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View Diary: TSR-2 - or, the betrayal of the British aircraft industry (94 comments)

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  •  Flat-out brilliant design, doing exactly... (10+ / 0-)

    what most air forces needed at a time when big surface to air missiles were becoming quite lethal to high altitude bombers: penetrating at very low altitude and high speed, while taking off from short unimproved strips, so it wouldn't be tied to long concrete runways likely to be targeted by missiles.

    TSR-2 was a much more promising design than the absurdly complex, compromised-from-the-start, grossly overweight F-111.

    Of course, the limitations of avionics and surface to air weapons available in the mid-60s meant that nuclear weapons were about the only thing this plane could effectively deliver.

    •  There were plans for other non-nuclear stores (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, RiveroftheWest

      to be carried and even for a fighter version! If ONLY..........

      'Per Ardua Ad Astra'

      by shortfinals on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 07:22:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Would have been just the thing (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shortfinals, RiveroftheWest

        for fighting UFOs in the upper atmosphere.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 03:05:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And make the tea too (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shortfinals, sphealey, RiveroftheWest

        The TSR-2 is to me the Marlon Brando of British aviation, "I coulda been  a contenda!". Because it never went into service and had the bugs shaken out and exposed to the light it's always been the dream canvas of aviation geeks like thee (and me too), with our wishes painted on the blank sheet -- a nuclear low-level strike bomber that was also a conventional bomber as well as having a reconnaissance role, a high-altitude/low-altitude fast-mover and even a fighter variant, all in the same airframe and engine configuration. Meanwhile we had three candidates for conventional and nuclear bombing already in train (the V-series airframes) and flying in service as well as other aircraft to fit the other roles the TSR-2 was supposed to occupy, like the ageing but still functional Canberra you mention.

         I don't know if the TSR-2 would have been a success in quantity one hundred or more, in the hands of regular pilots and airframe mechanics; the avionics alone were going to be a nightmare to manage as they were vastly more complex than anything the UK had ever built and flown before. The Aardvark grew exponentially in cost, yes but would the TSR-2 project have stayed within budget? I doubt it somehow, given what you've said about the management of the project up till its cancellation.

         Maybe the TSR-2 would have been a major success like the Harrier was, maybe a disaster like the Brabizon, we'll never know.

      •  My point is just that conventional munitions... (4+ / 0-)

        for high speed low altitude fast-movers in the 1960s were so inaccurate, matched to basically unusable targeting avionics, that they couldn't hit a damn thing smaller than a city, without using nuclear warheads.

        I'm always reminded of the F-105 'Thud' in Vietnam, which was very similar to the TSR-2 in concept: very fast at low altitude, highly loaded small wing, designed to penetrate under the radar. The result was a bomber that took scores or even hundreds of sorties to hit something like a bridge, suffering steady losses all the time. Like using your Rolex watch to hammer in a nail.

        The dumb bombs, simple command-guided missiles (like the U.S. 'bullpup') and crude avionics available in this time frame were simply incapable of hitting anything from a high speed, low altitude approach.

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