Sapphire 9 engine and the Victor B.2

JFC Fuller

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I found myself today intrigued by the piece of history that states that the Victor B.2 was originally planned to take the Armstrong Siddely Sapphire 9 engine that ultimately did not go into production. So I had a hunt and a google and the only thrust figure I could find for this variant was 12,700lb. Furthermore the key differences with earlier variants was that it had a 14 as opposed to 13 stage compressor and variable inlet veins. However this thrust figure does not compare favourably to engine ultimately fitted to the final Victor or Vulcan variants. For comparison;

Vulcan B.2A; 22,000lb
Victor B.2R; 20,600lb

I appreciate that this comparison is not entirely fair as both these are the ultimate variants rather than the baseline B.2's, however even then the difference in thrust is stark at nearly 50%.

Does anybody have an explanation for this?
Furthermore would the Sapphire 9 have represented a viable retrofit for the Victor B.1 fleet?

Thank you in advance sealordlawrence.
 

JFC Fuller

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In another intriguing twist the Victor engine tale, in 'RAF Nuclear Deterrent Forces' by Humphrey Wynn it is claimed that Handley Page made a proposal to re-engine the Victor B.1 fleet with the Rolls Royce Avon RA.28 of 10,000lb thrust. Apparently this offer was rejected in 1959. This claim is made qouting C H Barnes 'Handley Page Aircraft since 1907'.

However, the entire tale seems quite strange, the RA.28, at least thrust wise, would offer no improvement over the existing Sapphires. Furthermore, by 1959 the RA.28 was getting a relatively old engine having been in production since 1953. The only plausible benefits might be in fuel economy, thus offering greater range, or altitude performance. Does anybody have any thoughts about this?

Thank you in advance, sealordlawrence
 

Mike Pryce

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I don't know about he Sapphire 9, but there was a proposal for a Sapphire 10 of 14,000 lb. thrust. Hawkers looked at it for the early P.1103 but went for the Gyron instead. It was also the engine of the P.1106 all-weather,thin wing, supersonic Hunter without afterburner. This was in 1954-55 so it seems to have been a firm proposal from AS, and may be related to the 9.

I'll dig out the drawings of the 1103 and 1106 I have to see if they give any further clues.
 

JFC Fuller

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Harrier,

Thank you for the reply, I must admit that this is the first I have heard of a Sapphire 10, I would imagine that it was a further development from the 9. Whether one was ever built and bench run is of course a different question.
 

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SLL: I suggest Avon is a misthink for Conway. Barnes, P.509: Feb.55: "Air Staff wanted more height over target and claimed this could be obtained initially by using improved Sa.9 of 14,000lb. s.t in conjunction with a span of 115ft., and later Conways or Olympus in a new centre section...virtually a new design..H.P.104"
 

JFC Fuller

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Ken,

That was my first thought, but the having re-read the sentence it seems certain to me that what is being suggested is replacing the Sapphire in existing B.1 airframes with the Avon..?
 

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Scanning the National Archives tonight I stumbled upon this:

Aircraft performance, fitted with either Sa.15 or the RA.24 engine, is very similar. Up to M.1.4 the ceiling of the P.163 version is slightly better at 53,000 feet by about 1000 feet. At 36,000 feet full reheat, the thrust available for acceleration if slightly higher on the P.163 up to mach 1.6.The net thrust and specific fuel consumption without reheat on P.163 is generally higher than the Ra.24, probably due to combustion temperature

From: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/A2A/records.aspx?cat=144-pa1716_3-1&cid=1-8-46#1-8-46

Note: Sa.15, given the file it is in I am inclined to believe this is a reference to an ASSa.15, or Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire 15...?

It seems to be being compared to the RA.24 Avon. The piece about fuel consumption might go some way to explaining the reasoning behind suggesting re-engining the Victor B.1 with Avons if the higher fuel consumption was common across the series.
 

JFC Fuller

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Seeing as this has become the V-Bomber alternative engine thread, I have finally found a source (of sorts) for the RB.80 being planned for the Valiant B.2: http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1960/1960%20-%200077.html

If there is a Valiant b.2 thread here then it should probably go in that.

With this is mind I am more inclined to agree with Ken's earlier theory that the Avon was a misspeak for the Conway...?
 

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Resurrecting this thread - while looking for Thin Wing Javelin info I found some more on the Sapphire Sa.10 originally intended to power it.

