The Royal Airforce will stop operating the Vickers VC10 aircraft this month after more than 50 years, replacing it with the UK’s largest ever military aircraft Voyager.
A product of a British company Vickers-Armstrongs, the VC10 aircraft holds a record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic achieved by a sub-sonic jetliner to date. Only the supersonic Concord has, so far, been faster.
The VC10 performed its maiden flight in June 1962. At the time the RAF added it to its fleet, it was the heaviest and most powerful aircraft it had used and provided a new global transport capability.
The airliner was designed to operate on long-distance routes at high subsonic speed and to be capable of hot and high operations from African airports.
The initial concept of the VC10 was to provide a jet-powered airliner that could comfortably make use of shorter runways commonly in use at the time.
Resembling a larger Soviet plane Ilyushin Il-62, the VC10 features a rear-engined quad layout.
The last of the planes operated by the RAF were in service with 101 Squadron, based at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, pending their retirement.
Among others, it was used to bring British troops back from Aden, Yemen, in 1967 - the biggest operation of its type since the Berlin airlift.
Replacing the VC10 is the nearly 60 metres long Voyager with a 60-metre wingspan. Similarly to the VC10, Voyager can serve as an air-to-air tanker as well as a transport aircraft with a capacity to carry over 300 soldiers.