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BAC TSR2

Avimimus

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The TSR2 cancellation took place at the same time that the Avro Arrow and a bunch of Soviet projects were cancelled. The development of more capable ballistic missiles had reduced the need for strategic bombers, the first generation of long-range surface to air missiles had been created, and a need for conventional bombers hadn't yet been made clear by the existence of proxy wars.

I always assumed it was one of a dozen victims of this time.
 

iverson

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This has been an interesting discussion--not at all the rehash of old TSR apologia one might have expected from any similar group of enthusiasts.

I've always liked the TSR.2. It was a single-minded engineering response to a specified problem. But, as I have argued elsewhere in the case of the Germans and the F-104G, the perceived problem was too narrowly and rigidly defined to be the right one. Both F-111 and TSR.2 suffered from misconceptions about the likely nature of war in the near future. Air staffs on both sides of the Atlantic were convinced that wars would start as or quickly turn into nuclear exchanges and that radar-based air defenses could only be penetrated at high-speed and ultra-low level.

The former misconception suggested that air fields would be lost early in any conflict. So short-field performance and the ability to operate from rough surfaces at dispersed sites seemed primary. This dictated the surface-blowing feature of TSR.2 and the problematic, heavy, and expensive VG wings of F-111. I suspect that it also contributed to landing-gear troubles in both aircraft. In any case, the requirement made both airplanes heavier, more complex, and more expensive than they might otherwise have been. The focus on nuclear operations also made the ability to carry large numbers of conventional weapons secondary. Although the F-111 was less limited in this respect, given its larger number of external strong points, its internal weapons bay was clearly designed for a small number of nuclear bombs.

The second misconception likewise made both aircraft heavier and more complex than necessary, because it was at odds with the first. Short takeoffs require the kind of lift that you get from large-area, high-aspect ratio wings. High-speed, low-level flight requires small, short-span, stiff wings that can provide adequate ride, low vibration levlels for crew and equipment, and reasonable fatigue life. TSR.2 achieved this with a small cropped delta that made the above lift-enhancing complexities necessary. F-111 had high-aspect ratio wings that had to be swept back for low-level flying.

In retrospect, neither dispersed operations nor low-level flight proved necessary during the anticipated oeprational life of either aircraft. Wars were fought with conventional weapons. Advances in ECM meant that medium-altitude operations were actually more survivable, since they kept aircraft away from automatic, light AAA. In practice, the new laser-guided munitions could only be used from medium altitudes.

So was TSR.2 a failure? I'm always a bit bemused when this question comes up, because, in a sense, it was so successful that it did not go into production. TSR.2 was designed to deter and, if necessary, prosecute an ill-conceived, no doubt calamitous nuclear war. That war never happened. So, intentionally or not, TSR.2 succeeded. TSR.2 kept a generation of misguided politicians and air marshals busy during a crucial period and thereby, perhaps, contributed to the uneasy peace that was the Cold War. Due at least in part to TSR.2, Britain pulled back from pointless entanglements East of Suez and skipped sinking money it didn't have into the B-58/Mirage-IV/F-111/Tu-22/Su-24 generation of warplanes, none of which it turned out to need. What weapon system could have a better record?
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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skylon said:
Mirage IV would have been perfect for RAF requirements especially in terms of price and maintenance costs, TSR.2 would have been a beast to maintain. Brits really didn’t worry much about maintainence when designing aircraft in those days. You can't compare a proven aircraft with a paper plane which TSR2 was..

Mirage IV didn't meet the requirements. Spey Mirage IV would have been superior to ATAR Mirage IV, but nowhere near the requirement.

Now you can argue that the TSR.2 requirements were wrong in hindsight, but then we could have had a successful British design, if the requirements were less onerous.
 

iverson

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CJGibson said:
'The best solution would have been for the RAF to buy the French Mirage IV.. A wonderful, proven delta wing, dropped the first French A-BOMB and cheaper than F-111'

Errr...no. Mirage IV was to be re-engined with Speys and fitted with Avro's W.130 as a deterrent carrier, not as a TSR.2 alternative. So, comparisons with TSR.2 are not relevant.

