uk 75

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The thread about the V Force has shown how brilliant some of the researchers here are at providing us with material unique to this site. So as we are still a bit limited in where and what we can do this Summer, I am adding the subject which has cropped up in many other threads: RAF Fighter Command after 1957.
Was it inevitable that the RAF would move to a force comprised of Lightnings and Bloodhounds after 1957?
What other options might have been followed in alt history.
My favourite whacky one is a US style force with F106 or Avro Arrow interceptors backed up by Bomarcs and Nikes as part of a huge NATO force. No, ok never going to happen.
At the other end is a missile-free world where Soviet IRBMs remain unreliable and they focus on bombers instead. Similarly, SAMs are recognised as costly, complicated and often inaccurate. The cannon armed supersonic fighter has a role to play.
Sandys and Diefenbaker?
Over to you..
 

CJGibson

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First Question - Does Suez happen?
Second question - if answer to Q1 is no, does Eden continue?
Third Question - What role does that nice Mr Sandys take on if answer to Q2 is yes? (NB, I view Sandys as Rosa Klebb to Macmillan's Blofeld, or for younger readers, Mini Me to Dr Evil)

Chris
 

alertken

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No Suez so Eden continues...awhile (it was a botched operation that (was the excuse for) resignation). Brig A.Head continues as Min of Def, Churchill's abrasive son-in-law wreaks havoc elsewhere. But...Lightnings+Bloodhounds. That was not Sandys' idea, but was CAS' acceptance of reality, after 1955 decisions to delete Conscription, delete Reserves, amid termination of US MSP Off-Shore Procurement for much of our inventory.

The Sandys-Storm is a myth...insofar as each and every cancellation, cutback, rethink would have happened under Eden+Head or any Others: I could offer for Debate that ANOther would have sunk Strike Carriers, as Sandys attempted, but was dissuaded by Mountbatten.

If no Suez, then next Q: would Sovs have shackled Hungary. That, not Suez, determined NATO Defence Budgets until U-2,May,1960. If:
NATO had rattled some Mediterranean Forces, 9-10/56...might some modest Perestroika/Prague Spring have settled the Balkans? Then...massive Defence cutbacks all round.
 

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Given Fighter Command was merged with Bomber Command in 1968 to form Strike Command, this is a narrow window for an AH, unless we monkey around with the RAF structure. Certainly any new 'fighter' project is unlikely to enter service much before the late 1960s.
(And I'm presuming you don't just want the usual "Sandys waah waah" AH stuff that we've covered a zillion times already).

I wonder whether the Air Ministry looked at an earlier merger to coincide with the 1957 planning? Might have made a few more savings and more closely integrated the structure. I'm not sure whether having a separate Fighter Command necessarily made sense post 1957.
 

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Was it inevitable that the RAF would move to a force comprised of Lightnings and Bloodhounds after 1957?
Yes and No.
Yes it was inevitable that there would be a move to a mixture of SAMs and Missile-Armed-Interceptors.
No in the specifics.

What other options might have been followed in alt history.
Depends is the short answer.
We have the somewhat deluded plans prior that led to F.155 for example, but potentially all sorts of outcomes are possible.
Fairey's Delta fighters for instance.
The whole Red Barrel concept for instance. Arguably something more productive to focus on....

Or sourcing F104 Starfighters under licence.....though arguably the F8 Crusader with Avon and then RB.106 isan interesting wildcard.
I hesitate to add US SAM systems here. It's not so simple a matter. But it isn't impossible.

Eden staying on much beyond OTL is really bound up in his health. Had he been in better health he might never have risked Suez or handled the whole affair much better.

Hungary. Wasn't going to be allowed out of Soviet grip. End if discussion really.
Suez notwithstanding, Soviet intervention was inevitable unless the actors on all sides played a blinder of a double game.
But even if Hungary could break free, risking Czechoslovakia following. It depends on Tito and Ceaucescu to make it such a steamroller that the Soviets have to back off.....likely once Poland breaks away It's triggering WWIII.
 

Nick Sumner

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What other options might have been followed in alt history.

