Britain cancels Concorde


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Jun 4, 2006
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According to 'Stuck on the drawing board', the UK tried to cancel Concorde a number of times in its early days but couldn't due to the way the contract had been written.

If it had been able to cancel the aircraft, could France have picked up the whole cost of the programme and if so what does that do for its funding of other aviation projects?

How much money would the UK have saved had it been able to cancel the aircraft and what would have been the chances of it being spent on other aviation projects?


ACCESS: Above Top Secret
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Jun 6, 2006
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Yes! This happened various times...
To say the things simply, they forget to talk about cancellation in the contract! I mean, the clause dealing with cancellation was forgotten... aso the program was "sanctuarised" (don't know if this is a correct word!)

Cancellation was (of course!) possible, but this would have broken the "rules" defined in the contract. Consequences would have been awfull (financial penalties, trials, industrial disaster and stuff like this). Even worse than the TSR-2 cancellation, simply because GB was not alone making concorde... and France at the time was ruled by De Gaulle. Be sure that repraisals would have been terrible).

For example, when Wilson came to power in October 1964, he had to make drastic cuts. First move was to cancell Concorde (announced in early november) but one of his advisors tell him this was not possible. Guess what aircraft was sacrificed instead ? :'(
The TRS-2 !

Had the Concorde been cancelled in October 1964, maybe the TSR-2 could have survived...

I think there was another atempt circa 1966 (not sure).

France could have not kept on alone. The program was already a financial burden, and the "cour des comptes" (french GAO) was sceptic right from 1967...


The hardest word to define is 'Normal'
Jan 14, 2007
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Actually, Wilson already had his heart set on canceling the TSR.2 from the beginning. He was campaining on it. So, it is unlikely it would have been saved. The Concorde was about the only thing he Couldn't cancel. He wanted to buy American, what ever the cost to the UK aircraft industry would have been. He had no intention of saving it. Concorde was the only thing that managed to slip through. It could almost be viewed as a symbol of defience against him, that he was not as all powerful as he thought, and they would survive, albiet a shell of what it used to be and could have been. Had Concorde been canceled, I doubt there would have been anything left, other than firms to provide maintainance and license build US aircraft.


ACCESS: Confidential
Mar 25, 2012
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Great article on the bbc website today - could Concorde ever fly again? Some interesting conclusions.

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