British AEW Projects

It's a long time ago, but if I recall correctly from researching the Flight article, because of volume constraints inside the Nimrod they had to split the transmitter into two, one for the forward antenna and one for the rear. Because this type of radar relies on a very stable reference frequency to detect Doppler shifts, that led to challenges correlating returns from the forward and aft radars to produce a single coherent track. Not the Nimrod AEW's sole problem, but one of them - again if I recall correctly
 
It's a long time ago, but if I recall correctly from researching the Flight article, because of volume constraints inside the Nimrod they had to split the transmitter into two, one for the forward antenna and one for the rear. Because this type of radar relies on a very stable reference frequency to detect Doppler shifts, that led to challenges correlating returns from the forward and aft radars to produce a single coherent track. Not the Nimrod AEW's sole problem, but one of them - again if I recall correctly
Meanwhile, perfectly good Super VC-10s with far larger internal cabin volume were being turned into tankers... by the RAF.
(facepalm)
 
In the 1984 RAF Year Book, there's a fairly comprehensive article on the Nimrod AEW. There's a cutaway drawing which must be a Flight one and is drawn from the quarter front view and very similar to the quarter rear view in the article Paul posted.

There is also a Marconi advert included which many here may remember too. I have an Airfix Nimrod and a Cammett AEW conversion set and also some FASS domes created by Harro (hobbes) to build the BAe 844 at the bottom on the advert (which is a work-in-progress).
 

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The saga of Lord Weinstock and his management of GEC Marconi is relevant here. This huge company manufactured a whole range of radar and communications equipment and rivaled British Aerospace in the 80s as a key UK Defence Contractor.
As Jeremy Clarkson frequently puts it "That went well then.."
 
Slightly tangential:
I was flicking through this thread's thumbnail pics, went, "Ooh, look at the size of that under-slung rota--"
Huh ?
It was the model's stand...
 
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.
That is one chunky airplane... poor pilots!

Not to mention the stresses of cruising around probably 40knots over stall speed...
 
Its really just a very high and slow moving location for a shipborne radar. At some point you cut your losses and just use a tethered balloon.

A practical enough solution at “less than 10 knots” while being towed by a glorified oil field support vessel. It’s been done with reasonable success. Obviously, fine for the Caribbean and would have worked in the Med (outside of the bad weather months) and year around East of Suez. Maybe would have worked some of the year for the Beira Patrol and definitely for American carriers on Yankee and Dixie Stations off Vietnam. Not so sure about NATO’s northern flank? And obviously, how do you keep up with a carrier group when you have a 12 knot transit speed? Pre-positioning? The concept cropped up in a British study about a decade ago, conceptualizing purpose built aerostat ships.

Anyway, the definitive information on America’s 1980s Tethered Aerostat ships:

 
And obviously, how do you keep up with a carrier group when you have a 12 knot transit speed?
Tow it with a faster ship, of course. You could tow a pretty big streamlined balloon behind a frigate, at the expense of operating a helicopter. Even the ZPG-3W only had ~3,000 horsepower, which is a fraction of the engine output of a decent sized warship.
 

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