Conceptually, a Mirage IV, re-engined or not, would be a more fitting competitor to the B-58 than the F-111. It represented the previous generation of air-staff thinking. It was a strategic bomber designed for long range, high-altitude cruise and high-altitude penetration at supersonic speed. So it would never have met the perceived needs of the time.

High-altitude operations put a premium on light-weight structure and low wing loading, neither of which are well-suited to low-level operations. The takeoff and landing characteristics of a delta are also poorly adapted for short-field operation.
 

Apophenia

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TomS said:
Probably not. The engine change happened in early 1955, the redesignation not until mid-1956.

TomS: Thanks for the designation clarification.
 

skylon

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iverson said:
So was TSR.2 a failure? I'm always a bit bemused when this question comes up, because, in a sense, it was so successful that it did not go into production. TSR.2 was designed to deter and, if necessary, prosecute an ill-conceived, no doubt calamitous nuclear war. That war never happened. So, intentionally or not, TSR.2 succeeded. TSR.2 kept a generation of misguided politicians and air marshals busy during a crucial period and thereby, perhaps, contributed to the uneasy peace that was the Cold War. Due at least in part to TSR.2, Britain pulled back from pointless entanglements East of Suez and skipped sinking money it didn't have into the B-58/Mirage-IV/F-111/Tu-22/Su-24 generation of warplanes, none of which it turned out to need. What weapon system could have a better record?


Thats a very strange logic mate..Extremely original but everybody is entitled to his or her opinion !
 

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Good morning! We're doing some research about the TSR2 for implementing it in a Flight Simulator. So far we've been able to find the flight manual and some maintenance staff, but we didn't succeded at finding the following brochure, which seems to provide very nice information about the attack system:

* TSR2 Navigation & Attack System Supplementary Brochure

If anybody has a digital copy or knows where to find one, I would be very greatful. Also, we are struggling finding any info about aircraft's flight performances (Climb charts, flight envelope and so on) since the flight manual is pretty much incomplete. Any info would be highly welcomed.

Thanks, and regards!
 

hesham

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Welcome aboard Amalahama,

I will search about this Info,and here is a good report about TSR.2;

https://www.raf.mod.uk/rafcms/mediafiles/EEA483B3_5056_A318_A825FD4682EDACAB.pdf
 

Pioneer

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skylon said:
The Americans then offered the F-111 with it's stand- off bomb as a package much cheaper than the TSR2. Unfortunately after the British had ordered the F-111 the American stand-off bomb project was cancelled making the F-111 surplus to British requirements, ........

Out of curiosity skylon, what was this '
"American trade-off bomb project"?

Regards
Pioneer
 

Michel Van

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Pioneer said:
skylon said:
The Americans then offered the F-111 with it's stand- off bomb as a package much cheaper than the TSR2. Unfortunately after the British had ordered the F-111 the American stand-off bomb project was cancelled making the F-111 surplus to British requirements, ........

Out of curiosity skylon, what was this '
"American trade-off bomb project"?

Regards
Pioneer

I guess it's British Labor party dislike of own British Aerospace Industry and there Love for US Aerospace Industry
under Harold Wilson Government allot of British aircraft project were canceled and replace by US aircraft
Like TSR.2 and the Super sonic version of Harrier Jet.

After the TSR.2 program was literally destroyed, Harold Wilson Government went for F-111K version
believing in it would be much cheaper and better as the TSR.2
Oh boy were they wrong so wrong
in fact they had to buy 26 new Blackburn Buccaneer aircraft as replacement

Irony that happen in similar way in 2000s under Labor party Tony Blair Government
They buy F-35B from Lockheed Martin and ignored BAE Systems proposals
today Britain has two Aircraft carrier without Aircraft
because Lockheed Martin have some issue with F-35 program...
 

