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Some people might take exception to putting a thread about an extant aircraft into an unbuilt sub-forum.

The reality is that the Belfast was a design with tremendous undeveloped potential - a point that will be demonstrated by the 17,000km ferry flight of one of the last two airworthy examples.


The great irony is that the modern A400M in very similar in to the Belfast in terms of payload, internal dimensions and range capabilities, albeit superior in speed and take-off performance by virtue of swept wings and turboprops with nearly twice the rated horsepower!

This is the standard RAF Belfast C.MK 1 variant. The initial, and as it turned out, final order was for 10 units but the original intension was for a production run of at least 30.

It is well know that the Belfast used wings derived from those of the Bristol Brittania. An early version of the proposal was known as the "Britannic," which featured a smaller fuselage diameter than the final Belfast, and perhaps even low mounted wings.

I have never seen any drawings of the Brittanic.


This was the unsold civilian variant that could seat 147 passengers. It was claimed that the removable of military related items would have allowed a maxium payload of 85,000lbs to 700 statute miles, with a 3000 statute mile range with a 50,000lb cargo.

This compares quite favorably with the actual performance of the demilitarized Belfasts operated by HeavyLift Cargo.


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This was an increased performance Belfast, both in conventional transport and maritime patrol variants. MTOW increased to 250,000 lbs, with a maximum payload of 75,000 lbs. More important was the addition of a wing center section tank which increased maximum fuel to 96,000 lbs.

The primary increase in performance was derived from an increase in prop size to 18 ft from the original 16 ft.

The maritime patrol variant of the Shorts Belfast SC.5/13 replaced the rear loading ramp with a weapons bay - similar to proposed MPA variant of the A400M and various MPA proposals of the C-130, C-141 and C-160 that have periodically cropped up

I have never found any drawings or illustrations of the SC.5/13.


This is a tactical STOL variant of the Belfast, with the same increased diameter props as the SC.5/13, but uprated(?) Rolls Royce Tyne RTy.34 turboprops. The landing gear would have been upgraded with low pressure tires and a braking parachute would have been added!

MTOW increased to 240,000lbs with a maximum payload of 67,500 lbs, but the center section fuel tank was apparently omitted.


This was the strategic counterpart to the tactical /15B with same engines and 18ft props. MTOW increased to 285,000lbs, with a stunning 115,000lbs of fuel, resulting from the SC.5/13's center section fuel tank and addtional tanking in extended landing gear fairings. The ferry range was 7,350 statute miles.

Again, I have no images or drawings of this variant.
The illustration I saw in 'Fligh' -Britains Aircraft Industry- special
of 29 August 1958 shows the Short PD.18 Britanic.
(artist impression and provisional 3view)
The concept is already close to the high-wing Belfast.

This was the first Belfast proposal to combine the C-141's swept with with the Belfast fuselage. The engines were Conway RCo.42s.


Another C-141/Belfast hybrid, this design employed the unbuilt RB.178 "Super Conway." Derek Wood's "Project Cancelled" detailed this project, but there is a very obvious mistake in his data.

Derek Wood quotes the wing area as "483 sq ft (44.87m ^2)." This obvious mistake was repeated in every edition of Project Cancelled!

The SC.5/41 was a civilian design. The entire nose was hinged, but it is unclear from the drawing whether the rear had a C-141 style "clamshell" ramp, or no ramp at all?

The drawing appears below.


This is the military variant of the SC.5/41, and according to Derek Wood had "a beaver tail rear loading in addition to the swing nose." I presume that the rear fuselage had substantially different contours than the /41 - or did I misunderstand the definition of "bear tail?"

I do not have a drawing of SC.5/45?


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I've found it ! Thanks Tin Wing, you made me starting, what I should
have already done, when I bought those magazines ! Damned laziness ...
Ok, here is the promised artist's impression of the Short Britannic, described
as a derivative from the Britannia, powered by RR Tyne engines.
I must admit, I can't see great differences to the end product.
(picture from RAF Flying Review 10/59 and some more from FlugWelt 59/10)


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Somewhat off topic, but the picture of the early Britannic raises question I've though of before?

What were the advantages of the tailboom design, it seems to add a lot of weight for no gain?

I have always had an idea that the Belfast was specified to carry one Blue Streak.
I've never been able to confirm this - does anyone know?
Barrington Bond said:
Don't know about the "built" Belfast but perhaps this may be of interest...

It is indeed. Do you have access to "Fig. 2"?

I'm most interested in the section comparison between the Britannic/Belfast and Canadair CL-44.
I recall seeing/hearing about an "Airbus" version of the Belfast. Does that ring any bells?


