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Saving TSR 2 and co

uk 75

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As you will know I am an unreconstructed fan of the TSR 2, HS 1154, HS 681 trio. I know all the snags and the shortcomings. But they are part of my childhood. Same with CVA 01 and the crazy
swing wing planes shown in Janes All the Worlds Warships 1963-4 in its early US looking version.

With some much material published on all three aircraft, and so much decent work done by Damien Burke and Michael Pryce, this may seem a silly thread, but here goes.

TSR2 seems to me less a Canberra replacement more a Valiant replacement. Its most sensible role ist to provide NATO with a theatre nuclear bomber capable of dumping 2 nuclear weapons on the Soviet Union or similar powers in the Far East.

P1154 could have been a reasonable STOVL fighter bomber. HS 681 is just a 4 engined Kawasaki C1.

Couldnt they have been saved?
 

zen

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Could they have been saved?


Hard one that, and the short answer is that the easy options require a very different UK of one sort or another. But that would rather alter the landscape such you'd not be in the position of having the likes of TSR.2, P1154 and HS.681. As you'd probably see a other machines earlier that push back these efforts.


The hard options are rather like threading a cruise liner through narrow rocks in a storm, very easy to sink the lot, hard to save anything.


But not impossible.


Arguably the costs of F111, keeping Vulcans running and Tornado equal the costs of the TSR.2. But its a lot harder to see who'd even be allowed to buy the machine outside the UK. Not so easy to sell this to the Saudis.


P1154 is another tricky beast, it would help not spending cash developing the Jaguar or buying the F4, P1127 would have to stay stuck as the Kestrel and left behind.
That means accepting the restrictions of PCB, which are very much more restricting than the standard Pegasus type V/STOL. Its a sort of expensive STOL machine.


It might alter the processes of CVA-01. Then again that is such an involved topic its hard to do it justice in a few lines here.


HS.681 strikes me as just too involved to make it past prototype.
 

alertken

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Could: technologically...of course. Late and Initial Capability degraded, but eventually all could have been deployed. So, of course, could every other device which we enjoy in Tony Buttler's books. All were discontinued for what the (potential) Buyer saw as good reasons.

Shall we agree that C-130K was in every way preferable to HS681? So:
- should we have persevered with a supersonic V/STOL machine?
Why? Healey asked a very simple Q: define the sortie that is V and supersonic. None, came the stern reply, so he bought V (Harrier GR.1) and supersonic (F-4M). Where's your beef. (The same Q has just dished UK/F-35B).
- should we have persevered with a strike type penetrating the Central Front behind the battlefield, ahead of (Moscow), to seek out moving targets, to strike precision targets with iron, and to take out fixed targets with nukes. All of which pushed infant avionics technology beyond any realistic readiness rate, so that 25% of the Force might make a first sortie, and maybe 25% of that might be reloadable for the second, nuke sortie.

Simply spelling it out like this leads to a firm No. What Ministers tried to do was to take 50 from the planned US run of 3,000 F-111, for an Indian Ocean Task to discomfit China's ambitions towards India, and to address the Central Front with Army Co-operation mud-movers. Lance would deal with beyond-the-battlefield. When we ran out of money, again, we chose to let India defend itself, and to quit grandiose White Man's Burden, East of Suez notions. So, again, where's the beef?
 

uk 75

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As Basil Fawlty once said "Back to the land of dreams"

Thanks for indulging me. In the cold light of day I am forced to admit that the RAF did actually get better aircraft than my fave trio.

Jaguar proved to be a versatile and hard wearing plane and was affordable in the numbers needed.
We also managed to sell some (unlikely for P1154). The little P1127 RAF was far more useful in the Falklands that P1154 would have been and it also caught the imagination of the Cold War RAF and the US Marines in ways that the STOVL P1154 could not have done. The Herc is one of the all time greats, so poor old HS 681 (a British IL76?) did not stand a chance.

TSR2 was always expected to give way in the 80s to a swing wing smaller fighter bomber. Tornado arrived in numbers that TSR 2 could never have matched. It served much longer than TSR 2 would have been able to.

Thanks again for joining in my revery!
 

JFC Fuller

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uk 75 said:
TSR2 was always expected to give way in the 80s to a swing wing smaller fighter bomber. Tornado arrived in numbers that TSR 2 could never have matched. It served much longer than TSR 2 would have been able to.

