pathology_doc

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
578
I fundamentally think the TSR2 is being unfairly compared to much later systems (F-111F with Pave Tack, or perhaps even F-15E with LANTIRN), with capabilities that could only have been dreamed of at cancellation in 1965, let alone in 1957 when the specification was issued.
Yeah, we have to be careful to compare it to the things it was cotemporal with, not the ones which came after and actually fought (in 1991/2003, and against a different enemy) the high-level conventional war TSR.2 would have had to fight if things didn't immediately go nuclear.

Where is the F-111 at in, say, 1967 if we assume that cancellation is replaced by purchase and a couple of years to get TSR.2 into front-line squadrons?
What else does ANY other air force have which can do the same job as TSR.2 (assuming for the sake of simplicity that everything on the plane works as advertised), if it hits squadron service in that year? Never mind what F-111 is doing ten or 20 years down the road.
 
Last edited:

pathology_doc

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
578
The 60's are fascinating because they show how trying to get a very high precision guidance system to put bombs straight on a target remained a colossal headache back then. Guided bombs, cruise missiles, drones and even piloted aircraft all ran into severe avionics issues. Avionics were bulky, unreliable, and even when they worked, getting the bombs right on a heavily defended target remained some kind of miracle.
And you will find that the period 1945-1956 or thereabouts represents exactly the same sort of issue for anti-aircraft guided missiles operating from platforms which are restricted by size, weight and stability considerations (i.e. ships, airplanes). Not that fixed land-based systems (e.g. BOMARC, Nike series) don't have their own issues, but at least they don't suffer the constraints of ship/air launched systems on top of that.
 

CJGibson

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 26, 2011
Messages
1,700
Reaction score
1,367
I can't add much to this apart from admitting a lack of passion for the beast.

Attached is a size comparison of aircraft doing similar roles - dropping bombs on folk. Crew drops from five to one, avionics shrink etc etc. Costs go sky high.

Chris
 

Attachments

  • Size_Comparison_A4.png
    Size_Comparison_A4.png
    76.9 KB · Views: 98

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
3,169
Reaction score
4,254
Yeah, we have to be careful to compare it to the things it was cotemporal with, not the ones which came after and actually fought (in 1991/2003, and against a different enemy) the high-level conventional war TSR.2 would have had to fight if things didn't immediately go nuclear.

Where is the F-111 at in, say, 1967 if we assume that cancellation is replaced by purchase and a couple of years to get TSR.2 into front-line squadrons?
What else does ANY other air force have which can do the same job as TSR.2 (assuming for the sake of simplicity that everything on the plane works as advertised), if it hits squadron service in that year? Never mind what F-111 is doing ten or 20 years down the road.

There is no doubt that the Air Ministry considered TSR.2 had a superior avionics fit than the F-111A. They felt that the F-111A had superior performance, but then it was a smaller airframe and had VG wings to provide optimisation, the TSR.2's wings were optimised for a smooth low-level ride. Certainly this counted against the proposal to reduce the TSR.2's max speed at altitude to Mach 1.7.

There is no denying that in a conventional war it seemed an expensive way to deliver a few iron bombs but at that time 90% of conventional bombs in most air arms were dumb weapons that needed delivery from a platform that required some kind of radar-aided navigation system and/or a ground-mapping radar for bombing accuracy. The contemporary critics felt it was over-spec'd, well to some extent maybe it was but given the likely threats of the 1970s it made sense to get the best and ensure a high level of survivability and weapons accuracy. I don't doubt that the automatic terrain following would have worked just as well as it did in Tornado, and in 1967-70 that would have been a big deal and given Warpac air defence planners some headaches to work out.
The USAF experience in Vietnam may have helped the Air Staff justify TSR.2 had the timings coincided closer.
 

