View Full Version : TSR2 (Signed prints available.)

12th Dec 2007, 18:17
Came across this while surfing the 'net,


She was beautiful. Makes me wonder what might have been if the political circumstances had been different.

12th Dec 2007, 18:54
Thanks for posting the link!

13th Dec 2007, 09:00
Thats great! :ok:

I've been searching for any video that showed the retract sequence for a long time so that I can get something just about realistic for the model I'm building.

13th Dec 2007, 10:53
Nice video, but I find it a pity that the end bit shows Lightning XN771 being broken up (presumably at Shoeburyness) and not the TSR2.

13th Dec 2007, 23:44
That brought a tear to my eye!
Thanks for posting..great stuff.

14th Dec 2007, 10:51
B:mad:y Hell MJ. That is one hell of a dramatic photo. She looks full of menace. If I saw that coming towards me in anger it would definitely need a change of underwear.

14th Dec 2007, 12:06
Yeah I can just picture it; gear up and plumes of black smoke from the back end.

14th Dec 2007, 14:55
Here's how the second prototype ended up:

14th Dec 2007, 18:37
Mike Jenvey

Great Photos.

The TSR may have made a fine platform for a supersonic business jet


14th Dec 2007, 18:41
I heard that the second prototype was programmed to fly the morning of the day that it was annnounced that the project was scrapped. The was a small problem on the pre-flight and it was delayed until the afternoon. Too late, it never flew.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
14th Dec 2007, 19:41
When Dennis Healy pops his clogs I'm going to visit his grave..... with a full baldder!

14th Dec 2007, 21:23
A full what !!!!

14th Dec 2007, 21:24
Makes me wonder what might have been if the political circumstances had been different.
Her wings would have numerous hard points added and she'd be flying low level subsonic missions.
Perhaps the cancellation was a more dignified end... Ironically.

14th Dec 2007, 21:50
Great shame that the TSR-2 never made it into production-thanks to short sighted narrow minded bigots, sorry political masters!
Another nail in the coffin for the once great British aviation industry.
Concorde and the TSR-2 stymied by politics, corruption and slick salesmen.

15th Dec 2007, 08:16
Like many other people I wish the TSR-2 had made it into operational service. For one thing if the TSR-2 had gone ahead as planned, I doubt the Tornado would have been developed, consequently, there would have been no Tornado F3 and instead the UK government might have opted instead to licence build the F-15 or F16, a vast improvement over the inferior F3. However, it's also rather simplistic to just blame the various politicians involved, particularly Dennis Healy, for the aircraft's cancellation. With very few exceptions, I loathe almost all politicians of any shade but many, many other factors also had a major contribution to the TSR-2 cancellation.

For a start the aircraft was far, far too complex and tried to be all things to all men – who today would really consider trying to design a 110,000lb aircraft that could operate from a 3,000ft hard grass strip with a full weapons load of fuel and weapons, fly in all weathers, day or night, at transonic speed at 200ft and a Mach 2.25 speed at 50,000ft, have a high-low-high radius of 1,000nms and be capable of carrying a 10,000lb internal payload – madness! Both the MOD and industry were responsible, the first for allowing all the various proposals to be carried forward and the second for agreeing to them and then also adding a bit extra, without really quantifying the risks and additional costs involved.

Poor project management, partly the result of the forced merger of various aviation companies, allowed costs to run completely out of control. What started as a £16M project rose to an estimated £740M and would probably eventually exceeded £1B and have crippled the rest of the Defence Budget as a result.

Too many fingers were in the pie. This included firstly the Ministry of Supply (later the Aviation Ministry) as well as the Air Ministry and industry. This resulted in far too many committees, sub committees and sub-sub committees with the authority to make changes to the design, without having to also take responsibility for the additional costs and complexity involved.

The Americans actively campaigned against the TSR-2 to try and protect their F-111 that was then under development. They targeted Australia, the only potential export customer for the TSR-2, with all kinds of spurious claims about the superiority of the F-111 and, as Australia was moving away from close ties to the UK and was keen to establish a closer relationship with the USA, they fell for it and brought the F-111. The F-111 entered service with Australia six years later and at three times the original cost – a bargain.

The CDS at the time was that over-promoted charlatan Lord Louis Mountbatten, probably the worst CDS of all time and he has some stiff competition in that department from some of the RAF and Army incumbents over the years. As CDS Mountbatten should have remained neutral to the TSR-2, instead he actively rubbished the aircraft at every opportunity, particularly to a visiting delegation from Australia. In this campaign he was assisted by the MOD Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Solly Zukermann.

Finally and probably most fatally, many senior officers in the RAF were opposed to the TSR-2 from early on in the programme on the grounds of cost. As time went on this group grew larger and larger until it eventually included even the CAS himself, ACM Sir Charles Elworthy, and it was he who eventually recommended to the PM that the programme be cancelled. Perhaps the RAF has learned something from the demise of the TSR-2, particularly the need for everyone to be ‘onboard’ a project from the start right through to the end and for the dissenters to be actively sidelined.

I’ve read all the books available about the TSR-2 and, whilst they all have some interesting thing to say, they all lack some of the background detail. In my opinion if you want to read the definitive book on the TSR-2 try and get hold of a copy of ‘TSR-2 with Hindsight’ published by the RAF Historical Society in 1998 ISBN 0951982486. This publication records the proceedings of a seminar at which political, military and industry figures closely involved in the TSR-2 programme freely express their views on the aircraft and why it never entered service.



15th Dec 2007, 09:09

If only...


Kieron Kirk
15th Dec 2007, 11:46
Those who supported TSR-2 should have observed events at Avro Canada before 20th February 1959 ("Black Friday").

The remarks attributed to Sir Sydney Camm that ALL aircraft possess four features, span, length, height and politics and that TSR-2 simply got the first three right could equally have applied to the Avro Arrow.

The "winner" of the TSR-2 fiasco was of course the Blackburn Buccaneer.

15th Dec 2007, 19:53
Referring to the cancellation of the TSR2 and others in 1965 ....

"FORTUNATELY this wholesale bout of cancellations brought to an end 10 years of the worst mismanagement of the RAF's equipment and of the British aircraft industry that could possibly have been arranged"

Sir Stanley Hooker - Not Much of an Engineer (p148 paperback edition).

According to Sir Stanley (who should know) some of the requirements for the TSR2 were far, far too complicated.

As Heimdall says - there was much more to it than a few political decisions.

Did you know that Sir Stanley fought Reginald Maudling in 1957 to save the Olympus engine - the government CANCELLED it to use the Conway ONLY.

Bristol developed the early Olympus at their own expense!

Brewster Buffalo
15th Dec 2007, 20:06

The TSR we could afford (in front of the one we couldn't) :)

15th Dec 2007, 20:42
I thank you for posting the link.........just a reminds me that we did once have a aircraft industry.

As a learned poster has already hinted - I wonder where we would be now regarding aircraft for the Royal Air Force .......perhaps best summed up by the backing track to the video.........Mad World

PPRuNe Pop
19th Dec 2007, 06:08
I will shortly, once again, be offering for sale prints of XR219 at a price of £36 each (incl of p&p). These prints are signed by Roland 'Bee' Beamont and the original was painted by a PPRuNe member a few years back. The proceeds go to the PPRuNe Fund.

When I can source the cardboard tubes I will take orders for them.

Watch this space as they say!



19th Dec 2007, 08:38
Presumably you could approach a, errr, 'gerbil fancier' to source suitable cardboard tubes.....:eek:

19th Dec 2007, 12:43
I was one of the lucky people to see a TSR2 Fly.
As a kid we lived in Thruxton and watch it fly over from b Down. as the airfield had to stop flying when the TSR2 was airbounre :)

PPRuNe Pop
19th Dec 2007, 21:17
What a novel idea BEags. But I think the 'gerbils' at PC World might have some. I hate that company! :ugh:

21st Dec 2007, 14:17
Viola, #20: Did you know that Sir Stanley fought Reginald Maudling in 1957 to save the Olympus engine - the government CANCELLED it to use the Conway ONLY. Bristol developed the early Olympus at their own expense!
Frank Owner invented BE.10 in 1946 and attracted immediate MAP funding. There were no R&D incentive prices in UK turbines till 1962.
In 1956 Conway was design baseline for Victor B.2, Olympus 6 for Vulcan B.2. RR offered MoS a Conway for Vulcan 2 at a fixed unit production price, which was unprecedented before type test. MoS Maudling enjoyed an unexpected competition, where Bristol was obliged to do the same. MoS chose both engines, spreading risk, losing scale economy.

