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Saunders Roe P.177 / SR.177

JFC Fuller

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The same author also states that the version with the single larger turbojet (RB.133 instead of Gyron Junior) the HTP tanks would have been converted to contain Avgas which suggests no rocket at all.
 

Charlesferdinand

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In the september 1956 issue of the Navy Monthly, that I mentioned before in this forum, there is an overview article of the Fleet Air Arm.
It mentions an order for a 'strike aircraft of high performance' (presumably the Buccaneer) and then adds 'Unofficially we hear of a rather revolutionary day interceptor'. Any idea what this can be? Elsewhere in the article, the trials of the DH110 and Supermarine N113 are mentioned, so it doesn't refer to those.
 

Jemiba

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Maybe the Saunders-Roe SR.177 ? The only type intended for the RN, where the description "revolutionary"
would be somehow appropriate, I think.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Charlesferdinand said:
In the september 1956 issue of the Navy Monthly, that I mentioned before in this forum, there is an overview article of the Fleet Air Arm.
It mentions an order for a 'strike aircraft of high performance' (presumably the Buccaneer) and then adds 'Unofficially we hear of a rather revolutionary day interceptor'. Any idea what this can be? Elsewhere in the article, the trials of the DH110 and Supermarine N113 are mentioned, so it doesn't refer to those.

Its the rocket and jet powered SR 177. HMS Eagle was being refitted at that time to cary the fuel tanks needed for the Hydrogen Peroxide fuel for the rocket motor.
 

Charlesferdinand

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I never realised that the SR177 was a navy project. Launching hydrogen peroxide powered fighters as routine operation would certainly have made life on board a bit more interesting.
 

MrT

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If you have a look in Mr Buttlers book there is a mention of an order for 150 for the RAF and another 150 for the RN. It does seem rather a lot, but when you consider CVA01 were to have numbered at least 3 each toting around 18 of them then it starts to make sense. After all another say 24 in the OCS, maybe a dozen in the HQ Sqdn makes what 90 leaving the other 60 for attrition reserves and maybe just maybe a continuation of the 5 or so RNR squadrons? The tanks were aluminium I believe.

One thing puzzles me though. Surely the SR177 was a sprint to intercept type of aircraft with shortish legs. Now with the USN you have big carriers that could feasibly operate such a type PLUS another fighter with long legs for doing a standard CAP. So exactly how would the RN air group have operated? Would the Air group have been the 18 SR177, 18 Bucc, plus the half dozen Gannet AEW and COD plus a half dozen helicopters OR would there have been something completely different?
 

Charlesferdinand

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Good question. By the time the SR177 would have been operational, the FAA would have had Scimitars and Sea Vixens in service, and the SR177 is not an obvious replacement for either. Of course, they might have thought to have half a dozen or so fighters per carrier, purely as point defence against the dreaded high flying nuclear bomber. Given the specialist infrastructure that would have been needed to operate the rocket engine, it is questionable whether all that would be worth it just for a handful of planes.
 

JFC Fuller

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Abraham Gubler said:
HMS Eagle was being refitted at that time to cary the fuel tanks needed for the Hydrogen Peroxide fuel for the rocket motor.

That is incorrect; Eagle's modernisation did not start until 1959- no work was done on her to actually install HTP tanks. In preparation for that modernisation, prior to the cancellation of the SR.177, considerable work was undertaken to develop HTP tanks, plumbing, protective suits for crew and associated procedures as well as drawings being produced to install the required equipment in Eagle. However, no such installation work ever occurred.

MrT and Charlesferdinand,

The SR.177 would have been a replacement for the abysmal Scimitar in the day-fighter role, the air wing considered for Eagle in 1956/7 consisted of 12 x Buccaneer, 10 x Sea Vixen, 12 x SR.177, 14 x Gannet ASW and 2 x SAR helicopters, the cancellation of the SR.177 resulted in the fast-jet element of UK carriers being consolidated on the Sea vixen and the Buccaneer. In terms of use, the SR.177 would probably have been used in the same way as the Scimitar was- under GCI (SCI if you will) from the carrier using it's own Type 984 radar and radar feeds sent from escorting destroyers by datalink coordinated through the ADA system.
 

MrT

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I thought the Bucc replaced Scimitar being as the Scimitar ended up as a strike platform as it could do nothing much apart from leak?

SR177 as an adjunct to Vixen is interesting. Imagine it would have entered service in what 1962 to 1964? Now let's imagine that CVA01 is still progressed with, would we see around 1974 a mixed bag of Phantoms and SR177 as fighter element? I'm guessing in a similar ratio to your earlier indication of 12 and 12 approx? It does make the order for 150 then start to look profligate! (Oh and 50 aircraft? Didn't the Ark only operate around 40 at most? Last commission was 12 Phantom, 14 Bucc, 6 Sea king, 2 Wessex, half dozen Gannets? Although yes Phantom is a big beast. On another tangent was VG/solid nose Lightning INSTEAD of Phantom or ancillary to it? (As in could it have been the affordable ish fighter solution to replace Sea Vixen) Always thought that they missed out on developing that amazing crazy beast further!
 

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Charlesferdinand said:
I never realised that the SR177 was a navy project. Launching hydrogen peroxide powered fighters as routine operation would certainly have made life on board a bit more interesting.

Particularly when one considers that RN had abandoned HTP as a torpedo propellant because of the dangers associated with operating it in a maritime environment after the 1955 accident on HMS Sidon.
 

Charlesferdinand

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MrT said:
I thought the Bucc replaced Scimitar being as the Scimitar ended up as a strike platform as it could do nothing much apart from leak?