IMO, Tornado is the most remarkable aircraft (any military for that matter) procurement programme the UK embarked on in Cold War era and it shows genuine fortitude and courage on the part of the involved UK governments that it made it to fruition almost intact. 385 aircraft were procured over two variants that re-equipped 18 squadrons (out of a late Cold War front-line peak of 30) that had previously encompassed 5 different types (Vulcan, Buccaneer, Phantom, Jaguar and Lightning). What became Typhoon would have repeated the trick on a smaller scale, had it not been for the end of the Cold War, by re-equipping the remaining 4 Phantom Squadrons, 3 Jaguar squadrons and displacing 2 Tornado IDS squadrons to replace the two surviving Buccaneer squadrons in the maritime strike role.

Note what this means for the beloved and much overrated/over-hyped Harrier, it would have equipped just 3 squadrons, only 10% of the total force, despite being one of only 3 front-line fast-jet aircraft types in the RAF. Now whilst it had always been that small (it was briefly 4 squadrons) it is interesting that despite the consolidation being undertaken there was no expansion of the Harrier force.
 

zen

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This is looking less like an alternative history thread.
 

pathology_doc

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HS681? No. IMO nothing which was competing in the same market as the Hercules was going to have much of a chance - the Herc is just that good.


For TSR.2, we have to imagine that the services wake up to themselves soon enough to not ask the impossible, and settle for a bomber with similar aerodynamic and systems performance but with a more modest range profile, tasked with a nuclear mission limited to flattening enemy tank divisions, forward divisional bases, fuel/ammo dumps, railheads, etc. Also that the politics either let EE develop the aircraft on its own with its engine of choice or that EE is made the clear leader of the EE/Vickers/Bristol partnership, thus eliminating a lot of the bureaucratic waste that dogged the project.


Speculate now that a small team at Vickers had continued to dabble in Blue Boar technology development after the main requirement was cancelled. This makes an EOGB of something other than gigantic size available to TSR.2 shortly after in-service entry, thus significantly expanding its conventional weapons capabilities (which will be further expanded when US laser-guided bombs come along). Now that the aircraft is really useful for something other than the curtain-raiser to Armageddon, it's decided to proceed with a small acquisition to cut the RAF's teeth; the Australians are shown a solid order in the pipeline rather than just brochures; and so on.


Speculate further that AAGW development had also not been in the doldrums, or that the bullet had been bit and the British had acquired Sparrow earlier, therefore developed Skyflash (or at least its electronic innards) earlier, and there you have the basis for TSR.2 ADV with a radar/IR Red Top mix, doing the long-range standing patrol and snooper interdictions while whatever force of Lightnings remains stands behind them as rapid-reaction leak stoppers.


That, IMO, is the what-if of how you save TSR.2.
 

uk 75

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Zen

I think one of the great things about this site is the interaction between the whacky what-iffery and the detailed knowledge of events and systems in the real world which come out in the threads. I have certainly learnt a lot here and found a new respect for some systems like the Tornado which I had taken a bit for granted in my nostalgic fondness for TSR 2 and co. The same could also be said of the Invincible class ASW carriers compared with CVA 01.

However, I did start out trying to save TSR 2 and co, so here is another perm.

TSR 2 When all is said and done TSR 2 was about providing a means of lofting 1 or 2 tactical nukes as far as possible into enemy territory. Had it stuck to one weapon and concentrated on range and survivability rather than short field performance, TSR 2 might have been a fixed wing aircraft similar in appearance to real world TSR 2 but smaller and say with Medway engines. It would have replaced the Canberras, Valiants and Vulcans in the nuclear role as a British F-111 E.
The requirement existed between 1962 and 1982 and was finally met by Tornado, which lacked the range for some parts of this job (hitting Soviet Northern naval bases).

1154 A simpler STOVL 1154 would have been similar to Jaguar in role and capabilities. Lose the V requirement, which I have always found a red herring outside the Falklands context. 1154 would have replaced the Hunters in about 1970 or so, and might if kept fairly straightforward have found customers like the Jaguar. France had a similar blind alley with its Mirage IIIV/G family, which like 1154 were born in the NATO massive nuclear response era.

681 I always see 681 as a fatter shorter C141 Starlifter. Take away the silly engines and fit ordinary Medways instead and you have an Il 76. For many of the roles the UK used C130s for outside Europe such a faster, jet transport would have been useful. We could also have axed the Belfast and given Shorts some 681 work. If the UK had deployed a 681/Herc mix in the 70s, the US might have decided to buy some 681s to make up for the limitations of its own force. We could also have developed a short field version for the US .

What-iffery!
 

pathology_doc

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Reading that last reply, I suspect the big problem with TSR2 was combining the short-field performance with the ultra-long-range bombing mission. In the era the aircraft was designed, the nuke mission is likely going to be the first one you launch, which means you get to make it from a long concrete runway in friendly territory (with mushrooms rising behind you). If there's an "after that" at all, it's one in which you're running short-haul conventional missions against enemy land forces from front-line airstrips (the only ones left), which the short-field performance is optimal for, but the 1000nm mission with a pair of nukes is permanently in the past at that point.

