British aircraft industry
Another destiny for great britain aircraft industry...
In 1957, the Defense white paper is a huge earthquake for the British aircraft industry. Of course, nearly all fighter and bomber projects were destroyed.
The good effect is the merge of much of the industry.
After the white paper earthquake, the governement decide to let only English Electric as private firm.
This firm stay independant, it is not merge with the other or nationalized. It's because EE have a very good technical staff and equipments, but also because it is part of the future fighter (Lightning) and Bomber (P17= TSR2) of the UK.
ALL THE OTHER FIRMS are merged in a huge group, their staff are concentrated in Kingston with Hawker.
This firm, much reinforced start working on a VSTOL programs, a subsonic strike fighter and a Mach1.8 interceptor.
Hawker is also responsible for cooperation with others country, which are growing at the beginning of the 60's.
As a consequence, in 1963, the British aircraft industry is well organized between TWO firms (English Electric Vs Hawker).
Only THREE aircraft are studied, and they are not redundants.
EE is developing the Lightning at short term.
At long term, the TRS2 project is reorganized.
And Hawker miltary aircraft became highly specialized in VSTOL aircraft;the british governement wnt to make this firm a world leader in this market. The P1127 (in 1960), P1154 (in 1968) and P1216 (1985) developments made a good lineage from 1960 to 2010 and beyond. Other firms merged in the hawker group progressively specialized in various activities in helicopters, civil aircrafts (such has bizjets) and space.
English electric become nearly the only firm to make conventional military aircrafts in GB, exactly as Dassault in france.
The P17 aircraft evolved into a twin engined, multirole fighter, powered by two reliable, less expensive but still powerful Speys instead of the troubled Olympus.
The british governement decide to make with EE and TSR2 derivatives what france made with Dassault and the Mirages: a big family of derivatives with various wings, engines, weight, dimensions, missions... a prototypes and projects policy over the years, to maintain the technical staff in good conditions.
The Spey is much the equivalent of the TF-30 (turbofan, 10.000 kgp of thrust).
The aircraft is lighter, less expensive; it is also less capable in the air to ground role, but the multirole capability open wide the export market (more than an expensive, highly specialized for attack airplane such as the TSR2).
British lightweight fighter of the 60's.
On 16, January 1968 Great Britain cancelled is order for the F-111K. Its replacement was on the way at the time : the UKVG was to become the MRCA, and then the Tornado. But this was a strike fighter made in european cooperation. At the time, British aircraft industry only had one national combat aircraft on the way, the Harrier.
The RAF and RN deseperatly needed a new interceptor to replace their Lightnings and Sea Vixens. The plane was to be the american F-4 Phantom, with RR Speys engines. After a detailed analisis of this project, BAC warned the British Governement : the american fighter could not cope with the much larger speys whithout a heavy rebuilt of his air intakes. This would add weight and drag, changing the Phantom into a shadow of itself
-for a high cost- . On the same week, BAC learned more about the Mirage F1, Viggen and Mig-23 fighters, which had flew the year before. The firm decided to make a carefully study of these three, and its conclusions were very interesting.
BAC study concluded that "the fighter of the 70's will be a lightweight plane, built around a highly powerful turbofan engine of 22000 Ibs thrust. The lighweight and high thrust will gave this plane a big agility in dogfight, to avoid problems encountered by the american phantoms in vietnam".
The study also concluded that BAC (and Great Britain) was perfectly able to make a fighter of this kind, making a scale down TSR-2 around the Spey engine; this fighter could have a big success on the export market, and even replace both Lightnings and Sea Vixens. The study also mentionned the fact that the USA had no fighters of this class, and were studying two programs. First was a F5A derivative for export, the F5E Tiger II; this was a stopgap at short term. A long term program was also on the way. This was the LFW, which gave birth to the F16 in 1974. But time was flying, because France and Sweden have their Viggen and F1 on this market. The study predicted that the Viggen will be difficult to sell on export markets because of Sweden neutral position. The F1 had not this problem, but was underpowered (the Atar was obsolete). Finnally, this plane could counter the MIG-23, as this airplane had a weight and agility penalty in the form of his VG wing. It was Great britain last chance to come back on the fighter export market…
BAC finally had the go ahead of the governement on 17 february 1968. As money was needed, a defence white paper was made, and the Jaguar program was scraped. France was angry, but not Dassault, which had merge with Breguet in 1967 and saw the Jaguar as a threat for the F1. So the countries were happy to scrap the Jaguar program, which was in deep trouble at the time.