From http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/db8c928f-4d6e-42ed-92e8-e0f5a39cd331:

"It has been considered possible to increase the mass flow through the Sa.7 compressor, the compressor pressure ratio being increased in proportion. With this development in mind, and allowing the engine to run at a higher combustion temperature by using cooled turbine, the performance of a new series of Sapphire engines has been investigated. These engines are developments of the Sa.7: a) Sa.8 Sa.7 with the static take-of combustion temperature (T3t) increased from 1125degK to 1250degK. b) Sa.9 Sa.7 with the mass flow at take-off increased by 11.8 ie from 170 lb/sec to 190 lb/sec. c) Sa.10 Sa.7 with T3t increased to 1250degK and mass flow increased by 11.8 at take-off"

and from http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/04428b39-013d-4358-82c7-6b12c8011dcf:

"The attached curves present the estimated performance of the Sapphire Sa.10 (high temperature). This is basically a similar engine to the Sa.10 but with temperature of combustion increased to 1400degK together with increased compressor bleed for turbine cooling"

The title of this calls it the Sa.11, but not the text.

Nothing more on the Sapphire Sa.15 though, except to note it was also called the P.163. I have a sneaking suspicion that these hotter Sapphires led to the P.176 of the Avro 730

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/101863aa-913c-44ea-8e88-ef8d35c06700:

"At the sea level static rating (intake recovery factor 100% and turbine inlet temperature 1400K) the thrust is 17,000 lb"
 

JFC Fuller

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Hi Harrier,

Thanks for the post. I have been meaning to go through that file list and pull out the Armstrong Siddeley engine projects. Other interesting ones in relation to your post are as follows:

P.173: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/bc7d8a98-642d-4811-a92f-c3e24c35165d
P.172F: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/b51832d0-8cad-478c-94da-4c661aadd656

These are both big engines and I suspect they may have been orientated towards the F.155 programme.

And lets not forget the P.159 as proposed for the original four engine Avro 730 configuration: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/14ba1613-98c7-41d5-b8ff-6953eb1a5ed1

Its seems ASM did a lot of work on high speed turbojets and I agree with your sneaking suspicion that the hot Sapphire work may have been where it started.
 

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Yes, they did do quite a lot. Also built bits for the Orenda at the Brockworth Sapphire factory (next to Gloster's Javelin factory):

https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1957/1957%20-%201022.PDF

That refers to this:

https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1956/1956%20-%200562.PDF

as resembling what we know was the P.176, which was 'in the hardware stage'. If so, they reduced the number of compressor stages from any Sapphire origin.

A-S are often forgotten, but if you include the J65 then the Sapphire may be the most produced British-designed axial jet engine, and second only to the Nene/J42/VK-1/Tay/J48/Verdon for all British jets.

Of course, the Avon runs the Sapphire close (and may pip it now), but took a lot longer to reach 11,000 engines. Astonishingly, it is still in production by Siemens: https://www.energy.siemens.com/ru/pool/hq/power-generation/gas-turbines/Avon-200/industrial-avon-200.pdf

Just as well they copied the Sapphire compressor all those years ago!
 

JFC Fuller

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Harrier said:
A-S are often forgotten, but if you include the J65 then the Sapphire may be the most produced British-designed axial jet engine, and second only to the Nene/J42/VK-1/Tay/J48/Verdon for all British jets.

I also agree with this. From a secret projects perspective it is also worth remembering that with the Avro 730 contract they won what was probably the biggest opportunity the RAF produced in the second half of the 1950s- it would have required somewhere around 1,000 engines had it not been cancelled.
 

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Yes, eight engine per aircraft soon adds up.

Six J65s on B-47s would not have been bad either:

https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1957/1957%20-%201051.PDF
 

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JFC Fuller said:
Hi Harrier,

Thanks for the post. I have been meaning to go through that file list and pull out the Armstrong Siddeley engine projects. Other interesting ones in relation to your post are as follows:

P.173: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/bc7d8a98-642d-4811-a92f-c3e24c35165d
P.172F: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/b51832d0-8cad-478c-94da-4c661aadd656

These are both big engines and I suspect they may have been orientated towards the F.155 programme.

And lets on forget the P.159 as proposed for the original four engine Avro 730 configuration: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/14ba1613-98c7-41d5-b8ff-6953eb1a5ed1

Its seems ASM did a lot of work on high speed turbojets and I agree with your sneaking suspicion that the hot Sapphire work may have been where it started.

