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on 5 November 2012
I read all the other reviews before buying the book, and they give a decent account of the contents. However, I do think the title focuses on the V force when infact the book covers a wider scope and includes other nuclear armed aircraft, manned and unmanned, in as much detail. This is largely because some of the weapons discussed were used or considered for the likes of the Buccaneer and TSR2, etc, and as stand alone missiles.

I served in the RAF, on the ground, and found some of the book fascinating, whilst other parts were dull. The book is not over technical and so finds the right balance on what turns out to be a very broad topic.

If your reading this review you will probably enjoy most of the book.
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on 6 March 2016
Heavy-going in places especially about the Blue Steel stand-off weapon. The official history of Britain's nuclear weapons is probably easier to read than parts of this book and does at least quote the results of two test-firings in the Irish Sea etc - more accurate than was expected.
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on 28 March 2018
Bought as gift for an enthusiast who says the content and accuracy of the text is spot on and well researched.
Thoroughly enjoyed.
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on 28 August 2016
Excellent book, loads of quality photos, very readable and good price. Recommended if you like reading about early jet aircraft, weapons or the cold war.
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on 12 June 2013
An excellent book which has been well researched on a subject that has not been ocvered in detail before. The information on the Uk's freefall nuclear weapons is most illuminating. A very good read.
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on 10 March 2016
In a word , stunning , a treasure trove of a book on the subject. Can't recommend it enough , spot on !
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on 12 April 2016
Very good read.
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on 19 January 2016
Bought as a gift.
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VINE VOICEon 9 January 2014
Love this book. It's the perfect size with an excellent, quality feel; beautifully bound with crisp text and amazing illustrations and pictures. The content itself is pitched perfectly with the correct balance of technical description, precision and pace. The author weaves his compelling story with insight, excellent detail and passion.

Following the McMahon directive, Britain was, essentially, on her own. Finding ourselves at the end of WW2: bankrupt, the population weary, half starving and yet to face more rationing and other deprivations. Suddenly, there were new and more powerful threats to consider and evidently our special relationship - suddenly, not so special. This volume describes beautifully some of that blood-and-guts determination, the companies, the expertise and the wonderful - if sometimes wayward solutions - that were forged, to protect our nation from the threat of annihilation.

When I was growing up, my state school still had a `Technical Drawing" department and I think of those engineers and apprenticeships who must have pored over millions of calculations made on slide rules and hand-crafted technical drawings and blueprints that somehow ( but not always ) created precision from uncertainty.

Of course, this is all in the past and we now have much more sleek weapons of annihilation, like Trident at our disposal. I cannot help but wonder, however, what would be the outcome in the event of ICBM's being skyward and bound perhaps, for a limited but devastating strike on, for example, London and prime minister Cameron had occasion to pick up the phone in order to ask (as I believe he must ) for permission and the launch codes to mount a reprisal - just what sort of reply would be received and how long it would take. This in turn prompts me to think that the uncertain times as described so beautifully in this book were in fact times of more confidence and certainty than we perhaps enjoy now. Read it with pride.
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on 11 June 2011
Chris Gibson is already a name that can be relied upon for some seriously good research in the dark and dusty archives of Britain's aircraft industry, and this book only further improves his reputation. A truly wonderful and wide ranging book that struggles to stay within the coverage you'd expect from its sub-title, in here you will find all sorts of projects of dubious usefulness, sanity and practicality along with a few that actually made it to the production line.

The sub-title is, if truth be told, a little misleading, as we branch out from the V-force into tactical types like the TSR2 and Tornado - and even transports like the VC-10 - and neglect a good number of V-force weapons on the way (no coverage on conventional target marking from Valiants for instance). However, what is in here is eye opening and you certainly won't feel short changed. I can't think of another book that shows you what a Vulcan would be like as a heavily missile-laden air defence aircraft (toting either Sea Dart or Phoenix!), or the Future Large Aircraft (what was to become the A400M) playing host to a mass of Sea Eagle missiles fired out of the rear ramp!

In among the various bomb and missile projects that were endlessly tinkered with and never produced there is some excellent coverage of those that did make it into metal - chief among them being the much-maligned Blue Steel nuclear stand-off missile that armed the Vulcans and Victors of the RAF for several years until the nuclear deterrent role was taken over by the Royal Navy. Blue Steel's story has been told before, but here it is placed in perspective among Avro's Weapons Research Divisions various guided missile projects and this helps hugely to appreciate the difficulties involved in producing such a weapon in the cash-strapped and resource hungry Britain of the 1950s and 60s.

The book's design is worthy of note too, with clear diagrams and drawings and a good mix of photos both colour and mono sprinkled among a superbly clear page layout - it's truly a pleasure to read something of this quality.

Wholeheartedly recommended - and Vulcan's Hammer makes a superb companion to the "British Secret Projects" range of books.
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