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Aero Business: Last Man Standing...Natural Selection? or...

alertken

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Aero Industry is now led by Prime Contractors as integrators, who design and Manage Projects, assemble, but may make little or less product. Fine ancient names are defunct – Avro, Douglas, Fokker, Sud Avn – and Systems Houses Rule OK. Why? Only Boeing, GE, RR trade today with the same name as, say, 1965, and they have been so restructured as to be linked only tenuously to Legacy.

Would we care to explore Alternatives? We would start with what if...Event X had been different, then...would say, Douglas have died? So:

Lockheed won CX-HLS with C-5, Boeing lost and sold 747 to Juan Trippe/PanAm. Why? What if Boeing had won?
 
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riggerrob

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Basically, major innovators (e.g. Sikorsky) limit their in house manufacturing to their core capabilities. In the case of Sikorsky, they focus on rotors, transmissions and control systems, but farm out boring riveting and composite curing to outsiders. Any decent sheet metal shop can build helicopter fuselages, but only a handful of shops are precise enough to build composite rotor blades.
 

Archibald

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Only Boeing, GE, RR trade today with the same name as, say, 1965
Dassault strongly disagree. Just kidding. More seriously, in their case, they have a strong identity, and it was and still is an important policy to resist going too big and being eaten by bigger fishes in the industry.
But it is a never-ending struggle.
In Dassault case, it was first a fight against successive French governments trying to nationalize the company (for decades Dassault befriended both Right and Left in his own, errrhm, unique way), and then it was against Europe.
Nowadays it is quieter, as no real opposition or predator has been left standing in France and Europe since EADS come into being 25 years ago.
 

Archibald

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In the case of Dassault there are a boatload of whatifs, the most intriguing (and saddening) relating to Bloch near-death of typhus in a concentration camp in 1945. He was saved by communists, for frack sake, resulting in Dassault the right wing warmonger building Mirages to shot down Migs by the dozen... making annual donations to the french communist party for the rest of his life.
 

alertken

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(Purely provocative) Mystere IVA production was Aided by $. That gave the business base to evolve Mirages (and to go down an abortive attempt at a civil regional transport: Communaute). US supplied F-100D/F, 1958. Whiffery:

US decided
it was not in her National Interest to cause duplication, priorities conflict for materials, to fund overlap with F-84s (which US did supply to France wef 4/52) and F-86s, but instead offered either more US-off-the-shelf, or investment tooling for AN.Other French-designed type, such as a Super-Vautour, from not-Dassault. Thus strangling Mirages, while placing, say Sud, in a stronger domestic political position.

All we Europeans try to blank our corporate memory over our debt to US Mutual Support $ in the Korean period. Dusty maybe but some Aid tooling remains in use today.
 

Archibald

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No question about this, really ! no provocation AFAIK. by 1952-53 MAP funded Mystere IVs by the truckloads, far more than a recovering France Government funding a fledging Armée de l'Air could ever had bought on its own dime.

France indeed got F-84F (very ironically used intensively during Suez crisis, Israel included - Ike must have blown an aneurysm over this) plus a handful of F-86D all weather interceptors, and finally three squadron worth of F-100s that lasted 20 years until 1978 and Djibouti. They were the one and only air refuelable tactical birds outside the strategic Mirage IVs, this until the early 70's, Mirage F1 and Jaguars massive entry in service.

investment tooling for AN.Other French-designed type, such as a Super-Vautour, from not-Dassault.
Wait, are you saying Sud-Ouest / SNCASO / Sud-aviation, the one and only public company on the RIGHT way to combat aircraft with the SO-4050 Vautour - was encouraged through Uncle Sam money just to piss Dassault off ?
Make some sense, Vautour (with Breguet 121 Jaguar) is, quite simply, the one and only non-Dassault French combat aircraft to meet limited success post-WWII.
And then the SO-4060 could have screwed the Mirage IIIC in the all-wheather role, the Etendard IV as a naval combat aicraft, and the Mirage IV as the nuclear bomber.
Clearly SNCASO / Sud Aviation was the main threat to Dassault until Breguet brief success with ECAT / 121 / Jaguar.
 

alertken

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No: the whiff is...what if a further enhancement as Super Vautour had been funded by U.S instead of Mystere IV, which was a straight duplication of existing US off-the-shelf types.
 
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alertken

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Each commercially or operationally successful UK type of modern times is there due to sheer luck: competitors often had design/engineering attributes quite as good as the successes. So: Lancaster and Spitfire.

Avro were lucky to be funded for Manchester - at ITP, 8/9/36, their proven skills were in lesser vehicles and the RAF Procurement team was more interested in Mitchell's Supermarine T.316-318 (engine options), ITP 22/3/37. By late-38 Spitfire, short-range, poor payload, was to be terminated, Supermarine to build Wellingtons as bridge to T.317, which was to be in a Production Group of no less capacity than those being assembled for Halifax/Manchester/Stirling. Then...

RAF Procurement Chief AM Freeman decided Westland Whirlwind would be late, while parent-Vickers Board had kicked Supermarine to get on with Spitfire, so he assigned Castle Bromwich to build 1,000 ASAP. Manchester was inflammatory with a useless engine, so its Production Group was to be re-assigned....but then: Avro, detecting a production surplus of Merlins, copied HP by scheming 4 engines - (Halifax had been first designed with 2) to be Lancaster, production order (redefinition of Manchesters) 15/11/40, first flight 9/1/41, and ...Supermarine/Woolston was bombed out and T.317 cancelled, 25/11/40. Lancaster proved better than Stirling or then-model Halifax, so on to a large Production Group. That would have been brief if Minister Beaverbrook had not cancelled the Ideal Bomber, 6/40: mock ups seen, ready for prototype ITP, that was to be a fly-off, Bristol T.159 and Super Halifax HP.60.