Attachments

  • 100_0768.JPG
    100_0768.JPG
    1.2 MB · Views: 88
  • 100_0769.JPG
    100_0769.JPG
    1.2 MB · Views: 81

alertken

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
740
Reaction score
483
H: tks for 10/2/65 memo. HS P.1154 and 681 had gone by then, TSR.2 surviving (briefly) only because 1/65 Cabinet had split 3 ways, driven not by
cost/time of TSR.2 v. F-111, but by the purpose of having any such thing, which had become East of Suez-only after F-4M for RAFG. Some voted for:

* Issue 1: stay, or not, EoS, where emerging Asian Tigers had started to eat our industrial lunch, so let them carry their own Defence burden. If we stay:

* Issue 2: keep the business at home and buy-British despite the clear production Unit cost pain (2nd. point in the Summary), or take McNamara's fixed price+10 year's deferred credit offer - what would you do, on a non-Working Commons majority, so early Election driven by voters' money? and:

* Issue 3: so we stay where it ain't half hot, Mum, but to do...what? PM Wilson wanted to offer an AW umbrella to India to match that afforded to Pakistan by CENTO/SEATO. RAAF, PACAF/USAF, USN 7th.Fleet would soon be inter-operating on F-111s: what do we imagine we could add with a dozen more?

A chop majority emerged in 5/4/65 Cabinet, 2200hr., which had an open line to DC, where the F-111 Option $ were settled at a dramatic Programme saving over the uncapped GR.Edwards Offer, which was essentially cost plus (he had offered to forego profit on costs in excess of £X). Because it was just that - an Option, with many months before we must commit, the EoS-deniers could acquiesce in F-111 and recoil the better to spring later - as they did.

That is the thought process of Ministers and Mandarins, heedless of guesses on future capability, Product A v .Product B. Who knows?

Wilson had given BAC the chance to chisel their Bid for a buy of 50: that was the actual total of material already on order. BAC declined because there was no upside in an upfront TSR.2 loss. BAC knew we would neither buy more to replace RAFG F-4Ms mid-70s, nor SLEP retread any of the 50, because BAC were lobbying frantically to elbow out HSAL for the VG strike notion Defence Minister Healey was brewing with France.
 
Last edited:

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
I would avoid the doomsayers negativity here.
Logic ought to inform this scenario regardless of what ministers convinced themselves of at the time.

And in that, once you commit to even 50 LRI (Long Range Interdiction) you don't have extra funds for 'jam tomorrow' promises of 'sharing' the burden with France. AFVG is toast.
MRCA is unnecessary.
Political humiliation if you then try to scrap it, once it's in service.
Once you start down the Road of TSR.2 into service, the exits start disappearing the further down that road you go.

However.....cut the F4 out of the equation and you will need upto at least 70 more for the MRI (Medium Range Interdiction) target list, and arguably the full 175.
Reducible in theory by virtue of carriage of two WE.177 to 2 separate targets. Only achievable due to enormous range/radius over the minimum 300nm allowing transit to a second target before returning.
So maybe just an initial 35 and then a total of 85 for this.

Arguably then this might build such a scenario were it does go forward.
Cut P1154, do not opt for F4, then TSR.2 goes forward.

However in this we can see it's actually a pre-Tornado type design that had stronger logic of a MRI platform extended by drop tanks to LRI missions.
Or to put it another way "if only they'd had a Tornado like solution instead"....or maybe this is "the British F111 equivalent"?

Enter the VG OR.346 solutions like Type 582 or Type 590, the AFVG, UKVG etc...
-----
Now let's pull back a moment....
If we want LRI to SRI (Strategic Range Interdiction), then the original answer was the V-Bombers, the Low Level Target Marker (B2 Valiant) and the Avro 730.....

But to move that onwards gets us into more Theory than History......

For once you can produce the avionic system for the this, a twin engined platform with a crew of 3 is possible. A mesh with Blue Steel and Skybolt systems is logical.
A sort of low level Hustler type.....
 