Hawker did consider the Armstrong-Siddeley P.173 for F.155T.
 

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Hmmm diameters of 48" for the P173 and 44" for the P172.
Intriguing. .....
I wonder if AS's work on these mach 2+ engines did them no favours with Sandy's review. As would the switch to low level.
A shame since they seemed to be more competent than RR
 

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zen said:
Hmmm diameters of 48" for the P173 and 44" for the P172.
Intriguing. .....
I wonder if AS's work on these mach 2+ engines did them no favours with Sandy's review. As would the switch to low level.
A shame since they seemed to be more competent than RR

They did seem to go 'all in' on the Avro 730 engine, and had no other major programmes for large engines. So when the 730 went...

They were already being pushed aside when the Olympus and Conway replaced the Sapphire 9 & 10 in the Thin Wing Javelin and Victor B.2.

I think Sandys gets blamed for a lot, but the problems that many firms faced were largely due to decisions made before him.
 

JFC Fuller

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Harrier said:
I think Sandys gets blamed for a lot, but the problems that many firms faced were largely due to decisions made before him.

The Air Staff seem to have been the driving force behind the Avro 730 cancellation (even if they hadn't have been I don't think it would have survived Sandys), there seem to have been very real doubts its survivability by the time it was to enter service and right up to the end basic questions like how many crew it was to have were still being debated, which in turn questioned its ability to meet its requirement.

The UK engine industry seems to have been in the same place as the wider UK aero-industry; too many companies of insufficient scale- Armstrong Siddeley, Rolls Royce, Bristol and De Havilland all worked on big supersonic turbojets for which there weren't enough opportunities and which drove significant duplication of R&D effort.
 

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JFC Fuller said:
Harrier said:
I think Sandys gets blamed for a lot, but the problems that many firms faced were largely due to decisions made before him.


The UK engine industry seems to have been in the same place as the wider UK aero-industry; too many companies of insufficient scale- Armstrong Siddeley, Rolls Royce, Bristol and De Havilland all worked on big supersonic turbojets for which there weren't enough opportunities and which drove significant duplication of R&D effort.

That was the policy, or rather the economic assumptions. Competition spurred people on. If they could not compete, they closed down and others took up the slack. A-S's attempts to develop the Sapphire were stymied by the Olympus and Conway, but from what I have seen in archives MoS were happy with that.

The idea of a national industry, rather than a range of companies that competed for a state's business, changed policy, and our view of history, from the late 1950s on. Many of the British-based firms were international. Armstrong Siddeley made Canadian Orenda parts alongside Sapphires; the latter were largely funded by the US for the RAF; they got export income and license fees from Wright etc. in the 1950s. With such international income largely cut later in the decade they came to depend on more limited UK-only funds.

The story of Gloster is an interesting one. From first British jet to closed in less than twenty years. When Meteor production reduced in the 1950s 3,000 were laid off, but most of them went across the runway to the Sapphire production line to make engines for Javelins. When the thin wing development was cancelled (and it was also supposed to replace the Canberra) that was the end of them, and the Sapphire line too. Yet very little hand wringing. Hawker Siddeley moved Javelin and Meteor design and support to Kingston and other things were transferred to Armstrong Whitworth. Gloster shut down, first British jet or not. Only five years later, the TSR.2 did not go so quietly. It was a 'national' disaster, yet no factory closed. Similar things around Hunters. January 1957 (pre-Sandys) Hawker closed Squires Gate, at the time the largest single aircraft production building in Europe. Thousands of jobs gone. One paragraph in Flight. When the P.1154 went....!

Looking at factories, not aircraft projects, tells a different story from a national perspective. I often go past the old Gloster-run shadow factory that built Sapphire engines. http://www.prefabmuseum.uk/2016/11/16/aw-hawksley-ltd-and-the-factory-at-brockworth-guest-blog/
 

JFC Fuller

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I don't disagree with any of that but I think there are some interesting other angles that would be interesting to consider (and I would like to if time ever allows):

1) Whats going on in the wider economy at the time; one thing that makes an appearance in protestations at defence spending at the time is the effect on the economy of defence absorbing large numbers of skilled workers. I wonder whether the lack of attention given to the 1950s closures at the time is driven in part by the fact that most of these workers were rapidly absorbed by other areas of the economy.