Vickers' response to loss of Woolston was an ingenious Spitfire Production dispersal effort, plus a Product Development process, plus RR ditto on the engine(s), which, with some hiccups, served Spitfires better than a variety of engines served Hawker Camm craft. If...Sabre, Centaurus, Vulture had worked earlier/at all, Spitfire-variants would not have been built to 1/49. If Avro had been slothful in grasping 4xMerlin, (Lancaster/) Lincoln would not have been built to 3/51.
 

zen

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No: the whiff is...what if a further enhancement as Super Vautour had been funded by U.S instead of Mystere IV, which was a straight duplication of existing US off-the-shelf types.
Quite plausible, and potentially of higher performance than Canberra or US domestic solution.
 

zen

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If Westland had got on with it, MkII would surely be funded. Possibly with Merlin.
Although had Supermarine got their 320 series twin going.....

Westlands becoming major Fighter producer shifts outcome significantly.
Fighter-Bomber options obviously, twin seater Night Fighter.
Feeds high altitude Welkin and Navalised twin, no Hornet!

Capacity to pursue N.113 and build W.37, results in Attack and Fighter with reheated Avon prior to 1960.
 

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My goal sometime is to sit down and make a spreadsheet, every British manufacturer, every major aircraft and programme between say 1935 and 1975 and tally up exactly how many saw service or were rejected or failed the reach their potential. I think the results would be quite surprising and instructive.
 

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Hey I could to the same on the other side of the Channel, except starting from 1945, because pre-war French aviation was a nightmare.
 

Volkodav

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Each commercially or operationally successful UK type of modern times is there due to sheer luck: competitors often had design/engineering attributes quite as good as the successes. So: Lancaster and Spitfire.

Avro were lucky to be funded for Manchester - at ITP, 8/9/36, their proven skills were in lesser vehicles and the RAF Procurement team was more interested in Mitchell's Supermarine T.316-318 (engine options), ITP 22/3/37. By late-38 Spitfire, short-range, poor payload, was to be terminated, Supermarine to build Wellingtons as bridge to T.317, which was to be in a Production Group of no less capacity than those being assembled for Halifax/Manchester/Stirling. Then...

RAF Procurement Chief AM Freeman decided Westland Whirlwind would be late, while parent-Vickers Board had kicked Supermarine to get on with Spitfire, so he assigned Castle Bromwich to build 1,000 ASAP. Manchester was inflammatory with a useless engine, so its Production Group was to be re-assigned....but then: Avro, detecting a production surplus of Merlins, copied HP by scheming 4 engines - (Halifax had been first designed with 2) to be Lancaster, production order (redefinition of Manchesters) 15/11/40, first flight 9/1/41, and ...Supermarine/Woolston was bombed out and T.317 cancelled, 25/11/40. Lancaster proved better than Stirling or then-model Halifax, so on to a large Production Group. That would have been brief if Minister Beaverbrook had not cancelled the Ideal Bomber, 6/40: mock ups seen, ready for prototype ITP, that was to be a fly-off, Bristol T.159 and Super Halifax HP.60.

Vickers' response to loss of Woolston was an ingenious Spitfire Production dispersal effort, plus a Product Development process, plus RR ditto on the engine(s), which, with some hiccups, served Spitfires better than a variety of engines served Hawker Camm craft. If...Sabre, Centaurus, Vulture had worked earlier/at all, Spitfire-variants would not have been built to 1/49. If Avro had been slothful in grasping 4xMerlin, (Lancaster/) Lincoln would not have been built to 3/51.
Very interesting on the excess Merlins. How about the excess production is made available for tank production instead of wasted on four engine strategic bombers? An earlier Cromwell and Comet, and perhaps even a faster than walking pace Churchill.
 
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uk 75

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The problem going back to the past and rearranging things is that we impose what we know and people at the time didnt.
Sadly in the case of Britain, given the attitude of the public to war in general and the Continental commitment in particular the RAF were lucky to get the aircraft they got. It is much more likely that politicians faced with so problems at home would opt to let the RAF plough on with its silver painted biplanes. These, not Spitfires and Lancasters, were the likely alternatives to the Battles and Blenheims. As for the Army, the position was even worse. Noone wanted to equip it to "Continental" scales of equipment. The Empire loomed much larger in popular imagination than we can appreciate.
 

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I'm not sure that is true, the RAF got everything it wanted. Nothing was wasted from the pre-war expansion, excepting that the Henley was re-purposed to a target tug and of course the Supermarine 316 ended up in smoke. The Whirlwind had its problems and when the time came to rationalise engines the Peregrine got the chop and the Vultre was covered by the Merlin. The only real unforseen addition was the Mosquito - even the Beaufighter had been approved pre-war. Sure we had too many Battles and Blenheims when the time came, but those orders had at least got the shadow factories rolling in that time. Better to work out the training and manufacturing snags from industrial change-over in 1938 than 1940.
Of the aircraft developed to specifications after 1940, the majority did not actually reach service or were badly delayed by engine woes and appeared at or just after the war. So we probably hit the right peak and were lucky that we had several airframes that were adaptable and capable of growth.

