UK. nuclear powered bomber designs


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2 January 2006
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Dear Joe,

your latest posts are amazing!. Lockheed/BAC TFX, British nuclear bombers...totally new for me :eek: :eek:

Can you post this drawing?
I have seen a GA. drawing of a possible Hawker APG. concept of impressive size and unconventional layout

Thanks a lot

'I have seen a GA. drawing of a possible Hawker APG. concept of impressive size and unconventional layout which might? be related to this?'

Sorry gents but what or where is this drawing found or located?


Anything in the Sauders Roe book as they did look at Nuclear power in their larger flying boat designs

In the Gunston "Giants of the sky", in the SaRo Princess chapter, there is
"One of the last projects based on the Princess was the P.213 of 1958-59. A lot of work was done on this, because it interested the US Navy. A nuclear reactor was to be installed, and the favoured schems were a direct-cycle system with 15.000 HP T57 turboprops (Pratt & Whitney collaborated in studies) or two indirect-cycle schemes, one with a pressurized-water reactor. Sveral version were investigated, one having two Princess hulls on a 310-ft wing and a weught of about 950.000 lb.

Wow (pressurized-water reactor!!!!!! in aircraft!!!!)

Fellows, the more one digs, the more aviation history looks different from what we used to know. Probably aviation historical studies are only now REALLY beginning (when all archives are disappearing.. sigh!)
Has anyone seen anything further on this? or did any of the companies take up the challenge in design?
Perhaps this? AVRO 774 Long endurance weapon system, early 1960's (from Buttler's Secrets Projects Bombers)
By the way, ever encountered this?: Avro 768 VTOL weapon systems (Vulcan) (!!!!!!!!) Early 1960s (same source). A VTOL Vulcan... not bad...
Anything in the Sauders Roe book as they did look at Nuclear power in their larger flying boat designs

From Sea to Air. The Heritage of Sam Saunders. by AE Tagg and RL Wheeler. Ed Crossprint ISBN 0 9509739 3 9
pg 264
P213 Nuclear Reactor Layout
Avro 744 - Nuclear powered aircraft studies 1957.
(but nothing more....)
In : Avro Aircraft since 1908-A.J. Jackson- Putnam.
The plans for the nuclear aircraft were fairly popular in the late 50s, but dropped in fame rather fast when the money needed for further development increased rapidly. Especially did the engine manufacturers fail t deliver a clear vision on how to solve their very substantial problems. Another issue was the shielding of the reactor. Hence I would call all plans for a nuclear aircraft very preliminary.
The Russians came as far as testing one aircraft with a nuclear propulsion system. the US NB-36 only had a reactor which went critical and they testet the shiedling.

All proposed propulsion systems were too heavy and not powerful enough. Then came nuclear submarine and ICBM and nobody wanted cumbersome stuff like bombers any more.
Here's a drawing of the Saunders P.213 from Tagg/Wheeler's From Sea To AIr.


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Ah, here it is ! Couldn't find it at first, because I was looking for a Shorts design,
the classic company for large flying boats, but it is deHavilland.
But I have no more information about it, than this drawing from an aviation
encyclopedia ...


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Tsr.Joe... GREAT!
BTW, I think that the air intakes are indicated as the first larger grated surface (this a schematic, so nothing really realistic). Alternatively, the larger grate was intended for providing cooling for the heath exchanger of the reactors secondary cooling system, and the jet intakes are simply on the other side of the aircraft... ;).
Just a question, which liquid metal they intended to use? Salts of sodium, lithium, or lead-bismuth? (I suspect liquid salts of sodium).

This aircraft would need intakes. The reactor cooling system replaces the "Bang" in the "Suck-Squeeze-Bang-Blow" sequence of a gas turbine. The compressed air from the intake / diffuser will be heated by the reactor heat exchanger, (preferable to direct cooling, but less efficient) expands and shoots out the back. Add H2 from an airframe cooling system at the jet pipe for reheat and away you go. Add turbomachinery to get you off the ground and you have a nuclear powered jet engine. All very straight-forward - on paper!

See Pratt and Whitney or General Electric's proposals for WS-125.

Bloddy Hell they too...


was those Nuclear Engine
Invented in UK ?
or USA Hardware ?
or joinventure development ?
I'm sure I've seen references to a HS design for a nuclear powered
launcher for the later waverider space vehicles.

The date for this would have been late 60s early 70s.

Does anyone know if these craft were related, or was it just
the same engines? If they existed at all.

they are infact 100 mile range 'guided bombs'.... but in any event this design given its limitless endurance and scaled up fighter aerodynamics could have done nicely in some FICON/ use a C-130 for drone recovery project. Moreover those 'standoff missiles' are rather large with pretty decent sized wings ......
agreed .. but it is a design nevertheless ... or are you saying that we are dealing with fan art masquerading as informed journalism .... fantasia or within limits speculation ? :)
here the picture again
after i work with Photoshop on it ;D


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hey Michael since you have really exceeded yourself today ... what about requesting the moderators to move this design to the fantasy art section as a possible AAC ;D
A very interesting design. With Kenneth Gatland's name attached to it, it'll probably have been far-fetched but not pure fantasy.

Is he still alive, by the way? I remember him well for 'Frontiers of Space' in the late 60s/early 70s.

the Hawker Siddeley nuclear powered supersonic bomber project,
can anybody identify it ?.


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The 2 flight links above may provide a clue to the earlier post re
'De Haviland' atomic flying boat.

DH take share in Saro and DH Atomics on same page.

Incidentaly, around this time there was also a 'Vickers Atomics'
based at South Marston near Swindon!
Yep, but first of all, thanks and bravo to Hesham for his finding !

the De Havilland's director engineering,Mr. A. D. Baxter ,he designed
a new nuclear powered aircraft in 1961.


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Perhaps not bombers but UK thinking about power plants.
From the De Havilland Gazette - not sure of date but between '57 - '62.



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hesham said:
the Hawker Siddeley nuclear powered supersonic bomber project,
can anybody identify it ?.

It was Avro-744.


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