22nd Dec 2007, 23:00
tornadoken - point taken!

Sir Stanley was obviously writing from his perspective.

I suppose the point I was indirectly making was that the movement from Britain having a world class aviation industry in the early 1950s to the minor league (apart from Concorde) by the late 1960s was the result of a lot more than a particular bunch of politicians cancelling the TSR2 (which was again more complicated as Heimdall says).

Ian Corrigible
27th Dec 2007, 21:51
For TSR2 'what ifs?' (incl. GW1) try Jozef Gatial's excellent website: PlanesPictures (http://www.planespictures.sk/TSR2.html).


30th Dec 2007, 23:41
I was impressed by the example at Cosford - it makes a Tornado look like a silly toy.

1st Jan 2008, 10:59
I was lucky enough to actually see several of the Tsr2s flying along with chase planes around the Northern end of the Ribble Valley and using what I now know to be turning points of the huge limestone bulk of " Ingleborough" hill I was at school in nearby Settle and comming from a Raf family had a huge interest in all aircraft.

My later Pater in law actually worked on the originalls and helped to repair the Duxford Tsr by making by hand panels to fit where holes had been made or panels not replaced.

Our lectures at the time pointed to Sunny Jim being threatened by the US government not to make this aircraft and buy one of theirs of the shelf I think I remember the F4 or F1-11 , no doubt some body will correct my old political lessons.

Peter R-B

1st Jan 2008, 12:03
The story is well documented and it is abundantly clear that the TSR2 was caught in heavy cross-fire.

The Labour Govt couldn't afford the number of projects (the Tories would have cancelled them if they'd remained in office), the US were desperate to put pressure on the UK to cancel the project and buy the US types. Add to the mix, the Admiralty, in the shape of Lord Mountbatten wanted to ensure their role into the future.

There is a DVD of the story, and it is sickening to watch Roy Jenkins and Denis Healey denying that it was their fault.

It would be good to put together the balance sheet showing how much was wasted chasing the TSR2 replacements.

The worst of it is that Govt still hasn't learnt any lessons on aircraft procurement.

Oh, and if it hadn't been for the rock-solid contract with France, Concorde would have gone as well

1st Jan 2008, 14:35
In an earlier posting I was involved in moving the TSR2 that ended up in Cosford. In fact we put it on the trailers as you see in the photo in Henlow Beds.
RAF Henlow was a training airfield and how the TRS2 came to be there I don't know.:confused:
There were two hangers right at the bottom end of the airfield by the Hitchin Road.
We moved it across from the bottom of the airfield to the top of the airfield where the main hangers were and it was loaded onto the low loader as in the photo.
The second hanger had Shackletons in it being chopped up.:hmm:
We moved the TSR on 4 Hoverplatforms with airbags and the whole ensemble was towed to the top by 2 tractors.
The Hoverplatform recovery system was made by AeroDocks in Southhampton
and worked very well:):ok:

1st Jan 2008, 15:20
RAF Henlow was a training airfield and how the TRS2 came to be there I don't know.:confused:

RAF Henlow was the storage airfield for the reserve aircraft of the RAF Museum collection at Hendon.

1st Jan 2008, 18:01
When we got there the aircraft was complete and on its wheels.
I guess they must have trucked it in and then re-assembled it.
I dont know if you were familiar with Henlow?
The hangars at the top were typical solid brick built RAF hangers just as shown in the picture of the aircraft on the transporter.
The couple of "hangars" at the bottom were just the Nisson hut type.
It was almost as though th aircraft had been "hidden":hmm:

1st Jan 2008, 20:17
You could not have seen several TSR2's over the Ribble Valley as only one TSR2 (XR219) ever flew. Two other examples were complete prior to the project cancellation (XR220 & XR222) but sadly neither made it into the air.

You must have been fortunate enough to see XR219 several times.

2nd Jan 2008, 12:28
An aviation 'Old Boy' told me many years ago that the Henlow TSR2 was brought there under secrecy of preservation, because instructions had been given to destroy it. As a young teenager I was lucky enough to gain access to the hangar in question and crawled all over the airframe (I was an Air Cadet at that time). Alongside the airframe were many crates of spares; all bagged in ploythene bags with a distinctive TSR2 label attached. I recall being very tempted to 'nik' a small bag with a bolt in it; just for the TSR2 label! A spare engine also lay alongside the airframe. Whether or not it's true or not I don't know, but our guide told us that the aircraft was very capable of flying again (at that time).

I have a couple of fabulous pictures of the aircraft, taken from the 'chase' Lightning and with Salisbury in the background; however, I'm not sure how to post them here?

2nd Jan 2008, 12:34
The hangars at the top were typical solid brick built RAF hangers just as shown in the picture of the aircraft on the transporter.
The hangar in the picture was known at Henlow as 'The Pickle Factory'. The story was that it had been built back to front so that the doors faced away from the airfield and that left the person responsible for its construction in a 'pickle'. It has now been demolished.
I saw the TSR-2 sitting on its wheels but by the time I had been to work and then bought some film, it was in pieces on the trailer. The second trailer carrying the wing had already left.

4th Jan 2008, 13:03

I quite possibly worded my reply badly, I only ever saw one TSR2 with a chase plane but saw the TSR2 with chase plane on several occasions on different days, nearly always flying in a Northerly direction up the Ribble Valley and turning or starting to at a point just south of Penyghent from there over the top and side of Ingleborough and then streaking out towards the coast, and obviously down to Warton, was very impressive to see such fast A/c over such wonderful terrain! Whilst my school was in the Settle Valley we used to do twice weekly cross country runs up to Giggleswick Scar and over towards Little Stainforth, at the top of Gigg Scar the view is breathtaking!!



4th Jan 2008, 13:46

Yes that was the story we heard as well:) and the situation did seem to confirm that.
Was there a Shackleton in the next hagar?

Yes the bottom hangars had an access gate down on the Hitchin Road.
Memory fading ! what year was that ?

4th Jan 2008, 14:38

Memory fading ! what year was that ?
The date stamp on my original slide says 1975, I believe it was April

Brewster Buffalo
4th Jan 2008, 21:28
I was impressed by the example at Cosford - it makes a Tornado look like a silly toy.The first thing thats strike you about the TSR2 when you see it is its size.... much bigger than you expect. Some 60% longer than the Tornado and not far short of the length of a Vulcan.

If you compare weights an empty TSR2 came in at about 25,000 kg not far short of the max take off weight of the Tornado at 29,000 kg and some 2.5 times the empty weight of the Canberra it was supposed to replace.

The size no doubt reflects the demanding, and probably too ambitious, specification.

5th Jan 2008, 17:26
I am also one of the lucky ones to have seen it fly more than once, also as a schoolboy. The first time was from my classroom window, and when I explained to the teacher what was going on (new secret jet's first arrival at Warton from Boscombe on final aproach with a Meteor chase), she let the whole class stand by the windows to watch.:D

Launchpad McQuack
7th Jan 2008, 02:53
I saw the Duxford example for the first time today...I was a little surprised at how big it actually is. I'd love to have seen the cockpit but alas that's not possible, managed to get some good pics of it despite the lighting and crowded hanger. Was this the flying example or one of the 2 that didn't get airborne?


7th Jan 2008, 04:14
Here is what a fellow ppruner thought of the TSR2, and yes it made me friggin laugh.:} ~ Shamlessly cut and pasted from a thread in D&G

Ahh, the old TSR2 chestnut...!


I was waiting with baited breath for this one to pop-up!!!
Let me, if I may be so bold, to express my opinion on the matter of the infamous claims of "superiority" of the TSR2 over, well, every aircraft that has ever existed.
Firstly, I would like to retort in Haiku:

Fabled British Plane,
Uglier Than Sin Itself,
Total Piece Of Sh!t

And, if the meaning of the Haiku is too obscure for some, here is a metaphor I think is very appropriate: About 40 years ago, whilst out fishing in a tinnie in Port Phillip Bay, I caught a Blue Whale using 10 pound line and a hand reel. You may not have seen this but, trust me when I tell you (and my friend's brother Davo who was on the tinnie will back me up) it was without out a doubt the greatest fishing event EVER. Okay, now when I say I caught the whale, whilst not ever actually landing it on the tinnie (the fisheries department came along just as I was hauling it in & demanded I release it immediately) it was as good as in the boat. And when I say I hooked it, well, it never actually took the bait, but it gave it a loooong hard look. And when I say it was a blue whale, well, it er, umm... looked like a blue whale. It may have in fact been a flathead... but it was (may have been) a BIG one!! TRUST ME!