Last edited:

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
TSR2 exemplifies the shortcomings of the UK way of deciding how to equip its armed forces.
Between them Whitehall, the RAF and Industry turned what should have been a straightforward task:
Provide the RAF with an effective replacement for its Canberra light strike and recce aircraft in the 1960s
into the tragic story we all know so well.
No amount of admiration for TSR2 can alter the fact that we built a Jaguar E type to meet the family's need for a Ford Cortina. As the TOP GEAR presenters used to say: "That went well."
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
It is worth adding that the USA does not do a markedly better job.
Starting with the Martin B57 aka the Canberra.
Replacing this plane in the USAF falls to a mixture of F100, F105, F4 and F111 depending on the theatre.
By the 70s the F111 has been got to work, but at humungous cost and effort.
The RAAF nearly drop it for F4s like the RAF did with TSR2.
It is perhaps ironic that two wings of F111s are deployed to the UK pretty much making up for RAF Bomber Command's lost contribution to NATO Saceur's order of battle.
The focus on East of Suez rather than NATO served TSR2 and the UK badly. Fortunately the nice US taxpayer picked up the tab.
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
Revisiting Foo Fighter's original idea for a re-engined big wing TSR2.
Let us assume that TSR2 flies in 1963 as originally planned. Testing and trials goes well enough for the programme to be too far along in 1964/5.
Meanwhile NATO is reeling from the impact on its thinking of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the move from massive nuclear to flexible response.
With the US Thors and Jupiters gone, the Valiants are briefly SACEUR's only available operational area as opposed to tactical nuclear airpower. He lobbies hard with Defence Minister Healey for TSR2s to replace them.
The Treasury agrees to let the RAF have 50 TSRs as long as it gives up its Vulcans and Victors in the nuclear role altogether. V force aircraft will phase out before 1968 when Polaris comes into service except for 48 Blue Steel Vulcans which will go out in 1969.
Three TSR2 squadrons arrive at Marham in 1967 to 68.
With F4s replacing its Germany based Canberras, Hunters and eventually Lightnings the RAF has withdrawn from the rest of the world by 1970. Occasional deployments of TSR2s and F4s to Cyprus and F4s to Singapore are the only exception.
Talks with France on a new generation of fighter/strike aircraft get nowhere.
Hawkers pick up orders for modest numbers of P1127s and a light trainer (Gnat replacement).
BAC has more than enough on its plate with TSR2 and Concorde as well as VC10 tankers. The Labour Government wants shot of Handley Page and the Victors have all gone by 1970.
1970 brings a new government. The Conservatives are unable to reverse the Labour Government's scrapping/sale of Ark Royal and Eagle.
The TSR2 force has become an effective and valued NATO component. Able to deliver two W177 bombs to a wide range of WP targets, the TSR2s balance Soviet missiles.
With no major UK manufactured combat aircraft programme in place, the TSR2 becomes the focus of a US style Get Well
programme.
The F4 (purchased for the RAF in original K and M versions and then in the E version) is the only other type in RAF service. Buccaneers were sold to India with Eagle and are now only manufactured there.
BAC continues to lobby Government, as it has done fruitlessly since 1963, for a VG fighter/attacker to replace F4/TSR2.
France and Germany have bickered since 1967 on a joint aircraft with Mirage G/AVS technology. Trouble is, the Luftwaffe like the RAF love the F4E. Dassault feeds the AdA Mirage IIIs and Vs but the Mirage F1 has still not been ordered.
BAC and Rolls Royce come up with a new wing, and smaller more efficient engines for the TSR2 force. The US offers SRAM missiles for the NATO role.
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
I do rather subscribe to the idea EE ought to have been left to design and build this. Even if subcontracting out to Vickers etc...

Had they been left to it I suspect progress would be more rapid save for the avionics.

And this itself opens another possibility.
While we've discussed the idea of a ADV development for TSR.2, had EE's design been unbutchered to combine with Vickers. Then such a variant is a lot more achievable within the basic design.

However.....
It was HP that realised what a nightmare this whole OR.339 could be and that the most compact/affordable solution was a tailless delta. Which would have to rely on either a Shorts type lift platform or land based carrier like systems like a firehose catapult and arrestor gear to deliver requisite levels of STOL.
So arguably it was HP that could achieve the cheapest solution and one that, once the STOL operations fell to accountancy, was cheapest to operate.
 