If you don't go to nuclear war immediately, you get to operate into European target zones from UK bases, and given that we are now in the "cancelled projects were built" version of reality, your roost is guarded by a combination of Bloodhound SAMs and Fairey Delta Threes or Gloster Super Javelins, while P.1121s with Red Top and Blue Dolphin AAMs provide your top cover and supersonic Hunter successors flying Wild Weasel missions take out the SAMs ahead of you. And if things start getting radioactive, you STILL get to make that apocalyptic QRA mission from a concrete runway just before it gets blasted into glass. See first paragraph.

(Of course it may be that the only way ever to have saved TSR.2 was to just let English Electric build the P.17 the way it wanted to.)
 

Spark

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HI,
Aeroplane page 4 and 5 Feb11th 1965. SC5/15B Can any one post details please?
pathology_doc said:
Reading that last reply, I suspect the big problem with TSR2 was combining the short-field performance with the ultra-long-range bombing mission. In the era the aircraft was designed, the nuke mission is likely going to be the first one you launch, which means you get to make it from a long concrete runway in friendly territory (with mushrooms rising behind you). If there's an "after that" at all, it's one in which you're running short-haul conventional missions against enemy land forces from front-line airstrips (the only ones left), which the short-field performance is optimal for, but the 1000nm mission with a pair of nukes is permanently in the past at that point.

If you don't go to nuclear war immediately, you get to operate into European target zones from UK bases, and given that we are now in the "cancelled projects were built" version of reality, your roost is guarded by a combination of Bloodhound SAMs and Fairey Delta Threes or Gloster Super Javelins, while P.1121s with Red Top and Blue Dolphin AAMs provide your top cover and supersonic Hunter successors flying Wild Weasel missions take out the SAMs ahead of you. And if things start getting radioactive, you STILL get to make that apocalyptic QRA mission from a concrete runway just before it gets blasted into glass. See first paragraph.

(Of course it may be that the only way ever to have saved TSR.2 was to just let English Electric build the P.17 the way it wanted to.)
 

zen

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Not actually sure the TSR.2 should be a 'smaller machine'. If anything this is part of the problem.
After all the earlier low level requirement (from my poor memory) was something like 1,500nm ROA, and part of the reason for the TSR.2 was operations from France as much as Germany. Once France is out of the question we're actually talking of an increase in ROA.
Plus considering the avionics of the time, greater size should encompass the greater volume needed.


More like we need to think of two different sizes and ranges here trying to be squeezed into a one size fits all solution that then must fly fast and high and high subsonic and low all into the same airframe.


Rather let us envision a shorter 600nm ROA machine, possibly single engined, and of STOL capabilities, then factor in a 1,500nm ROA machine, larger than the TSR.2
Then a further smaller STOL machine can be envisioned, maybe a STOVL one and that needs about 300nm ROA.


The costs of going beyond about 900nm ROA were astronomic, but to just add 100nm is if anything somewhat questionable on a cost-benefit basis.
Much as a deployment range of 3,000nm requires a certain island to be 'moved', raise the range to 4,000nm or greater and things ease up.
 

uk 75

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Thanks for the thoughtful and interesting input.

I agree that TSR 2 could have been either a Valiant or a Canberra replacement but not both. I think the RAF should have been more open about the need to replace Valiants and Vulcans in the operational theatre nuclear delivery role. Ironically the eventual replacement, Tornado, still did not have the range required (because of the German and Italian involvement). UKVG shows what the RAF really wanted.

The Valiants for SACEUR were in fact replaced by Vulcans freed up from deterrent duty after 1968. They covered the period originally intended to be covered by TSR 2. TSR 2 was not expected to serve after 1980 and its replacement was always envisaged as a multi role swing wing aircraft.

Buccaneer was the logical Canberra replacement, albeit with Medways.
 

JFC Fuller

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uk 75 said:
Thanks for the thoughtful and interesting input.

I agree that TSR 2 could have been either a Valiant or a Canberra replacement but not both. I think the RAF should have been more open about the need to replace Valiants and Vulcans in the operational theatre nuclear delivery role. Ironically the eventual replacement, Tornado, still did not have the range required (because of the German and Italian involvement). UKVG shows what the RAF really wanted.

The Valiants for SACEUR were in fact replaced by Vulcans freed up from deterrent duty after 1968. They covered the period originally intended to be covered by TSR 2. TSR 2 was not expected to serve after 1980 and its replacement was always envisaged as a multi role swing wing aircraft.