If anything the only defence policy people cared about pre-war was bombing, stopping it and dishing it out to the enemy. The government had made ample plans for both., no other nation was developing so many bombers in 1939 - Warwick, Stirling, 316, Manchester, Halifax, the Ideal Bomber, and so many fighters - Hurricane, Spitfire, Tornado, MB.2, Beaufighter, Whirlwind, Gloster F.9/37, Boulton Paul P.92.
 

pathology_doc

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The problem going back to the past and rearranging things is that we impose what we know and people at the time didnt.
That's the big issue with this entire subforum, isn't it? But that's a natural consequence of being born out of the entire issue of the might-have-beens. "What if?" follows as a corollary.
 

alertken

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Spitfire-as-central to UK defence is a prime case of luck-in-spades: it was teetering on the axe at least four times:
- 310 ordered 7/36 could clearly not be handled in a muddy shed so A.M imposed a Production Group of suppliers better able to build apace. V-S MD thwarted and hoarded and was late. A.M was poised to chop, till Vickers Board fired the MD 10/38 and promised to co-operate. L.McKinistry,Spitfire,Murray,07,P130.
-
by Spring,39 A.M thought 800 Whirlwinds would be the business for Nuffield's CBAF, and that V-S/Woolston should move on after the 310 to Beaufighters. But they decided Whirlwind would be late. 1,000 Spitfire Mk.II were ordered from CBAF, 12/4/39, more from Woolston. S.Ritchie, Industry & Air Power, Cass,P.141.
- In 7/39 A.M. thought to change their mind for AN Other in CBAF: Typhoon and Beaufighter were seen as better for Bomber escort over the Maginot, than low-endurance Hurricane/Spitfire. Nuffield refused to disrupt the mass-processes he was installing. Morgan/Shacklady,S’fire,P51.
- Until Woolston was bombed, 9/40, great hope was placed on T.317/318 as the Heavy Bomber. By then Hurricane/Spitfire had fought the BoB: their intended replacements, to liberate UK capacity, airframe and engine, for Heavies were to have been 667 P-38, 675 P-39 and 730 P-40, all paid for in hard cash. As, one by one, we decided those were not good ideas, so we simply put more, ever-enhanced Spitfires on the end of the dispersed Southampton and volume CBAF lines. G.J.Bailey, the Arsenal of Democracy, EUP,2013, Ch.7.
 
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zen

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That rather makes the point about Westland and the Whirlwind.
Had they achieved on time and gained the full 800 order.......
Further efforts on wing, fusilage, armaments etc...are forthcoming.
Further RR effort on engines....
Longer term consequences for Westland.
And all a short ride from Yeovil FAA FAA airfield.
 

Archibald

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If anything the only defence policy people cared about pre-war was bombing, stopping it and dishing it out to the enemy. The government had made ample plans for both., no other nation was developing so many bombers in 1939 - Warwick, Stirling, 316, Manchester, Halifax, the Ideal Bomber, and so many fighters - Hurricane, Spitfire, Tornado, MB.2, Beaufighter, Whirlwind, Gloster F.9/37, Boulton Paul P.92.
France did, but unlike GB, it was total chaos...

I always admired the way you standardized over HURRICANE and SPITFIRE and NOTHING ELSE - at least in 1938-41. France could have done the same - LN-161 could have been our Hurricane with D-520 / 551 our Spitfires. Plus Curtiss H-75. Instead was colossal waste.
 

alertken

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#1 had offered Lockheed losing, Boeing winning CX-HLS. Lead Zeppelin. Maybe this will raise a tickle.

RR 11/70 told HMG it was over-trading and must file for insolvency (UK; US is Chapter 11) because RB211 R&D was through the ceiling. At precisely that moment:
- (MRCA, to be) Tornado was in Definition Phase, UK/FRG/Italy. Belgium/Canada/Netherlands had left, snared by CF-18/F-16A. RB199 had been selected over PW JTF10A (TF30), but International worksharing, price, delivery were all in negotiation, as was the Panavia Air Vehicle. May,71 was to be next Project Checkpoint. It would be better then not to be a glider.
- Lockheed told DoD that the Total Package Price, R&D+115 C-5A was unsustainable, so what are you going to do about it? Got no-where, so gave notice of litigation, 5/1/71.
- Lockheed was in cost/time trouble on L1011 (wisdom in US is that was 100% down to the limey engine. No. They had troubles of their own). They had already rejected RR's Change Proposal, to delete composite/insert metal fan - Lockheed just wanted thrust - and that was the proximate cause of RR running to HMG.

So, as the New Year unfolded HMG faced an aborted Canberra replacement (again), and a damages Claim from Lockheed that could bankrupt more than RR.

Actual Outcome was Lockheed/RR prevailed with the National Interest defence (Lockheed: FBM, "black"; RR: harmony-in-Europe: UK had another Application in to join EEC), so both Govts. caved and paid. But what if...

Nixon
had told Dan Houghton to repackage his Corpn., to insulate Poseidon and black, return Marietta to DoD, shut Burbank.

MDC/Long Beach DC-10 would scoop up L1011 Customers, so California voters would merely move their commute around LA. Boeing would produce 747F-fit-for-MAC; SE Asia must make do with C-133/C-141 awhile.

Freed of albatross RB211, RR would either: finesse with their Banks a long-phased write-off of defunct RB211 spend-beyond-what-they-could-dump-on-HMG, and get on with RB199; or be repackaged by the Receiver into credible going-concerns which could find Buyer(s): such as to:
- sell ex-BSEL/Bristol {with most UK RB199 work} to HS Group (who had sold their 50% of BSEL to RR, 1/68),
- build up Ansty for Industrial turbines and sell to, say, GEC (with ambition in Aero, then owning 40% of BAC),
- build up Glasgow for Speys, legacy/aftermarket and sell to, say GE Inc,
- and shut Derby, exiting Big Fans.

The Receiver did spin off RR Cars/Crewe..then paused...and HMG took the rest off his hands 23/5/71, pumped in vast sums, to create the Force that is today's RR.

That was the work of one man, unsung in every (other) telling of this story. Ex-Deputy Head, AWRE/Aldermaston, Father of UK-solo fusion (honestly) Bomb, 1970 Chief Adviser (Projects and Research), MoD: Sir William Cook. He did 2 things to create New RR: he kept Italy in MRCA after Neths. was seduced by F-16, 27/7/69; and, appointed as Assessor of RB211 - could it work, could it sell v. JT9D/CF6, he Reported that it could. HMG then assumed Lockheed would retain C-5 (they did, 8/71...by 1 Senate vote!), so would persevere with L1011, so sue UK, so: Nationalised the whole business.
 
