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British AEW Projects

PMN1

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When the UK decided to develop an AEW version of the Nimrod, was there any attempt to make a copy of the Hawkeye and Sentry but with British developed mast mounted rotating radar and computers or did the designers go straight to the fore and aft mounted radars?

There is an interesting history of the program on this site.

http://www.spyflight.co.uk/Nim%20aew.htm
 

Jemiba

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According to Derek Woods "Project Cancelled", the RAF prefered the E-3 and
its associated system from the start, but the government decided to develop
the Nimrod derivative with its Marconi radar. Looks like a typical political decision
to support the indigenous industry, although there seems to have been a preference
for the system with fore and aft antennas, instead of dorsal radomes, as the proposal
for the AEW aircraft for the CVA-01 carrier, the HS. 139B was fitted with this type of
radar, too (and probably built by Marconi, too, but that's not mentioned explicitly by
D.Wood) .
But as we are once again talking about Marconi AEW radars and there are several new
members here in the meantime, I would like to ask again, if someone has information
about an AEW version of the french/german Transall, fitted with the same radar as the
BAe Nimrod AEW ?
 

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Sentinel Chicken

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I am under the impression that fore and aft antenna configuration is actually better than the rotodome configuration for an AEW aircraft but what killed the Nimrod AEW was the integration of the information from the fore and aft antennas?
 

Jemiba

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Yes, that what I read, too . And I think,you're probably right about the benefits of
the fore and aft antenna configuration. At least there should be nod shaded
areas and in a relatively large aircraft maybe even aerodynamic integration
is easier.
 

PMN1

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Jemiba said:
Yes, that what I read, too . And I think,you're probably right about the benefits of
the fore and aft antenna configuration. At least there should be nod shaded
areas and in a relatively large aircraft maybe even aerodynamic integration
is easier.

Like a VC-10 or a B707?
 

Golfus

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The fore and aft radar scanners layout has been chosen by IAI for the Phalcon system (with aditional lateral units) and you can read about an A310 AEW aircraft fitted with de Nimrod AEW system in Bill Gunston´s "Warplanes of the Future". I will try to scan a drawing of this proposal, wich I find really interesting (the A310 is obviously a much better airframe than de Nimrod).
 

Jemiba

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And I'm desperately searching for a C-130 proposal, I've found not long ago,
but can't find again ... ::)
The arrangement was similar as it probably would have been on the Transall.
 

Antonio

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And I'm desperately searching for a C-130 proposal, I've found not long ago,
but can't find again ...

Jens,
I have seen this C-130 AEW version too in one of Bill Gunston's book? I'll try to post that pic tonight
 

Antonio

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That's the promissed pic ;D

From Gunston's "Warplanes of the future"
 

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Jemiba

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Thank you very much ! As the shape and dimensions of the fuselages of the
Herk and the Trall are quite similar, I think, I can't be too wrong, if I copy
this arrangement to the Transall fuselage.
Or better, I've probably made much bigger mistakes in the past ... ;)
 

PMN1

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Jemiba said:
for the AEW aircraft for the CVA-01 carrier, the HS. 139B was fitted with this type of
radar, too (and probably built by Marconi, too, but that's not mentioned explicitly by
D.Wood) .

Presumably with beefed up undercarriage to support carrier landings?
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Theres an article on AEW in one of my many Air Internationals by Mike Hurst which had drawings of a whole host of different UK AEW projects like HS.139. I'll try and find it.
 

Antonio

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Jens,

I have found some info about UK AEW program on "From Spitfire to Eurofighter" by Roy Boot. Airlife. ISBN 1 85310 093 5.
Pages 34 to 37.

The Mushroom and rotodome was considered in the HS.748 and Nimrod while the fore and aft scanners was also proposed for the Jet Andover as a cheaper solution to the Nimrod platform.

The Jet Andover looks the same as the Nimrod and Hercules so, I think you can produce a Transall AEW by the simple addition of the fore and aft bulbs, and it should look very close to the real thing
 

Mike Pryce

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Some pics of the Andover AEW proposal from c.1966. The model is now at BAE Systems Warton Heritage Centre. The engines were RR Trent 3 spool turbofans (not today's engine of that name), about 10,000lb thrust. Apparently with the end of Far East ops there would be spare Andovers for conversion, but it seems the proposal's only advantage was low cost.
 