Buccaneer was the logical Canberra replacement, albeit with Medways.

Its best not to think of Valiant and Canberra as individual aircraft and instead think of them as different aircraft doing the same role. Canberra lasted so long because it was procured in huge numbers having been acquired largely because it was available before the V-Bombers and when money was washing through the RAF post-1950. It was always planned for the type to be displaced by V-Bombers as it lacked any genuine all-weather capability beyond Gee range. The moving of Valiant's into the theatre-bomber role was entirely logical, due to its superior performance in almost every way, and only curtailed by the types unfortunate structural issues at low altitude. TSR-2 was developed specifically as sub-strategic theatre bomber and as such to replace both Canberra's and Variants, not that there were any Valiant's left after 1965 anyway. The Valiant in the mid-60s was a strategic bomber re-rolled as a theatre bomber and essentially doing the same thing as the Canberra which was itself compromised by the lack of a credible nav-attack system. Remember, Tornado ultimately replaced the Vulcan's, the Vulcans only being retained because of the decision to split the original TSR-2 requirement between F-111 and AFVG, the Buccaneer becoming the F-111 replacement on cancellation and the Vulcan clinging on for AFVG/UKVG/MRCA to finally produce its replacement. Where the Canberra was performing a tactical mission it was making up for the lack of a nuclear capability in the traditional RAF tactical strike aircraft fleet, Venom's then Hunters, this gap would have been closed by P.1154/Phantom with WE.177 and was in the end achieved by Jaguar and WE.177.

Also, a Medway powered Buccaneer would be pretty close to a TSR-2 anyway, the Medway was the engine that competed against the Olympus for the TSR-2 requirement.
 

pathology_doc

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uk 75 said:
Buccaneer was the logical Canberra replacement, albeit with Medways.


Not sure about the Medway, but should definitely have had the Spey from the beginning rather than the Gyron Junior.
 

alertken

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Timing. B-103 and DH PS43 were 1953 designs. Spey morphed from Medway in 1958, and was selected for S.2 in 1961. S.1 first operational embarkation (with Red Beard) was 8/63; if it had been by-passed (Ha!), say confined to systems trials while awaiting Spey 101, S.2 first (RB) operational embarkation would have been later than the actual 5/66. Regard the brief S.1 career as extended Development Batch/Intensive Trials. This was a big step for FAA, who were hampered all the way by priority given by vendors and Establishments to higher (potential) business volume of RAF types. While DH had GW prospects for Gyron Jr. and RAF applications for Gyron, they treated PS43 as also-ran; when NA.39 became the only game in DH's town, new owner BSEL disdained its modest payoff for much effort. Drift. See ditto every black box vendor.
 

JFC Fuller

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Further to the Valiant Canberra issue:

In late 1957 and through 1968 the subject of what to do with surplus Valiants came up. Air to Air refuelling was one obvious requirement but it was also apparent that the Canberra still suffered from the same basic weakness that it had since the decision to cancel the originally specified H2S Mk9 radar bombing system; it had virtually no all-weather capability and was limited in range by being dependent on ground based aids such as Gee. In addition the fleet was starting to show signs of fatigue. Thus it was decided to re-role 3 Valiant squadrons into a Tactical Bomber Force and put them under operational command of SACEUR. However, this process required replacing 64 Canberras with 24 Valiants so the aircraft had to possess dual carriage. The end result was that when the Valiant fleet had to be retired there were no MBF Valiant squadrons, instead the 1965 Valiant force was as follows:

1 x SR (Strategic Reconnaissance)
2 x Tanker
3 x SACEUR assigned TBF

Thus the Valiant was no longer a true strategic aircraft and was now part of the RAF's tactical force and fulfilling the same role as the Canberras.

By 1965 programmes were underway to replace both the SR and tanker Valiants with converted Victors.
 
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pathology_doc

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Thanks for clearing that up. What are the space issues for fitting two Red Beards in a Valiant bomb bay? Given that the Valiant was intended to take a single, very large atom bomb, taking two examples of something a Buccaneer or Scimitar can carry doesn't sound like too much of an ask; and Red Beard is arguably what they'd have carried in the tactical role, yes?
 

