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What would you choose to fund? UK options?

zen

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So what out of the UK's gamut of proposals, and cancelled projects would you fund to service?

Would you choose a missile? Say Fairey's SARW AAM or perhaps the later submarine launcher Martel?

Would you choose a an aircraft? Say Hawkers P1121? or perhaps the later P.45?

A ship perhaps? I always had a soft spot for the Cruiser-Destroyer for instance, but perhaps one might favour the LPH 'Commando Carrier'?

Would you choose perhaps some components, say the RB.106 'Thames', or the improved AI.18 with MTI, or the much vaulted MRS5?

Rather than picking out all that is wrong and a waste of time and money. What would you choose to fund, to support and develop?
 

Grey Havoc

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Three projects immediately spring to mind: The Cruiser-Destroyer, Blue Water, and our perpetual favourite, the TSR-2.
 

Thorvic

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I would chose the 1952 Aircraft Carrier programme, that would have given the Royal Navy at least a pair of modern capable carriers for the early 60s, designed and built for 2nd generation Naval Jet aircraft and would have avoided the farce of the mid 60s and the CVA-01/TSR2 battle for funding as they would be new with plenty of capability and service life, They probably could have served successfully into the 90s like the smaller French Foch class and the US Forrestal's.

Would be interesting to see how the Naval aviation aspect would have had as an impact into UK aircraft development as they were effectively shut out with the death of the CVA-01 project in 66.
 

zen

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Grey Havoc
I can grasp these are amongst the most firmly documented of projects and so the most easily conceivable but are they the best use of limited resources?
Do you think it would have been better to say lower the requirements for TSR.2 to get the Next Gen of aircraft technology funded?

Flying Sorcerer
Why the Comet V?

Geoff_B
I can agree the 1952 ship is by far the better option than the continuation of Audacious types and modernising Illustrious types.
Two questions
1. would it not be easier to fund and support the Medium Fleet vessels instead?
2. This not being CVA-01 would it not extert a greater limitations on Next Gen aircraft designed to operate from it?
 

Flying Sorcerer

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It was bigger, longer ranged than the earlier Comets, more competitive with the 707 and DC-8
 

Abraham Gubler

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Hornsby chain-track artillery tractors in 1904-10 including the Mechanical Transport Committee's armour plated gun carrier proposal. Nicknamed the "caterpillar" in one of the British Army trials but never ordered into production. The patents were later sold to the American Holt Company. If ordered by the Army and the fighting version developed we could have had "tanks" or "battle-cats" in service to win WWI by 1915.
 

Volkodav

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Agree on the 1952 carrier as it would have been better value for money than the various rebuilds of existing ships while delivering greater capability.

I believe one of the requirements was that it should be able to cross deck USN types to facilitate future lend lease arrangements and as such was intended to operate Canberra sized aircraft (or more to the point A-3 sized ones). This would have facilitated the use of standard, or at least less extensively modified US types, as well as allowing British designers greater flexibility in the designs they offered.
 

Hood

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After giving much thought to this topic my choice would be the Handley Page HP.111 strategic airlifter.

It was better than the Shorts Belfast and would have been more flexible and some might have even survived the 1975 defence cuts given the RAF might have been able to convince the MOD and Treasury that there were enough commonalities with the surviving Victor tanker fleet. Or the HP.111s might have made excellent additions to the tanker fleet a decade earlier than the VC-10 and Tristar conversions.
It would still be a niche aircraft, perhaps no more than a dozen of them, but it might have been a wiser choice.
 

starviking

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The 1952 Carrier, for the reasons outlined above. In a pinch the CVA01.

I would also choose the Miles M52. The morale and prestige from from being not only the first nation to break the sound barrier, but not having to get a lift or use rockets to do it would have been massive. Might have averted the neglect of aeronautical research after the war.

On the commercial front, proceeding with the Medway-powered Airco 121 rather than the insipid Spey-powered HS Trident could have provided some competition for Boeing. And I use "Airco" to demonstrate another problem which plagued the aerospace industry: the awful government-mandated structural-reorganisation plans whose focus was the structure - not succesful products delivered by industry.
 