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pathology_doc

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My goal sometime is to sit down and make a spreadsheet, every British manufacturer, every major aircraft and programme between say 1935 and 1975 and tally up exactly how many saw service or were rejected or failed the reach their potential. I think the results would be quite surprising and instructive.
I tried doing that for American Secret Projects: Bombers 1945-78, but I got distracted after a chapter or two.

What becomes apparent when you do this in ASP is the number of projects that were actually built in steel and flew, but fell by the wayside because they simply weren't as good as the competition. Even then, some of them enjoy limited service (e.g. B-45) or the airframes live on as test-beds. Some of them deserved to fail. Others are the great what-ifs.

Still another (e.g. the high-supersonic fighter programme the US indulged in) never created a service fighter, but instead turned out a recon aircraft that has become a legend. You wonder what might have happened to the XF-103 if Lockheed had been given it; I suspect it might even have got as far as flight test, though as in reality it would have been too expensive to develop for service use and would have become either a one-off or limited-run testbed/tech demonstrator.
 

zen

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So a little analysis/thoughts....
sell ex-BSEL/Bristol {with most UK RB199 work} to HS Group (who had sold their 50% of BSEL to RR, 1/68)
Return of HS? Now prime vertically integrated company?
Big Fan II chasing US dominance?
RB.199 core powers Turboprop?
Pegasus successor lobby?
build up Ansty for Industrial turbines and sell to, say, GEC (with ambition in Aero, then owning 40% of BAC)
GEC becomes the AH BAE Systems?

build up Glasgow for Speys, legacy/aftermarket and sell to, say GE Inc,
- and shut Derby, exiting Big Fans.
So unless there's a future for the Tay or Marine Spey...but then without Big Fans engine business is restricted to military and BizJet markets. GE Inc. Shuts Glasgow and ports what's left back to the US. Strikes, accusations of betrayel, much humble pie for ministers. Labour wins more voters?
 

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Still another (e.g. the high-supersonic fighter programme the US indulged in) never created a service fighter, but instead turned out a recon aircraft that has become a legend. You wonder what might have happened to the XF-103 if Lockheed had been given it; I suspect it might even have got as far as flight test, though as in reality it would have been too expensive to develop for service use and would have become either a one-off or limited-run testbed/tech demonstrator.
as in given "some" sometime after for their proto-proto-ATF bid , because J-58 scheme wouldn't fit , failing to deliver the goods and make a final report on how brilliant engineers they were ?
 

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Still another (e.g. the high-supersonic fighter programme the US indulged in) never created a service fighter, but instead turned out a recon aircraft that has become a legend. You wonder what might have happened to the XF-103 if Lockheed had been given it; I suspect it might even have got as far as flight test, though as in reality it would have been too expensive to develop for service use and would have become either a one-off or limited-run testbed/tech demonstrator.
as in given "some" sometime after for their proto-proto-ATF bid , because J-58 scheme wouldn't fit , failing to deliver the goods and make a final report on how brilliant engineers they were ?
I was mainly considering it on the basis that Lockheed were the only US aircraft company to bring a Mach 3+ aircraft to regular USAF service status, and might have had an angle on structural and systems aspects of the airplane that Republic overlooked. I'm not saying Lockheed would have made a success out of a failure, just suggesting that they might have got the prototype to the flight line and in a position to gather useful data.
 

alertken

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#24, Zen: GEC as AH BAES.
({1980, Lord} Arnold Weinstock {AW} was an economist/statistician; {11/97, Lord} George Simpson (GS} was an accountant: both ran large engineering concerns, long to the entire satisfaction of their funders. Both were successful in that period of Management-as-a-Science, led by academia and its Consultancy sprogs, when wisdom was that firms are best led by folk strong on the business of business. Conglomerates ran a set of metrics over all capital requests from the Strategic Business Units: if Managers filled in the forms correctly, to deliver yield >hurdle rate, then pass friend, the Board knowing little, caring less of what lay behind the paper, so long as quarterly numbers were good. So Allegis Corp, owned United A/L, Hertz Rent-a-Car, Hilton and Westin Hotels. BAe. became a property portfolio (ROF, Arlington Securities, selling, or not, inherited Aero sites according to their Development potential). GEC became a Prime Contractor for GW (alHakim, Hellfire) and targets (TRACOR MQM-107E).

We now dismiss such nonsense - any business chasing customers needs distinction, not sleight of spreadsheet. If...Aero-imbued mystics had run BAe. and GEC in 1990s, much might have been different. Or if GS had not chosen to unload distant, constrained-yield Defence in 1999, to attend to dot.com high volume commercial boxes...and fail unto extinction.

AW was GEC MD, 1963-96; a Non-Executive Director of RR, 1971-76; GEC owned 40% of BAC from 6/9/68 (50%, 12/72-4/77) and acquired what-he-wanted of UK avionics industry (Elliott/Ferranti/Marconi). As he built his cash mountain, he saw GEC as UK's Premier Engineer, better than BAC (“Vickers’ {appointees in BAC} are no--good...useless management” G.James,In the Public Interest,95,Little Brown,P46). He tried to discourage Ministers from privatising BAe., 2/81, for a Trade Sale to GEC. By 1990 BAe.'s bankers were “within an ace of calling in Receivers” Chairman Sir R.Evans,S.Times, 30/7/2000; Business Age in ’93: “Is (BAe. UK’s) Worst-Managed Co.?”

