No takers, so RAF Marham's Victor bomber dismantled for scrap
- Credit: SAC Joshua Dines
Plane crash specialists were called on to remove a vintage bomber from a Norfolk air base.
The Cold War Victor had stood as gate guardian at RAF Marham since it was retired from service in the early 1990s.
The RAF said the aircraft was deteriorating and offered to give it away for free to anyone who could restore and look after it.
But no-one came forward so personnel moved in last week to begin dismantling it.
"The removal of the aircraft was a massive task and required specialists to undertake the job," Marham said on its website. "The Joint Aircraft Recovery and Transportation Squadron (JARTS) were approached to see if they could assist.
"JARTS, based at MOD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, is made up of personnel from the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy who are dedicated to the safe recovery and transportation of crashed aircraft in the UK and overseas.
Chief Petty Officer Burton, the project manager from JARTS said “When we were asked to assist with the disposal of the Victor Gate Guardian we jumped at the chance. We don’t get tasked to deal with the recovery of a large aircraft such as this very often, so this was a fantastic training opportunity for the team.
"There were added challenges with the removal as we had to ensure that Covid-19 guidelines were adhered to and, with the proud history of the Victor, we had to dismantle her in a sensitive manner."
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RAF Marham station commander, Group Capt James Beck said, “Whilst it was sad to see the Victor gate guardian go the decision to remove her had to be made. Despite the fantastic efforts of a team of volunteers who tried to maintain her the aircraft was in very poor condition.
We didn’t have the time, funds or indeed the expertise to keep her in a safe condition."
After submarines took over Britain's nuclear deterrent in the late 1960s, the Victors were converted into flying tankers, some of which flew from Marham.
Their most famous achievement was taking part in the Black Buck raids during the 1982 Falklands conflict. Vulcan bombers flew 3,000 miles from Ascension Island to attack the runway at Port Stanley airport, refuelled in flight by teams of Victors.