P.s. I used to see the Shorts Belfast on approach to Belfast quite often. Impressive aircraft!
Project origins lay in basing/maintenance issues on Blue Streak. In May,1958 Duncan Sandys extracted US warhead design data, which, added to Thor/Atlas structure/equipment already secured, meant that UK's IRBM begun in 1955 might become real, built at Stevenage/Hatfield. We intended 60: Q: how to get them on site; how to get them back, not by road, for Depot Inspection/mod; how to multiply them by dispersal/deception? A: copy USAF, shifting Jupiter/Thor in C-124A, and planning to "shell-game" ICBMs with C-133. So: rent from MATS. But this Deterrent was to be visibly Independent .

We owned Short's, building RAF Britannias, Canberra PR.9, wingeing as ever for design work; we wanted a friendly investor to buy Bristol Aeroplane Co, but all they had was Bloodhound SAM, irrelevant to Filton. So, MoS did a cursory industry trawl before the fix of Filton wing on Ulster fuse. R&D contracted, with a run of 10 budgetted, just as Watkinson cancelled Blue Streak. It should then have been cancelled, but any Filton value in BAC was as production capacity for TSR.2: SC.5 wings would keep a team in being. So payload was rethought, not short-haul cube, but medium-range mass - schemes for armoured vehicles, which RAF wanted to haul on C-130E, but were given Argosies. It was not the designers' fault that SC.5 became no load Belslow: we took awhile to settle on IRBM bases, as between West, or East of the Pennines, but trolling off to Gan with Expeditionary kit was not in the Job Spec.
Barrington Bond said:

Modified post- I am new very impressed with what you chaps dig up and some wonderful ideas.

BB very intersting picky of an early LRBM (ICBM) Britannnic circa 1956/57?

What was the source please?

They must be Bristol Orion turboprops in the photo?

Has this first versions with the original Bristol Orion turboprop proposal been covered?

Has any one covered the V1000 variant proposal to the same requirement?
Lots and lots of information about the Orion engine is to be found here.


Is it true that the favoured aircraft for this project was actually a Victor derivative but it lost out for political reasons?
sealordlawrence said:
Lots and lots of information about the Orion engine is to be found here.


Is it true that the favoured aircraft for this project was actually a Victor derivative but it lost out for political reasons?

Hi sealordlawrence,

Many thanks for the Orion information, much appreciated.

Yes, according to archived documents the RAF judged the HP97 Victor derived aircraft to be the best and technically most advanced option.

The later HP111 in the tactical role could take off in 3,000ft!and was judged to be the best for the RAF role, but maybe could not carry Blue Streak.

The V1000 was the BOAC choice all though I think they never made a formal order for the Aircraft. Not clear if there was political influence.

The estimated cost of the home produced VC7 was a fraction of what the B707 was to the UK economy.

Note the VC7 could use any of the existing International Airports; the B707 had a choice of TWO.

The VC7 had greater payload potential and was about as quick over long distances.

The V1000 wide body (LRBM) strategic transport would also have been a winner.
Spark said:
Note the VC7 could use any of the existing International Airports; the B707 had a choice of TWO.
Underestimating the speed at which airports and runways improved in the 1950s and 60s was one of the major mistakes made by the British aircraft industry at that time. Aircraft that are bigger (= more seats) and faster (= more rotations) bring about lower fares, more flights and more passengers ; this is exactly what happened when the jet airliners were introduced in the late 50s. So airports had to modernised or built anew anyway, not because of specific aircraft field performance or dimensions/weight, but because of an increasing traffic. And if you need to reconstruct your airport terminals or even build a new airport in order to cope for increased traffic, then you will also invest in longer and stronger runways. Designing a large, fast and heavy airliner to operate from small airports and short runways is an economic nonsense. Better transfer the costs to the airport. One of the major advantages of air transport is (was ?) that capital investment can be concentrated in few physical infrastructures serving millions of flight, whereas ground transportation needs investment in larger infrastructure (eg high-speed railways).

…..and in the mean time when one has an aircraft that is cheaper to purchase and run with 25% more payload a distinct advantage in availability; Can operate from a greater number of airports while they are being upgraded you should have a winner? There was an annual league table of runway improvements published over several years, maybe Flight or Aeroplane?
I agree with what you post just a matter of timing?
sealordlawrence said:
Is it true that the favoured aircraft for this project was actually a Victor derivative but it lost out for political reasons?

Shorts seems to have got preferential treatment from the Government in the same way Harland and Wolff shipbuilders did.
PMN1 said:
sealordlawrence said:
Is it true that the favoured aircraft for this project was actually a Victor derivative but it lost out for political reasons?