Fix Britain's worst financial calamities post WW1.
Keep the pound off gold in '26
Fight the war you can afford when you can afford it.
Don't be in a position that you are reduced to begging and your allies can asset strip you in 1941.
Retain parts of the Empire that have enormous assets and tiny populations - get rid of everything else.
All these means you have economic clout in the post war settlement giving you far more leverage in a world that will still be economically dominated by America.
Because you have economic clout in this TL you don't have to accept all the tennets of OTL Bretton Woods and you can make sure any debt conference sees a fairer outcome than the OTL London '53 Debt Conference.
Don't have a succession of governments of all political stripes who follow an economically illiterate prices and incomes policy for nearly 35 years after the close of hostilities.

I shouldn't beat my own gong in this forum but the above (in broad outline) is pretty much the economic narrative of Drake's Drum. (Volume three, scheduled for release this month. ;))
 

uk 75

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Thanks for entering into the spirit of this thread.
It is interesting to compare the RAF in this era with the French and German Airforces.
France develops the modestly armed Mirage III and purchases US Hawk missiles rather than developing its own weapon.
Germany buys the F104 with its twin Sidewinders and a combination of Nike and Hawk systems for its SAM belt.
After the dust of 1957 settles the Lightning/Bloodhound combo compares pretty well. But getting there seems much more fraught for the UK.
The US and Canada have the luxury of F101, 102 and 106 aircraft with larger missile loads and Bomarc as well as Nike/Hawk.
 

zen

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Not really true, France works on multiple SAM missiles but drops them due to cost.

The obvious AH for the UK is Bristol not cobbling Blue Envoy technology into a modified Bloodhound.
This might see Nike or a development of Thunderbird instead.
 

pathology_doc

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Yes it was inevitable that there would be a move to a mixture of SAMs and Missile-Armed-Interceptors.
No in the specifics.
Agree.

I think there is room for the RAF and Air Ministry to wake up to themselves and realize that while the Avro Arrow doesn't meet the exacting F.155T specification, it's a Mach 2 airplane which actually exists in steel as a flying prototype, with capacity to build more. A bird in the hand is recognized as being worth two or more in the bush. Ensuring a build for both Canada and Britain saves the project and everything else can be dumped early, with the losing competitors being compensated by outsourcing of parts and systems. Britain doesn't effectively lose a complete generation of combat aircraft development.

Having a big fighter with a solid nose lets British industry think seriously about an AI radar with a SARH illuminator, and that either saves Red Dean (now as a less complicated SARH weapon, potentially much longer-ranged now that it no longer has to illuminate for itself), leads directly to Radar Blue Jay, or picks up Fairey's SARH successor to Fireflash. With an all-aspect SARH missile available, Red Top is no longer quite as necessary; effort goes into improving Firestreak rear-quarter engagement envelope and performance.

By the time GOR.339 comes around (if it does), there's a wealth of shared experience on building large, fast jet airplanes (and their engines) which smooths the development of TSR-2 (possibly utilizing Arrow fuselage experience/components with a strike-optimized wing and internal fitments). Alternatively, if Arrow comes in early enough, Lightning and all its offshoots can be dropped and English Electric thus has resources to develop the P.17 on its own or as project lead, rather than with Vickers constantly trying to impose its own airplane on the design.

With F.155T out of its hands, Fairey has resources to put into making the Delta 2 into "Britain's Mirage", to be an all-weather fighter/attack aircraft that doesn't also have to be a deep-strike interdictor or long-range high performance interceptor, so it's more appropriate for the export market. If the Government still wants to amalgamate things, there's no reason why Fairey and Gloster can't pair up on that project, as they are both heavily invested into the delta. Avro is too, of course, but Avro's main strength is in bombers and it will be asked to concentrate on the Vulcan and developments thereof.

