DeHaviland triumphs?

zen

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By the early 50's, it looked like DeHaviland had won the lottery.
Comet Airliner, Vixen FAW, new supersonic sll steel turbojet, the more successful IR AAM effort that resulted in Firestreak.
But in rapid succession it all came crashing (literally) down and in taking on the monsterously resource hogging needs of the IRBM effort DH ended up being taken over.

But what if.....?
Geoffrey DeHaviland survives the crash in 1946?

Could DH's chief test pilot and son take on a more managerial role?

Maybe his brother instead who dies in I think 1943?

Could he oppose rushing the Comet Airliner?
DH had concerns, they had asked to delay.....
What happens if Comet isn't so flawed and doesn't crash so catastrophically?

Could he drive the DH.110 to success? The delays had the RAF walk away to Glosters.

What if the Vixen could keep the RAF onboard?

Crucially, could he overrule DH Props and D.Sandy's request to develop the IRBM?

Could DH and AirCo have succeeded?
 

Hood

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That's a lot of questions.

Could he oppose rushing the Comet Airliner?
DH had concerns, they had asked to delay..
Maybe but the MoS and Government were in a rush to beat the world. It was a rush but a 4-year proving programme wasn't exactly a drawing board to bums-on-seats 2-year development programme some of the US companies were pulling out with their late piston-era airliners.
Even if they had an extra year to test what would it have shown? Would that time have made the engineers think "hmmm those square windows might be tricky" or "let's double up that skin around the radio mast" and then justify a further 12-18 month design and production delay while BOAC cooks up another Stratoliner/Connie order? Probably not.
And even if the prototype fleet had amassed enough cycles for the metal fatigue issue to occur, the sight of a prototype Comet vanishing into fragments would have been a show-stopping killer like the DH.110 ploughing into a Farnborough crowd.

What happens if Comet isn't so flawed and doesn't crash so catastrophically?
Assuming Geoff Jnr provides enough insight to rectify or avoid the metal fatigue issue (a big if), then the Comet 2 might have been reasonably successful to chalk up at least 50-70 orders I would think but the longer-ranged Comet 3 would seem indispensable to get the order book closer to 150 airframes. Probably means no Comet 4 though, might be wise to skip ahead to the Comet 5.
I doubt you would get more than 150 early-gen Comets, most airlines that did order were ordering in small penny packets of 3-5 airframes each, US carriers might order in slightly higher numbers but at some point they would face pressure from US manufacturers to buy US.
It would probably kill the Britannia though given how late it was.

Could he drive the DH.110 to success? The delays had the RAF walk away to Glosters.
What if the Vixen could keep the RAF onboard?
Gloster is offering a Dan Dare delta though, makes the Jet Jockeys look cooler, even if the wing is a thick as a doorstopper cheese sarnie.
In a time of financial stringency I can't see the Air Min/MoS letting the only potential operational British delta fighter languishing over DH stacked up with Vampire/Venom/Comet work.
More profitable would be to persuade the Admiralty to stop dicking about and order the Sea Vixen in 1950.

Crucially, could he overrule DH Props and D.Sandy's request to develop the IRBM?
Missiles = the future and money though, no point wasting effort on Stevenage if you're just tinkering with IR-guided AAMs, especially when Sandys just killed off any future need for fighters with AAMs...
Arguably Sandys should have had more sense than to order an IRBM from a company who only had limited missile experience of one line of missile product - Firestreak/Red Top. A bit like ordering an F1 racer from Reliant...

Could DH and AirCo have succeeded?
You mean the full-size DH.127? Possibly, maybe Geoff Jnr could talk Sholto-Douglas into sense and avoid the trimming. Should get 200-250 orders in an ideal world.

But at the end of the day rationalisation always means merger with someone. DH-EE or DH-Vickers or DH-HSA.
 

Archibald

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Blue Streak consisted of a partnership with Convair to build a two-engine Atlas little brother, with all the ultra advanced technologies along it: balloon tanks, Pratt kerolox rocket engines...
Back in 1955 it was a rather triumphant way to enter the space age. I can't see how DH could have resisted this.
To their credit, ballistic missile development went from
- Atlas (kerolox, meh)
- to Titan II (storables, better, but still meh)
- to Minuteman (solid fuel, good, but silos are vulnerable !)
- to Polaris (put them into giant nuclear subs, you dummy)
... in merely four years: 1956-1960.
 