My point is this. Everyone has a "one that got away" story that grows in stature as the years pass. The TSR2 story seems to posess an especially exaggerated list of capabilities. I understand the fervour and national pride stirred up in people when it comes to home grown products, but, there has to be a "realism" element in assessing an aircraft that never proceeded pass the prototype stage!!. Yes I know it was politics that eventually killed the thing but come on, there wasn't any shortage of problems with it either!! Undercarriage, engines (serious problems with the Olympus fit in the TSR2 from memory) and as a result an almost entirely theoretical list of specs.

DISCLAIMER: I have flown the Pig hence have a soft spot for it, & of course I never flew the TSR 2. (nor do I know anyone who did). Also, I am no Aero Eng or TP but I reckon I'm a good judge of "horse flesh", and the old adage that "if it looks good it flies good" is true more often than not. Based on this and an up close and personal inspection of the airframe at Duxford Air Museum I feel confident in saying that the TSR2 was/would have been a total frickin' dog!!.

For a tactical/interdiction strike aircraft this thing was ENORMOUS...
* with a hideous slab sided rectangular fuselage and the smallest freakin' wing area for an aircraft of its size I have ever seen!!
* For its size (about 20% larger than a Pig) its internal weapons bay (an overly complex arrangement if ever there was one) was quite small.
* The tiny wings probably resulted in a wing loading higher than that of an F-104 (and we all know how well that turns!) and were clearly incapable of carrying large external stores, IF anything at all.
* Landing Gear?? I think you could have completed a Rubik's cube before the complex arrangement would have retracted.
*The Olympus engines, impressively large and powerful as they were, would have chewed through the juice like a fat chick with a Maccas shake and
any substantial fuel reserves (which I don't think it had) would have been for nought.

Anyway, the TSR2 is dead... Long live the TSR2!!

15th Jan 2008, 19:42
I was impressed by the example at Cosford - it makes a Tornado look like a silly toy.

This does a disservice to the Tornado (and, I feel, its crews). The Tornado has been the backbone of the RAF's attack capabilities for over 25 years now and it remains a highly capable platform, able to deliver effects at distance. It also still has room for upgrades as recent press announcements have shown.

Much as I would love to dream 'what if' over the TSR2, I don't see how it could have been a viable aircraft from the late 70s onwards. Speed isn't everything - an aircraft needs to be able to manoeuvre a little a low level if that's where it does its business. I bet even a Tornado would run rings around a TSR2!

Don't forget as well that Tornados have been on ops continuously for over 15 years, with only one loss (and who's fault was that?:()

PPRuNe Pop
16th Jan 2008, 22:41
The tubes to send TSR2 prints will be with me next week. I can take orders now and I will put up the details where to send your cheques. The cost is £36 including postage and packing.

You can see a pic of the print higher up this page.


PPRuNe Pop
23rd Jan 2008, 10:20
The postal tubes have arrived.

For those wishing to order the signed TSR 2 print can do so now by sending a cheque for £36 inc p&p and made out to the Pprune Fund. Please don't forget to include your own address! (people have!!)

5 Station Approach, Belmont, Surrey SM2 6BW.

Once I have your order I will send it off in no later than 5 days.

Thanks very much


Btw. If you haven't noticed the pic of the print it is further up this page.

24th Jan 2008, 21:12
I've just been down to Cosford, for another look at the real thing, still looks great.

But, I did notice that the nose leg had 2 sets of torque links, just like the F4K, which I used to work on back in the old days.
Now I am not suggesting that there was to be a Navalised version, but does anyone know if the TRS2 had a double extention leg? I have neither seen nor read about such a feature on the plane, could it have been to assist short field performance?



2nd Feb 2008, 19:51
Our lectures at the time pointed to Sunny Jim being threatened by the US government not to make this aircraft and buy one of theirs of the shelf I think I remember the F4 or F1-11 , no doubt some body will correct my old political lessons.F-111
and McNamarra - that's who! And the F-111 was still just a set of draft blueprints (or daft blueprints) :rolleyes:

FliegenMog... Rubbish man!

Obviously you know nothing about aircraft, let alone aerodynamics.. And neither do some of the other 'armchair experts'...

Just the mere supposition that you can judge an aircraft by looking at it shows that, let alone some of that daft suggestions in your diatribe...

So all that effort was spent by the World's most advanced aircaft industy at the time, and Mr :mad: FliegenMog knows better after 2 minutes looking at it :ugh:

Funny then that many of it's designers managed to make the EE Lightning a remarkable interceptor, notice any similarity in lines?

Small wings, yes! For gust alleviation, but with the most powerfull blown flap system ever put on aircraft for short field take-off!
Slab-sided fuselage (he doesn't say what's wrong with that)... nothing, High bending stiffness and lots of fuel capacity, as well as room for a long u/c
Complicated undercarriage? Yes, and precisely 4 test flights to get it working Ok, not bad eh (the rushed political climate probably being the main problem, n'est pas?)
Range? Find it strange then that the Olympus went on to become the only supersonic - supercruise engine (in Concorde) that could make the Atlantic run... ring a bell?

Maneouvre someone said... what the dickens for.

And on and on... I have read some tripe before, but have not come across the suggestion elsewhere that 'technically' this was looking like a problem plane... why here, where peeps should know better.

And the 'total' project budget was £750m, not current spend to the day it was cancelled.. putting a very different perspactive on what that cancellation actually cost, with F-111 cancellation fees - and all for no gain to the RAF's capability for many years to come. £750m, £1bn, a bargain by any standards... badly let down by Mountbatten as well as the Aussies short sight (which they paid for later in spades, and years and years and years waiting for an F-111 that actually worked)

As for 'complicated', I seem to remember that the Spitfire and Supermarines had to endure that insult quite a bit during its pre-production era.. being compared to the Hurricane simplicity (the Spitfire's wing was a marvel, right through to the final variant). Fortunately we had one or two men of wisdom around then, to save the day and get that wing into production.

Had our ministers any cojones they would have called McNamarra's bluff (as well as Mountbatten's), told them their F-111 was a load of tosh, far too complicated with swing-wings and all that (required a TOTAL re-design before a few years were out, due fatigue) and sold the TSR2 to them...

The story is simple, not complicated... US war debts used to blackmail a weak Wislon govt. (despite giving them our gas turbines even before getting them airborne, the cavity magnetron*, all our Tube Investments research, the list goes on). Hell, they even broke agreement after agreement post war on atomic research, even tried to patent gas turbine fuel management parts that they'd been given British blueprints of...

Heh, hee, not that I've anything against any Americans mind you, just their country's continued devious business practices (entrepreneurial free trade paradise? yeh, right. one-way free-trade!!)

PS We love you really :)

*An early 6 kW (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilowatt) version, built in England by the GEC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Electric_Company_plc) Research Laboratories, Wembley (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wembley), London (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London), was given to the US government (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_government) in September 1940. It was later described as "the most valuable cargo ever brought to US shores" (see Tizard Mission (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tizard_Mission)). At the time the most powerful equivalent microwave producer available in the US (a klystron (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klystron)) had a power of only ten watts. The cavity magnetron was widely used during World War II (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II) in microwave radar equipment and is often credited with giving Allied radar a considerable performance advantage over German (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germany) and Japanese (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan) radars, thus directly influencing the outcome of the war.

2nd Feb 2008, 20:14
Unfortunately Mountbottom's links to the Royal Family tended to sway political opinion. Wrongly!

He was so keen for his navy boyfriends to get CVA-01 that his anti-TSR2, pro-Buccaneer stance became almost a personal crusade.

'Over promoted charlatan' was one of the kinder phrases used about him....

2nd Feb 2008, 20:21
Apparently quite good in India as Viceroy?

But my dad was in India during the war (and did quite well too), my mother, bless her, used to say (in times of stress) ... ' he should have **** stayed there' :)

Mountbatten likewise...

.. and that same fight between the Navy and Air Force nearly cost us a proper airforce about 50 years earlier then the TSR-2 debacle. Again, we have been blessed with just a few very wise men at critical times in our history... who thank goodness have not been swayed by political concerns, but by public and national imperatives.

Where are they today though... ?

PPRuNe Pop
2nd Feb 2008, 22:41
Yes! But who wants a print?

You can then write on the reverse how much of a tart Mountbatten was in selling us and it short! Just like he did as 'Commander' of the farcical raid on Dieppe when his pre-planning did NOT include the fact that tanks cannot tackle shingle beaches, and cost the lives of hundreds of Canadians and Commandos.