Archibald

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Hawker P.1121 was awesome. Vickers VC-7 was a great missed opportunity.
 

CJGibson

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Hood - 'After giving much thought to this topic my choice would be the Handley Page HP.111 strategic airlifter.'

Me too, and it would have made the development of the HP.122/123 to OR.351 easier and possibly affordable.

Chris
 
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Thorvic

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The HP-111 would be interesting as it could have also had Civil Airlifter and Airliner potential and given Handley Page a much sounder footing to fight off the forced mergers being dictated by the govt of the time.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Geoff_B said:
The HP-111 would be interesting as it could have also had Civil Airlifter and Airliner potential and given Handley Page a much sounder footing to fight off the forced mergers being dictated by the govt of the time.
And HP were doing a lot of boundary layer control (BLC) research at this time. An HP. 111 order could have been the impetus to get a BLC airliner into service and if so we would all be flying in wing shaped airplanes today burning half as much fuel to get from A to B.
 

sferrin

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Paid for the remainder of Skybolt's development and then sold the info back to the US.
 

Kadija_Man

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sferrin said:
Paid for the remainder of Skybolt's development and then sold the info back to the US.
What a shame that economics prevented that from happening...
 

Hood

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CJGibson said:
Hood - 'After giving much thought to this topic my choice would be the Handley Page HP.111 strategic airlifter.'

Me too, and it would have made the development of the HP.122/123 to OR.351 easier and possibly affordable.
A 'stratical' 111 would have been impressive but perhaps not ideal with the split-level for rapid disembarking on the ground.
Also, do you think there might have been FOD intake problems with the low wing on dirt strips?
 

pathology_doc

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zen said:
So what out of the UK's gamut of proposals, and cancelled projects would you fund to service?

Would you choose a missile? Say Fairey's SARW AAM
The problem with ALL the British attempts at a radar-guided AAM up until Skyflash was that none of them seem to have existed in the context of a radar configured from the ground up to use them. One thing that keeps cropping up in accounts of US interceptor development is the way in which so many of the specifications were written around a fire-control system that integrated target detection, SARH illumination and even firing of the missiles. Setting aside the fact that all these systems had no end of teething troubles before some of them were eventually made to work, this is the one big thing which is missing from the AAGW story in BSP4, for example. The issue is always how to bolt the additional capability onto something already there.

Part of the trouble here, of course, is that with the abrupt curtailing of the manned interceptor program in 1957, the drive to develop such an integrated FCS with SARH missiles screeches to a halt, while probably nobody at the time is capable of foreseeing that subsonic missile-armed interceptors (Javelins and Sea Vixens) will still be in service into the late 1960s and could use exactly such a system to improve their chances of killing an incoming transonic Soviet bomber.

So yes, going back to 1956 when a Radar version of Blue Jay first raises its head, it's pretty clear that the money and effort need to go into an AI radar with SARH illumination built in from the start. In the meantime, Red Dean should have been funded through to the live-firing trials stage with authorisation of an extended development batch, the lessons learned being disseminated among the various GW manufacturers and with SARH work from the various SAGW projects feeding back into the AAM/radar design.
 

pathology_doc

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Thin-wing Javelin.

The production line was established, the first pre-production aircraft were under construction, and the wheels were (quite bluntly) ready to roll.

In light of the fact that none of the "better options" (CF-105, SR.177, F.155) ever materialised, replacing the Javelin with these could only have been a forward step, and unlike the Lightning (into which everything had to be crammed with exquisite care) it would have provided a large platform on which a series of seriously capable radar/missile fire control systems could have been built.

