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V-Force Coin Set
This coin set recognises the Royal Air Force’s V-bombers; Vulcan, Victor and Valiant. These aircraft were the United Kingdom’s strategic nuclear strike force during the Cold War period. They were known collectively as the V-Force.
Our V-Force set includes three highly detailed 2” coins, laid out in a V shape in a fitted presentation box.
- The striking difference in the shape of each V-bomber aircraft is apparent as the coins feature them in plan-view on the obverse. With text relating to V-Force operations displayed around each aircraft.
- Finished in anti-flash white paint to protect against thermal radiation in the event of a nuclear explosion, the aircraft were on standby to “scramble” 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The reverse of each coin depicts the V-Force crews rushing to their aircraft after receiving the call to “scramble”. At the height of the Cold War, V-bomber crews regularly practised scrambling multiple aircraft to test their response time in the event of a nuclear attack.
The RAF relied on the concept of aircraft dispersal to escape the effects of an enemy attack on their main bases. There were 26 such bases in the late 1950s in addition to ten main bases, giving a total of 36 bases available for the V-Force to operate from.
In times of heightened international tension the V-bombers, already loaded with their nuclear weapons, could be flown to the dispersal bases where they could be kept at a few minutes readiness to take-off. The bases were situated around the UK in such a way that a nuclear attack could not completely stop Britain's ability to retaliate.
The dispersal bases, capable of taking two to four aircraft each, were only used during exercises.
The Vickers Valiant first flew in 1951 and entered service as the first V-bomber in 1955.
The Avro Vulcan first flew in 1952 and entered service in 1956; well-remembered for its conventional Black Buck bombing raids during the 1982 Falklands War - supported by Victor tankers. Only the Victor tanker fleet made it possible for the Vulcan bombers to reach the Falkland Islands for Operation Black Buck.
The Handley Page Victor first flew in 1952 and entered service in 1958.
The V-Force reached its peak in June 1964 with 50 Valiants, 70 Vulcans and 39 Victors in service. No British bomber ever flew with a live nuclear weapon; the deterrent strategy was a success.
The V-Force represents one of the most iconic periods in the RAF’s history.