Hobbes

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No, Skylon was talking about a stand-off bomb project, IDK which one that was though.
 

kaiserd

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Michel Van said:
Pioneer said:
skylon said:
The Americans then offered the F-111 with it's stand- off bomb as a package much cheaper than the TSR2. Unfortunately after the British had ordered the F-111 the American stand-off bomb project was cancelled making the F-111 surplus to British requirements, ........

Out of curiosity skylon, what was this '
"American trade-off bomb project"?

Regards
Pioneer

I guess it's British Labor party dislike of own British Aerospace Industry and there Love for US Aerospace Industry
under Harold Wilson Government allot of British aircraft project were canceled and replace by US aircraft
Like TSR.2 and the Super sonic version of Harrier Jet.

After the TSR.2 program was literally destroyed, Harold Wilson Government went for F-111K version
believing in it would be much cheaper and better as the TSR.2
Oh boy were they wrong so wrong
in fact they had to buy 26 new Blackburn Buccaneer aircraft as replacement

Irony that happen in similar way in 2000s under Labor party Tony Blair Government
They buy F-35B from Lockheed Martin and ignored BAE Systems proposals
today Britain has two Aircraft carrier without Aircraft
because Lockheed Martin have some issue with F-35 program...

Oh boy full of so many factual inaccuracies....

To pick one at random from the very start the UK was a tier one partner in the JSF/F-35 project.
From the very start Rolls Royce and BAE were involved with the JSF project; in that sense the F-35 was the BAE project (access to technology etc. beyond the Typhoon, parts of every F-35 built made in the UK) and was a move urged on and supported by the UK aviation industry (and its affiliated unions).
Similarly the Blair government ordered the Nimrod MRA4 urged on by the UK aviation industry and their unions on a "Union Jack" ticket and that turned out to be an absolute disaster (as had the Nimrod AEW ordered by the last Labour in the late 70's).

Labour governments didn't hate the UK aviation industry and much of the most extreme cutting was undertaken by Conservative governments (the 1957 white paper etc).

The relative decline of the UK aviation industry is a complicated story and certainly was not based on emnity from a particular political party. I would direct you to the excellent books of Chris Gibson & Tony Butler for real insight into this topic.
 

Hood

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I don't think these old clichés and myths will ever die, they are just too entrenched.
My advice is avoid all simplistic histories and explanations, they usually miss out 90% of the important detail.

The harsh truth is, very few of the cancelled projects were ever irreplaceable or missed and many deserved to be axed. The problem wasn't the axing, it was the fact the ministries swallowed the guff put out about them, or indeed dreamed them up in the first place, and wasted money on them as a consequence before they had a reality check.
 

Silencer1

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Hello, kaiserd!

Could you be so kind to mention these books' titles?
I would direct you to the excellent books of Chris Gibson & Tony Butler for real insight into this topic.
 

iverson

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Hood said:
I don't think these old clichés and myths will ever die, they are just too entrenched.
My advice is avoid all simplistic histories and explanations, they usually miss out 90% of the important detail.

The harsh truth is, very few of the cancelled projects were ever irreplaceable or missed and many deserved to be axed. The problem wasn't the axing, it was the fact the ministries swallowed the guff put out about them, or indeed dreamed them up in the first place, and wasted money on them as a consequence before they had a reality check.

Yes, an excellent point. Too often, an interesting idea gets mistaken for a good one--something that is often doubly true of contemporary defense policy.
 

kaiserd

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Silencer1 said:
Hello, kaiserd!

Could you be so kind to mention these books' titles?
I would direct you to the excellent books of Chris Gibson & Tony Butler for real insight into this topic.

I would whole heartedly recommend Tony Butlers Secret Project books (many now into 2nd amended editions).

I would also strongly recommend Chris Gibson's Vulcans Hammer & Battle Flight books.