2) Glosters is a fascinating case-study; the Meteor, whilst being the first jet aircraft was, in terms of sophistication, a jet powered late piston-era fighter. The thin-wing Javelines by contrast are very different beasts. It would be interesting to know the difference in man-hours (and capital and total staff) in the development and subsequent planned manufacturing of both
 

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George Peden is good on the first point:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Arms-Economics-British-Strategy-Dreadnoughts/dp/B00L6Z2WCC

In the 1950s the Korean response caused a real shortage in other sectors. So there was room to absorb them. But the same situation existed in the 1960s, yet we see it as a disaster then. When TSR.2 went one argument was there were as many skilled manufacturing job vacancies that month as people working on it.

In my day job we looked at the effects of closing aircraft factories over decades, and in general a town soon gets richer as a result of them closing (house prices, more managerial jobs). It is a problem when other things close at the same time, but can also lead to new businesses starting up. The data masks personal tragedies, of course. That's why people use data!

Regarding Gloster, most of the records seem to have gone into the skip. One of the other things that appeared just after they shut was an interest in the history of aviation firms - the first (Hawker) Putnam came out in 1961. Before that people just thought old records should be chucked. Many still do! I aim to get to the Jet Age Museum soon to see what the archive there has. The 3,000 job losses indicate Javelin air frame volumes could not make up for Meteor ending. Luckily the Sapphire engines were built on site.
 

JFC Fuller

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Fascinating topic.

Worth noting that the Hunter line at Squires Gate was only open for about 3-4 years, it was an old Vickers shadow factory for Wellingtons that had been derelict in 1949 and was reactivated in 1952-3 for the Hunter programme. English Electric took it over in 1958 apparently as insurance against additional RAF orders (for what isn't clear).

I suspect part of the reason the likes of the Hawker and Gloster factory closures had so little impact compared with TSR-2 and P.1154 is that there was nothing obvious following the later aircraft.

Another potentially interesting angle; as aircraft complexity and consequently unit costs rose production volumes fell, do we see a growth in the number of designers and managers (relatively higher value) and a decline in assembly line workers (lower value) that changes the composition aircraft companies?
 

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The data I have would indicate that it was the reduction in volume across all of a firm's work, along with changes in 'book-keeping', that drove up costs. A Vulcan was as complex as, but relatively cheap compared to, a TSR.2.

Many of the cost figures widely reported (e.g. Harrier GR1 4x cost of a Hunter) see it as a complexity issue, when it is really a volume one. Chicken. Egg.

Total staff numbers changed less than you might expect, but with lower volumes design teams were an overhead worn less widely. Firms saw them as a cost, whatever their value. Gloster dumped all theirs (they became the independent Gloster Design Services who did the original APT train body) but kept some people to work on fire engine bodies at Brockworth in Gloster-Saro. Production lines make money, and firms value that.
 

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Harrier,
You make an excellent point about the industrial and workforce aspects (perhaps it really deserves its own thread in the Military or The Bar?).

It is was a big issue. For example, when choosing between the HS.780 Andover, H.P.24 Dart Herald transport and the DHC Caribou in December 1961, Hawker Siddeley were crying out for new projects otherwise they estimated their design staff would run down from 4,000 to only 650 by the end of 1965. At the same time they were cutting excess production capacity by closing Portsmouth, Christchurch, and Gloucester and reducing the workforce at Broughton. This did cause press and public outcry and criticism of the government for not doing more to help.

I think the problem got worse, the closures of the 1950s were probably absorbed by other aviation companies and non-aviation engineering sectors which were growing and partly it was probably seen as the part of the post-Korea rearmament draw down. The MoS had wasted a lot of money on Squires Gate, it was designed to enable Hawker to achieve a 96 aircraft a month production rate which was curtailed and arguably unnecessary anyway. By the 1960s the industry had shrunk so much that it couldn't absorb any laid off manpower in large numbers (though as you point out it probably did solve some unfilled vacancy problems in some areas). When TSR.2 went after P.1154 and HS.1181 there were no big 'growth' projects on the horizon (unless you thought BAC were going to shift a few hundred VC-10s and Concordes). For skilled R&D staff, if you couldn't get a job with BAC or HSA then you probably had to leave the industry or go to the US if you were qualified enough to do so. For those on the factory floor things were probably easier in terms of finding work elsewhere. Also, I suspect by the 60s the Unions were more vocal (hence Tony Benn lambasting Concorde when it suited him and yet keeping it going to keep the men at Filton in work). Shorts in Northern Island is of course the most notable case of employment concerns, but even keeping smaller firms like Scottish Aviation in business exercised government minds when dishing out work and selecting projects.

