Economics has never pIayed a great role in the written history of the V-Force or the story of postwar British aviation; however it is impossible to ignore the economic and political factors that affected this story. The policy-makers and the decisions made by them have been vilified by many in the field of aviation history, despite the reasoning behind many of the decisions having rarely been examined nor have the economic conditions influencing these decisions been discussed.
The economic problems that began in 2008 ushered in what the media referred to as 'a new Age of Austerity' in the United Kingdom. The use of the adjective 'new' informed the public that a similar situation had arisen before: in the decade following the Second World War. It was in this era that the V-Force had its origins.
Vulcan's Hammer examines Avro's Weapons Research Division efforts to meet changing threats, from within and without, over the decade of Blue Steel development and their attempts to interest unsympathetic ministries in improved equipment
Vulcan's Hammer is not about V-Force operations, squadron histories, development trials , or operations. Look elsewhere for details of individual aircraft and their histories. Vulcan's Hammer is about how British deterrent policies changed, how this influenced weapons development and how Britain's engineers and scientists strove to fill the Air Staff's requirements. Vulcan's Hammer examines how Britain's engineers and scientists met the economic, geographical, political and technological challenges they faced from 1945 until 1963. They attempted this by using some of the most interesting technologies that came out of the mid- Twentieth Century, details of which languish in archives around the country. UNQUOTE.
A fascinating book. Well-written in Chris' usual engaging style, with a wealth of drawings, photographs and graphics.
As an engineer who worked in the 1950's on the earliest of the free-fall weapons, Blue Danube, Violet Club and Red Beard , Chris' account of these was especially interesting. The difficulties of bomb release at supersonic speeds and the ingenious schemes devised is an area never before written of.
It is a brave attempt to present a specialised area of aviation history in a framework that acknowledges that the ingenuity and skill of the best engineers, scientists and technology that Britain had to offer existed not in isolation, in laboratories, workshops and in the air, but in an economic and political reality where tough decisions could not be avoided, then as now.
Too often aviation histories are shallow; focussed on aircraft and missiles - the delivery systems, while glossing over the reasons why those delivery systems were needed - to deliver weapons of enormous power that are themselves still mostly shrouded in secrecy, to targets that were themselves hardly known to the Western world, and which today are still kept largely secret; and all in an economic and political environment that is all too easily airbrushed away with little attempt at understanding.
This excellent book by Chris Gibson will undoubtably be a useful reference source for years to come, and deserves to be widely read.
Brian Burnell.show more
by Brian Burnell