The best was the enemy of good enough. The only excuse to kill the TWJ should have been the fact of series production of the CF-105. You can't fairly say "Kill aircraft A; aircraft B is better" only to then state that you can't afford B (Dollar cost is mentioned in BSP), unless perhaps the aim was to kill Gloster.
 

zen

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I think you might have a case there.
Considering the TWJ used reheated Olympus engines it would have knock on effects for the next generation of aircraft.
Considering the shear size and volume available within the aircraft and it's roomy cockpit, the potential to fit a wide range of avionics is clear.
The size of the radar space in the nose is quite something as well.
And if it can loft a pair of Red Dean AAMs it's ability to loft a larger number of lighter weapons seems plausible. As is the possibility of upgrading or changing the radar/missile fit.
 

pathology_doc

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Red Dean as it stood at cancellation was in the realm of 1300lb, i.e. four Firestreaks (300lb AUW) or three-and-a-bit Red Tops (330lb each). That's for weight; what the drag penalty was is anyone's guess. I daresay that any mid-transonic (M1.4) airplane designed for two Red Deans is highly likely to be subsonic with six to eight Blue Jays (of whatever variety) hung underneath instead, but there might easily be circumstances where a load-out like that and its performance penalties are justified (e.g.staging out of Butterworth AFB and killing Indonesian Tu-16s interfering with the Far East Fleet or its 1960s equivalent).
 

zen

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I was thinking more of replacing the radar /missile combination to field something like AIM-47 or Eagle instead.
 

pathology_doc

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zen said:
I was thinking more of replacing the radar /missile combination to field something like AIM-47 or Eagle instead.
I think you're potentially looking at a one-for-one exchange for Red Dean on both drag and weight criteria - AIM-47/Eagle missiles aren't exactly small. I think you're also potentially looking at either Ministerial/Treasury refusal on cost grounds or for it to end in tears the same way Skybolt did.

By the time the aircraft has mature in the mid-late sixties and has better engines and an inflight refuelling probe, you might start thinking about Phoenix though. There at least is a missile that made it into service and extensive series production; and if the UK isn't a trusted customer, who is? The airframe is probably big enough to take AWG-9 without modification.
 

Volkodav

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Thinking about it probably the GW96A instead of the Counties,
Tartar for upgrading the Darings and maybe the Battles,
SR177 even if it meant cancelling Buccaneer,
1952 carrier instead of upgrading Victorious and Eagle,
 

pathology_doc

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Volkodav said:
SR177 even if it meant cancelling Buccaneer,
But in that case what is going to fulfill the strike mission? SR177 is a dedicated interceptor; it suffers if asked to perform any other role. If Buccaneer goes, can either Scimitar or Sea Vixen fill its shoes? The Buccaneer ultimately went to war in 1991 and performed creditably as a target marker and (towards the end) a laser-guided bomber in its own right; could either the Sea Vixen or the Scimitar have lasted so long in service, found its place as an RAF strike bomber, or done that job?

(Sea Vixen might have had an edge in that it had a second crewmember, but that crewmember is buried in the fuselage and can't see out. Sea Vixens were used as trials launching aircraft for MARTEL, which implies the potential to integrate the missile as part of the armament, but MARTEL had its own problems and the more missile types you try to fit, the more trouble you are going to have finding space for all the black boxes.)
 

Volkodav

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There were multiple options to replace the Buccaneer, including Scimitar, but there was nothing suitable to replace the SR177. In fact there were strike variants of the SR177 proposed that deleted the rocket and had a more powerful turbojet. If it proved too difficult to develop a strike variant of the Scimitar (tandem seats, radar, nav attack system, then Skyhawk could have been a very interesting option and permitted Hermes and Victorious to remain viable into the 80s.

There was also the Etendard, Fury and dare I say it, the A-6.
 

zen

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So the thing about the P.177 is that it had it's flaws to our perspective, but it is the chosen system prior to cancellation for fighter.
It was looked at for nuclear strike, but it's not easy to see it carrying the Red Beard TMB. More plausible for light Attack roles and later on the lighter WE.177 seems within reason.
However if it was going to be cancelled for the Fighter, what is the point of working up a variant for MRI?

That said if funded and fielded to replace Scimitar and Lightning, it is plausible an Attack varient could be forthcoming.
 

Volkodav

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IMO the death of the SR177 was the death of effective small carriers into the 70s, in that it could have made Hermes and Vic effective for longer.
 

Hood

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I know Zen wants this to be a positive thread focusing on the positive reasons for selecting a project and what it might have achieved but I feel that both the Thin Wing Javelin and the SR.177 have flaws that probably should dictate them being cast aside.