P.1121 is pretty much dead at this point, and Hawker is instructed to evolve the Hunter design to its limits.
 

uk 75

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I am not sure about Fairey. Apart from a test machine what hardware had they built in the jet age.
The Arrow is a beautiful aircraft but it needs a reliable and available weapons system. Early Sparrows and Falcons are pretty useless. But Genie was around.
Nike is too much missile for the role of defending V Bomber bases. But Hawk has always appealed as a replacement for Thunderbird and maybe even some Bloodhound.
I like the Lightning. It has two engines and can get to its target pdq. With flight refueling needed for other RAF roles anyway the short legs dont matter so much.
I hate all the F155T designs. None of them are as timeless as Arrow.
 

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We had a twin supersonic design. The Lightning.
But sadly it wasn't The Other Lightning with side-by-side engines.
 

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I think the EE P.6 would have been a great choice, especially the P.6/1 with RB.106.

I hate all the F155T designs. None of them are as timeless as Arrow.
I know how you feel.
The RAE was convinced a Mach 2 fighter needed a straight wing, narrow fuselage and engines in nacelles. Hence why AW and Bristol were highly rated and the Type 188 was built. The RAE even went so far as to include the P.6 as a generic 'bad' design in a report.
Saro went nuts and bunged in all the thrust in the universe, Vickers went Dan Dare. DH and Hawker went conventional and sensible (which the Air Staff favoured), EECo beefed up the P.1 and Fairey beefed up the FD.2.
Had the MoD rigidly stuck to the RAE's opinion then AW would have won, as it was Fairey just pipped it.

But if we put the Arrow to one side for a moment as exhibit A, its clear F.155 sorted the wheat from the chaff in the industry. The MoS was obsessed about which firms had the skills to develop a weapons system but really they should have been worried about which firms actually had the aerodynamic skills to design a Mach 2+ all-weather interceptor. Probably only EECo, Fairey and possibly Hawker were actually capable of doing the job and its perhaps notable that Avro Canada managed a far neater design than anything than most of the UK industry managed.
 

red admiral

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The MoS was obsessed about which firms had the skills to develop a weapons system but really they should have been worried about which firms actually had the aerodynamic skills to design a Mach 2+ all-weather interceptor.

There needs to be balance across the factors though. Building a fast aeroplane isn't that useful in itself. Integration of all the elements is what is necessary.

Maybe de Havilland had the most realistic view of what was actually achievable. Delete the rocket motor and you've got your mini UK Phantom
 

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When DH came back to the topic for OR.346, their DH.127 is frankly an almost ideal solution.
Being a high delta, twin Spey, twin seater in basic form. With a ventral recession for weapons and potential pylon locations on the wing.

The additional STOL components whilst ostensibly risky and complex are not actually necessary to prove the basic aircraft and aerodynamics.

Sadly DH didn't come up with this during F.155.
Because a delta with twin RB.106 is almost the Avro Canada Arrow by default, prior to it's adoption of a local engine solution.
 

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Early Sparrows and Falcons are pretty useless.
Based on what? Their dogfight performance in Vietnam under visual rules of engagement? Apples and oranges when it comes to dealing with incoming bombers.

I am not sure about Fairey. Apart from a test machine what hardware had they built in the jet age.
You've got to start somewhere when it comes to fast jets, and an airplane that can take a world speed record is a pretty good somewhere. (They were also building the Gannet for the FAA, and had previously built the FD.1 test-bed.)

In addition, they had a hand in guided weapons work (Fireflash and work on an SARH successor; Australian branch contribution to Jindivik; test vehicles including RTV1 (LOPGAP); Green Cheese...); they were by no means idle in the jet age.
 
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zen

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Exhibit B on the DH front is OR.339 submission.
Cue everyone horrified by podded engines.
But if you get beyond that, it's one of only 2 actually looked at as a navalise-able design....the other being Vickers single engine Type 571.
 
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zen

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Exhibit A on DH is the F.155 submitted.
Straight wings.
Engine complex under the wing. Each side is a mirror image of the other and thus easier to test as a single complex from inlet to exhaust nozzle.
Large fuel tanks above the wing....eminently shape-able for cross sectional area ruling.
Rocket at extreme rear of fusilage.
Large nose for radar and avionics. Possibly overkill for them in fact!
But born of practical experience I suspect.
DH along with Glosters had the most experience with FAW using modern radar and missiles.
 