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
3,169
Reaction score
4,254
Another random thought that popped into my head. Had TSR.2 entered service, would it have spurred the RAF to obtain/develop laser-guided bombs sooner given the early capability the F-111 possessed?
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
I get the impression from everything that I have read that TSR2 was so expensive and fragile that
the only mission it could be used for was lobbing two W177s at someone.
With only 50 of the beasts in service something else would have had to do the conventional work.
At worst this would still have been Hunters and Canberras into the 70s. More likely as they were
already paid for, a mixture of F4s and Bucs handed across when the carriers go.
If you keep TSR2 the carriers are definitely gone.
The only credible scenario for TSR2 was in the SACEUR nuke role from 1968 replacing Valiant/Vulcan.
The US might have left us have SRAMs on the same terms as the B43 bombs for the V Force.
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
I get the impression from everything that I have read that TSR2 was so expensive and fragile that
the only mission it could be used for was lobbing two W177s at someone.
Where do you get that idea?
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
8,701
Reaction score
8,229
this whole OR.339 could be and that the most compact/affordable solution was a tailless delta
Mirage IV* and Mirage IVK readily agree, ROTFL.

English Electric certainly had tons of potential, shame it merely lasted a decade - from Canberra to Lightning... and it was over.
 

A Tentative Fleet Plan

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Apr 9, 2018
Messages
313
Reaction score
602
Another random thought that popped into my head. Had TSR.2 entered service, would it have spurred the RAF to obtain/develop laser-guided bombs sooner given the early capability the F-111 possessed?
Only the F-111F had LGB capability, and only after 1982 when PAVE TACK entered service.

I suppose it depends whether the RAF develops this capability for East of Suez or for Western Europe.

Early Laser-Guided Bombs had Bang-Bang control surfaces and could not be tossed from low-level unlike the later Paveway III. Then there's the issue of Western European weather, with the use of LGBs being curtailed by heavy cloud cover.
 

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
3,169
Reaction score
4,254
Only the F-111F had LGB capability, and only after 1982 when PAVE TACK entered service.

I suppose it depends whether the RAF develops this capability for East of Suez or for Western Europe.

Early Laser-Guided Bombs had Bang-Bang control surfaces and could not be tossed from low-level unlike the later Paveway III. Then there's the issue of Western European weather, with the use of LGBs being curtailed by heavy cloud cover.
Yes you are correct, for some reason I thought the F-111A had trial dropped them over Vietnam in 72-73 but I was mistaken there.
Ironically then the F-111 was limited to 'dumb' bombs outside of its nuclear mission until the 1980s, just as TSR.2 largely would have been, though it would have had Martel for TV-guided strike capability (possibly anti-radar role too if the French version had been acquired) (so would F-111K).

The huge plus point for F-111 was its load lugging capability, its been described as hauling the loads of five F-4s! A total of 31,500lb in max loadout was pretty phenomenal for the time (though in practice load-out was much less, 24 500lb Mk 82 Snakeyes for low-level strikes). TSR.2 had a max load of 14,000lb with only 4,000lb of that external - each one of the F-111s four inner hardpoints were rated at 5,000lb each.

Bucc and Tornado have gotten by without massive wing plyons, so perhaps its less of a serious issue but if the TSR.2s bay had been given over to fuel or Pave Tack during the 1980s, the external options would have been limited. The idea of a 'Big Wing TSR' though could have rectified that, maybe four large 3,000lb rated wing points and two dedicated Sidewinder rails outboard.

Visibility out of those small canopy hatches might have been a limiting factor in low-level tactical strikes too. Its a shame the trainer version never got sorted, it might have enabled a one or two-section blown canopy with much better visibility.

So my dream 1980s TSR SLEP would be: Ferranti inertial nav kit, LRMTS, new blown canopy, upgraded TFR/Blue Parrot, new composite big wing with six pylons (maybe throw in some blown flaps or slat and flap layout for STOL), fuel tank in the bay, upgraded RWR and internal ECM. I still need to mull over an engine for this though, I'm not sure there would be something off the shelf of the right power and size.
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
8,701
Reaction score
8,229
Phantoms dropped the first LGBs on those seemingly indestructible goddamn North Vietnam bridges on May 10, 1972, with mixed results.