When Roland Beamont signed the prints, I talked to him about the sell out and he was singularly very angry about it. The main target for his angst was Jim Callaghan and Denis Healy, with Roy Jenkins running a close third. Running sharply behind was Mountbatten for whom he had nothing but contempt.

He loved that aeroplane and thought the honour of being the test pilot for it better than anything anyone could have ever asked him to do.

Its written in history now and he can rest knowing that he did a helluva a job in getting it to Mach2, although he reckoned Mach5 was just a few weeks away when they pulled the plug.

His siggy will be worth a lot in years to come and I have enough prints left to give your grandchildren a good reward in their later years. Only 400 were printed. £36 inc p&p is a very fair price.


2nd Feb 2008, 23:15
Its written in history now and he can rest knowing that he did a helluva a job in getting it to Mach2, although he reckoned Mach5 was just a few weeks away when they pulled the plug.

I'm a great fan of the TSR-2, but never in a 100 years did Roland Beaumont say that.. Mach 5 :rolleyes:

It was an aluminium aircraft and would lose all strength and almost melt!

XR 219 did 13 or 14 test flights in all, and AFAIK went supersonic once on a ferry flight to Warton, achieving circa M 1.3 as only one engine would come on to full reheat.

Additionally, the Olympus engines were in their very early stages of development, with all components still being debugge, especially the fuel control system and so were de-rated. As we know, they went on to become the largest gas turbine core engine anywhere in the world for a considerable time, with superb reliability, thrust to weight and excellent super-cruise fuel efficiency (due to that large core)...

3rd Feb 2008, 15:40
Very nice!:)

PPRuNe Pop
3rd Feb 2008, 16:49
I'm a great fan of the TSR-2, but never in a 100 years did Roland Beaumont say that.. Mach 5 :rolleyes:

Harry, you are quite right. What I missed out was the decimal points! It should have been Mach1.5 and Mach2. Sincere apologies to you and to him! I am now going to hide my blushes and the egg. :O

4th Feb 2008, 09:34
"It should have been Mach1.5" and it did so with it's airbrakes open (slightly) & was running away from the Lightning chase a/c - when I met RB (bless him) he reckoned it was the only aircraft to go supersonic with airbrakes deployed. :ok:

Pontius Navigator
4th Feb 2008, 17:11
The Americans actively campaigned against the TSR-2 to try and protect their F-111 that was then under development.

Finally and probably most fatally, many senior officers in the RAF were opposed to the TSR-2 from early on in the programme on the grounds of cost. As time went on this group grew larger and larger until it eventually included even the CAS himself, ACM Sir Charles Elworthy, and it was he who eventually recommended to the PM that the programme be cancelled.

I believe that Bomber Command had 'role' offices for both TSR2 and F111 at the same time. The F111 was not seen as the white hope after the TSR2 was cancelled but as contemporary competion.

Those in either camp were convinced that their airframe was superior. Interestingly I met one of the F111 camp last week.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two for us traditionalists was the forward looking radar versus the SLAR. The latter promised high definition but not real time fixing. One problem with SLAR was radar prediction and the need to fly in a pre-planned fix box. If the aircraft was in the wrong place then the fix would be lost.

We were shown JARIC produced predicted fix-point photos. They were totally synthetic. They were models constructed from balsa, pipe cleaners etc and then photographed at the right angle.

For a tactical aircraft such need for pre-planned predicted fix points was a sever handicap. We experienced similar limitations on calculating NBS offsets in areas of poor mapping.

I think, retrospectively, that the F111 was the better approach.

4th Feb 2008, 20:52
Some memories of a remarkable test pilot and a remarkable aircraft
... more can be found here: http://www.hawkertempest.se/storybee.htm

To cut a long story short, it did get out in the shape of an aeroplane onto Boscombe Down airfield in about 18 months later than the original predicted date and by August 1964 it was ready to fly, there were an awful lot of technical difficulties that occurred on the way, some of them predictable due to the unbalanced design organisation, some not so predictable and one major area of problems, in the engine. We at English Electric had very strongly advocated the development of the Rolls-Royce series of engines for this aeroplane that was turned down by the Ministry. Basically it was done to provide work for the Bristol area and it was given to Bristol's to develop the Olympus, which they said was not going to be a new engine but a development but it was in fact a new engine.
In the stages of introducing it to the TSR a whole series of catastrophic failures occurred, at least 3 engines were blown up in the year prior to the first flight of the aircraft, one in the Vulcan flying test bed, and which destroyed the aircraft, so the ministry said bad luck, we can't afford another test aircraft, so you'll have to manage without one. When we got to the flight stage, the cause of these catastrophic failures was understood, but it had not been cured. I was given the interesting proposition of accepting for the first flight of this airframe, on my decision alone, there was a major meeting which this was debated all day and I was given the casting vote, as the pilot to say whether I would fly it or not and it was for an engine that had not got a certificate of airworthiness to fly. There were ways that it could just be flown with a certain high degree of risk, nobody would accept responsibility for it and I spelt out to the meeting exactly what risk we were going to take if we flew it and I said that in view of the mounting political pressures on this program, it might be considered acceptable to take this level of risk for one flight only. But if we do that then I would suggest that we program that we do not fly again until we have fully adequately modified engines for the programme. They said that's it and we flew the next day.

Well.. the flying….. a fantastic aeroplane, you would expect it with the aerodynamics and controls and basic control systems were the product of the English Electric supersonic team at Warton, and they got it absolutely right again. To quote the words of my friend and deputy Jimmy Dell who flew it with me, "this aeroplane flies just like a big Lightning", fantastic, it was a wonderful experience; we were only allowed 23 flights in it. Because of the difficulties, with technicalities and so on. We weren't able to retract the undercarriage till the 10th flight, that limited the test flying enormously, on the 10th flight we got the undercarriage away properly, did two cycles. On a conventional programme we would probably have been required to land, put the aircraft up on jacks check the recycling of the gear, see that everything was fine, then prepare it to fly again. But no, after getting the gear to work twice, with all lights working right, I went straight out to the far extent of the test programme at that time. It had a flight resonance clearance of 500 knots for that state of the flying; I took it out in stages to 500 knots on that flight. The first time we had got the undercarriage up and it was simply superb and I was so confident in it, I ended up over Boscombe Down, the weather was very bad and I had got Don Bowen in the back, not quite sure what was going on, Jimmy Dell was flying chase in the Lightning, trying to keep up with me in the rain, low cloud etc, and I brought it round Boscombe's circuit thinking this aeroplane is designed to contour fly at high speed so let's see what it does. I brought it down Boscombe Down runway at 100 ft at around about 450 knots and the precision, it had beautiful control, I was able to relax and take my hands off the controls if I'd wanted to, and it was perfect. We were on to what appeared to be a magnificent technical break through which should have gone into service with the RAF in the 70's and provided them with an aircraft that with updating would have been in service today and would have had all the abilities and the modern developed equipment of the Tornado but it would have much further range and a lot faster Wing Commander Roland Beamont

Who by that time had been chief test pilot of both the EE Canberra and the EE Lightning, two exceptional aircraft, with this was the third of that generation, albeit forcibly turned over to a hotchpotch organisation led by Vickers who knew nothing about supersonics... fortunately they got their heads down and worked together, producing something so good that idiots could only take their spite out on it, rather than genuinely criticise it.

This was 1965... after only a dozen or so test flights ... By the time the F-111 had been redesigned, first to prevent intake surges on approach (that proved lethal) then to give it a fatigue life measured in days rather than a few hours, where were we exactly? 1980? 1984?

So remind me exactly how many years had transpired by the time that F-111 radar could be actually used in anger, should it have become necessary? :)

I should think quite enough time to have re-assessed navigational matters... though I admit that is not a sphere I have any great knowledge of, but the TSR-2 was a pretty healthy size; indeed, didn't it have good provision for a forward looking radar too, purportedly for terrain following?

4th Feb 2008, 22:29
I believe that Bomber Command had 'role' offices for both TSR2 and F111 at the same time.

and just so that there's no mistake... Whitehall also had two camps on this, with the Americans ensconced within govt circles, briefing ministers directly on F-111 with patently false promises.

What a disgraceful state of affairs that Wislon govt. got itself into... so called socialists selling out the working man, many who'd been slaving on overtime for months to get those things out the hangar and into the air.. just look at the risks Beamont and his team took to get it airborne and prove it was better even than anyone could imagine - lives and reputations on the line even.
And of course, a brilliant design team thrown to to the wolves, with all those promises broken... amalgamate, get together on this one with those pals down the road from Vickers and you'll have the contract for this TSR thing - :ugh:

5th Feb 2008, 03:45
When I was a nav student at Gaydon I lived in MQ at Church Lawford. Across the road lived an engineer who was part of the TSR2 armament team. After it was cancelled all you had to do was mention it and he would rant and rave, almost cry and be depressed all day. His wife hated me. He introduced to Hifi, my wife has hated him since.