One factor was internecine warfare, BAe:GEC, on Nimrods: AEW.3, cancelled in contumely, 18/12/86, MRA4 ditto, 19/10/10. BAe. 2/12/96 (AW retired 3/96) won a £2.2Bn. contract to put a GEC sensor suite in 21 a/c, then ejected GEC for Boeing, 3/97. That must have been a correct decision because essentially that Tactical Command System is on Poseidon MRA1.

So: AW tried to merge GEC+BAe. (?Br.Aeronautical and Electronic Systems). GS succeeded him, 18/3/96 -(sale into BAES: ) 30/11/99. He had been Deputy CE, BAe., 12/91-11/93. What If GEC had led a merger, say before (to be) Typhoon was firm (Production MoU, 22/12/97, inc. (ex-Ferranti, GEC) ECR-90 Captor)? Many surmised that AW had been promoted (long grass) to Chairman Emeritus, GS to be recruited from Lucas, to do just that.

Some (achieved or abortive) business re-structuring may well have differed: self-destruction of Marconi plc; on-off UK-in-EADS/Airbus; BAe.'s bids for N.Am.Avn. ’96, MDC '97; BAe./Space to Matra/Marconi, '94; GW spun as MBD, '96; failed BAES merger talks with GD and with Boeing. The mind boggles.
 
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zen

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If.....if go ahead on 'go it alone' (goodbye Heseltine) or say Anglo-Swedish F/A type (P106-Grippen), then GEC in potential to reap rewards. Since process driven along much faster. ISD would be by late 90's.
No big Jaguar upgrade.
Exports to South Africa, and Central Europe. Possible toppling Dassault in a License deal with India.
Ferranti drives AESA front end on MkII.

If....if GWS.27 potential in warships GEC could back AAW domestic solution, cut Euro's loose. Where was Plessy...?

Marconi surviving in defense potentially driving a number of options.

Possible Nimrod successor might be 'Trinity' at last.....

From Lucas......oh that explains a lot
 

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A KIS made it better. Sheer luck caused BAES Military Centre of Excellence to be where it is.

1937: High Policy to deter Germany with Heavies, to be built in Production Groups inc. non-Aero shadows. HP tried to control Halifax Groups (so did the other Heavy Parents). Fred HP wanted “full charge of (Halifax Prodn. so) he could rig it to ensure (HP always met) its prog. London (Transport) A/c Prodn.Gp. was given deficient drawings and very little help”. (HP: the) “biggest hoarder of stocks” (MAP’s A.Cairncross,Planning in Wartime,M'millan,91,P64). GM/EE G.H.Nelson had been a fellow-student with Fred.HP, so Hampden/Halifax could go there. (Westland's Sir E.Mensforth,Family Engineers,W.Lock,81,P65).

3/45: a thank-you lunch by Minister of A/c Prodn. Cripps for the Halifax Prodn. Grp: Ld Rootes said he was “back (to) motor transport (but) did not exclude the possibility (of re-entering) the a/c field” (Flight,29/3/45,P338). This had been the precise cause for HP et al in 1938/39 being churlish towards infidels. Nelson did not say the same: he had quietly worked around 1936 Air Minister Swinton's assurance to the aeronauts that shadows would not be subsidised to be design competitors. MAP Cripps (RSC)'s Ch.Prodn.Adviser was Eric Mensforth, seconded from MD/WAL. Petters Ltd's Westland A/c Ltd had been on the edge of bankruptcy, prejudicing Whirlwind, when A.M. arranged 8/38 takeover by John Brown, who sent EM in to sort it out. Family scion, Tech.Dir. WEW.Petter was miffed: Yeovil was too small a town for both men. EM/RSC/Nelson arranged his migration to be Chief Engineer, A/c Divn. EE/Preston, 7/44*, taking with him schemes for a Jet Light Bomber.

15/1/45: Churchill instructed the Munitions Ministries to confine work to projects capable of “substantial operational status by Autumn,1946”W.Brown/D.Bancroft, M.52,Spellmount, 12,P85...yet MAP issued a single-tender (=no Bids) Study contract to EE 13/6/45. RSC had left MAP, 23/5/45: maybe no Minister was involved - it was for £2,500 (!?!). 10/12/45 ITP, R&D/4xprototype A1 Blind Bomber was also without benefit of competition, but was Approved by MAP&Supply J.Wilmot, though UK had no Formed Force enemy. (What was the target set in the minds of SoS/Air Ld.Stansgate and Minister of Defence Attlee? Ample Brigands were in work/more later for Trade Protection/Tribal Pacification).

By 4/48 we had one, so 4xprot. ITP, A1 Day Bomber (GEE only), though A.M. planned to dump A1 to release resources for Mediums. S.Ransom/R.Fairclough,EE A/c,Put.87,P157. MoS 12/7/49 canx. 2xDay prots and all industry/TRE work on A1-peculiar H2S+NBS, to attend to its fit for Mediums, Priority accelerated by Berlin Airlift wef 25/6/48, which provoked Light Bombers. 130 (to be) Canberra B.2 were ordered 3/49 (later shuffled, inc. PR.3/T.4).

Like useless Wellesley/Harrow had been ordered in 1935 to train up a Force for something better, so Canberra could have been Interims to ease in Valiant. Kim Il-sung had other ideas, 25/6/50. Vast cascades of MDAP $ came our way, inc for 300xCanberra B.2s ordered 8/50 from Avro/HP/Shorts (some canx.). In all US part-funded 768 Canberras (excl.B-57s).

If there had been no Korean escapade, then:
no Aero business stability in Preston, who would not have built 631 Canberras,
maybe exit by EE from Aero after last Vampire, 2/52 and last of the only batch of Canberras, c.1954,
P.1A remaining a Research exercise.

Samlesbury should have been renamed Kim Il-sung Field.