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zen

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150 Comets isn't bad and does mean a revenue stream into DH. What comes after would be interesting.

Certainly ordering Sea Vixen ought to have happened earlier than OTL. 1950 might be pushing it....1952 more likely.

You have a point that flush with more Comet work DH might be unable to actually continue on the DH110 and so either Glosters or Hawkers submissions would move forward.....
Would be interesting if Hawkers got that....

I wasn't really thinking of the F.155 or OR.346 proposals. So much as just AirCo's potential ability to fund next generation airliners like the DH.121 etc.....

Though considering how far Saro's P.177 had gotten. I do wonder if AirCo might drive forward the completion of a prototype.....and possibly see a turnaround by government after 1958 to 1960.
Possibly Saro/DH-Christchurch might be retained for fighters and rockets.

Equally, without the IRBM, sucking attention away. (Possibly bringing D.Sandys into a major fight with EE)
It might have been possible to realise SARH Blue Dolphin AAM.

And in turn, led by DH, AirCo continuing as a rival to BAC and HSA into the 60's and possibly beyond.
 

Archibald

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Sea Vixen entering service in 1954 rather than 1959 (facepalm) certainly would help.
Vixen was a terrific aircraft, in stark contrast with Gloser Drag Queen Javelin.
 

riggerrob

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What if an airline mechanic noticed cracks around Comet windows early in service life?
... but before any Comets fell out of the sky?
Finding a early "fix" would save dozens of lives and prolong Comet production.
 

red admiral

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What difference does it really make though for some more Comets? Feels very unrealistic to get anywhere close to 707 numbers, and no one's going to be fitting Conway's to them down the line.

Does dH a bit more flush with cash from Comet sales really make them ignore BEA calls to resize the 121? Or does this then make BEA cancel?
 

Archibald

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I'm going to take a lot of flak over this, but the real missed opportunity never was the Comet: it was the VC-7 (I KNOW it was overweight !)
 

Hood

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What if an airline mechanic noticed cracks around Comet windows early in service life?
... but before any Comets fell out of the sky?
I'm not sure the nature of the fatigue would have allowed for that.

Even if it had, grounding all the Comets then in operation and taking them for partial rebuild and stopping the production line would still be bad for business and publicity. Airlines would lose money and confidence to some extent.

I still have a sneaking suspicion that DH were too enamoured with Redux bonding for their own good. I am still to be convinced that they had enough experience with all metal airframes to really equip them for the jet age. The Albatross-Mossie-Hornet-Vampire-Venom wooden wonders were successful in their own right but a modern stressed-skin monocoque metal airframe suitable for high-performance stresses was fairly alien to them. I'm not saying that they were incompetent but they may have missed too many details for lack of familiarity - the Comet, DH.108 and DH.110 all came apart at certain stresses and given Zen's opening post we can't overlook the irony connected with the cause of Geoffrey Jnr's demise.

I'm going to take a lot of flak over this, but the real missed opportunity never was the Comet: it was the VC-7 (I KNOW it was overweight !)
*Hurls mid-war Luftwaffe levels of FlaK at Archibald*

Yeah maybe..... if an aircraft designed for lugging spare Avons, Landrovers and troops to sunnier climes is really suitable for lugging well-heeled passengers over the North Atlantic.
Even Boeing had to redesign the KC-135 for passenger use. Vickers (and the MoS and BOAC) didn't have the kind of money for retooling a new VC.7 with wider fuselage and weight removal, nor the patience for the 3-4 year delay that might have entailed.
 

pathology_doc

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Equally, without the IRBM, sucking attention away. (Possibly bringing D.Sandys into a major fight with EE)
It might have been possible to realise SARH Blue Dolphin AAM.
I've always thought it was a mystery that neither Sea Vixen nor Javelin was ever considered for a SARH missile. Sea Vixen 2 got Red Top to give it some head-on capability, but it's a surprise that the Javelin, which certainly had room for an illuminating radar (unlike the Lightning) not only never got a SARH missile but was also never updated to Red Top.
 

