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Nuclear bomber for sale on eBay

Electronic Commerce

(CNN) -- Vintage cars, old guitars, retro clothing or rare coins -- there's not a lot you can't buy on the popular Internet auction site eBay.

But an Avro Vulcan nuclear bomber aircraft?

A British plane enthusiast has posted an advertisement for such a plane, a four-engined bomber built in the 1950s, on the eBay Web site.

"Vulcan bomber XL391 (Complete with engines.) Your chance to own a piece of aviation history ... sold subject to removal within two months. Aircraft de-commissioned by RAF. No armaments, will not fly," reads the eBay ad.

And by all indications, the aircraft is attracting a great deal of interest.

On Tuesday, with just four days of bidding left, the current bid stood at £1.11 million ($2.03 million) -- not bad from its starting offer of just £6,000.

The Vulcans, operated and flown by a crew of five, were developed during the Cold War to counter the growing nuclear threat of the Soviet Union, but were later converted to carry conventional armaments.

With a wing span of almost 34 meters (111 feet) and a speed of 1,030 kilometers per hour (640 miles per hour), the Vulcan's service life was reduced when its role was changed from high-altitude to low-altitude roles.

During the early 1960s, the Vulcan was exceptional in that it could start all four of its engines at once, and could be airborne within four minutes in the event of a nuclear attack.

The maximum armament was up to 21,000 pounds (9,526 kilograms) of conventional or nuclear bombs. The conventional bombs were carried in the bomb bay, or a single nuclear missile could be carried externally under a modified bomb bay.

Despite its age, the aircraft still managed to see action in the 1982 Falklands War, participating in bombing runs against Argentinean installations at Port Stanley after being refueled several times by Victor tankers.

By the mid 1980s, the Vulcan had been replaced by the all-weather Tornado fighter-bomber.

At present there are no Vulcans left flying, and most are now found in museums or on airfields -- all the better reason to make that eBay bid as quickly as possible.

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