5th Feb 2008, 08:04
Sad... that's what it did to a lot of very skilled workers I think?

The start of the demise of UK engineeering plc... well before the motorcycle industry laid down the markers for what was to come...

PPRuNe Pop
5th Feb 2008, 10:29
Back to the prints!

Someone asked me what size they are. They are overall, just about 25" x 15."

I might add that I will be happy to email a picture of 'Bee' signing the prints in April 2001 - with each print sold.


5th Feb 2008, 15:26
Sent my cheque off yesterday (HP15 6DR)
The photo sounds cool...

I only saw Bee in person once - flying an SE5a from Old Warden, but a great man, who could write as well as he flew. But then he did fly some truly inspirational aeroplanes.

I was an aviation-mad schoolboy in Somerset during the TSR 2 debacle. The cancellation broke my heart, and made me politically aware... suffice to say that no labour government will ever get a vote from me!

Last year I made a couple of business trips to Ottawa, and I made a point of visiting the excellent aviation museum at Rockcliffe. It's extraordinary that the comparable Arrow affair is still an open wound there, and the museum shop is full of Arrow books, films, pictures and other memorabilia - I'm drinking tea from my Avro Arrow mug, and using my Avro Arrow mousemat as I write! Sadly, only diehard aviation enthusiasts seem to give the TSR 2 a thought in the UK; only a couple a weeks ago I had an argument with a work colleague (who should know better) who insisted that the TSR 2 was designed by Barnes Wallis and had swing wings....

PPRuNe Pop
5th Feb 2008, 16:19
Thank you EF, I got your cheque and the print will be on its way tomorrow with three others ordered today. Enjoy.

Your friend obviously doesn't have his facts right. He is thinking of Wallis' Swallow that could have done 3 round trips a day to Australia! Now there's a thought! :D


5th Feb 2008, 19:50
1965 Budget (James Callaghan)

The second budget of the new Labour Government. Brought in Capital Gains Tax and Corporation Tax. The favourable tax treatment of businessmen's entertainment allowances was ended. The Budget was followed by one of the most complex finance bills ever. The opposition to the Finance Bill was led for the Conservatives by Edward Heath who did much to enhance his reputation. The Chancellor was forced into a number of concessions (http://www.bbc.co.uk/budget96/background/budgdef2.htm)to get the bulk of his legislation through.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/budget96/background/tsr265.jpg TV graphics, 1965
The cancellation of the TSR-2 One of the bitterest battles surrounded the scrapping of the TSR2 project, a strike-reconnaisance aircraft which was regarded as taking up too many resources which, so the Chancellor believed, should be re-deployed into industries like car making. The TSR-2 was replaced by the US F-111 fighter, until it too fell victim to defence cuts.

Can you believe it...? if any anything might have inspired our car makers to produce well engineered products with a modicum of R&D investment in them, it might have been the example set by a succesful aircraft industry !

5th Feb 2008, 22:55
TSR 2 was only one of a sequence of cancellations - HS-1154, HS-681, SR177 and AFVG come to mind - and they would have cancelled Concorde if they could have got away with it. One or two (like HS-681) may have deserved cancelling but TSR 2 was needed and was already showing that it worked well and could be a world-beater. The Government admitted that they needed a new aircraft by ordering F111 - which at the time was experiencing far worse technical development problems than TSR 2 - and showed breathtaking incompetence by paying the US a huge sum of money, then cancelling the order before they actually got any aircraft. Much poorer but still having no aeroplane, they bought F4 Phantoms, but decided to spend another huge sum of money re-engining them with Speys, and getting sucked into very difficult and troubled development program. Somewhere along the way, they realised that the RAF still hadn't got the new aeroplanes they'd promised, so they refurbished some ex-RN Buccaneers to tide them over.

Just shows that mind-numbing incompetence wasn't invented by the current Government, however hard they try to claim ownership...

6th Feb 2008, 19:25
Here's an image (scanned from a slide) of XR222 parked at Cranfield back in 1977 before it moved to Duxford


7th Feb 2008, 07:50
On a technical note and because of the comparison with the swing-wing F-111 makes it even more fascinating...

.. and not many people know this :)

The TSR-2 may well have originally been conceived, to reduce low altitude/high-speed gust response still further, with a variable 'pitch' wing mounting.

That is, the wing could pivot about its aerodynamic centre in pitch, to a small extent.

Look at a GA of the wing planform, and you will see chordwise panel lines at the outboard edge of the engine intakes, where they effectively meet the fuselage.

A very novel idea (and a potentially weighty one) to have a main spar pivot bearing through the fuselage.

I have read of this only once, in a reasonably authoritative appraisal of the aircraft, and could only conclude that once a reasonable w/t adn theoretical analysis of its gust-response had been made and found satisfactory, and due to its controversial nature, the idea was dropped thereafter or hushed up, being subsequently built with the potential for it, but without the hardware in place.

Those early test-flight certainly seemed to confirm to WC Beamont and the test programme, that nothing quite as smooth as this in thick air and rough weather had taken to the skies before...

Also, earlier, there was a suggestion that the cockpit was isolated from the airframe for much the same low-level gust response reasons... wheras in fact, I believe, it was simply that some very good resonance analysis had allowed the EE design team to place the pilot at a resonance node, rather than an anti-node.

More evidence that a design team far in advance of others, was destroyed by 'mindless meddling' by all concerned in its cancellation...

Yes, we could not really afford to build it ...

But equally, and so it proved, it probably cost the country dearly...

The same has happened in govt software acquistion now... having destroyed the teams who could, then 'buy in' contractors efforts that can't!

Roland Pulfrew
7th Feb 2008, 10:58

We have exchanged PMs on this a couple of times. Save one of the prints for me please. Cheque will be in the post before this weekend.


PPRuNe Pop
8th Feb 2008, 15:00
RP, you will be pleased to know that I remembered and its awaits you. As a matter of fact I have pre-packed 15 prints and 5 have already been posted with a further 2 to-morrow.

I am delighted with this re-awakened interest - that will put more money into the fund.

Those of you who get The Mail will have noticed today, in their letters page, that a question has been answered about the TSR2, quite well actually, as to how the project got cancelled..........it all starts with...............well you know anyway.

BTW, I omitted to say, although it has been mentioned before, one of our stalwart PPRuNer's is the artist of the watercolour and was instrumental in getting the prints for free from a friend of his who owned a print house. A most generous gesture by both people.

There is still goodness to found! :D:D


8th Feb 2008, 16:29
Nice article in todays daily Mail in the letters page on the TSR2.

Jetex Jim
8th Feb 2008, 19:13
Wouldn't it be true to say though, that the UK could have had an aircraft of very similair capability to the TSR2, but cheaper and carrier capable if they'd have tried to buy the The North American A-5/RA-5 Vigilante from the yanks.

All this talk of conspiracy suggests that TSR2 was nothing other than a job creation scheme that got too expensive, even for the Labour government of the day - or am I just being provocative?

PPRuNe Pop
8th Feb 2008, 19:39
Probably! However, Roland Beamont asserted VERY strongly that had TSR2 continued in production it would have lasted many years in the front line, and that there would not have been ANY requirement for Tornado. In both cases the workforce was safe.

Jetex Jim
8th Feb 2008, 21:27

indeed, didn't it have good provision for a forward looking radar too, purportedly for terrain following?

Yes it did and with a digital computer taken from the Vigilante to tie the TFR into the flight control system, there being no British made computer capable at the time.

One wonders just what fun and games would have been involved getting that system working, had the project got that far. Certainly getting the Tornado digital intake scheduling going about 10 years later was no picnic. Digital computers in aircraft control systems is today a non-trivial problem, in 1965, it would have been a major issue for an industry with zero experience, in that discipline.

Arguably it was the addition of kit like this, to relativly simple airframes, that transformed new aircraft development from a task that could be completed in months- as it was in the fifties-, to endeavours that take years, as now. - This I would suggest is what eventually caused the demise of Britains independent aviation industry, not government interference.