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JFC Fuller said:
Further to the Valiant Canberra issue:
(snip)
late 1957 and through 1968 the subject of what to do with surplus Valiants came up.
1 x SR (Strategic Reconnaissance)
2 x Tanker
3 x SACEUR assigned TBF
Thus the Valiant was no longer a true strategic aircraft and was now part of the RAF's tactical force and fulfilling the same role as the Canberras.
By 1965 programmes were underway to replace both the SR and tanker Valiants with converted Victors.


just for clarification, when were the Valiants finally retired? I thought that the metal fatigue issue had grounded them almost immediately but I'm clearly misinformed.
cheers
H
 

uk 75

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My reading of Hennessy's Secret State with its nuclear briefing paper to Wilson remains that the SACEUR commitment of 48 aircraft was due to be met by TFX (TSR 2 and then F111K). When this does not become possible, the RAF receives Buccaneers to join the Vulcan B2s freed up from deterrent duty. Throughout the 70s the RAF has 48 Vulcans plus the 2 Buc sqns in Germany (presumably because Vulcans were too vulnerable on the Central Front) while the UK Buccaneer sqns are maritime strike and Northern Flank support. The gap left by TSR 2 and F111 is filled eventually by the Tornado force which in fact provides a much more flexible capability (though with shorter range-hence the additional US F111 wing at Lakenheath)
 

JFC Fuller

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Humphrey Wynn in "RAF Nuclear Deterrent Forces" is explicit that 48 Canberra's became 48 targets covered by 24 dual carriage Valiant's and that despite a proposal to replace those Valiant's with Vulcan B.1 aircraft this was rejected and the Valiants were never actually replaced. Part of the justification for not replacing the three Valiant squadrons was that the V-Force (MBF) was already available to SACEUR. Six Vulcan bomber (there was also an MRR squadron) squadrons (48 aircraft) were intended to remain until AFVG came along but of course had to hang on until the arrival of Tornado and sowere life extended to 1985 (but actually gone from all except one squadron in 1982). Distribution was 3 Vulcan Squadrons in the UK and 2 in Cyprus as part of CENTO (a proposal to make them available to both CENTO and SACEUR was rejected), I believe this was the case to 1975 when the 2 Cyprus squadrons returned to the UK and were once again made available to SACEUR.

The briefing paper Hennessy gives us is also revealing. It references a total of six separate TSR-2 squadrons, especially interesting is that the TSR-2 was to continue the pattern started by the tactical Valiant squadrons; 24 dual carriage Valiants would be replaced by 24 dual carriage TSR-2s and 48 single carriage Canberra's would be replaced by 24 dual carriage TSR-2's. It also gives me a hypothesis, very early in 1965 the TSR-2 procurement number suddenly drops from 138-150 to 110 so perhaps this drop became possible because it was no longer necessary to replace 24 Valiants that were then being retired?
 
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uk 75

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JFCF

Thank you for coming back with so much info. My copy of Wynn is in a box which I cannot find at present.

Each year NATO member nations had to provide NATO with a full questionnaire explaining in detail what forces it allocated to each NATO Commander and what it intended to allocate in the coming five years. I think these remain classified.

I agree with you that the numbers of TSR 2s or TFX as Hennessy's paper calls them relates to the number of UK or US weapons they were intended to carry. I assume that F111K was also expected to carry two rather than one nuclear store. Tornado only carried one so this accounts for the greater numbers that had to be deployed. I think UKVG was supposed to carry 2 and also had greater range.

Like the USAF F111s TSR2 would have had a mainly nuclear role, except in some limited war situations. Primarily it and F111K were to be nuclear bombers.

If you compare the conventional payload of TSR 2 with that of Tornado the difference (especially as Tonka is much smaller) is very much in favour of the latter. Apart from the inferior MARTEL no precision guided ordinance was available for TSR2.
 

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I have seen the Tornado single carriage reference several times, however from a technical standpoint there was nothing stopping a Tornado from carrying twin WE.177 accept for range, a number of the pictures I have seen of Tornado carrying WE.177 have one under the fuselage with a fuel tank next to it suggesting this was the limitation. I have also spoken to an RAF pilot who told me he had two nuclear targets, both in East Germany, so my suspicion is that it was only against longer range targets that the Tornado was limited to one WE.177. The reason for the procurement of so many Tornado's was really a product of two things, the type needed to replace so many aircraft types (the eleven Tornado IDS squadrons is actually only one more than the 10 AFVG squadrons suggested in Flight Global) and the Conservative Governments desire in the 80s to increase the capability of the RAF at the expense of the RN whilst also raising defence spending; which it did.

TSR-2's conventional weapons capability is actually relatively favourable, in my opinion, 6 x 1,000lb bombs internally before even getting to the underwing hardpoints for rockets and Martels is quite a punch. The relative lack of PGM's on the type is probably more a product of the lack of such weapons available during its design phase. It is worth remembering that LGB's did not really start to make an impact in Vietnam until 1972. I am sure that had TSR-2 entered service it would have ultimately been fitted for PGM's. Buccaneer was fitted with Pave Spike from 1979 onwards.

