Thor Program

Topic 8: Thor Program

Although there were delays to the development of Britain’s Rockets as a means of delivering nuclear weapons, Thor rockets were delivered from America starting in 1959, and RAF bases in Lincolnshire such as Ludford Magna were used to site the Rockets. Evidence of this can still be seen today as Thor launch sites have a characteristic X shape which is clearly visible on aerial photographs and satellite images.

Aerial view of the former RAF Ludford Magna, showing missile launch sites. (Photo: Google Maps)

In 1963, the Thor program in Britain was ended and the missiles returned to America. Britain’s deterrent, once again became dependent on V-Force. As the cold war progressed, successive governments shifted the emphasis of Britiain’s deterrent away from aircraft and towards submarine launched missiles.

Vulcan bombers at RAF Scampton in 1981. (Photo: Bruce Woodruff)