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NOMISYRRUC

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The thread about the V Force has shown how brilliant some of the researchers here are at providing us with material unique to this site. So as we are still a bit limited in where and what we can do this Summer, I am adding the subject which has cropped up in many other threads: RAF Fighter Command after 1957.
Was it inevitable that the RAF would move to a force comprised of Lightnings and Bloodhounds after 1957?
What other options might have been followed in alt history.
My favourite whacky one is a US style force with F106 or Avro Arrow interceptors backed up by Bomarcs and Nikes as part of a huge NATO force. No, ok never going to happen.
At the other end is a missile-free world where Soviet IRBMs remain unreliable and they focus on bombers instead. Similarly, SAMs are recognised as costly, complicated and often inaccurate. The cannon armed supersonic fighter has a role to play.
Sandys and Diefenbaker?
Over to you..
What's the POD for this?
 

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I like the Lightning. It has two engines and can get to its target pdq. With flight refueling needed for other RAF roles anyway the short legs dont matter so much.
I still feel the Lightning had ample oppertunity left in it to grow had the funding been there from the start and the "it will be retired in two years time" attitude not existed...
 

red admiral

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The recent Lightning Genesis book really gives me the opposite impression. So little growth potential that even EE themselves gave up pretty quickly.

Its a very inflexible configuration for adding sensors, weapons or increasing air vehicle performance.

And the engine fires
 

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There needs to be balance across the factors though. Building a fast aeroplane isn't that useful in itself. Integration of all the elements is what is necessary.
EECo proved it could integrate systems with P.1 but that didn't help it win F.155 or GOR.339.
Neither AW or Fairey had really done much in the way of systems integration (Gannet maybe) but they won out. The MoS always had a big set of priorities to try and balance out - industrial capacity, design team capacity, design team skill and experience, managerial competency, the technical aspects of the design itself and costs. Not an easy judgement to make.

The recent Lightning Genesis book really gives me the opposite impression. So little growth potential that even EE themselves gave up pretty quickly.

Its a very inflexible configuration for adding sensors, weapons or increasing air vehicle performance.
I would agree.
In an ideal world the MoS and Air Ministry should have left P.1 alone as a research type, just like they did with FD.2 and then develop a refined service design. You could argue that the P.1B simply fell into place given the armament provisions that crept into the P.1 spec early on and then the Air Ministry's insistence on issuing F.23/49 as a development and not research aircraft.
Something more refined, like the P.6 would have been better. The P.3 with its flush NACA intakes would not have worked out well but it was going towards a solution with side intakes that might have been better given it freed up nose space for larger radars. I know Zen is very fond of a side-by-side arrangement, its more what-iffy given EE's insistence on double-deckers for low frontal cross section, but it might have been a wiser choice, especially combined with side intakes.

But we have to remember P.1 had origins in the late 1940s and didn't get into its operational stride until the early 1960s, that's a heavy millstone when you are reliant on what looked aerodynamically cutting-edge in 1948.
 

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Having a big fighter with a solid nose lets British industry think seriously about an AI radar with a SARH illuminator, and that either saves Red Dean (now as a less complicated SARH weapon, potentially much longer-ranged now that it no longer has to illuminate for itself), leads directly to Radar Blue Jay, or picks up Fairey's SARH successor to Fireflash. With an all-aspect SARH missile available, Red Top is no longer quite as necessary; effort goes into improving Firestreak rear-quarter engagement envelope and performance.

What was the maximum radar dish size for the Arrow?
 

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Having a big fighter with a solid nose lets British industry think seriously about an AI radar with a SARH illuminator, and that either saves Red Dean (now as a less complicated SARH weapon, potentially much longer-ranged now that it no longer has to illuminate for itself), leads directly to Radar Blue Jay, or picks up Fairey's SARH successor to Fireflash. With an all-aspect SARH missile available, Red Top is no longer quite as necessary; effort goes into improving Firestreak rear-quarter engagement envelope and performance.