I do have a bunch of stats on this, which I should really get into some kind of order.

As a side-note, was Gloster missed? If you subscribe to the Waterton thesis then Gloster were pretty much out of their depth with the Javelin.
 

JFC Fuller

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I'm a bit dubious of your examples there Harrier.

I don't think comparing TSR-2 to a V-bomber is especially useful, comparing it to a Canberra on the other hand might be. Similarly the Harrier always struck me as a relatively simple aircraft for its generation; comparing a Lightning or P.1154 to the Meteor might be more useful.

No dispute from me the advantages of volume production though.
 

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JFC - I am comparing two equally complex aeroplanes, yet one cost several times more than the other, and the most expensive one was the smaller one. P1154 was a third of the cost of TSR2 but (sort of) had half the complexity. There are other issues involved - TSR.2 was a fraught collaboration - but the basic point is complexity does not map to cost.

Regarding volume, it was not just about planes. Hawker made beer barrels between the Hunter and the Harrier. Once government wore the overheads in the national interest that sort of thing stopped, and costs went up a bit more.

Hood, yes, once the industry was made to consolidate it took to making a case for work, where in the past it was just bad luck if you ran out of work. Once government decided there was a 'right' size the lobbying was ramped up as each group vied for its share. The government enforced mergers changed the discussion, from 'no business = out of business' to 'It's the UK's business to keep us in business'.

Poor old Handley Page tried to carry on the old way but got deliberately starved.
 

JFC Fuller

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Apologies Harrier, I think we are trying to compare different things. I have been looking to compare cost (monetary, design man hours, manufacturing cost as separate categories) as it changes over time though definable classes of aircraft. E.g. Canberra to TSR-2 or Meteor, to Lightning, P.1154 (or Phantom) to Tornado to Typhoon. Equally, Lincoln to Vulcan to Avro 730 (had it been built so not really possible) would be interesting.
 

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JFC - costs increased for various reasons. The cost of the same plane changed depending on annual numbers etc. Comparing a Vulcan at peak Lancaster rates would be interesting.

This is of some interest:

https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1952/1952%20-%200237.html

Lots of PR, but it basically makes a claim to get back on a war footing. So even the time seen since as the 'Golden Era', the early 1950s, they looked back to an earlier one!

Hood - Gloster were not the greatest, but I think Waterton's book told a story that many others could have told if so inclined. When you dig into lots of old aeroplane histories you find them to be dangerous, limited devices, and the firms making them more interested the money than the 'national interest', despite claims around the latter.

They were hard men (generally) doing hard things in a hard way. It's surprising any of it went well!
 

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When the (Not so) Thin Wing Javelin was cancelled the Gloster design office didn’t close. They continued with a non solicited proposal for a thin wing delta research aircraft using bits of GA6 hardware, a proposal for GOR339 again based on GA6, then work package from around the HSA group. The first was a structural design package for Blue Steel, followed by work on the HS Andover and finally the rear fuselage of the HS681.

I agree the demise of Gloster’s is a fascinating case study which has gone largely unnoticed.

One former Gloster’s employee who lived through this told me the senior management was very complacent and risk adverse. After all the Meteor NF and Javelin were competing for the same market, were almost the same performance and guess which was the lower cost? The GA6 (TWJ) as being built, was not much better than the stock Javelin. By the time this was realised and thier plight became obvious they tabled far more ambitious proposal but it was too late.
 

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I forgot to mention that when the GA6 was cancelled the design office started losing there good engineers mainly to Bristol’s and Dowty, to many the writing was on the wall.
 

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The information I have is that Glosters passed all design data on projects to Armstrong Whitworth in mid 1960. Javelin and Meteor manufacture and any supporting design went to Hawker at Kingston, who made e.g. Javelin pylons.

There was still a drawing office at Hucclecote, but they did not do their own original design or even produce schemes. Rather it was the detailed design for other people's projects, under the Whitworth-Gloster name. Presumably this is what they did on the HS681, with the Coventry-based factory schedued to make all the fuselage.

