.

Both the squadron and RAF Luqa coped well with the pressures of conducting all aspects of the exercises over the two week period. But the whole process could easily have been derailed by unforeseen circumstance – such as the sicknesses reported above, or aircraft technical problems – which could cause cancellations or delays to the exercise. For this reason, it was felt that the exercise should be spread over 21 days.

The list below shows the arrival of the Vulcans in order of serial number, as given in the squadron’s Operational Records Book (ORB).


SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XA907 24.05.62 08.06.62 Delivered 29.8.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 44 Squadron, Waddington Wing, BCDU. Withdrawn from use 3.11.66. Sold as scrap 20.5.68.
XH476 24.05.62 08.06.62 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.
XH477 24.05.62 08.06.62 Delivered 17.2.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1960. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 44 Squadron, 50 Squadron. Crashed in Scotland 12.6.63.
XH479 24.05.62 08.06.62 Delivered 28.3.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. Waddington Wing. Delivered to Halton as instructional airframe (7974M), scrapped 1973.
XH480 24.05.62 08.06.62 Delivered 22.4.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 44 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Delivered to St. Athan 10.11.66, sold as scrap 30.9.68.
XH501 23.05.62 08.06.62 Delivered 3.9.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 44 Squadron, 44/50 Squadron. Delivered St. Athan 3.11.66. Sold as scrap 8.11.68. Wing Commander’s aircraft.
XH503 24.05.62 08.06.62 Delivered 30.12.58. Converted to B.1A 1963. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 44 Squadron, Waddington Wing. To St. Athan 6.12.66, sold as scrap 8.11.68.
XH505 24.05.62 08.06.62 Delivered 13.3.59. Converted to B.IA standard 1960. Olympus 104 engines. 230 OCU, 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Delivered to Finningley fire dump 9.1.68, later scrapped.

        


10 - 25 June 1963

44 squadron may have been required to reinforce the Near East Air Force in the conventional role in an emergency, thus giving air and ground crews the opportunity of operating in such a theatre. The squadron was also tasked with participation in Cypex IV, a defence of Cyprus exercise.

The air crews were prohibited from using the (then much shorter) 14/32 runway, unless in case of a dire emergency. Pilots were also warned to expect turbulence when landing on r/w 24 in strong wind conditions, caused by the hangars close to the runway threshold.

One aircraft arrived on the 9th, the remaining seven Vulcans and all the transport aircraft landing on the 10th.

On the 12th, XH478 burst twelve tyres at El Adem. Tyres were flown to the Libyan airfield, the aircraft returning to Luqa the following day.

On 23 June, a Vulcan participated at the Aviano airshow in Italy.


SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XA913 10.06.63 25.06.63 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.
XH476 10.06.63 25.06.63 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.
XH478 10.06.63 25.06.63 Delivered 31.3.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. Ministry of Aviation (in-flight refuelling trials), Waddington Wing. Delivered to Akrotiri as instructional airframe (MC8047M) 3.69. Later scrapped.
XH482 10.06.63 25.06.63 Delivered 5.5.58. Converted to B.1A 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, 101 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Delivered to St. Athan 13.10.66, scrapped 19.9.68.
XH483 10.06.63 25.06.63 Delivered 20.5.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. To Manston fire dump 3.8.67, scrapped 1977.
XH501 09.06.63 25.06.63 Delivered 3.9.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 44 Squadron, 44/50 Squadron. Delivered St. Athan 3.11.66. Sold as scrap 8.11.68. Wing Commander’s aircraft.
XH505 10.06.63 25.06.63 Delivered 13.3.59. Converted to B.IA standard 1960. Olympus 104 engines. 230 OCU, 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Delivered to Finningley fire dump 9.1.68, later scrapped.
XH506 10.06.63 25.06.63 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.

        


06 – 20 October 1964

One Vulcan arrived on the 3rd. whilst the remaining seven Vulcans landed on the 6th, five of them making practice diversions to Catania and Sigonella prior to landing at Luqa.

Support aircraft, consisting of 3 Britannias, arrived on the 5th. On the squadrons’ departure day, the transport aircraft were 2 Britannias and 3 Hastings.

Between the 15-16th, the squadron participated in a Malta ADEX (Air Defence Exercise).

On the 17th, the 8 aircraft departed for Akrotiri at five minute intervals starting at 13:50 Z, returning the same evening. This exercise was scheduled for the 16th, but had been cancelled due to bad weather at Cyprus.

Only details of 4 aircraft are available.


SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XA913 06.10.64 20.10.64 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.
XH478 06.10.64 20.10.64 Delivered 31.3.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. Ministry of Aviation (in-flight refuelling trials), Waddington Wing. Delivered to Akrotiri as instructional airframe (MC8047M) 3.69. Later scrapped.
XH501 06.10.64 20.10.64 Delivered 3.9.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 44 Squadron, 44/50 Squadron. Delivered St. Athan 3.11.66. Sold as scrap 8.11.68. Wing Commander’s aircraft.
XH503 06.10.64 20.10.64 Delivered 30.12.58. Converted to B.1A 1963. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 44 Squadron, Waddington Wing. To St. Athan 6.12.66, sold as scrap 8.11.68.

        
 


28 Sept. – 13 October 1965

An eight-aircraft detachment, one of which arrived six days early, on a Lone Ranger flight, and remained at Luqa.

The remaining 7 aircraft arrived on the 28th.

Support was provided by three Britannia on the 27th.

One crew had to return to Waddington on the 4th, whilst towards the end of the exercise, four Vulcans had to depart on the 12th, as the supporting Britannias had to make an early morning departure on the 13th, to meet other commitments.

During the detachment, the squadron participated in exercise Dazzle. See separate report further down.


SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XA912 Delivered 2.12.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1960. Olympus 104 engines. 101 Squadron, Waddington Wing.
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.
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.
XH482 Delivered 5.5.58. Converted to B.1A 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, 101 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Delivered to St. Athan 13.10.66, scrapped 19.9.68.
XH483 Delivered 20.5.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. To Manston fire dump 3.8.67, scrapped 1977.
XH489 Delivered 17.7.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, 44 Squadron, A & AEE. Withdrawn from use 11.65, scrapped later at Bitteswell.
XH503 Delivered 30.12.58. Converted to B.1A 1963. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 44 Squadron, Waddington Wing. To St. Athan 6.12.66, sold as scrap 8.11.68.
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.

Additional exercises

During its stay, 44 squadron participated in three other exercises, Dazzle, ADEX and Cyprex 7.

Exercise DAZZLE between 28 September – 12 October, was a major joint exercise for 1965, planned and mounted by the commanders in Chief Committee (West of Suez). Coincident with the phase of this exercise the Malta ADEX (RAF Malta’s annual Air Defence Exercise) was mounted utilising returning DAZZLE raids as targets.

At RAF Luqa, 13 and 39 squadron Canberra Mk.9s, 6 Mk.3 Lightnings and the 8 Vulcans were flying as friendly forces.

At RAF Hal-Far, the airfield accommodated No. 2 Field Squadron, RAF Regiment prior to their deployment into the exercise battle area as well as 8 Canberra B15/16 of 32 Squadron and a detachment of 2 Gannets from No 831 R.N. Squadron, operating as enemy forces. 4 Meteors TT.20 of 728 squadron departed Hal-Far for El Adem, Libya.

Safi main site provided a rigging area and parachute store for the preparation of heavy drop stores.

The CO RAF Hal Far was in operational control all exercise flying units attached to HF through the detachment commanders.

RAF Hal Far airfield remained continuously open from 080400 to 102330 for exercise flying and to provide a diversion facility for Luqa. When Hal Far based aircraft were not operating, the airfield was to be at 30 minutes readiness.

The table below lists the Hal-Far related part of the exercise.


DATE NOTES
02.10.65 831 ground party arrived.
04.10.65 No 2 Field squadron departed.
05.10.65 32 sqdn ground party arrived.
05.10.65 Meteors TT.20 departed for El Adem.
05.10.65 32 sqdn arrived between 12:00-13:00
05.10.65 Gannets arrived at 14:40.
06-10.10.65 Pre-exercise and exercise sorties by all aircraft attached to Hal-Far
08-10.10.65 Hal Far provides continues diversion facilities for Luqa
11.10.65 32 sqdn departed.
11.10.65 Meteors returned from El Adem.
12.10.65 Gannets departed
13-14.10.65 831 ground party departed.

        
 


08 – 24 October 1966

1 Vulcan flew a Lone Ranger flight and remained in Malta.

Vulcans also participated in ADEX (13.10.66) and exercise FALLEX 6

Technical support provided by 3 Britannia aircraft between 07-08. Return of personnel and freight carried out on 22 and 24 October.

On their arrival, each crew carried out a let-down for an ILS or PAR and overshoot, followed by a low-level ILS/PAR and landing. On departure, seven crews practiced a diversion to Sigonella.