Now I wonder why F-111s needed another decade to get LGBs ? What a Phantom can carry, a F-111 certainly can (twice).
 

A Tentative Fleet Plan

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Apr 9, 2018
Messages
313
Reaction score
602
The Buccaneer seems to have had fairly heafty wing pylons, I've certainly seen at least one picture with one flying with 3x1000lb bombs on each pylon.

Edit:
Well it appears they tried at least 2 per pylon.
10-1.jpg
 
Last edited:

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
I get the impression from everything that I have read that TSR2 was so expensive and fragile that
the only mission it could be used for was lobbing two W177s at someone.
Where do you get that idea?
In 1965 the only conventional weapons available to TSR2 were iron bombs and AS30s.
Both Canberra and Buccaneer were more robust and cost effective.
The size and cost of TSR2 only made sense if it was used in its nuclear role.like Valiant and Vulcan.
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
So no rocket pods?
No Bulpup?
No recce kit?

Thought Buccaneer had all that available and more.
 

Grey Havoc

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
17,454
Reaction score
7,257
Only the F-111F had LGB capability, and only after 1982 when PAVE TACK entered service.
If I am not mistaken, both the F-111D and the FB-111 (later F-111G) were actually intended to eventually get an upgrade in the form of a built in, as opposed to a podded, laser designation system, quite possibly related to the FLIR system that was planned for and successfully tested on the B-1A. That plan died in the chaos of the Ford and Carter eras. Which was likely not helped by remaining adherents of the infamous (not to mention disastrously failed) 'Strategic Sufficiency' dogma in the Pentagon/DOD resisting anything that might supposedly imperil it, including improvements to the tactical and strategic bomber fleets. Which in turn is slightly ironic, given just who the 'father' of the FB-111 was (as well as being responsible for the entire TFX fiasco in general).
 
Last edited:

pathology_doc

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
578
Another random thought that popped into my head. Had TSR.2 entered service, would it have spurred the RAF to obtain/develop laser-guided bombs sooner given the early capability the F-111 possessed?
The irony is that the British had been testing at least television-guided bombs back in the early 1950's, specifically Blue Boar. Say hello to Walleye, ten years earlier, except this one got strangled in the cradle.
 

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
3,169
Reaction score
4,254
The irony is that the British had been testing at least television-guided bombs back in the early 1950's, specifically Blue Boar. Say hello to Walleye, ten years earlier, except this one got strangled in the cradle.
The main problem with Blue Boar seems to have been that it had the gliding capabilities of a brick.
The assessment was that if the cloudbase was lower than 10,000ft the operator would only have 6 seconds to acquire the target in the camera and correct the trajectory before impact - that's a terminal velocity of 1,660ft/sec from a high altitude launch. A 5,000lb Blue Boar would have been even quicker!

But yes, the early technology was there and the wings could have been refined (there was an argument over low versus high aspect ratio wings). There was even talk of a Blue Boar with Red Cheeks inertial guidance and a TV camera but that went nowhere. Barnes Wallis' Momentum Bomb had some merit to it too, especially if you put a TV camera into it, could easily have been a second generation Blue Boar.
 

Archibald

ACCESS: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
8,701
Reaction score
8,229
Blue Boar seems to have been that it had the gliding capabilities of a brick.

Well, it's a flying BOAR, so what do you expected ? and a blue one, with that. When pigs fly... ROTFL
(gotta love that silly rainbow system for naming military stuff. My favorites one: Green Cheese. WTH ?)
 

pathology_doc

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
1,126
Reaction score
578
The main problem with Blue Boar seems to have been that it had the gliding capabilities of a brick.
True, but they seem to have looked at the problems far more aggressively than they looked at the promise and the concept. The same thing occurred with Red Dean; the missile as it stood was clearly not a viable service weapon, and active-homing in an AAM arguably wasn't viable coming out of anyone's factory in 1957, but when the weapons got cancelled, so did the research legacy.
 