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Mike Pryce

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Early studies leading to the P.139 looked at other radome configs. Apparently there was also a look at an AEW Buccaneer, which initially would have had SLAR type radar in the weapons bay, or a retractable or even inflatable radome in the weapons bay. The absence of fore-aft radar coverage from these led to a look at radomes in the nose and tail, their first such use. However, they would need to be too big, leading on to the P.139 'portly' fuselage.

The P.139 was to use two RB.172 engines, related to the later Adour. It was aimed at cruising very slowly, only 1.2 time stalling speed but needed jets as the proposed FMICW radar would not like props. Wind tunnel tests showed handling would have been awful.

A carrier on-board delivery version was also proposed, for either freight or people.

The model shown is the final version of the P.139. Others are earlier.
 

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Mike Pryce

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The RN and HSA investigated a HS125 variant with a radome over the fuselage for carrier use, pre-P139.

Also considered later for RAF use, alongside the AEW Andover, were versions of the BAC 111 and the projected HS144 feederliner, part of the studies that led to the HS.146
 

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Mike Pryce

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The preferred UK AEW for the RAF was always the Nimrod as it was big and in production. In 1966 studies looked at various radar options, but lack of money delayed it.

All of the above comes from 'Airborne Early Warning, design, development and operations' by Mike Hirst, Osprey, 1983.
 

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hesham

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Hi,

AEW aircraft
 

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Mike Pryce

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Of course, India flew an AEW HS.748.

I also recall seeing a line drawing of a BAe ATP with fore and aft radomes in Flight or Air International from the mid/late 1980s. Doubt it was big enough for the Nimrod's system - perhaps the EMI Skymaster?
 

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TinWing

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harrier said:
Early studies leading to the P.139 looked at other radome configs. Apparently there was also a look at an AEW Buccaneer, which initially would have had SLAR type radar in the weapons bay, or a retractable or even inflatable radome in the weapons bay. The absence of fore-aft radar coverage from these led to a look at radomes in the nose and tail, their first such use. However, they would need to be too big, leading on to the P.139 'portly' fuselage.

The P.139 was to use two RB.172 engines, related to the later Adour. It was aimed at cruising very slowly, only 1.2 time stalling speed but needed jets as the proposed FMICW radar would not like props. Wind tunnel tests showed handling would have been awful.

A carrier on-board delivery version was also proposed, for either freight or people.

The model shown is the final version of the P.139. Others are earlier.

It is interesting to see that all P.139 variants retained the same wing planform, despite the varying high, mid and low wing configurations. The turboprop variants appear to have used the Dart turboprop, at least judging by the shape of the engine nascelles?

We any weights or dimensions given for the various P.139 design options?
 

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harrier said:
The RN and HSA investigated a HS125 variant with a radome over the fuselage for carrier use, pre-P139.

There also was a proposed AEW variant of the standard Avro 748, with a similar radome shape and twin tail. I'll see if I can find a side profile in a day or two.

Do you have any additional details or specs on the HS125.

What engine did it use?

harrier said:
Also considered later for RAF use, alongside the AEW Andover, were versions of the BAC 111 and the projected HS144 feederliner, part of the studies that led to the HS.146

Isn't it amazing the eventual BAe146 preserved the same wing planform as the HS144, despite the shift from an aft engined, low wing twin to a high wing with 4 underslung engines?
 

Mike Pryce

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Designing a wing to do a specific job, on planes of similar weights, mean you get similar wing planforms. However, as the t/c ratios, sections etc. are not clear it does not mean they are necessarily so similar.

No more info on the HS125, I am afraid. However, the engines seem to be Vipers but with larger generators/accessories leading to bigger nacelles.

No data on the P.139 to hand. Anyone got Project Cancelled or Roy Boot's book handy?
 

hesham

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Excuse me dear overscan,

I found that page in Project Cancelled,
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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P.139

Basic Weight: 28,000lb
Takeoff Weight: 40,000lb
Wing Span: 61 ft
Wing area: 500 sq ft
Engines: 2 x Rolls-Royce Trents, 9,980lb (3 spool design)

Rolls-Royce abandoned the Trent in 1965, and this contributed to the death of the project.

