- 27 December 2005
- Reaction score
British Secret Projects Volume Four (BSP4) covers the guided weapon, ramjet and air-breathing hypersonic research work carried out in the UK. To cover every aspect of this work would require a massive tome and unrestricted access to company archives. Neither of these is currently possible; particularly archive access in the field of guided weapons for obvious reasons.
BSP4 represents the first attempt outside the academic field to tell the story of the United Kingdom’s work in these areas. In particular the early history of British guided weapons development in World War Two, the role of the test vehicle in missile development and Britain’s development of high-speed propulsion systems are described.
Projects that appeared in previous publications and articles as tantalising code-names and designations, for example Ben, Blue Envoy, Green Cheese and PT.428, are described and illustrated for the first time. Many of the accepted truths of British guided weapons such as the effectiveness of the UK deterrent and Sandys’ love affair with missiles are looked at and found wanting. Current weapons and projects that are covered more than adequately in previous work are not looked at in depth unless new material has come to light.
In the hypersonic field, BSP4 looks at Mach=3+ work by Hawker with the P.1134, English Electric / BAC P.42 and Hawker Siddeley Aviation’s APD.1019 studies. None of these could have been carried out without propulsion systems and BSP4 describes the work carried out by Bristol / Bristol Siddeley on their ramjets and Rolls-Royce et al on turbo-rockets.
BSP4 grew out of the Skomer Projects website (no longer updated and much of the material found to be inaccurate during research for BSP4), long-term research on UK hypersonic aircraft and articles written for Air Pictorial and Air Britain. There was also a desire to accompany Tony Buttler’s work on aircraft studies with information on the weapons these aircraft would have carried had everything proceeded as planned. Air-breathing, high-speed aircraft and their powerplant were pretty much a British affair for a decade from 1957, but this has been more or less ignored until now.
So, that’s a very concise outline of BSP4. I hope you like what you’ve seen here and look forward to the book.
(via Tony Buttler)