CLEARANCE: Top Secret
- Apr 22, 2012
- Reaction score
I don't deny that my proposed scenario requires the RAF, with Duncan Sandys still as Minuster of Defence, to pursue a much heavier and much more capable aircraft and at a higher cost, in place of the Hunter FGA.9/FR.10. Its more about the timing for me, as Paul points out in his book, the P.1121 is really contemporaneous with the F-105 and F-107 rather than the P.1154 or Spey Phantom and is a mid-1950s design. With the Conway 31R, recognising that would need development, it would have been tuned as strike/tactical fighter that could have optimistically been in production around 1960. The various VG studies don't really mature until the early 1960s, there was probably 6-8 years between them and the P.1121; they always seem to have been considered as a prospect for the 1970s. The main competitor probably would have been a Lightning variant, perhaps bringing forward the heavier external loads the Saudis got. The P.1121 being procured in the late 1950s would have removed the need for the P.1154 programme for the RAF.It probably was the only likely opening for the P.1121.
But the concern with cost was real, the existence of the Gnat and Jet Provost show how the RAF were looking at anything cheap that could lob a couple of 3in rockets into caves and the odd 1,000lb bomb onto a wadi. The P.1121 is rather advanced for that, but if the RAF marry up the dots between the Aden need and the requirements that led to P.1154 then it should have been 'bingo'!
That brings up a tasty scenario of HSA offering a P.1121 and BAC hitting back with a single-engine VG-wing design like Type 583.