The selection of FMICW meant that the turboprop concepts were unworkable.

(Roy Boot - Spitfire to Eurofighter)
 

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harrier said:
No more info on the HS125, I am afraid. However, the engines seem to be Vipers but with larger generators/accessories leading to bigger nacelles.

A decade old Air Internation article on the the HS125 (and later Hawker 800) makes reference to a COD (carrier onboard delivery) variant. The article does mention inflight refueling, but doesn't offer any other details - and there are no images.

A Viper-engined carrier-based HS125 would seem to be a bit underpowered, but only from a modern perspective. For instance, the Douglas Skynight would have seemed profoundly underpowered by today's standards.
 

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Andover AEW
 

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smurf said:
Andover AEW

Oh that is one fuggly bird... Theres a little more info about it in Roy Boots rather wonderful book "Spitfire to Eurofighter"

Zeb
 

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Given the number of designs that an AEW version has been proposed for i'm a bit surprised that there doesn't seem to be any drawings of AEW VC-10's - was the VC-10 ever considered?
 

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PMN1 said:
Given the number of designs that an AEW version has been proposed for i'm a bit surprised that there doesn't seem to be any drawings of AEW VC-10's - was the VC-10 ever considered?

The VC-10 was altogether larger than the Nimrod/Comet, and considering that the avionics package for the Nimrod AEW was originally conceived for the carrier-based P.139, a 40,000lb MTOW airframe, it is easy to appreciate why the UK didn't consider an AWACS sized airframe for what started as a Hawkeye AEW system.
 

hesham

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Hi,

the Gruman Nimrod/Hawkeye configuration of 1986.

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1986/1986%20-%201101.html?search=nimrod%20AEW
 

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thefrecklepuny

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Regarding the P.139, a couple of questions. Firstly, how many crew members was it to carry? Secondly, apart from the pilot and co-pilot, where did the crew reside? In the cockpit area behind the pilot and co-pilot (if so, what sits in the fuselage, avionics?) or the fuselage (a la E-2)? Fantastic scan by the way!

TIA
 

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Curious business the engine choices. I guess the 'Trent' by RR was 'modern' and likely RR expected to get help funding it once it was part of a military project.

But it does pose the question why they did'nt just opt for a straight through variant of the Pegasus for the P.139. I guess Bristol was just not favoured.

While the HS125 would seem a more logical machine for the RB.153 'jet', and indeed the later RB.172 Adour.
 

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harrier said:
The RN and HSA investigated a HS125 variant with a radome over the fuselage for carrier use, pre-P139.

Also considered later for RAF use, alongside the AEW Andover, were versions of the BAC 111 and the projected HS144 feederliner, part of the studies that led to the HS.146


Does anyone have a 3-view and specifications of the related HS125 COD proposed for CVA.01?


Thank you.
 

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Does anybody know what the RB number was for the Trent that was the suggested power plant for the P.139B? I keep seeing references to it as a suggested power plant for the F-228 and HS.136 but i can not find an RB number for it!
 

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harrier said:
The preferred UK AEW for the RAF was always the Nimrod as it was big and in production. In 1966 studies looked at various radar options, but lack of money delayed it.

All of the above comes from 'Airborne Early Warning, design, development and operations' by Mike Hirst, Osprey, 1983.


Just a quick question, I am assuming that the version of the Nimrod with the 14ft scanner mounted on a pylon above the fuselage would have had a rotating antennae?
 

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Here's something from Air International, circa 1983. I think I downloaded it from somewhere else on this site.
 

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sealordlawrence said:
Does anybody know what the RB number was for the Trent that was the suggested power plant for the P.139B? I keep seeing references to it as a suggested power plant for the F-228 and HS.136 but i can not find an RB number for it!

RB 172 according to Hirst's book

You'll find a lot more info in Chris Gibson's Admiralty & AEW due out in the next week or two.
As for the RAF we'll have to wait on the follow on title Air Staff & AEW due later in the year
Geoff
 

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