What was the maximum radar dish size for the Arrow?
Bigger than Lightning, that's for sure.
 

uk 75

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I have some sympathy with Whitehall on fighters.
The RAF had had to have an injection of Canadair Sabres to give it modern fighters.
No British supersonic fighter apart from the Lightning made it to service. I recall seeing a montage of NATO fighters from 1963
or so where the USAF had a Delta Dagger F102, everyone else except the French had an F104. The RAF were represented by a Gloster Javelin.
 
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uk 75

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The UK suffered from too many small companies competing for business. Unusually the postwar Labour government did not nationalise them as they did with railways and road haulage (truck companies). It was a long and painful journey to the nationalised British Aerospace of the 1970s.
The Conservative government tried between 1953 and 1964 to use a mixture of stick and carrot to get reorganisation. It succeeded to some extent by creating British Aircraft Corporation and Hawker Siddeley with Westlands, Shorts and Handley Page still independent.
France was fortunate in that Dassault emerged as its sole Combat Aircraft builder with the forceful Marcel Dassault. Noone in Britain had his impact.
 

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Hmmm....
Thing is the Establishment didn't like some bigwig in aviation telling them the truth.
HP didn't bend to their will and was punished.
Told them uncomfortable truths about things like OR.339 and walked away from it.

Camm was a cynic but his last designs were on the right track... result he was led up the garden path and ultimately into dead ends.

DH jumped through every hoop but got blamed for not jumping fast enough when ultimately government dictated the pace.

Little Saro got praised to the rafters and.....crushed.for their troubles.

So my take is a British M.Dassault would be ostracised, ignored and his company broken up rather than allow such a upstart to dare to tell Ministers what they could have.
 

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I remember watching that on a lazy Sunday in the 80's
 

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I think its a complicated mix of smaller companies with mixed levels of competencies and ministerial shenanigans (and the economy).

Britain never really embraced the cult of the designer. RJ Mitchell and Camm are probably the only two revered aircraft designers even today, plus Wallis (perhaps a stretch to call him an aircraft designer, more of a structural engineer perhaps? Certainly an all-round polymath) and maybe 'Teddy' Petter for those in the know. By the 1950s the pioneers had gone, Sopwith still had some influence over Hawker Siddeley and Frederick Handley Page was the last one actually still running his company. HP had a run of bad luck, buying the remnants of Miles didn't given any boost and instead inherited the Marathon millstone (and the decidedly dodgy HPR.2) which led to the Herald/Dart Herald which never built up any critical mass. They had big ideas, their BLC work was perhaps equal in ambition to Wallis' Swallow dreams, but in both cases the mainstream industry and the ministries weren't interested. After Victor they survived on small make-work jobs and their own private ventures. Perhaps HP was seen as an outdated Dodo by the Ministries? Fred HP had the natural desire to nurture his life's work (shades of Mr Fizzywig in Christmas Carol), the MoS wanted streamlined managements using US managerial techniques producing world beating export cash earning products.

I know this is getting off-topic, but if you were Minister of Supply in 1947 and told to nationalise the industry into a state-owned concern, how would you even go about organising that? Deciding which design teams to keep? A single company with a dozen design teams would have been an equal disaster of confusion and conflict.
In that sense, Macmillan's plan to act as a dating agency and let industry sort itself out was an imperfect plan but one that had less blowback on the government if it went wrong.
 

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Aero-industrial evolution, France, UK (US too), for me, was less to do with The Establishment, bias, forceful personalities; it was sheer luck.

France: Bloch Nationalised with most everybody. Ghastly Occupation. M.Bloch: Resistance, capture, survivor, sets up in Bordeaux, nobody dares argue. Onera (their RAE/NACA) scatters German and other science to all, but funds experimental vehicles with Nationalised entities. MD does simple Ouragan, then sweeps it as Mystere just as Berlin, 1948/49, formation of NATO, outbreak of rehearsal for WW3 in Korea, cause US to spend mightily and willing to share the dying by funding licences (so Sud gets Aquilon, Mistral) and local-designed types, so AMD win cascades of Mystere-Super Mystere. Their take on Lippisch's delta works, others' don't, so away we go. At several steps Nord and/or Sud could have flourished in fighters.