As far as I understand it, the FAA found that its fighter needs were pretty well covered with the Sea Vixen, but they still needed a fast low level strike aircraft. Supermarine had a long line of 'promising' high performance prototypes, so one of those was pressed into service in the strike role. Perhaps there was also some political prodding to finally order something from Supermarine, after the poor runs of the Attacker and Swift.
 

Charlesferdinand

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The Scimitar was of course designed as a day fighter, but my understanding was that what got it in production was that it could fulfill the Navy's need for high speed low level nuclear strike. My feeling has always been that that aspect was tacked on later, to ensure a production order for what remained essentially an air superiority fighter. And I must admit that I don't know what exactly N113 specified.

Returning to the SR177, I suppose this must have required large-ish tanks of hydrogen peroxide in the carrier. That certainly must have been a hazard in combat operations.
 

MrT

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I know that SR177 was intrinsically designed to operate with the HTP rocket engine. BUT surely with a bigger engine, possibly with a mk2 version and a spot of reheat added, would that not have spelt the end of the rocket engine, while retaining the basic aircraft design? Finally regarding refuelling of the aircraft. Same men involved or specialists?
 

F-14D

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MrT said:
I know that SR177 was intrinsically designed to operate with the HTP rocket engine. BUT surely with a bigger engine, possibly with a mk2 version and a spot of reheat added, would that not have spelt the end of the rocket engine, while retaining the basic aircraft design? Finally regarding refuelling of the aircraft. Same men involved or specialists?

The attraction of the rocket is with its performance at altitude. As aircraft fly higher the thrust from the engines decreases markedly. Since drag does the same, it doesn't slow you down.

What a rocket does for you is that it maintains sea level thrust throughout the flight envelope, including those high altitudes. So, if you don't need the extra thrust for very long, it's a lighter, more efficient way to get a big boost.

For example (using made up numbers because I don't remember the actual figures), say you have an engine that produces 10,000 lbs. thrust at sl, but decreases to 1,000 at altitude (I think it's even more extreme than that). A 1,000 lb thrust rocket produces that at any altitude. So while at sl the rocket doesn't do that much for you ( 10%), fire it at altitude and you've doubled your available thrust. To do that conventionally, you'd have to lug around an entire 2nd engine, with all the consequent penalties, you'd only use for a brief period of time.

The rocket concept, though, really only makes sense for pure quick interception missions, because of the limited time available for the boost. If your aircraft is going to need the extra thrust for a good portion of the mission and at lower altitude, then you either need a g=bigger conventional engine, or more of them. That's why, although it was examined for the F8U III, F-15 and F-20, nothing ever came of it because its benefit for a niche profile wasn't enough to overcome the penalties of a dual propulsion concept.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Model photos by forum member Hobbes from RAF Museum Cosford, 2013.
 

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blackkite

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Hi!
http://shipbucket.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=29946
 

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Stargazer2006

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blackkite said:
Hi!
http://shipbucket.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=29946

Cool stuff but of course totally imaginary, therefore misleading in this section of the forum, I think...
 

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Random question, all: has there ever been any suggestion of what name may have been given to the SR.177 if it had entered service?
 

CNH

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No. At time of cancellation, it was 12 to 18 months until the first flight.
 

Abraham Gubler

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ZacYates said:
Random question, all: has there ever been any suggestion of what name may have been given to the SR.177 if it had entered service?

I always thought "Sea Lord" could make some sense with the contemporary SARO naming of aircraft after titles (Princess, Duchess, etc). Though I'm sure something more aggressive and more exportable (outside of the RN) would be more likely to be chosen. Totally fictional but "SARO Seeker" sounds cool and could be inline with SAROs Squirt, Skeeter and Scout.
 

blackkite

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Hi!

http://aviadejavu.ru/Site/Crafts/Craft22424.htm
 

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BillRo

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I delayed my flight from the UK to be on the last Boeing 747 (BA) flight into Phoenix so had time to kill. We decided to visit the Solent Sky Museum https://www.solentsky.org/ in Southampton. There is a big aviation history in south central England including Vickers Supermarine and Saunders Roe.

Attached are pix of a large (4') model of the SR-177 and a smaller version below itIMG_7781LR.jpgIMG_7797LR.jpgIMG_7797LR.jpgIMG_7799LR.jpgIMG_7801LR.jpgIMG_7801LR.jpg
 

BillRo

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Note that the small models are a different configuration to the large model which seems to represent the generally acknowleged design. The first one has a different aft fuselage, while the second has a dorsal inlet. Photographing was difficult since they were located on top of a high cabinet and the other access was from a balcony.
 

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Lower model appears closer to the SR53 than the 177... the nose intake on the 177 model also appears to have a different splitter arrangement to the half cone on the final design...

Zeb
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Yeah I have some drawings of early SR.177 which are very close to SR.53 - it basically evolved over several iterations. Great photos - I'm considering how many days I can take off from my holiday in January for avation research without causing divorce :)
 

robunos

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Note that the small models are a different configuration to the large model which seems to represent the generally acknowleged design. The first one has a different aft fuselage, while the second has a dorsal inlet. Photographing was difficult since they were located on top of a high cabinet and the other access was from a balcony.

From 'Project Cancelled' . . .


S.R. P.177 original version.jpg

cheers,
Robin.
 

Justo Miranda

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source: Le Fana de l'Aviation/Tony Buttler
 

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CNH

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It was very kind of you to post some images taken from my website. What a shame you didn't acknowledge the source.
 

blackkite

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