(* add, 24/05/20: Luck: not what you know, but who you know. A.M. 7/38 chose John Brown to save WAL (could have been one of the other Big Engineers). JB had been part of the restructuring of EE in 1930 Depression (JB had folded Coventry Ordnance Works into new EE, 12/18, for shares) and put in as Chairman Sir H.Mensforth, to 1933, when his son Eric joined, A/Mngr/Bradford, acceptable to new Chairman/MD G.H.Nelson, who in 1930 had been lifted from MV to EE by...Sir H.Mensforth (All this is in EM,Family Engineers,W.Lock,81).
If...A.N.Other Joint MD had been put in to WAL, WEW.P may have retained "control", or have been eased out to anywhere-but-EE, Design Approval limited to Halifax Repair Schemes).
 
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zen

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So.....

HP triumph is Shadows constrained to build but not design.....

EE failure is getting Medium Jet Bomber contested......something else winning and soaking up Korea Cascade.
Who? Bristol?
If say Avro perhaps scaled delta?

Westlands triumph is somehow keeping Petters in Yeovil? Or more accurately keep his work on at Yeovil and what? Develope jet bomber and use funds to fuel further efforts?
Westland Canberra, Gnat and......Lightning?
Fighter or Strike studies. W.37 funded makes N.114, Supermarine looses (no Scimitar). Blackburn looses NA.39 if developed variant can take Red Beard TMB.
Result reheated Avon on carriers by '60.
Result Westland tender to OR.339.....
Maybe if taking GW Red Dean and apply KISS.
Or more accurately not screw up Whirlwind earlier.....
Westland could suck up resources spread around, drawing designers out of Saro, DH Christchurch etc...
Maybe Bristol too, but...maybe rivalry....

Supermarine loss is catastrophic after Swift cancelled if Scimitar is not winner. Last gasp is Type 571 to OR.339
Blackburn reduced to design office Brough in HSA group if Buccaneer not winner. Fading faster.

Vickers triumph is no Korea cascade. No Meduim Bombers beyond tiny development batch, most cut after H2S not package-able into Canberra....
 

alertken

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UK GW Ltd. An Investment Appraisal.
Seaslug thread in SP/Missiles has slimed towards AH. Today we have MBDA (37.5%) and TDL (0%): how did that emerge from 20 Projects in 1949 with many firms/teams?
What if...UK GW industry had been differently conceived, 1946-50? OTL:

1946: US/UK/France digested German booty. France treated guided projectiles as projectiles, to be handled in Arsenals. US saw (to be) smart ordnance, to be led in Arsenals (e.g.: Redstone: Honest John, Jupiter) and academia (Johns Hopkins U/APL: Terrier), built by anyprovenEngineer (Firestone Corporal, Philco Sidewinder), or electronics firms (Sperry Sparrow). UK Defence Research Establishments schemed; Guided Projectile Est./Westcott was formed 1/4/46 (1/8/47: RAE/ Rocket Propulsion Dept.) and lobbied Ministers to treat GW as ordnance, to be handled in...RPD. MoS decided they flew, so were for the Aero industry...who were disinterested in high R&D for low prodn. volume. UK 13/12/46 Agreed to joint-fund a Long Range Weapons Range in S.Australia, intended to fire Hammer (V2) and Blue Menance (V1). Admiralty, driven by the shades of Prince of Wales and of Kamikaze victims, 8/48 Study-funded Project 502 (to be Seaslug SAM). Little progress, Hammer cancelled 1947, Blue Menace, mid-'49.

Heads,RAE GW Dept.,George Gardner, then Morien Morgan after inserting AWA into (Seaslug), tried to interest Aero in more of the schemes. EE accepted an Army SAM, 3/49, subject to tying up zero Co. capital. Bristol 5/49 accepted an insurance SAM (then called Bristol's Sea Slug) intended to be Joint Service. From 3/50 came swathes of US data - Marquardt/BOMARC ramjet, wing (“lifted straight from”) Convair Terrier. A.R.Adams,Good Co.,BAC/GW,76,Pp.4,40,52.

We now have an enemy, but no money until:
27/1/50: US/UK Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement,
20-27/2/50: US/UK (“Burns/Templer”) GW Data Agreements
25/6/50: N.Korea (26/11: China) invades S. PM assigns Highest Priority to Bomb/Bombers/the Guided Projectiles Programme (yes, really!), defined to Cabinet by MoS Strauss: 18/11/50 as: - Red Shoes (EE+Napier) {me: to be Thunderbird 1},
- Red Duster (Bristol+Ferranti) {to be Bloodhound I},
- Seaslug (AWA+GEC+Sperry) {SAMs},
- Blue Sky (Fairey+Plessey) {to be Fireflash},
- Blue Boar (V-A+EMI) {ASM}.
MoS told Cabinet 13 Defence Establishments were involved. (TNA CAB 131/9, DO(50)96)*. S..R.Twigge,Early Devt.GW in UK,Routledge,1993, Tables 6.1, 6.8.

RN knew platform, say warship, was junior to the weapon, say gun; MoS appointed an airframe designer with no customer to do Seaslug, with no grasp of the notion of System. Its glacial progress was due to a spaghetti organisation, no-one in charge. Oddly, while pitching Terrier to UK, US in 1955 also gave 15% subsidy to Seaslug's Sperry/GEC tracking and fire control system. H.Leigh-Phippard,Congress& US Military Aid to Br,St.Martin'sP,1995,P.92.

So: POD: What If...
in 1949 MoS had made Electricians Primes, and If...a cost-driven approach had been taken to make (in UK) or buy (at market, probably US):
UK would have bought/licenced products that were good enough - Sidewinder, Hawk - and not bespoke kit to some notion of distinct, unique operation.