Shorts seems to have got preferential treatment from the Government in the same way Harland and Wolff shipbuilders did.
Hi PMN1,
Agreed, EU agenda,
It was suggested at the time of the Blue Streak cancellation that the Short Britannic was to be used as a launch platform for Sky Bolt has any one details please?
Spark: V1000 was the BOAC choice although...they never made a formal order...Not clear if there was political influence.
There's always a reason for a chop. 1952 design as RAF V.1000; cancelled 11/11/55. VC7 never ordered by BOAC; rebid to them after 15 707-420 ordered 24/10/56 on condition they were early rolled over for a local type - which emerged as Standard VC10. Yet he said it was: “a decision we (=UK will)] regret for many years (biggest) blunder of all”D.Wood,Project Cancelled,P97, but RAF/’55 and BOAC/’56 assumed V-A would not build V.1000/VC7 on time, on price, or to Spec: H.Wynn,Hist.of RAF Transport Command:Forged in War,HMSO,96,P96:weight “would prevent (it) providing required payload/range.” BOAC Ch.Exec. Sir M.Thomas quit 7/3/56:H.Penrose,Wings Across the World, Cassell,80, Pp195,223“(You can) have an airline run as a competitive, keen commercial concern using the best available equipment, or you can have it as a shop window for aircraft you would not normally purchase” “To expect a Co. to do something (not) wholly commercial {=feed the natives}, then, when it has lost money doing it, to expect to pay interest on that money is bloody crazy”: 9/62 Chairman Sir M.Slattery of BOAC's loss for the year of £14Mn.: his irate Minister suggested he speak to the Specifier. MoS R.Maudling, Memoirs, Sidgwick,78,P62: (I) “cancelled (V.1000 as) I could not find a customer. BOAC did not want (/RAF) could not afford it”. 707 could troop off-RAF Budget: if Vickers (+RR) saw scope, let them speculate: RR did not as VC7 would cannibalise Conway-707/DC8.
Interesting are you saying that a gang of guilty criminals admit their crimes when fibs will hide their culpability and ensure they keep a charade of respectability.

Government documents of the time are clear the V1000 was the best and only real option at that time of meeting the original operational requirements the only case were it failed was that of take-off in a heat wave in the Tropics. Then by only a 10% shortfall at most. For example the Boeing in similar conditions needed another mile of runway before the wheels left the runway let alone clear fifty feet! Even the Britannia appears to have a worse field performance! The V1000 was the cheapest option by far but these facts at the time were kept from the public at large. The company were telling the truth about what they expected from the aircraft. A direct comparison with the respective Boeing military and civil aircraft on grounds of cost and performance demonstrate the absolute superiority of the Vickers Aircraft at that time. Remember the 707 had several major redesigns to try and match the expected performance of the Vickers Aircraft.
Spark: you really can't dismiss funding Ministers' and prospect customer MD's statements as "charade...guilty", nor ignore my point, that Geo.Edwards had it in his power to attempt to pursuade his owner to rectify "the biggest blunder of all." Evidently, if indeed he brought the project to Vickers Board for further PV funds, they judged VC7/V.1000 had no "absolute superiority".

for the Air Ministry Specification ASR.371 for a transport aircraft,which
led to Shorts Belfast,the Avro-756 was also from its tenders,who know
more about the competitors ?.

From Avro Heritage site,the Avro-756.


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Looks like a pair of missiles on a dolly. Or a large transport size suppository :)

Enjoy the Day! Mark
There was no requirement for carriage of Blue Streaks by air within the UK.

Vehicles to be flown from Woomera would have been taken out by air, but the engine bay and fuel tanks would have been taken separately. In the end, C130s were to be used (the first Blue Streak section was on its way to Australia at the time of cancellation but then brought back). There is a file on this at the PRO.

The only aircraft considered for Skybolt other than Vulcan and Victor was the VC10.
Barrington Bond said:
I thought Corporal as the British Army fielded them for a while.


Would agree, as history is right, shape is right and a rough calculation gives a length of
about 14 to 15 metres, quite right, too.
Here is a larger and enhanced version of the SC.5 Britannic in flight.


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Dear Boys and Girls, here is a picture showing the proposal to fit (or cram/squeeze) two decks of seven-abreast seating into the Belfast fuselage; to illustrate the article in French about the prospects for high-capacity airliner designs......

The article comes from the 15th August 1965 issue of Aviation Magazine International......

Terry (Caravellarella)


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Note the seeming lack of luggage space, seems to have been an issue with most of the double decked evolutions from transport aircraft and single deck airliners.

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