After working on a number of airliner projects that had their roots in the Valiant bomber, Vickers responded to a 1957 BOAC requirement with a clean sheet of paper design, an elegant T-tailed aircraft with four Rolls-Royce Conways mounted Caravelle-style. First flown in June 1962, the VC.10 had little hope of competing with Boeing designs, but was
Much longer-lived than their commercial counterparts, the RAF’s VC.10s have only just recently left service, some forty-eight years after the first military example flew. The C.1 was a hybrid airframe, based on the Standard commercial, but with a freight door, extra fuel tankage in the tail, and more powerful Conways. The C.1s were a great step forward for Transport Command, markedly cutting down on the time needed to reach British Far East bases. Between 1992 and 1996, the thirteen surviving C.1s were retrofitted with HDUs under the wingtips, being redesignated as C.1Ks.
Although valuable in the transport role, the VC.10’s later years in military service were predominated by the type’s use as a tanker. By the late 1970s, the RAF was faced with the eventual end of its limited number of converted Victor tankers, and to provide a more capable type it was decided to procure and refit former airline VC.10s.
K.2: Type 1101s retired from use by Gulf Air and BOAC; HDU on the centerline, refueling pods under the wings, and extra fuel.
K.3: ex East African Airways Super VC.10s refitted as triple-point tankers, with extra fuel in the cabin. K.3s ZA147 and ZA150 carried out the last operational sortie with the type, on 20 September 2013, with ZA150 then making the last ever VC.10 flight ever four days later, flying from Brize Norton to Dunsfold.
K.4: Five ex British Airways Super VC.10s with triple HDUs; the cabin remained clear of fuel to permit the K.4s to carry passengers. The K.4s required corrosion repairs during their rebuilds, as they had been stored improperly post commercial service.
G.W. Webber “VC.10- the ‘Big Jet’ that can use small airfields” Air Pictorial May 1964 p.127-131 Includes 3-views of Standard and Super VC.10 variants.
“Amery nearing VC.10 Decision” Aviation Week & Space Technology July 13, 1964 p.34
L.L. Doty “BOAC VC.10 Fight Ends in Compromise” Aviation Week & Space Technology July 27, 1964 p.26-27
Photo: VC.10 G-ARVC of Nigerian Airways Air Pictorial April 1966 p.154
Graham P. Wilmer “Warlike VC.10s” Air Pictorial February 1979 p.48-51 Includes 3-views of bomber and maritime proposals.
“Ex Airline VC10s converted to tankers” includes an overall shot of five aircraft at Filton Flight International 10 April 1982 p.929
Photo: BOAC VC.10 G-ARVB Air International December 1998 p.369
“Vickers VC10 rebuild complete at Cosford” FlyPast January 2016 p.9 C.1K XR808