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Talks under way over new home for ‘free’ Victor jet

PUBLISHED: 09:27 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:03 19 February 2020

The Victor jet outside RAF Marham being offered for free to anyone who can restore it   Picture: RAF Marham

The Victor jet outside RAF Marham being offered for free to anyone who can restore it Picture: RAF Marham

Archant

A number of groups are in talks with an RAF base which hopes to give away a jet to a good home.

The Victor currently welcomes visitors and personnel to Marham.

But the Cold War bomber turned flying tanker needs extensve repairs.

The costs are far higher than the budget for maintaining so-called gate guardians.

So the air force is offering the plane for free to anyone who is willing to stump up the cost of restoring it.

Ten days after the offer went public, the base said it had been contacted by a number of interested parties.

"It's not going to be a quick process," a source said. "We need to know how they intend to move it and the facility they're going to put it in so we're at the stage of asking for more information."

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The 114ft-long aircraft, which has a wingspan of 110ft and weighs 45 tons, will need to be dismantled for the journey to its new home.

Surveys have revealed structural weaknesses in what is one of just five surviving Victors, of the 89 originally built by Handley Page.

The aircraft entered service in 1952 as part of the nation's nuclear deterrent.

They could fly at up to 600mph and carry a single nuclear warhead.

In the 1970s, Victors were converted into flying tankers. Their most famous mission was carried out by a fleet of aircraft which refuelled a Vulcan bomber as it crossed the Atlantic to attack Port Stanley airfield, then under Argentine occupation, during the 1982 Falklands War.

The aircraft also saw service during the first Gulf War, in 1991.

RAF Marham was home to tankers from 55 Squadron from 1965 until they were retired in 1993.

Anyone interested in owning one has until the end of the month to lodge a "serious, costed and plausible" offer.

If no suitable proposal emerges, the Victor will be scrapped. Its tail fin will be preserved at the entrance to the base as a memorial to the aircraft.


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