Boeing is nothing but luck. About to declare bankruptcy after the few underpriced B-17s ordered in 1938, saved by UK cash orders for DB-7, subbed by Douglas to Boeing. The steps through B-47, Minuteman, 717 (the 1st)/707, through the takeovers subsuming Douglas, NAA, could easily have gone elsewhere. Corporate raider Carl Icahn came close to dismantling them in 1980s when Civil was a financial drain and the Pension was underfunded.

Brits get very confused about Aero decline. There has been no decline. One has to be up to go down. We were never up - as in Top Dog.
We were lucky enough to find sponsors from 1909 to enter this new business sector and sustain a balanced resource, airframe, engine, eqpt. through locust years. So did Poland, Italy, Japan. Like us they did some good, some rotten products. Luck, for us, was those couple of points in the course of WW2 which could so easily have gone awry (such as choosing 5/40 not to accept that Land was his, Sea was ours. His unwarranted Declaration on US, more voters of Irish and German heritage than of British). Luck. The Cabinet meeting, 12/42, which agreed to set up a Committee to Advise on Design&Prodn.of Transport A/c, also took, but dismissed, a Military Appreciation that we were, literally, sunk.

Luck caused post-War MoS Committees (Swept Wing Advisory, Gas Turbine Collaboration, Boundary Layer Control...) to sponsor firm A in Field X, B in Y, so business success or failure was...luck. When Vickers and EE merged Barnes Wallis' personal style was, ah, a complication, so VG was moved from Weybridge to Preston: SoS/Def. Healey put his AFVG scheme there to fill the TSR.2 hole...so Warton is now the Military A/c Centre of Excellence.

UK Aero no longer employs >1million hands, because we are not at war. It now employs no "hands". It is a high-valued-added skills resource, profitable as never in its history. It also rolls out near-zero indigenous Air Vehicles. Boeing, on the first several hundred 787s, made in house near-zilch. Things change.
 

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Britain never really embraced the cult of the designer.

I recommend the RRHT book 'Fedden' by Bill Gunston and 'Rude Mechanicals' by A.J. Smithers both of which lampoon successive British governments disdain for engineering and engineers. The Smithers book is about tanks (and treats the subject of UK tank design 1936-43 as comedy) but explains much about government attitudes.
 

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An absolutely brilliant film.
I actually watched this film earlier this week. Better than Private's Progress but Heaven's Above is perhaps a better sequel for charting the social development of the early post-war years.

I always ponder exactly what type of missiles Missiles Ltd were actually making? There is nothing in the film that ever looks remotely like missile parts. There are a couple of diagrams on the wall in Major Hitchcock's (aka Terry-Thomas) office but I realised watching this week that the look more like plan diagrams of cargo ships.
Reminds me of another film, The Net, where de Havilland publicity shots are littered around the walls of the aircraft designer's office.
 

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This could have all gone rather differently.
Had DH not lost the RAF order for FAW...
Had DH avoided the worst of the Comet problems....

Then not only would DH have a steady stream of funding for the multiple marks covering incremental improvements.
But also the benefit of the learning experience and feedback from operations.

Similarly with the Comet, rushed for what proved to be no reason.
With a steady stream of civil orders, again improving cash flow and feedback from operations.

DH had the experience from Mosquito and Hornet. Pile on the benefits of Vixen and Comet and factor in the solid designs they did produce for OR.339, F.155 and OR.346....ok F.155 offering seems sedate and out of date. But in fact represents a solid design for development test components.

But for a series of bad luck events.......
DH could have stormed through the lot.

Could they then be in a stronger position for MPA?
 

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Did the reorganisations reduce the number of companies or just redcue the number of names?
Not in the short term. Consolidating names isn't the same as consolidating the people and resources. You can probably argue that there wasn't any real consolidation over the years, simply that some teams/sites got disbanded over time. Even today there's still "Warton people" and "Brough people"
 

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