8th Feb 2008, 21:57
All this talk of conspiracy suggests that TSR2 was nothing other than a job creation scheme that got too expensive, even for the Labour government of the day - or am I just being provocative?Provocative? Maybe a little... :)

Nobody above used the conspiracy word did they...? though there was a book published soon after, 'The Murder of the TSR-2', that perhaps did. One of the few books published in this country that the govt. attempted to remove from bookshops - the copy I read had the whole of the summary on the inner dust-covers overprinted with heavy xxxxx's.... By Order, HM Govt. !

I don't believe it was what you suggest... a job creation scheme. There was a firm requirement (at the time) for something that wouln't get knocked out of the sky before it got anywhere near a target, even though today it looks like it would have just been a cold-war deterrent, but would have had a useful role right up to Desert Storm... maybe even still in service.

There are probably a few good reasons why this aircraft and its story lives on in spirit yet creates such incredible angst...

1) It was used as a pawn to bring together and effectively nationalise competing aircraft makers in the military sector postwar... when those makers did so, they were betrayed at the final cut of the dice, and very badly so... a promise was broken, at national/govt. level

2) A lot of very skilled design engineers, technicians, fitters and craftsmen were made redundant, or threatened it. Bare in mind that not very long before, trying to build thousands of aircraft and engines for WWII, Britain had found itself very short of just those skills, indeed, as I referred to earlier, the Spitfire itself was threatened circa '38/'39 due to the complexity of some of it's structure - the wing for instance, could not just be farmed out to any old sub-contractors and built to exacting standards (which it required). So those skilled craftmen had undergone, in those days, long apprenticeships, in a whole multitude of trades.

3) the aircraft itself never got a fair hearing at the end of it's quite extraordinary initial test-flight programme - and was self-evidently lightyears ahead of its competition, in the same way the Mosquito was in concept and reality, that I like to compare it to.

4) The way BAC were told to destroy all jigs and tools immediately , as well as the design drawings, was just a bridge too and it seemed to so many directly involved that here was the cold face of socialism - bent on destroying a whole industry at one stroke.

To immediately order a competitor that had barely started cutting metal was also hard to swallow - unless they were to be given to the UK gratis in exchange for desisiting in being so ill-mannered as to follow the incredibly succesful export orders of the Canberra with another winner - which they weren't aot to do, building in heavy cancellation penalties which we signed up to no doubt without a galnce at the small print.

It probably would have been better to mothball the whole project, and take a five year moratorium on future requirements while things simmered down

Oh! And never listen to a US salesman... half-truths can be the blackest and most damaging of lies.

Jetex Jim
8th Feb 2008, 22:23
I suppose one point would be that it was not as revolutionary as is often claimed, the Vigilante appears to have met a spec. similair perhaps even more demanding.

Because we know that planes like the Vulcan, with mission systems not that much more complex than the Lancaster, were in service for years; its tempting to think the TSR2 would have stayed in service as long. But such aircraft were laughingly long in the tooth by the time they were retired, and only ran on as long as they did because of delays to their replacements.

Modern projects, like the MRA4 and Typhoon are immensly more complex than the beautiful jets of the fifties. TSR2 would have been the first of that generation. Could Britain have made it going alone? ask the guys waiting for the MR4 Nimrod, its largely British - aside from the Boeing built mission kit.

Its sometimes stated that the TSR2 was quashed because of American pressure, has anyone ever seen anything in public record? Its been 40 years now.

Perhaps the workers at Vickers and the like deserved better, but the workers at Ford and what became British Leyland did war work too, almost every manufacturing company in wartime Britain did war work, maybe Wilson and Callaghan rembered that when they put a bit of that government money- that normally keeps the defence industry going - their way.

8th Feb 2008, 22:33
A lot of those computers would have been analogue or hybrid devices - only 20 years later being re-fitted with full digital systems...

Why are we talking about inlets when the TSR-2 already had what it needed, it wasn't designed with a complex shock-recovery variable geometry ramp system, but moveable conical inlets... and they obviously worked OK.

Diving into a whole new realm of digitisation of this that and the other function, prematurely, when analogue circuits or clever fundamental design ruling out it's necessity would suffice has admittedly dogged countless aviation projects... UK Chinook acquisition for one!

A first class airframe was still the pre-requiste then, and I don't believe the RAF would have too much trouble getting it to target, with whatever stage of development the nav systens were in... they'd certainly been thought about a lot, and a lot of pre-planning had been done, by big brains that weren't then trying to achieve the impossible - or that overly flattered themselves, despite their achievements. You can see some of them standing by the crew-ladder towards the end of the video linked on the first page...

Far too much speculation on the negative side I fear... it's not like we weren't in on the ground floor with radar development in this country, is it!

JtxJim ====

You can't stop~start that sort of development momentum too often, you lose the good guys and like as not we did...

Here are some projects that almost certianly suffered from cancellation of TSR2

Olympus data and development for Concorde
Aerodynamic data and development for Concorde

Nimrod AEW...

All subsequent miljets obviously suffered from some lack of continuity in design and engineering expertise carryover.

Yes, there was immmesne pressure from the US to cancel TSR-2 ~ from McNamara (if that's how you spell it).. .

Have you read the supersonic Miles M52 story about the all-moving tailplane ?
Tube Alloys reaearch and manpower
Whittles work (all handed over even before the thing had left the ground for the first time
Cavity Magnetron

All these things and more were conceded by the uk govt. in appeasement of so-called shortcomings in repayment of war loans, something we were still paying dearly for in 1965.

Jetex Jim
8th Feb 2008, 22:57
The reason for mentioning Tornado digital intake scheduling is because compared to digital radar terrain following, its considerably simpler. No doubt other systems would be analogue, if they were to have been British made, but I was referring to the most demanding one.

Perhaps the RAF would still have reached their target, the cold war deterent role having failed - would their journey have been necessary? Well having already shelled out for Polaris in 1962 perhaps the government of the day didn't think so.

Does that make a bomber deterent a neccessity or a job creation scheme, who can tell? But next time someone suggests cancelling Typhoon, MRA4 or anything else with an element made in Britain on it, I'll bet you the number of jobs lost comes out of the first BAE press release on the subject.

9th Feb 2008, 19:41
Well fair enough...

Yet TSR2 stood for Tactical Strike and Reconnaisance. The nuclear role was largely concealed, possibly because it had been thrust upon it at short notice and changes had to be made. Another suggestion was that the RAF wanted this capability built in if possible, yet as time went on and it became apparent it would be quite capable in this role, labour support for an anti-nuclear stance meant it was kept quiet by those promoting TSR2... effectively being another nail in its coffin (that is greater capability >> more likely to be cancelled!)

'twas obviously a lose lose situation, but I really don't think technical considerations came into it in the final analysis..

If the govt genuinely thought Polaris was all we needed and Duncan Sands had been right all along then ordering F-111 straight away was an equally cynical move...

I think the RAF lacked the good men, the MOS and two Govts. had created a right mess...

Any organisation feeling any genuine responsibitlity to the people they served would have taken stock, maybe not admitted it, but put everything on hold for a while, under any pretence they liked, let's say fiscal constraints... and certainly not betrayed the whole industry by forcing the immediate destruction of all jigs, tools and designs.

That was the step, hinting at security issues, that led to accusations of conspiracy in some places and it was that step that brought about the wholesale condemnation within and without the industry for cynical and spiteful politics...

Please don't follow the theorists and claim the project's cancellation in any way was really because it technically flawed; Roland Beamont who had fought in the air since 1939 knew well that what he was flying was much more than a simple step up from the Canberra or V-Bombers... it was a quantum leap forward in just a few years and if you prefer someone equivocating in retrospect...

'...it would have undoubtedly been the 'least worst option' at that time and for maybe 20 or 30 years thereafter'

Pontius Navigator
9th Feb 2008, 19:59
Harry, in those days strike was synonomous with nuclear. Tactical in this context was to differentiate from strategic. You may recall that not long after this Bomber Command became Strike Command in recognition of is primary nuclear strike role.

The Vulcan and Victor were Strategic Strike Bomber, Tanker and Reconnaissance Aircraft whereas the Canberra as a Tactical Strike Bomber.

The name TSR2 therefore was a perfectly apt description.

9th Feb 2008, 20:06
Yes, a very apt description, wasn't arguing against it. It was known within the industry that Strategic attack with Nuclear weapons was a role that was not being shouted about much as that General Election approached...

But nuclear standoff weapon delivery profile came along quite a time into this aircrafts development - that was my understanding. Why did it have to be modified (yet again) if this was not the case?

Jetex Jim
10th Feb 2008, 04:08
A betrayed industry?

Harry, you mention the Spitfire a few post back. It’s been said that Mitchell created the Spitfire with admirable prescience; he certainly produced something that would look good at post war airshows.