zen

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Equally, without the IRBM, sucking attention away. (Possibly bringing D.Sandys into a major fight with EE)
It might have been possible to realise SARH Blue Dolphin AAM.
I've always thought it was a mystery that neither Sea Vixen nor Javelin was ever considered for a SARH missile. Sea Vixen 2 got Red Top to give it some head-on capability, but it's a surprise that the Javelin, which certainly had room for an illuminating radar (unlike the Lightning) not only never got a SARH missile but was also never updated to Red Top.
Errr they were.
Blue Dolphin, and Red Dean.
 

red admiral

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No SARH missiles in service until Phantom comes along in 1969? By when both Sea Vixen and Javelin are gone or on their way out.

Maybe could have bought Sparrows earlier? Would it really have made Sea Vixen or Javelin much better?
 

zen

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Welll F.177 was supposed to IOC something like 1960?
F.155 was supposed to be 1962.
P.1154 was to have completed delivery by 1968.

So until 1964, no one expected either Sea Vixen or Javelin to last much longer.

Even after switching to F4K, deliveries were expected to be quicker than P.1154.

Must have been a very frustrating and tense time. After all Soviet AShM displayed 1963 has put a poker under the need for much improved air defence aircraft systems.
 

red admiral

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I can see Sparrow on P.1154 as being an earlier option for a SARH weapon but that feels about it?
 

zen

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No there were two seeker options for Radar Red Top by then and new liquid motor option.
 

Archibald

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Sparrow before the -F on F-15 was one big piece of junk. Well most AAMs before 1982 were good for nothing...
 

alertken

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Boeing and DH marched historically so in step. Boeing's launch was metal structure/DH.9*. Both became diversified Enterprises, Boeing in hydrofoil, a/c spanning Stearmen- 2707 SST; DH in engines/props/Tape Recorded Automatic Test Eqpt, a/c spanning Moths-Comets. Fate could have caused DH to be of Boeing's current stature...if 2 decisions had varied: Convair B-32 Dominator, not Boeing B-29 (and that was driven by (to be AiResearch) pressurisation); and solid fuel IR/ICBMs, 1955-ish. Boeing could so easily not have flourished on Minutemen.

But...as I constantly blether: Luck! If the better 4-motor piston Heavy-house, Convair, had made a better B-32...Boeing would not have secured the B-47-B-52-KC-135 run that founded Commercial Airplane; and if the nexus, silo+solid, had differed, Convair, again, would have Dominated Defense & Space, maybe absorbing NAA/MDC...Boeing. GD 1950s was the better-financed business - Electric Boat.

What dished DH, in business terms, was Succession Planning+Business Strategy Planning as genius founder Sir Geo.DH looked to retire, 1954-ish. By then Boeing was run by businessmen - suits, not geniuses. That co-incided with the Weapon System: no Aero visionary has ever understood the Weapon System concept because it demotes the aircraft to mere platform. Sparks Rule OK! Sir Geo DH tolerated his Props MD, AVM Sir Ralph Sorley (he, 1936, of 2 secs/200yds/8x.303), getting into IR/AAM and then urging DH to step into the MRBM rejected by sensible suits Nelsons, at EE. Such kit should be in Arsenals/Ordnance Factories, not in businesses in competitive markets, responding to many Customers' needs. DH simply under-resourced the MRBM because Directors did not understand it. Boeing differed.

Blue Streak+the overseas businesses, plus techno-evolution remote from the experience of Seniors of fabric vintage, proved to be beyond the managerial span of DH Seniors. Boeing was run by suits treating the enterprise as a business like any other, but with one feature missing in DH: readiness to put their own money at risk where the team, suits+engineers, saw opportunity. 707 from KC-135, then 747 from nothing were launched PV, Bet the Co. Odd. DH was family-owned/controlled; Boeing was a quoted Co risking investors' assets, but whose Managers commanded owners' trust.

(* corrected 29/4: DH.4M)
 
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Archibald

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If you want to derail Minuteman in a rather spectacular way, I have the HALL brothers for you.

Edward, born 1914, single-handedly sold the Minuteman concept to Schriever SAMSO self obsessed with B-70s, Atlas and Titans.