During their stay, the squadron also participated in ADEX & CYPEX (13-14 October) and FALLEX 66 (17 October) a NATO exercise involving low-level flying over Italy.


SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XA906 24.10.66 Delivered 12.8.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 44 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Stored at St. Athan 10.3.67. Sold as scrap to Bradbury & Co. 6.11.68. Squadron ORB doesn’t give arrival date for this aircraft. First mentioned on the 20th.
XA910 08.10.66 24.10.66 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.
XA911 08.10.66 24.10.66 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.
XA912 08.10.66 Delivered 2.12.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1960. Olympus 104 engines. 101 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Squadron ORB does not give the departure date of this aircraft.
XA913 08.10.66 24.10.66 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.
XH476 24.10.66 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. Squadron ORB doesn’t give arrival date for this aircraft. First mentioned on the 13th.
XH479 08.10.66 24.10.66 Delivered 28.3.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. Waddington Wing. Delivered to Halton as instructional airframe (7974M), scrapped 1973.
XH502 08.10.66 24.10.66 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.
XH506 08.10.66 24.10.66 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.

        


50 Squadron

15-29.10.62

Advance party arrived on the 13th. 6 aircraft arrived on the 15th, with the 7th Vulcan landing on the 16th. Original departure date of 30th October had to be brought forward by a day due to events in Cuba.

Personnel were brought over by Britannia aircraft, but freight was flown in the 16th by Dan-Air Avro York, G-ANXN, c/s DA2390, which arrived from RAF Waddington at 16:20, which had to be handled by Maltese Customs, resulting in delays until later in the evening, much to the frustration of AHQ Malta and RAF Luqa. The York departed Malta for Coltishall on the 17th at 05:45.

During its stay, the squadron participated in Exercise Cypex III. The squadron was instructed not to use the shorter 14/32 runway, unless in a dire emergency.

The squadron’s activities were also covered by the The Times of Malta and Television Malta.


SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XA909 15.10.62 29.11.62 Delivered 1.10.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 101 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Crashed in Anglesey 16.7.64, following engine explosion
XA910 15.10.62 29.11.62 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.
XH482 15.10.62 29.11.62 Delivered 5.5.58. Converted to B.1A 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, 101 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Delivered to St. Athan 13.10.66, scrapped 19.9.68.
XH483 15.10.62 01.11.62 Delivered 20.5.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. To Manston fire dump 3.8.67, scrapped 1977. Suffered Cat 3 damage after it was struck by a tractor-towed trolley, hitting the starboard undercarriage on 25.10.62. Repairs were undertaken at Safi MU. A further 24-hour delay was experienced when high winds prevented jacking up the aircraft for wheel retraction tests.
XH497 15.10.62 29.11.62 Delivered 29.5.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Withdrawn from use 17.5.66, scrapped 1969.
XH498 16.10.62 29.11.62 Delivered 30.6.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Became instructional airframe (7993M), later scrapped. Aircraft’s arrival at Luqa delayed by technical problems at Waddington.
XH500 13.10.62 29.10.62 Delivered 15.8.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1959. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, BCDU, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Became instructional airframe (7994M), to Waddington fire dump, scrapped 1977. Advance party flew to Akrotiri on 12.10.62, then Luqa
XH506 15.10.62 29.10.62 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.  

        
 


21 May - 04 June 1964

A crew from 101 squadron was attached for the duration of this detachment.

1 Vulcan returned to the UK via Manston on the 24th, the crew bringing another on the 25th.

Eight Hastings arrived on 21st bring freight and 206 passengers. Originally, the support aircraft were meant to be Britannias.

Russian “trawlers”, intelligence gathering ships, were reported on 01.06.64, to both the North and South of Malta.

SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XA909 25.05.64 04.06.64 Delivered 1.10.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 101 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Crashed in Anglesey 16.7.64, following engine explosion. Replacement for XH504.
XA910 21.05.64 04.06.64 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.
XH478 21.05.64 04.06.64 Delivered 31.3.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. Ministry of Aviation (in-flight refuelling trials), Waddington Wing. Delivered to Akrotiri as instructional airframe (MC8047M) 3.69. Later scrapped.
XH482 21.05.64 04.06.64 Delivered 31.3.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. Ministry of Aviation (in-flight refuelling trials), Waddington Wing. Delivered to Akrotiri as instructional airframe (MC8047M) 3.69. Later scrapped.
XH498 21.05.64 04.06.64 Delivered 30.6.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Became instructional airframe (7993M), later scrapped.
XH502 20.05.64 04.06.64 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. Wing Commander’s aircraft.
XH504 25.05.64 04.06.64 Delivered 30.12.58. Converted to B.IA 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 230 OCU, Waddington Wing. Delivered to Cottesmore fire dump 4.1.68, later scrapped. Brough as a replacement for XA909 on the 25th. Departed on a priority one compassionate case, as there would be no other flight from Luqa for another 24 hours.
XH505 21.05.64 04.06.64 Delivered 13.3.59. Converted to B.IA standard 1960. Olympus 104 engines. 230 OCU, 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Delivered to Finningley fire dump 9.1.68, later scrapped
XH506 21.05.64 04.06.64 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.