In the 30’s many elliptically shaped wing aircraft were proposed, the shape was seen as a good way of tackling the wing tip drag issue and while aesthetically pleasing it makes a wing difficult to produce – no-one ever produced an elliptically wing heavy bomber, although they were proposed, producing Spitfires was labour intensive enough.

The Battle of Britain, won, not by the Spitfire but by the following:

Simple, robust Hurricanes –easy to fly for low time pilots, easy to repair using simple local level repair techniques. – The Spitfires with their complex compound panels were written off, far sooner than the Hurricane
A fighter commanded that had practiced for the battle, to the exclusion of just about everything else for years.
Radar and -the immediate post war accounts couldn’t relate this – the Bletchley Park Enigma intercepts that gave Britain the German order of battle for the next day As the Germans say, ‘They are all cooking with water’ – everyone’s got aluminium, steel, rubber, manpower, yet one team made a beautiful point defence fighter that was a bugger to handle on the ground and a nightmare to repair, another team, at the cost of equivalent resources and fewer man hours made a fighter that could get to Berlin and back.

The British aircraft industry, in 1940, had to be shown by companies like Hoover and Electrolux, (when they were subcontracting for Avro and HP) how to produce properly toleranced engineering drawings for small, simple assemblies like bomb racks.

The appliance manufacturers had figured out a trick that the clever boys, the aeroplane builders, had missed – how to make up simple straightforward assemblies that could be bolted together by unskilled labour.

The British aircraft companies, with their fag packet engineering practices and labour intensive craft culture, operated more like Morgan and Aston Martin than volume manufacturers. Packard had to carry out a similar sanitisation exercise on the engineering drawings for the Merlin engine.

The Mosquito was a brilliant innovative solution. By the middle of the war, the aircraft industry was flat out producing complex aircraft like the Spitfire and a bomber fleet that was literally laden down by the complexity and weight of power operated turrets, which served little useful purpose as on night time raids few of the gunners ever saw a thing. With the wooden Mossie, at least cabinet makers could supplement the workforce.

Without diminishing the efforts of Frank Whittle, Germany did fly an aircraft with a turbine in it in the 1930’s. But Whittle’s struggle is a story so quintessentially British it might be Dickensian. Whittle got more support from the RAF than he did from the British engine manufacturers who stood to gain most by his invention. They held to the line that it was the governments job to support innovation. Small wonder then that the frustrated war time government gave American all the gas turbine knowledge.

Yes and British academics did produce innovations like the cavity magnetron and the pioneering work on digital computers by Turing. What a pity British engineering was so rarely capable of exploiting it.

By 1960 British aircraft industry was ripe for merging, too bad they had to be forced into it by the government of the day, but they’d hardly been that clever.

Now at last came a sustained period of profit for the merged UK aircraft industry, as the merged companies were able to divest them selves of the numerous airfields and manufacturing facilities, frequently in prime sites where property development would make for easy money.

And where are we now? At least what remains of UK aircraft manufacturing is (mainly) subject to adult supervision by its European partners, when it’s not, as in MRA4, watch your pockets.

Pontius Navigator
10th Feb 2008, 07:32
JJ, Quite right and of course it didn't finish there. Every V-bomber was unique too.

When Hawker Siddley, or was it BAeS, got the Victor K2 Conversion programme they could have done with you analysis. They used one Victor as a template and made wing templates from it. Unfortunately all he wing attachments they made for the fleet would only fit one aircraft.

The Vulcan had an offset doppler bay. The distance of the bay centre line from aircraft centreline varied by about an inch.

I believe there was a similar issue with the MRA4.

The video clip of the assembly of a B737 anc conversion to an elint fit was beautiful. No hammering, twisting etc, everything seemed to click fit.


You moved the arguement slightly. In the early 60s the CND was a significant political movement and the Labour party in 1964 had every expectation that the Bomb would be scrapped when they got in to power. The Tories believed that too. Once he had the key Harold went very softly softly on our intentions. At one point I handled a Secret letter that I was not allowed to read. It was then deemed not to be merely Secret but was upgraded to Top Secret at which point I was allowed to read it. It had been upgraded for just one reason and one word. No, nuclear was very sensitive, especially as the Polaris programme was also underway, the TSR2's bomb development continued and a fair bit of its kit too.

Footless Halls
11th Feb 2008, 12:48
"no-one ever produced an elliptically wing heavy bomber..."

Heinkel 111?

Jetex Jim
11th Feb 2008, 16:52
I think its stretching it a bit to call the He111 a heavy bomber,

or for that matter eliptically winged


12th Feb 2008, 10:35
Are you able to send them to Australia?

My Dad worked on the TSR2 (was involved in the design of the reconnaissance pack). He doesn't talk about it much, but I seem to have inherited aviation genes so I'd be interested in the print.



12th Feb 2008, 10:47
Hello everyone

Were there any under-wing drop tanks designed specifically for the TSR.2, or did development not get that far advanced?

I see that one of the aircraft modelling mags produced a resin set of 450 gallon drop tanks, as well as a 1,435 gallon ventral conformal tank. Is this based on anything 'official', or just an educated guess?

Many thanks


(was going to post this on the TSR.2 prints thread, but thought I'd keep it separate)

And we don't allow multiple posts!

PPRuNe Pop
12th Feb 2008, 12:24
Absolutely! Have sent them there before.

But..........sad to say, it will cost an extra £2 and I will send it by air mail.

I await your cheque - but not Oz dollars. US are OK but I prefer something that doesn't mean loss in the exchange process.



12th Feb 2008, 21:47
In the 30’s many elliptically shaped wing aircraft were proposed, the shape was seen as a good way of tackling the wing tip drag issue and while aesthetically pleasing it makes a wing difficult to produce – no-one ever produced an elliptically wing heavy bomber, although they were proposed, producing Spitfires was labour intensive enough.

Jim, It wasn't specifically the elliptical nature of the wing I was thinking of, although the wing did turn out to be approximately elliptical for other reasons... the 8 gun midwing fitment. Read the history of its genesis, and this will become apparent. Mitchell even said so emphatically, when accused of copying the Heinkel's (He177?) elliptical planform... the aerodyanamic benefits came as a secondary effect, and they aren't quite so strong as people imagine, a reasonable ratio straight taper wing gives a very close approximation to elliptical lift distribution.

...'twas actually the overall way it was originally designed (for evaporative cooling) with those big l.e. D-boxes (subsequently, and bit by bit as the years went by, turned into fuel tanks) - just luvverly the way things work out. 'twas also the wing spar construction ... and yes, 'twas also the many changes between prototype and production.

One could hardly expect Supermarine's to have created an in-house mass production-line setup by 1938/9 as "The first Supermarine landplane design to go into production was the famous and successful Spitfire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermarine_Spitfire)."

The lack of large orders for mil aircraft between the wars, even approaching WWII, was probably the biggest reason for no-one in their right mind to have reason to expect plain sailing when enormous numbers of aircraft with completely new all-metal monocoque construction were required in a hurry... but surprised they were, as you seem to be too :rolleyes:
Its not they couldn't draw or wouldn't, literally, the draughtsmen nor the crafstmen were just not a round in that industry in the numbers required..

Whilst there's merit in pointing out the debt we owe the Hurricane and Hawker's bold decision to lay a production-line down early, with their own money, before the obvious occurred to the Ministry (that we would need monoplane fighters of high performance and lots of them!)...

.. this is however sometimes overplayed, as Alex Henshaw pointed out in his lovely book, 'Sigh for a Merlin', recalling the moment he finished testing the last of more than 3,000 Spitfires he had flown in over a period 6 years ...

I went through the final dive but allowed the machine to barely touch 520 IAS - I saw no point in overdoing things. It had just dawned on me that the war was over.
.... In spite of the numerical superiority of the Hurricane and the excellence of its performance in battle, it could not have survived alone. Neither could we, had we lost the Battle of Britain. Whatever future historians may write and say, without the Spitfire we could not have survived the biggest and most bitter contest for supreme power that has yet been known in the history of the world.
... My last landing was a careful, gentle touchdown, and I taxied back to the Flight Shed as I had done so many hundreds of times before. As I drove away I sent up a short prayer of thanks for being so closely associated with this classic of our timeMore than that, with the sudden appearance of the FW-190, only one machine we had could re-assert any allusion to equivalence, let alone superiority in the air - the Spitfire, in Mk IX form, and then the first Griffon powered Marks which consolidated the position.