With regard to the F-111K, I have the following notes:

The 50 aircraft were to consist of 46 combat aircraft and 4 trainers (plus three simulators), they were to be split between 4 Squadrons and an OCU. There would be no dedicated recce squadrons but each Squadron would have aircraft within it aircraft permanently equipped for the reconnaissance role with specialised crew training. 2 squadrons were to be kept EoS and 2 in the UK with the first squadron planned to form in 1969. Obviously these would not have been 12 aircraft squadrons.

I had also forgotten how much UK kit was in the programme:

EMI: Recce pallet (a reengineered version of the TSR-2 pack)
Decca Navigator: Roller Maps
Plessey: VHF/UHF radios
Elliots: Automatic test equipment
Miles Electronics: Simulators, with Elliots 4130 computers
Ferranti (My guess, I have not found the actual manufacturer): Inertial platform

Other modifications compared to the US aircraft were the Autonetics Mk2K Nav/Attack system in place of the Mk-2A, a rearranged cockpit, Lightning style underwing fuel probe, integration of Martel including the required video transceiver and FB.111 undercarriage and wings.
 
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Hood

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Would it be safe to assume had the F-111K purchase gone ahead, and the 1966 Defence Review had also gone ahead and cut the EoS requirement that those 4 sqaudrons would either have been stationed in UK (thus replacing what remained of the Vulcan force 10 years earlier) or a 2 UK Sqn and 2 Cyprus Sqn force?

That list of British equipment is impressive. This raises two concerns in my mind had the purchase gone ahead. First, that this would have led to a repeat of the F-4K fiasco with extra money and delay ironing out snags with the hybrid F-111/FB-111 airframe and UK avionics with little US aid; and second, given the high price increases of the Australian F-111C fleet what would the price increases (also development and ceritfication time) have been like with what essentially is a new bespoke aircraft that no other F-111 nation operates? Also given the F-111/FB-111 hybrid airframe and UK avionics any chance of buying attrition replacements later once the F-111K line had closes was nil and off-the-shelf surplus USAF purchases would be too different.

JFC Fuller, in your info does it say where the avionics were to be integrated? On the Fort Worth line or in the UK?
 

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The 50 aircraft F-111K purchase was a result of the 1966 review, it was cancelled as a result of the devaluation of stirling and the wider economic situation, in 1968. To a certain extent the F-4K scenario seems to have been starting to manifest itself, there are various reports of rising cost during negotiations for the 40 aircraft balance and the addition of UK equipment had made the list price higher in the first place. However, the UK was negotiating price ceilings, these were tied to US inflation and seem to have been in dollars rather than stirling (thus vulnerable to devaluation of the pound, this is not a criticism- such an arrangement would have been imperative for US industry), how water tight these were I do not know. It is also worth noting that the deal was attractive because it included a range of offset purchases (from both the US and developing countries assisted by the US) which were designed to make it it dollar neutral. The F-111K should have been easier than the F-4K due to the fact that the UK was not changing the engine (although the Spey was considered). Unfortunately I do not know where the integration of UK origin systems was to occur.
 

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The Option taken before TSR.2 chop was for 50xF-111A standard. That was all that DoD could submit in early-April,1965; that price came through very late at night, 5/4/65, to permit TSR.2 chop in Chancellor Callaghan's Budget the next day. Fixed price in $ on 10-year deferred terms. So was the entire package (inc. F-4M/C-130K). Offset was to be negotiated on the basis of lots of it and of high tech. Most of that survived F-111K chop, except HP's C-10A Jetstream, which was beeched.

On the afternoon of 6/4/65 an ITP was telexed to RR for initial installation development of a reheated Spey for F-111K. UK industry clamoured to migrate TSR.2 kit into F-111K, and to bid for chunks of structure, matching what MoA/Jenkins was even then securing on F-4K/M, C-130K. Treasury conceded inventory-commonality - so, standard UK radio on C-130K, but fiercely resisted any make-work, because DoD fixed prices/fixed delivery dates carried penalties for delay - both ways. So, if a Scottish Avn. fuselage panel for a C-130K arrived late in Marietta, such as to disrupt USAF deliveries, all the vaults of the Bank of England could not have met the bill. And UK's fixed price would be destroyed. The equipment fit listed by JFCF is in part a wish-list: I am unaware of any effort to fit TSR.2's IN (itself Westinghouse-derived) and wonder whether you have picked up that Ferranti would have been UK Sister Firm responsible for In Service Support of bog-US-standard? The 2 T.1s assembled by chop, standard F-111A structure, were reduced to produce, some $-credit factored back into cancellation charges. I doubt we had committed to any unproven, unpriced FB-111A feature - timing (first flight 7/67) did not match. Might optimists have been mooting an S.3 vice/as well as UKVG?