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
3,169
Reaction score
4,254
The main problem with Blue Boar seems to have been that it had the gliding capabilities of a brick.
True, but they seem to have looked at the problems far more aggressively than they looked at the promise and the concept. The same thing occurred with Red Dean; the missile as it stood was clearly not a viable service weapon, and active-homing in an AAM arguably wasn't viable coming out of anyone's factory in 1957, but when the weapons got cancelled, so did the research legacy.
It was all about the inertial.
Once Group Captain Vielle developed the inertial system concept in 1950 that became Red Cheeks and got the US to co-fund some trials the whole scene shifted and clear-weather TV-guidance got binned. Memo after memo begins to bang on about inertial-guided bombs, glide bombs and powered stand-off bombs (birth of Blue Steel) as being the only credible game in town by 1960.
The prospect of gyroscope-guided precision in all weathers from all heights and independence from bombsights/H2S made the Air Marshall's giddy with excitement - which fed into OR.324 in 1953 for a low-level bomber with its Red Cat inertially-guided missile. OR.1118 was raised for a Red Cheeks bomb using a Blue Boar casing.
Sadly inertial went nowhere fast, it ended up being not as easy as they thought and wasn't that much more accurate than existing bomb aiming. OR.1118 got canned in summer 1952 just as Boulton Paul started working on two Canberra conversions for drop trials and OR.324/Red Cat didn't even get off the doodling pads. We all know the saga of Blue Steel that emerged from these efforts too.
But it loops back round to TSR.2 neatly. They went back to basics putting the best nav/attack system possible for accuracy back into the aircraft and using cheaper dumb bombs. Fitting Red Cheeks inertial guidance meant a £50 1,000lb HC bomb would cost £600 and the expensive gyros get blown up each time, same with Blue Boar, fragments of TV cameras all over Eastern Europe. A survivable TSR meant its expensive avionics could be used again and again.
The RAF never went back to guided bombs until the late 1970s when ASR.1229 was issued for laser-guided 1,000lb bombs.
 

A Tentative Fleet Plan

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Apr 9, 2018
Messages
313
Reaction score
602
Only the F-111F had LGB capability, and only after 1982 when PAVE TACK entered service.
If I am not mistaken, both the F-111D and the FB-111 (later F-111G) were actually intended to eventually get an upgrade in the form of a built in, as opposed to a podded, laser designation system, quite possibly related to the FLIR system that was planned for and successfully tested on the B-1A. That plan died in the chaos of the Ford and Carter eras. Which was likely not helped by remaining adherents of the infamous (not to mention disastrously failed) 'Strategic Sufficiency' dogma in the Pentagon/DOD resisting anything that might supposedly imperil it, including improvements to the tactical and strategic bomber fleets. Which in turn is slightly ironic, given just who the 'father' of the FB-111 was (as well as being responsible for the entire TFX fiasco in general).
Is there anymore information you can provide on this laser designator? I would like to read more about it.
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
The main problem with Blue Boar seems to have been that it had the gliding capabilities of a brick.
True, but they seem to have looked at the problems far more aggressively than they looked at the promise and the concept. The same thing occurred with Red Dean; the missile as it stood was clearly not a viable service weapon, and active-homing in an AAM arguably wasn't viable coming out of anyone's factory in 1957, but when the weapons got cancelled, so did the research legacy.
Oh I can imagine we'll get a pronouncement from on high soon over that suggestion.
What was the phrase...."woe and pain" in relation to guided weapons?
Wasn't it stated duplication is a waste of resources?
So much better to not even try but just buy from someone else?

But what time after time reveals is that the living knowledge inside people who tried to do something and make it work. Is the real core of achieving results in the future.
That reams of paper, documenting such tend to disappear into archives, while the living knowledge retires without successors.
What time after time also shows is only when a state has to try, fail and learn the hard way, does it grasp properly what it wants and what is achievable.

It is correct to point out the lower cost of recoverable INS etc on a plane at this time.
It was cheap ring laser gyros that revolutionised disposable guidance systems.
 

