This is a history of the 4-year period from 1959 to 1963 when RAF bomber command operated 60 Thor Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles as part of the UK nuclear deterrent force. In 1956, the US approached the UK to explore the possibility of basing IRBMs on UK soil amid growing concerns over Soviet missiles. Keen to re-establish a relationship which had suffered after Suez, Macmillan and Eisenhower met in Bermuda and seeds were sown for the RAF to become sole operator of 20 squadrons with 3 missiles each. However, once their own bases were established in Continental America the US considered the IRBM obsolete and it was decided to draw down the Thor force in 1962, 5 years earlier than originally planned.The Cuban Missile Crisis changed things and 59 of the 60 missiles were brought to operational readiness during the crisis, but despite acknowledgement of their efficiency at this time the squadrons were disbanded by summer 1963 and subsequent UK plans for a follow-on programme were also scrapped.
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