Both have many more excellent books.
They both show real nuanced insight with out the blanket reflex "this shouldn't have been cancelled" commentary seen in some books on this area.

For example
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1910809055/ref=mp_s_a_1_fkmr1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497773444&sr=8-1-fkmr1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=tony+butler+secret+projects

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1910809101/ref=pd_aw_sbs_14_of_9?ie=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=QC6QCY2ZG04BN45M7FQY

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1902109260/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1497773865&sr=8-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=chris+gibson&dpPl=1&dpID=51lgaWa18UL&ref=plSrch
 

Silencer1

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Thank you, kaisers, for the links to mentioned books!

I already seen some titles of Hikoki - and made good impression on me. So, yours' recommendations are most helpful!

Personally, I like TSR-2 - but, perhaps as a mass-build aircraft, it's not necessary became effective in combat, maintenance and production. From other hand, there were at least few UK postwar aircraft, designed with very unconventional layout.
Some of them (Vulcan, Victor, Gannet etc.) proved the designers' decisions, others (Javelin, Lightning, Swift) - have been part of the countries' defense, but not, OMHO, the best ones.

During WW2 some aircraft, like Whirlwind or Defiant, built according the "unconventional" conceptions also fought, although didn't became a mainstay of RAF. Does it mean, that their designing, production and service didn't made some useful things? Later we see, how Westland became a helicopter' expert and Boulton-Paul produce some good experimental aircraft.

So, now, due to a large amount of archive documents and enthusiastic authors could see the whole picture of aviation history (cancellations and, in turn, adoptions) of projects in much clearer way. At least made our conclusions, using wider range of details and facts.

P.S. Even without TSR-2 UK maintain it's military aviation in 1950-80s in good shape. Could TSR-2 mass-production improve this situation, or turn it to the adverse? Only time machine' inventors could really change situation :cool:
 

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The main problem with the various schemes was the poor range of the TSR2 compared with the Vulcan B2.
If the UK had had the resources to develop a decent missile it would have made more sense to put it on the Vulcan instead of the useless Blue Steel.
TSR2 did not even have the range of the F111K which would have been the best way of replacing Canberras and Valiants for NATO. As it turned out the US did it for us with an extra F111 wing at Lakenheath.
 

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The main problem with the various schemes was the poor range of the TSR2 compared with the Vulcan B2.
If the UK had had the resources to develop a decent missile it would have made more sense to put it on the Vulcan instead of the useless Blue Steel.
TSR2 did not even have the range of the F111K which would have been the best way of replacing Canberras and Valiants for NATO. As it turned out the US did it for us with an extra F111 wing at Lakenheath.
Poor range?
 

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Vulcan, 4,598 miles, TSR 2, 1,150 miles. Internal fuel.
 

Foo Fighter

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Just going from memory and what I have here but either way the V's have longer legs. I still believe TSR 2 would have been credible for a long time.
 

uk 75

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A number of articles have appeared recently. One by Tony Buttler and one online from an RAF writer pointing out that F111K had much better operational range than TSR2.
In the same timeframe as the planned TSR2 with nuclear ASMs (1967 to 1970) the US replaced its B58 Hustlers with SRAM armed FB111s. Although I have never seen it mentioned I am sure both types would have deployed from UK rather than CONUS.
Polaris was so effective as the national deterrent and arrived in 1968 I doubt a TSR2 with ASM could have deployed in time to "fill the gap". Low flying Vulcans with bombs were harder to kill than popularly believed and had appropriate targets in the UK/US SIOP.
 

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It is important to remember that the key role for TSR2 and F111K was not as keeps being written East of Suez. The UK based aircraft were needed to replace Canberra and Valiant aircraft allocated to NATO for nuclear strikes against targets in E Europe and W Russia. This role fell to Vulcans and Buccaneers until the arrival of Tornado in the 80s. Fortunately for SACEUR the US deployed F111s to the UK and later on Cruise Missiles.
 