Grey Havoc

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
17,454
Reaction score
7,257
Last edited:

A Tentative Fleet Plan

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Apr 9, 2018
Messages
313
Reaction score
602
Is there anymore information you can provide on this laser designator? I would like to read more about it.
Not much, I'm afraid. You've probably already seen the posts about the B-1A's EVS/FLIR system:

https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/rockwell-b-1-lancer.14266/post-435913

https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/rockwell-b-1-lancer.14266/post-442097
The B-1A's FLIR looks like a navigation system for low-level penetration without active emissions as means of avoiding detection from systems like the KRTP-81 Ramona and KRTP-86 Tamara ESM/Passive Tracking Systems used by the Warsaw pact. It doesn't look like a combined FLIR and Laser deesignator like Pave Tack or the A-6E's TRAM turret.
 
Last edited:

Grey Havoc

ACCESS: USAP
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
17,454
Reaction score
7,257
As I said, the FLIR element of the proposed upgrade was possibly based off the B-1A's system.
 

Siberia

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Aug 24, 2012
Messages
60
Reaction score
32
Apologies for posting to an old thread, just found it via search.

… in a non-Tornado world.
You don't think Tornado would exist? Maybe I'm being optimistic but if TSR-2 is continued with I assumed it being in service, perhaps in basic form if some of the electronics prove challenging, by the late 1960s/turn of the decade. Industry needs to start looking around for the next project, financial and political forces make a joint European project look appealing, and technology was still advancing at a pace that a decade's service life doesn't seem unreasonable. Having skipped F-111K and AFVG joining MRCA at around the same time as occurred looks to be about right.
 

Hood

ACCESS: Top Secret
Staff member
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
3,169
Reaction score
4,254
Well AFVG was conceived as a smaller consort to the F-111K so it is possible that a similar dual fighter/strike role AFVG would be considered but given the timing I don't think that the RAF would have dared bring up another strike aircraft in 1967/68 while the TSR.2 was slowly heading to IOC and probably burning up a few millions in cash doing so. Politically it may have been suicide (you can imagine the newspaper headlines). Plus there would not be the spare money for AFVG.
But I do agree that money would have become available in the 1970s, whether that goes on Jaguars or an MRCA I am not sure. It's possible thoughts might have morphed into a MiG-23-esque fighter-bomber design to replace the Phantom FGR.2 and Germany's F-104s rather than a pure strike type as Tornado became.
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
When TSR2 was still expected to be the Canberra replacement, planners were already looking at alternatives and replacements.
The P1154 was intended to share some of the ground attack work as well as substitute for Lightning against less capable fighter aircraft.
A Gnat replacement was already being looked at. BAC had its VG P45 design in mind both as a trainer and ground attack aircraft.
The AFVG/Jaguar programme started life in 1964 before TSR2 and CVA01 demised.
Both designs had multi-roles from training to carrier to strike.
The various VG designs already examined in connection with the NATO competition and the Hunter/Sea Vixen replacement already showed where things might go in the 70s.
There were also the high altitude high speed HS designs offered as replacements for the 70s.
The Mig 23/7 family has always reminded me of the sort of artists impressions kicking around in the 60s.for future multi role combat aircraft.
 

red admiral

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
874
Reaction score
480
TSR2 acquistion sucks up very large amounts of 1960s money so probably no Jaguar (started but cancelled?) And no Tornado as is. Maybe AFVG start with a more fighter bias but then dropped due to money?

Harrier carries on due to US finance and RAF buys a lot more as light strike aircraft instead of Jaguar to bulk up the numbers alongside the 50+ TSR2s?

Early/mid 70s and Warton design team needs something to do. Probably fighter biased twin engine something, maybe VG? Something like a follow on from 583VG design with twin Speys? Not sure who they collaborate on that with though?

