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FromWar Is Boring
In 1976, the British Royal Air Force had a problem. In the event of war, Soviet Backfire bombers flying from Europe could have devastated resupply convoys sailing from the United States to Europe.
The RAF needed a warplane with enough range to patrol the vast Atlantic — and enough payload to haul long-range, bomber-killing missiles.
Plane-maker Hawker Siddeley suggested adding 12 U.S.-made Phoenix missiles to the Avro Vulcan bomber. The addition would have required extensive modifications to the Vulcan’s radar.
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Hawker Siddeley art
In any event, the RAF dropped the idea. To defeat the Backfires, the U.S. Navy deployed carrier-based F-14 fighters armed with Phoenixes.
The Vulcan “fighter” wasn’t the only air-to-air version of a heavy bomber. In 2004, Boeing proposed to build a new model of the B-1 bomber that would have been compatible with AIM-120 air-to-air missiles.