UK should not have attempted any land-based SAM, where US' scale would prevail. We were right to do the RN SAM, because our ships were different to US', but were wrong to do it in Aero (there was no Prime on Seaslug, delivered like Lego to RNADs for assembly by the Customer). Production over 2 decades for 8 ships, seldom 4 at sea, seldom firing, was hand-sculpture, so of no business interest to HS Group, so AWA/Whitley was under-resourced. Sperry and/or GEC in the (to be) avionics industry did have appetite for riskless, cost-plus work, which could be spun into higher margin/volume fields.

MoS should not have carped endlessly about cost/time, because MoS was in large part responsible for drift and change. MoS should never have hidden behind any guesstimate at Project Launch, but should have told Ministers no-one had a clue: how could they, so don't ask. (See: Gen.Groves and Manhattan; see NASA and the Moon: blank-cheque-funded). If a blank cheque was uncceptable to Ministers, then try to gouge a price from US, who could lose the loss in their vast scale.

Seaslug (maybe Sea Dart) apart (due to ship-interface), all UK-solo GW projects consumed resources duplicating Allies' efforts...and did not need to do so for any legitimate operational-sovereignty reason. We understood that on SSM. GW should have been assigned in 1949 to avionics firms as Prime. We might have sold fewer radiograms, but would have closer/sooner access to US technology (all avionics firms had 2-way street Collaboration Agreements with US partners).

I do not blame AWA for (19? 30 times?) overspend on Seaslug “original Estimate”: whose? Not AWA's, who had no visibility beyond their modest workshare. I will not suggest better Project Management, so less cost/time drift, but I will suggest earlier awareness of the Systems Integration discipline that was evidently alien in 1950s UK Aero. By no co-incidence our monopoly Aerospace firm today is named BAE Systems and they have unloaded GW (and “futile” Space) into bespoke, hungry Collaborations.

The root cause of UK GW Ltd.'s poor return on National skilled resources employed was its 1949 assignment by MoS to Aero, who did not want it, because they did not need it. No hunger. MBDA and TDL are, today, Forces in the sector because that is their sole business.

(*: R&D Estimate, in all: 1951/52: £4.2Mn; 52/53: £6.3Mn; 53/54: £8.4Mn: today..how many rounds does that buy? Of anything?)
 
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zen

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Slipped not slimmed, not really AH, speculation rather. Quite reasonable. As for polyrod seeker....obvious solution to get SARH into Sea Slug. High likelihood this is origin from early NIGS, system carried through to SIGS. 502 group responsible.

Mind the GAAP. Keep rockets at Westcott. Fine for SAMs. Brakemine ideal starting point.

However integration of AAM is radar + aircraft + AAM, boundary doesn't favour aero-disinclined to dictate. Cludges fine to electricians, as long as internals good. But aerodynamics rule. Hard lessons learned have to be learned.
Blue Boar...on the right track, Mavericks grandad.
Blue Slug....right answer, but not funded.

Again....buy US....fine if license, fine if seller is allowed to sell.
Not so fine when sellers told "don't sell".
Not so fine when technology sharing becomes technology not sharing.

Politics intrude. Niccolo told you why, General Wu explained the militarily case.

So Tartar fine, if UK license so fit domestic Q-band seeker. RN happy.
But G-band US only system not good enough.
Again and again looked at and again and again not worth the cost in precious dollars.
BUT domestic seeker wont exist without Red Hawk, without domestic AAM. Stuff doesn't come out of thin air and it baint fairies that do the work.
Domestic doesn't exist unless made to.
Face facts on Tartar.

Mauler.....want to bet the farm and your industry on foreign only for them to cancel? PT.428 better solution.
Better because Beam Rider
Better because one or two stage = doubt about safe distance = assume the worst.

Tychon? NIGS was moving the right way earlier along. US squandered it's resources, recovery only with Standard.

Jones right, and no US solution available that's light. Wrong on Sea Dart based solutions. That's better as long range Bloodhound, but only in scaled up versions final NIGS.

Military right on GAST.1210. No US solution, spend funding US firms to come up with one?
Or fund domestic?
Who do we (politicians) serve again?

NAAWS? Fatal lure of NF-90 . Chop Sea Dart II, chop earlier SAM.72/GAST.1210 Thunderbird Successor. Result ....Horizon to 50% cut in Type 45 and US intercooler with euro-diesels = power out in the hot climes = spend yet more to fix it

Sea Sparrow? BASIC POINT DEFENSE MISSILE SYSTEM?
Sea Wolf....not basic in comparison, nor Sea Dragon (Chaparral) cludge.
ESSM many years later.
 
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Volkodav

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I'm not sure that is true, the RAF got everything it wanted. Nothing was wasted from the pre-war expansion, excepting that the Henley was re-purposed to a target tug and of course the Supermarine 316 ended up in smoke. The Whirlwind had its problems and when the time came to rationalise engines the Peregrine got the chop and the Vultre was covered by the Merlin. The only real unforseen addition was the Mosquito - even the Beaufighter had been approved pre-war. Sure we had too many Battles and Blenheims when the time came, but those orders had at least got the shadow factories rolling in that time. Better to work out the training and manufacturing snags from industrial change-over in 1938 than 1940.
Of the aircraft developed to specifications after 1940, the majority did not actually reach service or were badly delayed by engine woes and appeared at or just after the war. So we probably hit the right peak and were lucky that we had several airframes that were adaptable and capable of growth.

If anything the only defence policy people cared about pre-war was bombing, stopping it and dishing it out to the enemy. The government had made ample plans for both., no other nation was developing so many bombers in 1939 - Warwick, Stirling, 316, Manchester, Halifax, the Ideal Bomber, and so many fighters - Hurricane, Spitfire, Tornado, MB.2, Beaufighter, Whirlwind, Gloster F.9/37, Boulton Paul P.92.
It could be argued the problem was the mix rather than specific types ordered. Imagine Battle and Lysander production channeled into Hurricanes and Henleys to equip the Army Cooperation Squadrons with tactical fighters and attack bombers? That's just one example I can think of, the issue was flawed thinking, discounting the necessity of tactical air power in favour of strategic.