Theodore, born 1925, was nothing less than a Manhattan project spy - just like Klaus Fuchs, except he was never caught - despite Angleton and Hoover best efforts. And he was still partially active in the 1950's when his brother became "Mr Minuteman".


 

red admiral

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I find it difficult to see dH being similar in scale to current Boeing without them somehow selling very large numbers to the massive US military and then civil market as a non US company from the 1950s onwards.

Maybe only way is that UK doesn't share/export jet engines or jet engine technology to the US? But that's a lot less dollars flowing into RR, Bristol etc
 

Hood

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I am not sure I entirely buy Ken's take on Convair Vs Boeing. Yes the B-29 created a dynasty of its own (29-50-54) but Convair had the B-36. Had they gone for a fresh design for the XB-60 things might have worked out differently and we might still have an AH B-60 in service today. I can't see anyone else getting the B-47 contract though and certainly Convair couldn't do 36 and 47 at the same time. And really the B-47 was the transformational moment for Boeing in terms of orders, production work and technical knowledge.
Without the B-47 there might not have been the basis to apply the swept-wing and underwing nacelles for a tanker/transport so successfully.

The 737 was also a complete gamble, if Lufthansa hadn't taken the bait the whole 737 family may never have happened...

But yes, red admiral hits the nail on the head - in terms of productive capacity and order books, DH trails Boeing. Plus, if we take my wooden criticisms a bit further, when Boeing were building the Model 229, DH's largest aircraft was the DH.86 Express...
 

zen

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So solid rocket is not prohibited. UK technology and chemistry is upto the task. Something dealt with in another of my threads with excellent contributions from those in the know.
(Including compact lightweight Granit future reference)

Potentially DH121 might have been the gamble on company finance. Which also drives Medway over reduced size version Spey.
Medway continues - throws lower s.f.c powerplant to OR.339 and lowers fuel fraction/volume.
Also SAAB System 37 engine and HS.681 engine option.
Opens Type 584 powerplant in more developed state.

Does a UK engine increase yje attractiveness of Swedish System 37?

In theory....
HS.681 can simply switch to straight through Medways. As was, the use of switch in deflection was the basis of RR's funded prototype.
RR can offer Medway variant P.1154....Hawkers won't be enthusiastic though.

And a marine Medway might pip Olympus as a GT for ships.

But all this is in the world of DH doing well. So arguably Gyron could offer a quick and dirty (higher s.f.c) solution.
Could DH engine some V-Bombers with it under some fixed price deal?
Could they beat Bristol and RR to marine GTs?
Could DH develop a turbofan out of Gyron Junior?
 
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pathology_doc

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Equally, without the IRBM, sucking attention away. (Possibly bringing D.Sandys into a major fight with EE)
It might have been possible to realise SARH Blue Dolphin AAM.
I've always thought it was a mystery that neither Sea Vixen nor Javelin was ever considered for a SARH missile. Sea Vixen 2 got Red Top to give it some head-on capability, but it's a surprise that the Javelin, which certainly had room for an illuminating radar (unlike the Lightning) not only never got a SARH missile but was also never updated to Red Top.
Errr they were.
Blue Dolphin, and Red Dean.
Okay, I spoke loosely. Considered they may have been, but nothing ever came close to eventuating.
 

zen

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Okay, I spoke loosely. Considered they may have been, but nothing ever came close to eventuating.
Welll......the more accurate statement might be along the lines of breadboard setups and issues with illuminator injection during the 50's on both AI.18 and AI.23. That was Blue Dolphin. So less issues with the seeker, missile but lots with guidance the radar.

Seems they solved this in theory and had theoretical models for new SARH seekers by the early 60’s. Likely reflecting a lot better understanding about guidance installation on the AI sets.
But less funded hardware, beyond the true Next Generation system around FMICW that resulted in the A5 seeker tests and the polyrod seeker that started life for Seaslug mkIII (which became NIGS) and ended up on Sea Dart.

We also know FMCW seeker work was funded for SAMs earlier.

So work was there, but extent aircraft were not expected to be worth SARH missiles as an effort and the aircraft that were worth it got cancelled (1957) or put off (OR.346 to AW.406 to AFVG to UKVG to MRCA-ADV).

Now has DH funded through to Blue Dolphin.......it's a quick and dirty solution to RAF needs.
 
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