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A number of articles have appeared recently. One by Tony Buttler and one online from an RAF writer pointing out that F111K had much better operational range than TSR2.

Technically this makes a lot of sense as a good proportion of the F111 flight ie the transit phase, can be done with the wings swept forwards. Hence the higher aspect ratio means the L/D will two to three times higher, hence the fuel used in this phase will be two to three times less. There was a good reason TSR2 basic configuration architecture was never used again;- consider also the Su24 started life as similar architecture to TSR2 and switched after a prototype had flown to a swing wing.
 

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Wasn't there a proposed nuclear armed version of the Red Top Mk. 2?
 

uk 75

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Air Defence TSR2 really seems to me the wrong plane for the wrong job. The F4 Phantom and then the ADV Tornado had the right radar/missile fit at the right price.
Any TSR2s built (given their ever rising cost) could only be justified in the nuclear tactical strike role.
 

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'Any TSR2s built (given their ever rising cost) could only be justified in the nuclear tactical strike role.'

A task later assigned to the Jaguar, at a fraction of the cost.

The TSR 2 was supposed to be an all singing, all dancing aircraft – to fulfil one limited role at vast expense.
 

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'Any TSR2s built (given their ever rising cost) could only be justified in the nuclear tactical strike role.'

A task later assigned to the Jaguar, at a fraction of the cost.

The TSR 2 was supposed to be an all singing, all dancing aircraft – to fulfil one limited role at vast expense.
The role of tactical nuclear strike was then eventually taken over by the Tornado, an aircraft that could be called the spiritual successor to the TSR.2.
 

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I appreciate this is not directly relevant to this thread, but recalled having this old Air Pictorial article...
Apologies for image quality, but original file oven 9Mb and it exceeds permitted file size.

I also have another (four-part) article from 1978 which covered the original project through to cancellation...
 

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Archibald

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A number of articles have appeared recently. One by Tony Buttler and one online from an RAF writer pointing out that F111K had much better operational range than TSR2.

Technically this makes a lot of sense as a good proportion of the F111 flight ie the transit phase, can be done with the wings swept forwards. Hence the higher aspect ratio means the L/D will two to three times higher, hence the fuel used in this phase will be two to three times less. There was a good reason TSR2 basic configuration architecture was never used again;- consider also the Su24 started life as similar architecture to TSR2 and switched after a prototype had flown to a swing wing.

As much as I appreciate and respect the Olympus, it was a 50's turbojet when the TF30 - for all its flaws - was a newer turbofan (created for the F6D Missileer circa 1960). It probably helped cutting fuel consumption. With its wings unswept and its pair of turbofan,the F-111 was more akin to a freakkin' airliner...
 

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Just found the Lo-Lo range for TSR-2 and it's less than I thought. 800 miles. Blimey, well I suppose it would do at a pinch but nothing like others around.
 

kaiserbill

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Foo Fighter, I suspect that is Lo-lo radius-of-action of 800 miles, not range.
Pirate Pete, whilst that is an interesting article which brings up some valid points, the term "rose-tinted glasses" springs to mind, to put it mildly!

Edit: Yes, it appears it was 800 miles radius of action low level carrying only a 2000 lb load on internal fuel only.
As specified originally.
But I am not sure whether this specification was reduced later?
 
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zen

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I once had the requirement for tje most demanding aspect....i think it was from Plane Speaking by Bill Gunston....
The final 200nm toward target was at 100ft, at 100nm 50ft which might have been final fix to correct INS by SLAR matching known geography on a moving map. Then nothing, but INS and a dash to Mach 1.2 over the target.
800nm lo-lo-lo would be RoA.
Hi-lo-lo-lo-hi would be 1000nm RoA
Hi all the way in ferry woild give a range of 3000nm, suggesting a RoA hi of maximum 1,500nm.
 

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