10xT.1 were ordered 22/2/66 with TF.30; 40xS.2 were ordered 1/2/67 with Spey. It has been stated that Coningsby would have been OCU*, Honington Main Base, Indian Ocean Forward Operating Bases on detached duty. The sole task of S.2 was to dissuade India from developing its own Bomb. It never had a NATO role. One reason is that F-4M came with B43, thus liberating overstretched AWRE to build Polaris' warheads on time. F-111K would need WE177 (A or B, dependent on what targets people thought they might find in the Burmese jungle: the Task was to disrupt PLA invaders, doubtless on bicycles), and that would have been a fun integration exercise.

By chop, 16/1/68 I do not know what Buy-Off-in-US standard had been defined, and suspect it was still WIP: clearly UK radio would be fitted in UK; clearly Flight Test of UK recce would be by GD/Ft.Worth, operational fitment in UK. I presume, but do not know, that BAC/Warton would have been UK Sister Firm, with duties comparable to those at HSAL/Holme on F-4K/M. I also suspect that, even if UK's £ problem had been resolved such that general East of Suez withdrawal had been deferred till the next crisis, F-111K would have lapsed as soon as it became evident that India was ignoring Non-Proliferation notions. This machine, delivered to Nellis 10/67, was becoming grotesquely expensive to own - that is why McNamara's intent for 3,000 - a prime factor in UK tagging on 50 of a proven standard product - would emerge closer to 300.

(*amended, 1725, 8/10/12: though after CVA-01 chop, and cascades of Buccs/Phantoms littering Lincolnshire, maybe Hon. would have been OCU+Main Base. I think I recall Hon. as site for the Link-Miles sim).
 

JFC Fuller

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Ken,

As always, thank you for the reply; Like most things coming out the 66 review the 50 x F-111 (was apparently 110 initially) seems to have been rather half baked, AFVG exhibits the similar uncertainties. My understanding is that with the exception of the INS platform everything else that was to be UK had been contracted and at the very least the FB-111 undercarriage had already been selected, at the very least the FB.111 wings were under consideration. Let us also not forget that F-111K is the reason Saudi Arabia ended up with Lightnings. Wegg "General dynamics aircraft and their predecessors" has 46 (plus 4 TF-111K) ordered February 1st 1967 but cancelled January 1968 however only ten airframes were confirmed at the time (Flight has a firm order for 10 being placed in April 1966) with the other 40 held on option for almost a year. All aircraft to be delivered by the end of 1970. Flight 1965 (Angus Macpherson) reported that RR had been regular visitors to Fort Worth and that the Spey had been suggested already; I have never seen any suggestion that the Spey had actually been selected for any contracted UK airframes...?

Gunston states that the whole way through AFVG GD were pushing more F-111K's, MD were offering a swing-wing Phantom* and HSA were suggesting warmed over Buccaneers so who knows what was included in those brochures. After AFVG the Swedes are said to have briefed Viggen as well.

*http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,1881.msg59532.html#msg59532
 

zen

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Thought the Swedes had been approached earlier, mainly to try to interest them in the P1154.
 

alertken

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I have F-111K Option fixed unit prices equating to £2.125Mn., 10xT.2(P&W TF30), and £2.32Mn. baseline, 40xGR.1*, plus net increment for UK-peculiars, inc.Spey. Cash, UK to US, was not required till Feb.66. It was Spey-in-F-4M and F-111K that put RR in the financial position to buy, and the fabrication position to need, BSEL, 10/66, and which caused RR merely to show willing, no intent to win, in a feeble early-1965 brochure for C-130K/Tyne. Even RR knew they could not deliver to match 3 US production rates. Believe me on Spey/F-111K S.2: I administered the R&D contract. We all assumed there would be >40, because few people knew of AWRE's practical (in)ability to build Bombs for all its candidate customers.
(amended, 1744, 8/10/12: so there I am confused: T.1/S.2 or GR.1/T.2)
 

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Ken,

My unit costs match yours. The contract seem to have been pretty good for the UK, aside from all the offset purchases, it seems to have included a price ceiling with only general US inflation and and any British additions as potential escalators in the dollar price. Thank you for the Spey reference, I see a strong argument for EoS F-111K to have the same engines as co-located Phantoms. I am working on the assumptions that the two EoS F-111K squadrons would have replaced the one Canberra PR and one Canberra B squadrons in Singapore. I also have initial the AFVG plan at 150, only becoming 175 at French behest. I suspect US manufacturers trying to kill it were wasting their time, AFVG served to buy a way into Europe and utilise UK industry made redundant by the triple death of P.1154, AW.681, and ultimately TSR-2. Furthermore dollars were running out (devaluation was probably already on the mind) and Congressmen had already demonstrated that they were not best pleased with the offset package. Unfortunately AFVG was not the platform with which to pursue collaboration, the French were never 100% committed, and it was planned for disparate and often ill-defined roles.
 