After Whitworth-Gloster became Avro-Whitworth things become unclear. In early 1965 Kingston discussed 'Gloster' providing lofting support for the P.1154. They mention this alongside 'Fairey', who had become part of Westland, so perhaps they were using the old names.

In April 1964 the Gloster factory was sold to Gloucester Trading Estates, and by 1966 'Gloster Design Services (c&d)' was in operation there, with former Gloster Aircraft staff. This was still in operation in 1979, but seems have done diverse things - the last thing I found was the layout for a book on the history of a local school. So the end of aircraft design at Gloster was a process, with, as you say, many leaving for other places.

However, Hawker Siddeley kept the Gloster-Saro fire engine/vending machinery manufacturing business at Hucclecote for many years (presumably with a drawing office) after it was set up in 1965, but did not keep any aircraft design work there past that point it seems.
 

JFC Fuller

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Harrier, thanks for the Flight link, the comparison of man-hours between a Hurricane and Hunter is exactly what I was thinking of.

On a related note, tied much more closely to this thread. Dan Sharp mentions in "RAF: Secret Jets of Cold War Britain" that an Armstrong Siddeley 172F uprated by about 15% was considered suitable for the Vickers-Supermarine Type 559. I wonder if that 15% uprating was how ASM got to the P.173.

The same book provides some information on man hours believed necessary for AW.169 production; they would fall rapidly from 189,000 for the 12th aircraft to 55,700 for the 750th. The first aircraft would take 23 man hours per pound of weight.
 

Mike Pryce

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The comparisons are on an unequal basis - rates of production, which factory, wholly different technology etc. What is surprising is that they are not more different.

The Lightning mod figure you posted in the other thread is less than the price of a new Hunter. Just to add an AoA gauge!

Similarly, estimates of man hours for projects depend on many things. The AW169 was not designed in detail, and much of the time and cost is spent on fiddly details. As for 750 ever being built!!!
 

alertken

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So, here we are in 1952/53. Korea is in stalemate, but just for now - we know it is a rehearsal, Spanish Civil War-style, for a Red surge over N.Germany. We can only deal with that by nuclear Deterrence.

US wants to share the dying, during the interim ironwork, so cascades vast sums to UK, France, new Italy, some as end-items, some as licences, some as subsidy to local programmes. Multi-source and licences, Avon and Sapphire, for 1st/2nd. generation jet types. "Insurance" R&D effort was funded to produce better kit inc. big turbojets. Silly. All consuming upto 10% UK GNP. Sovs. could have won just by waiting for us to implode. But Stalin's successors saw their fief as more likely first to be spent to death. So, Armistice, then the beginnings of peaceful co-existence..awhile. US cut off new Obligations under MAP for UK 1/7/54. It was thus only a matter of time before the axe would swing.

I place ASM's decline from RR's 1956 success in Conway displacing bigger-Sapphire from Victor B.2 (RR bid a "fixed price" - no-one knew what that was - comfortable that the aircraft would evolve, such that Changes could claw back any upfront loss). By chance of axe, Olympus then overtook bigger-RRs. HS Group then saw better business elsewhere than in Coventry, so starting the process to lead to BSEL and to reduction of (Whitworth Gloster) to badge engineering.

Archives do not always capture all that Ministers/their officials say, seldom what they think. Wynn found it once re. Blue Steel Mks.1A/2, in the sense: "if Avro can't do 100nm Mk.1, why do they pitch longer variants?" The Scientific Civil Service had little respect for the Aero industry, seeing their brochures as fit for the fiction shelf. The Administrative Civil Service just wanted to take US kit at fixed prices. The wonder is not that we sigh over magic craft that never were, but that so much did get deployed, fit for the job.
 

Zoo Tycoon

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The Rolls Royce Heritage publication Sleeve Valve Notes issue 22 has a good article on the AS P159 and P176. It notes that in following cancellation of the Avro 730 and its engines the MP for Coventry, Elaine Burton asked the Minister for Supply what the impact would be. The reply from Aubrey Jones was that “Armstrong Siddeley total annual income would be cut down by two thirds of last years figures. There’s little likelihood of being able to alternate work to fill the gap”. And that was the blow that AS never recovered from.

The loss of top level design capabilities in the UK aero industry in the mid 50’s was remarkable and it wasn’t that the particular bad ones disappeared. The home market was just too small to maintain the number that existed and the lack of a plan took a heavy toll. Even Sandys attempt to rationalise was really too little too late.
 

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