Or shut up shop at Warton and consolidate around Hawker with a single engine fighter-bomber like P.1200 likely as a European wide collaboration (Italy, Netherlands?); new engine or straight through reheated Pegasus to save money?
 

zen

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2007
Messages
3,299
Reaction score
2,012
The problem here is arrival of Texas Instruments integrated electronics, which massively alters the landscape.
TSR.2 is based around large and bulky avionics.
OR.346 is issued because it's suddenly clear the avionics side can now be packaged into a smaller volume.
This cascades weight/volume/fuel further improved by scaled Medway powerplant the Spey.
Hence why OR.346 is aiming at TSR.2 Missions + new CAP Fighter Missions.

This benign spiral further improves with new turbofans of better s.f.c, VG wings for more optimised aerodynamics and AFVG to MRCA is the result.

Arguably then OR.339 should have just dropped in favour of OR.346 in a reduced spec.....essentially what did happen with AW.406 though for different reasons.
 

red admiral

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Sep 16, 2006
Messages
874
Reaction score
480
But if 100s then £ms has already been spent on TSR2 then there's unlikely to be money spent on a slightly newer aircraft for the same role 5 years later. It's a significantly smaller RAF without Jaguar and Tornado.
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
The RAF Historical paper "TSR2 with hindsight" answers the question simply. The RAF has TSR2 while Lightnings and Hunters have to carry on without replacement.
 

uk 75

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2006
Messages
4,182
Reaction score
3,439
As I wrote earlier on this thread, although slated as a Canberra replacement the TSR2 as built is closer to the Valiants allocated to NATO SACEUR with a similar role and payload until fatigue led to their withdrawal.
It remains ironic that NATO insisted on the RAF filling this role even after TSR2 and then F111K were cancelled. It did so until 1982 with 48 RAF Vulcans.
Depressingly NATO was so unimpressed with the RAF's contribution to its theatre nuclear line up that it got the USAF to add an F111 wing at Lakenheath to the one at Upper Heyford.
 

alertken

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
740
Reaction score
483
1. zen #76: "arrival of Texas Instruments integrated electronics....massively alters the landscape"

2. uk75 #79: "NATO was so unimpressed with the RAF's contribution to its theatre nuclear line up that it got the USAF to add an F111 wing at Lakenheath to the one at Upper Heyford".

These are the sole references I have seen to factors in TSR.2 and UK Deterrence that are core, and have been missed by (?all) others.

1. We were used to draft Requirements for Replacements to circulate the day after contract for the predecessor, but TSR.2 should have been different when launched 1/1/59 - cost was to be unprecedented; it would only be operable because RAF was to be all-Regular, so able to cope with avionics complexity. Surely to serve for a decade or more. Yet (Joint) OR.346 (inc. for its replacement) was promptly initiated...because TI had publicly displayed silicon chip I.C 12/9/58, landscape changer, (which should have been seen as) eliminating need for the forward fuselage eqpt. cavern and its temp/vibration confusions. So admitting a lighter, smaller, cheaper platform

2. I have never seen a targets dissection of SACEUR's Scheduled Strike Program (fixed targets) and its interface with targets-of-opportunity. 20th TFW was nuke-capable/Wethersfield from 9/54 (UH/F-111E 7/71); 48th TFW/Chaumont much the same, 15/1/60/Lakenheath (F-111F 3/77). They overlapped with RAF/LBF Canberra B.6 wef 2/7/59, Valiant 1/1/60-26/1/65, then MBF Vulcans -21/12/82, Tornados from '84. Published number of targets for them from 12/7/61 was a constant 48 to 15/2/94 when UK/Russian Fedn. solemnly Agreed to de-target.

What (I think) we know is that all were multi-assigned to make the rubble bounce. And were nothing to do with Br. Independent Deterrence at a Strategic level (High Authority: the Moscow Criterion).

The core fallacy of the 1957 Reqt for TSR.2 was multi-role, in the sense of finding fixed and opportunity targets, even on a single sortie: ingress to nuke the fixed, then egress and iron the opportunity. Nonsense. Exactly as Admirals would not hazard capital ships on convoy escort, so nor would Marshals expend on iron targets the few TSR.2s they might actually generate.

Techno-evolution of the landscape would permit UK to buy 230 IDS Tornados. No more than 96 were WE177C nuke-armed on any one day.
 
Last edited:
Top