Starting from the TSR-2 meant that money was save; the plane was much scale down, and had a single Spey engine of 10500kgp of thrust. Twin or single seat versions were made. 15meters long, 10.5 span, 8.5 tons empty 14 tons at take off, 1300km range on interception. A naval version was to replace the Sea Vixen, and could also be sold to the Essex carriers buyers worlwide.
The plane flew in spring 1971with Beamont at the controls, and rapidly prove to be a fantastic plane. It had much better handling than the Jaguar, and was realy similar to the TSR-2 on this way. It totally outran the Mirage F1,and turned circles around Mig-23 and Phantoms. Only the Viggen had similar performances…
It entered service in 1973 on RN and RAF, and quickly started to have big exports orders, as it was really much powerful than the F1, and much less expensive than the Phantom. First airplanes had the AWG-10 and Sparrow, but a version with Foxhunter and Skyflash quickly entered service. The plane was named BAC TFR-3 Phœnix, but TFR-3 was quickly dropped.
The Phœnix was a powerful interceptor; it could easily received more powerful radars and mssiles. It had a medium size delta wing with a conventional tail, like the TSR-2. There was four hardpoints under the wings, and two under the belly. As in the Lightnings, two others were mounted on the side of air intakes.
On the interceptor role, the plane was very well armed :
- Two skyflash recessed under the belly
- Two AIM-9 on the air intakes racks.
- Two drop tanks under the wings.
- Two AIM-9 on the external underwing hardpoints.
One 30mm Aden gun was mounted below the cockpit on the left side.
Alternate armament was a drop tank under the belly, two AIM-9 on the air intakes and four skyflash under the wings.Wing area was 50m2 which gave a low wing loading and a high agility. All Lightnings were withdrawn in 1978; the Phœnix was perfectly able to escort the Tornado. And Great Britain still had a good aircraft industry… And Hawker also received a go ahead to develop his P-1216 VTOL mach1.8 fighter, which replace the Harriers worlwide in the 90's…
Buid a lightweight fighter (15tons MTOW) around a big turbofan with 22000Ibs of thrust. This fighter have a very good thrust-to-weight ratio which means very good agility in dogfight against Migs. More, as this fighter is light, it is cheap, and this become a world beater…this is exactly what the F-16 is… but not until 1977-80.
And the engine industry is, too, reorganized : Hawker Siddeley engines make only helicopters, light turbojets and VSTOL engines.
Rolls Royce became the main military engine maker
The number of military engines is much reduced, to cover only the real needs of EE projects. The Spey and its derivatives became the most important engine in Great Britain.
Of course, it's civilian engine departement (such as the RB-211 or Olympus) are not affected by the reorganisations.
In 1963 Australia have to choose his bomber, to counter Indonesian Tu-16.
Various airplanes are put under consideration
- CF-105 Arrow
The pure fighter Phantom is quickly eliminated, but then the RAAF hesitate : a pure bomber (such has Vigilante, F111 or Mirage IV) or a Heavy fighter with bomber capacities (TSR2, Arrow) ?
considering the short range of Mirage IIIO, the aircraft must have a big self-defense ability and that's why the final oppose the Arrow and the multirole TSR2...
When the CVA-01 aircraft-carrier is scrap in 1966, France propose to great Britain an enlarged aircraft carrier based on the PA-58 Verdun project of 1958: a 45000 tons boat. It's because france need a third aircraft carrier to implement Foch and Clemenceau and have a permanent presence in pacific ocean (to protect Mururoa nuclear test center from spyplanes of ALL countries, not only USSR...). This third aircraft carrier will stay in the pacific; a big dockyard is constructed in Noumea to received it.
France and Great Britain also agree on an interceptor project based on the Breguet 112 Sirocco.