Ironically the lessons of WWI, as well as the empire policing roles of the RAF between the wars, emphasised the effectiveness and utility of tactical airpower, yet the RAF upper echelons were totally enamoured with theoretical strategic airpower doctrine of being able to break an enemies will to fight. While the bombing campaigns eventually got up and running, and did massive damage to the axis war effort, it was land and sea forces, supported by tactical combat types that won battles. This was the understanding, despite all the available evidence, that was missing in the RAF pre war.
 

zen

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The thing with the strategic bombers was actual tests prior to WWII showed how poor navigation was and how ineffective the bombing was.
It took enormous resources in men, materials, production capacity, training, planning, logistics and sucked up R&D by the bicketfull to get results.
The pessimism about the costs of training and calibre of men needed for navigation compared to the results was justified. Only the arrival of radar based navigation yielded the desired results.

And in the end this aerial machine of war was only capable of bombing Germany.
Bombing Russia wasn't something they were equipped for, and achieving this sucked up even more resources despite the benefits of nuclear weapons.
 

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Dear Volkowdav,
I half agree with you. Yes, ground forces were the ones that finally defeated the German Army. However, shortly after D-Day (6 June 1944) WALLIED ground forces attacked dwindling numbers of Panzers that were rapidly running out of fuel, ammo and spare parts. Plenty of Panzers were abandoned when they ran dry.
Those shortages of fuel, ammo and spare parts never reached the battlefield because Bomber Command had wrecked German railroads, canals, Autobahns, etc.
 

Volkodav

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Dear Volkowdav,
I half agree with you. Yes, ground forces were the ones that finally defeated the German Army. However, shortly after D-Day (6 June 1944) WALLIED ground forces attacked dwindling numbers of Panzers that were rapidly running out of fuel, ammo and spare parts. Plenty of Panzers were abandoned when they ran dry.
Those shortages of fuel, ammo and spare parts never reached the battlefield because Bomber Command had wrecked German railroads, canals, Autobahns, etc.
Well I did state that when they got up to speed, strategic bombing did massive damage to the Axis war effort. My point was the bomber and strategic bombing, was seen as paramount, despite experience that showed how vital tactical airpower was. Its a trap that militaries still fall into today, the mistaken assumption that one capability or another is so devastatingly over powered, it makes all else obsolete and irrelevant. Capabilities can be transformational but there is still a requirement for combined arms and joint operations, both tactical and strategic to achieve the desired effect.

This is getting wildly off topic, my apologies.
 

Archibald

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I often think that B-29s would have been better fto bomb Germany and B-17/B-24 better for Japan. I mean, as far as crew survival against air defenses go.
I know there were were many reasons why the air campaign happened the way it did.
 

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Getting back to Alertken's post on guided weapon manufacture.

I'm not sure there was much option of trusting the electronics firms entirely with the development of guided missiles in the early post-war years. Experience just wasn't there, France adopted similar lines at first too. Guided weapons, rightly or wrongly, were seen as miniature aircraft. Electronics companies don't generally make things that move about on their own in this period, they are sub-contractors. Electronics go into things, whether it be a train, submarine, fighter or a missile the electronics are only part and there was simply no industrial practice at the time that would give the prime lead to what essentially had always been seen as sub-contractors. Even had they been designed under electrical leadership, they would still have needed careful cooperation with the airframe and rocket designers to put the whole together.

Would have the electronics companies done a better job?
Well lets look at the load, we have only a few major companies; Ecko, Elliotts, EMI, English Electric, Ferranti, Marconi, Tiltman & Langley. These firms had to design every electronic device the three armed Services wanted; radars, radios, ECM kit, navigation equipment etc. plus all the civil requirements and consumer goodies too. That's a heap of work and responsibility for the electronics industry.
Could they actually do a good job on GW? The only person who seems to have been a wizard of organisation in this field was Brigadier John Clemow who at the MoS finally licked AW and Fairey's teams into shape and then went into industry and headed up Vickers efforts which actually had some good successes. As the Ferranti scandal over Blooodhound profits showed, the electronics industry was not immune to getting their estimates wrong and for playing the weaknesses in the MoS system.
English Electric was probably the best placed to straddle both fields but only got Thunderbird to play with.

The mystery is perhaps why Vickers under-performed initially with GW despite being a 'weapons' company. Perhaps more links or perhaps handing development to Vickers-Armstrongs' weapons teams would have produced something more workable. It does seem odd Weybridge was trying to build jet bombers and transports while messing around with things like Blue Boar. They could have given those projects to their armaments side producing guns and mountings etc. to re-orient that side of the business.
 

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A KIS made it better. Sheer luck caused BAES Military Centre of Excellence to be where it is.
It sure was luck.

One story I was told by a long served engineer went like this;- in 49 Bristol’s was in dead trouble with their most promising military aircraft contract. So three senior Bristol’s managers found themselves on the early morning train to London to discuss its cancellation with “Controller” aircraft at St Giles Court. Upon arrival they discovered the chap they were meeting had reported sick. So with a return ticket booked that evening they asked his secretary if there was anything else going on they could attend ? The reply was there was a working group session concerning the industry partnering for the development of surface to air guided weapons. The account went that the Ministry had sent out an all party invitation but Bristol’s hadn’t replied. They attended and that was how the Bristol Bloodhound started........which not only saved Bristol’s, it established Bristol’s supersonic expertises without which Concorde wouldn’t have gone to Filton and subsequently this maintained a capability long enough to lead to the present Airbus. The three guys were local heroes known as the “Forty Niners”

I guess the 49 contract project was the Type 174 & 176 which expired about that time.
 
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