12,000 came out of Castle Bromwich and were flight tested under his stewardship, so they certainly weren't 'hand-built' after June 1940, when he flew the very first production Mk II from there. This was as much a joint effort between Supermarine's and the motor industry as anyone else's input... and largely, very little had to be done to any of them despite being test flown to extremely harrowing limits. The largest problem was engines, with first the (ominous and hated) sudden bevel gear failures and then the Packards, that had a bad habit of seizing pistons, then propellor problems (incredibly frightening). The airframe was almost entirely as good as gold through every Mark, with the final PR version having been calculated as reaching over M 0.9 in an unplanned dive from over 50,000' - without breaking up.

With substantially the same wing design, 3 times the internal fuel, twice the climb rate and 25% greater speed (exactly 100mph greater at 27,000') than the Mark 1. Probably about twice the max take-off weight too...

So not only did it play a vital role in the Battle of Britain, but a whole 5 years later, its last incarnation could climb to 40,000' faster than the brand new Sea Fury (just over 10 minutes for the Spit)

I say again, only a few brave and enlightened souls made sure that this absolutely vital machine got the support and focus it needed for commitment to high-volume production - one being the very same Sir Wilfred Freeman who did the same for the Mosquito.

So lucky we didn't need the TSR2 - so very easy to see in retrospect!

PPRuNe Pop
13th Feb 2008, 05:57
While I agree this is all fascinating, and the stuff of which hundreds of books have been written. The subjects have been very well covered before so please keep to the topic.

If you wish to use search you will find the other topics and you can continue there.

Thank you.


8th Mar 2008, 14:43
This is a very thought-provoking assessment of the relative merits of the TSR-2 project using the Tornado and F-111 as reference points - from an Australian perspective!


Ginger Meg
8th Mar 2008, 22:49
They were both AC/DC

8th Mar 2008, 23:41
:) Well, one of them liked Buccaneers...

Jetex Jim
9th Mar 2008, 09:10
Carl Kopp’s article (in Australian Airpower) contains a vivid description of the TSR2 mission profile
The TSR.2 has been described as aerodynamically a Mach 3 aircraft, built with materials to a Mach 2+ specification. A nominal mission profile for the TSR.2 would involve an afterburning takeoff and 5,000 ft/min climb to 23,000 ft, followed by a Mach 0.92 dry cruise climb to 26,000 ft. At 630 NM, afterburning thrust would be selected again, and a Mach 1.7 climb to 50,000 ft initiated upon entering hostile airspace. The TSR.2 would then dive at Mach 1.7 down to low level, where it would decelerate to its TF 600 kt/200 ft AGL penetration mode. The aircraft was cleared to TF at Mach 1.2 / 200 ft AGL.
I’m not sure how Kopp can say it was cleared to Terrain Follow at Mach 1.2/200ft AGL. - Having a design goal is one thing, having an aircraft that will do it (here dependent on fully functional mission avionics) is quite another, many development hours separate the two.

For me the TSR2 will always be the James Dean of aircraft, there are great historical advantages in being cut down early, memories and pictures always record beautiful youth, the Marlon Brando style conclusion is never reached.

9th Mar 2008, 20:22
JJ: the Marlon Brando style conclusion is never reached. Superb!

10th Mar 2008, 23:41
I’m not sure how Kopp can say it was cleared to Terrain Follow at Mach 1.2/200ft AGL. -Think he means it was a spec. point, though nearer M .9 was to be used for any serious time at that height. From what we know the airframe and engines would've been capable, and the question remains about the avionics. Of course, remember that we had an industry then un-ravaged by cancellations and consequent serious brain drains... you may be judging by latter day achivements (or apparent lack of them).

Then, what is terrain following at 200ft? certainly not over the Alps!

Let's all just agree that team, in that era, had proved they could build exceptional aircraft, had done twice before, looked like they'd done it again (which was seriously pissing off Wislon and his sycophants Mountbatten, Zuckermann, and the anti-nuclear press as the test programme started ramping up) and that it was our best chance at that critical time and just simply shouldn't have been cancelled.
Remind yourselves it had a total programme cost of £750m and had consumed about £125m at that point.. a lot of which was down to the govt. and civil service itself ordaining how it should be done and with what engines.

Personally, I can see from the way it was going then, the disparate design teams finally gelling, the untold committess being told to get thee hence once it was flying; that there is much less reason to doubt it would have been fully capable than the converse.

So to be a detractor in hindsight without any real foundation, seems just as ridiculous, more so, than being an optimist, with some considerable foundation... the F-111 got there (eventually, :bored:), so I expect TSR-2 would have too, and from everything Beamont said (and that's a lot) there's no way it would have needed a complete redesign like F-111.

In conclusion, cheap as chips for what we were getting (a terrifically capable aircraft and industry rather than a few tank shell targets and the loss of an industry).

It is indeed a mad, mad world... eulogy to TSR-2 (Video credits Sonicbomb) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7JAYHHsVU8) as this was the pinnacle of UK aeronautical achievement, and at the time, the best in the world by a long, long way.

Technicians know what they know; engineers also know what they don't know
(whilst politicians and historians equivocate...)

and every decoding is yet another encoding.

14th Apr 2008, 20:52
Do you accept Paypal as payment for the print?



Flyer 1492
6th May 2008, 04:19
Great post, reminds me of the Avro Arrow. It's too bad that politics get involved.

PPRuNe Pop
7th May 2008, 06:22
kstater94, sorry I do not accept PayPal. I will accept USD slightly above the current exchange rate to cover bank charges if that will help, which I think is about 6%.


30th May 2008, 10:35
P Pop

Great picture and my cheque's in the post(!). As with several posts here I was lucky enough to see her fly, only once, from the end of the runway at BD. I was small but the noise impressed. My father worked at BD for all but about 3 years (when he went to Bristols) of his career & also taught in ground school at TPS. My brother and I spent may happy hours up at the 'track' by the threshold for 23 watching all the different types - Herc, Argosy, Lightning, Phantom, Bucc, Hunter, Victor, Harrier, Andover, even the Varistab Bassett. Ironically, given the politicking which led to TSR2's demise, when somewhat older we spent one summer watching the 111s from the States which were based there for one of the big NATO exercises.


19th Nov 2008, 17:06
... a link to my TSR.2 resource page, might be of interest, feel free to post or add anything of possible interest ...

TSR.2 Research Group (http://groups.msn.com/TSR-2ResearchGroup/shoebox.msnw)

cheers, Joe Cherrie

17th Dec 2008, 03:44
Hi Joe, many thanks for the link so much useful information there good job done sir, I note that MSN are going to close this down in Feb 2009 and you are required to move to some other MS location will you be doing same..

12th Jan 2009, 14:32
Saw the bird fly a couple of times when I was a lad - father was a contractor on Salisbury Plain.

thought it was the greatest thing ever to fly.

now for a little fun...

Have a look, vote, pass it on.

It would be nice to embarass neo labour...

There are 63 concorde spec engines in existance, .....

Petition to: Resurrect the TSR2 Strike Bomber. | Number10.gov.uk (http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ResurrecTSR2/)

phil gollin
3rd Jun 2009, 09:38
For people who like such things Corgi have announced a 1/72nd diecast model of the TSR.2 prototype for later in the year, see here for an example advert (there will be other suppliers and I ASSUME other variants later on) :-

Corgi TSR-2 Diecast Model - PRE-ORDER - TheModeller.com (http://www.themodeller.com/products/Corgi-TSR-2-Diecast-Model---PRE-ORDER__COR-AA38601.aspx)


PPRuNe Pop
4th Jun 2009, 17:03
This is a topic about TSR2 prints and not a thread for the aircraft. You can find one by using the search engine.


12th Jul 2009, 01:24
Any of these still available at all??

PPRuNe Pop
12th Jul 2009, 06:26
Yes there are. If you PM me I will be happy to give you the details.


11th Aug 2009, 12:32
Just found this string . . and site . .

I know . . I've been busy . . O.K. ?

PP . . are there any prints left ?

Also, this article might be interesting for some of you: TSR2 cubed (http://air-scene-uk.com/hangar/2006/tsr2/tsr2.htm)

It's not often that a Government goes to a Museum to see whether it's practical to resurrect an aircraft cancelled 15 years before . . is it ?

TSR 2 must have had something . . .


PPRuNe Pop
11th Aug 2009, 14:57
As I have said above, yes there are.

PM me and I will give you the details of how get them.


7th Jan 2010, 19:48
Sorry I am out of date but are there any TSR2 signed prints still available?

E-mail [email protected] if there are.



PPRuNe Pop
11th Jan 2010, 08:03
Yes there are. You can contact me by PM.