Vickers Valiant EC Mk-3

When the Vickers Valiant entered service in 1951 it was soon realized that unescorted bombers were very vulnerable to enemy fighters. Following the same line of thinking as the USA with the projects FICON, Tom-Tom and the F-85 Goblin, the RAF sought to equip the bombers with their own escorts, carried with them into enemy territory and released when attacked.

Where the US trials were centred around the massive Convair B-36 bomber, the Vickers Valiant was light and therefore limited in its capacity. The then current RAD fighters like the Meteor were too heavy to be carried by a Valiant and the RAF asked the UK Aeronautical industry to come up with a light weight fighter to fulfil this role.

The De Haviland factory offered a development of their DH-108 aircraft, fitted with two canon and an improved engine. Also minor changes were made to improve stability and flying characteristics. This option had the advantage of being based on an existing aircraft so it could be made available a lot quicker than the new designs offered by Supermarine and Hawker.

So in 1953 the first Valiant EC Mk 3 (EC for Escort Carrier) took to the air carrying a DH-108 F Mk-2 fighter on its back. The first aircraft was lost in 1954 when the DH-108 hit the tail of the Valiant and exploded after release. This lead to a revised operating procedure where the DH-108 was release with its engine at full throttle and the pilot pulling up sharply upon release.

Prolonged trials were held with the 3 EC Mk-3 Valiants but in 1955 the programme was ended and no production order followed. The concept was deemed as too risky for the fighter pilots as there was no possibility of retrieval after release and also the releasing procedure remained risky with various accidents and near accident occurring.


Model: Airfix Valiant & MikroMir DH-108 1/72

Last updated: 04/01/2023