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Wot you said.
Anyone who knows T.1 or T.2, S.2 or GR.1, or whether such name suggestions as Merlin are real, pls post.
 

JFC Fuller

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Ken,

Buccaneer Strike Mk.2 (S.2) was surely grandfathered from the FAA. RAF designations for the F-111K would have certainly been GR.1/2 and possibly, though highly unlikely) even FGR.1/2. Assuming that first 10 aircraft were indeed to have been delivered to a different Mk.1 standard to the later 40 delivered to Mk.2 (F-111D + Spey?) standard (Mk.2 is referenced in multiple sources as having been offered) then there must have been some thought to rebuilding those first 10 airframes to the Mk.2 standard?

I have only ever seen Merlin on the internet though people seem pretty certain of it, personally I think Boston would be far more appropriate.

Zen,

Quite possibly they were, my understanding is that post AFVG the Swedes certainly offered the Viggen; I find this amusing because I love the Viggen, had the UK not pursued Olympus it may well have ended up with the Medway and the RAF later became enamoured with the Oerlikon KCA 30mm cannon developed for the JA-37 in the 1970s.
 

zen

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If memory serves the Swedes were looking at the same Olympus as in the TSR.2 at one point, but their fears over opting for a engine used on just one other type of aircraft proved correct. I think at one moment the UK was even trying to interest them in the TSR.2 but that might just be confusion over the engine and the 'Harrier'.


Effort to interest the UK was modest, UK side was to meet them to push P1127 and P1154. Leastways that's what I've read.


Certainly the Viggen could do what the Lightning and the Jaguar do. So its arguable that a licensed build of Viggen could replace the Lightning and fullfill the MRI mission. Tricky territory for the Swedes though, as it was/is a political hot potato they had interests in nukes at all.
Missed opportunity really.


furthermore navalisation of the Viggen is at least worth consideration, and is slightly easier than for the later Grippen. Though the very nose high approach for their no-flare landings could be a major spanner in the works.
And no, no no NO. Thrust reversers on a carrier's deck is NOT A GOOD IDEA. (sorry but some people do keep on as if it was and it rather requires me to stress that it's not, and thats not aimed at you or anyone specific, but it is necessary to say it)
 

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I honestly do not know about UK efforts to push P.1154 or P.1127, all I do know is that the final Viggen engine choice (circa 1963/4) was between the Medway and the JT8D, the UK press reported that the Medway was rejected due to a lack of UK government support for the engine. Of course the Medway was booted out of the TSR-2 programme in favour of the Olympus, seemingly for industrial reasons, and Olympus was very nearly removed from the UK military programme in the mid-50s and was only saved by Bristol offering it at fixed cost, otherwise Vulcan would have had Conway and TSR-2 would have had to have had Medway and then Medway may have ended up in Viggen. When the French withdrew from AFVG in 1967 the Swedes certainly briefed the British about Viggen- how far any information exchange went I do not know but one can imagine that had it have used the Medway it would have been considerably more appealing if still highly unlikely.

Who mentioned thrust reversers?
 

zen

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Whenever I mention its theoretically possible to navalise the Viggen someone always pops up and starts on about using thrust reversers. So thats just a preempitive on my part.


I'm pretty sure there is some references in a book about the Viggen that covers some meeting with Wilson and possibly Healy and certain Swedes. My memory is poor about this as I did read it roughly 15 years ago. Main thrust I reccal is the one I've already covered.


Viggen's range is if I reccal correctly is similar to a Jaguar or Lightning. MRI requirements where derived from NMBR.3 or about 250-300nm ROA with a single tactical nuke.
 

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Perhaps something the Swedes could have offered the British a lot earlier was the concept of only being able to afford one new first-rate design and therefore doing it right the first time and carrying it out to completion and service? Admittedly, having only one major military aircraft manufacturer helps that process a lot...
 

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JFC Fuller said:
Lightning style underwing fuel probe

This caught my eye. My understanding was that the F-111K was to have a retractable fuel probe in front of the cockpit. I've never seen any underwing fuel probes on any of the drawings I've seen. Do you have a source for this modification?
 

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Same. Additional question I don't have the answer to: did they replace the boom receptacle or was the K to be a hermaphrodite like the Thud?
 
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