        


101 Squadron

        
 

15 October – 02 November 1963

SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XA906 15.10.63 01.11.63 Delivered 12.8.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 44 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Stored at St. Athan 10.3.67. Sold as scrap to Bradbury & Co. 6.11.68.
XA907 15.10.63 31.11.63 Delivered 29.8.57. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 44 Squadron, Waddington Wing, BCDU. Withdrawn from use 3.11.66. Sold as scrap 20.5.68. Crew flew to Akrotiri on 31.10.63, returning direct to Waddington on 01.11.63.
XA910 15.10.63 01.11.63 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.
XH475 15.10.63 01.11.63 Delivered 11.2.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 101 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Became instructional airframe (7996M) 20.11.67. Scrapped 7.6.69.
XH483 15.10.63 01.11.63 Delivered 20.5.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1961. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. To Manston fire dump 3.8.67, scrapped 1977.
XH498 15.10.63 01.11.63 Delivered 30.6.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Became instructional airframe (7993M), later scrapped.
XH500 15.10.63 01.11.63 Delivered 15.8.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1959. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, BCDU, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Became instructional airframe (7994M), to Waddington fire dump, scrapped 1977.
XH502 15.10.63 01.11.63 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. Diversion for unknown reasons to Hal-Far between 17/18th
        
 


31 May – 16 June 1965

On 1st June, the seven Vulcans (the Wing Commander having arrived on 31st May) departed from RAF Waddington at 10-minute intervals, making practice attacks on a London RBS target, and the towns of Beauvais and Lyon in France, practice diversion to Sigonella, and landing at Luqa.

Between the 1st-5th June a British freelance photographer accompanied the squadron to prepare an article on high speed flight for the Sunday Telegraph.

During their stay, the crews flew bombing sorties against the El Adem range in Libya.

On the 10th, the squadron participated in “Cypex 6”, a Defence of Cyprus exercise.

The 8 aircraft departed from Luqa at 5 minute intervals, carrying out a simulated attack on the El Adam bombing range. The aircraft then headed for Cyprus, splitting into two, four-aircraft formations, one at 500 feet above sea level, the other at high level. The Vulcans “attacked” Cyprus, being intercepted by Lightnings and Javelins based there.

Landing at RAF Akrotiri, the aircraft were turned around, the crew remaining in the aircraft. The aircraft were on the ground for an average of 35 minutes, the aircraft heading direct to Luqa.


SERIAL ARRIVED DEPARTED HISTORY NOTES
XA910 01.06.65 16.05.65 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.
XA911 01.06.65 16.05.65 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.
XA913 01.06.65 16.05.65 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.
XH480 01.06.65 16.05.65 Delivered 22.4.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 44 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Delivered to St. Athan 10.11.66, sold as scrap 30.9.68. The crew of this aircraft were on loan from 50 sqd for the period of the detachment.
XH482 01.06.65 16.05.65 Delivered 5.5.58. Converted to B.1A 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, 101 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Delivered to St. Athan 13.10.66, scrapped 19.9.68.
XH497 01.06.65 16.05.65 Delivered 29.5.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Withdrawn from use 17.5.66, scrapped 1969.
XH498 01.06.65 16.05.65 Delivered 30.6.58. Converted to B.IA standard 1962. Olympus 104 engines. 617 Squadron, 50 Squadron, Waddington Wing. Became instructional airframe (7993M), later scrapped.
XH503 01.06.65 16.05.65 Delivered 30.12.58. Converted to B.1A 1963. Olympus 104 engines. 83 Squadron, 44 Squadron, Waddington Wing. To St. Athan 6.12.66, sold as scrap 8.11.68.

        
 
Air Defence, 1966 (Testing of) Dawn Patrol DMX 51/Beehive Easy Gambler Eden Apple Forthright IV Lime Jug 70 MEDASWX 26 Naval exercises Sundial Sunspot Vulcan
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