Gloster was not really equipped to design modern jet fighters, the Javelin took eight years to develop (it only served the RAF for 12 years!) and was beset by aerodynamic problems but was a serviceable enough aircraft when the bugs were ironed out but it took penny packets of various models to get it right. Thin Wing Javelin started in 1953, three years before the Javelin entered service and it grew in size and weight and hopes of having it in 1958 evaporated as redesign followed redesign. TWJ was still barely supersonic (F.153 with 20,550lbf Ol.7R Mach 1.4 at 66,000ft on full reheat, later P.376 with 28,500lbf Ol.21 Mach 1.66 at 54,000ft) trading altitude for speed. The F-101 had comparable AUW but could achieve Mach1.6 but only 51,000ft absolute ceiling. It must be emphasised that F.153D was an interim design, TWJ was a stand-in to provide head-on intercept capability until the F.155 was ready so it wasn't indispensable. The CF-105 was a fresh-sheet design and looked an excellent package but it was later than F.153 and overlapped F.155 so there seemed little point in buying CF.105 (also the Dollar issues). I'd rather funnel the funds into F.155

The SR.177 is an unknown, Saro had no fighter design track record and their five-year development programme seemed very optimistic. The SR.177 was a niche interceptor, much like the Lightning. Its hard to pinpoint any advantage it had over the Lightning for the RAF. For the Royal Navy I have never really seen why the Admiralty joined OR.337. I'm not sure there ever was a high-altitude threat to the carrier groups that Sea Slug couldn't handle. Also, operating HTP-fuelled rockets aboard carriers would have been problematic. It lacked enough multi-role capability, loiter range and weapons capability; 2x Red Top and 2x underwing hardpoints for bombs was pretty light compared to comparable USN fighters. I have a suspicion that the Admiralty tagged along in the realisation buddying with the RAF was their only chance of getting a new fighter given the uneconomic proposition of arming the small FAA fighter force with a new design and the SR.177 was the only suitable candidate that could operate from a carrier.

As pointed out in another thread a supersonic Scimitar (Type 576) was probably a redesign too far for that airframe, but I think a fresh-sheet design of similar size and capability (4-6x hardpoints, AI.23, 50,000ft target interception, Mach 1.8, 50,000lb AUW) would have been the best approach for the Navy. Of course the money wasn't there for that.
 

zen

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What the efforts on the P.177 show is that it was felt to be a better interceptor than the Lightning, while it's ability to operate from the RN's CVs is clearly very achievable.

So in the light of the need for day fighter/cum FAW-interceptor under GCI or Type 984/CDS interception guidance, this machine delivers in a compact package.
Though to be fair it's really something that ought to have been in service by the early 50's and out of service by the 60's in this 'pure' role and probably would be closer to the SR.53

What is equally clear is getting a FAW with mach2 speed and twin engines, twin seats and the new radar/missile system is a very difficult proposition to achieve that is operable from even the largest of the RN's CVs.
Irony is the early F4 design, with licensed Sapphires and a 24" dish is......damned close to being just that.

Beyond that I could range very far OT, into hypothetical aircraft that can solve the problems here. But that veers too far, I am asking not what you would cancel, not what is rubbish to your opinion, not what is not worth funding, but rather what you think is worth funding out of the gamut of possible proposals, designs etc... that did exist.

There are any number of threads in the relevant sections that cover why this or that proposal etc, wasn't funded, and I and others will happily argue in those threads both for and against each idea.
 

uk 75

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My candidate is the Seacat 2. A good missile
which would have allowed all the Seacat fitted
ships to have a decent BPDMS by the 70s.
The discipline of sticking to the lightweight launcher
would have concentrated efforts on the radars and
seeker heads. Seawolf should have been vls only.
 

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The G3s.

Washington could easily have been bent to fit, and they were better than what the U.S. and Japan would have built within their matching allowance. But then the follow-on benefits start to happen. The extra hulls are possibly enough to keep another battleship yard (Beardmore's I suspect) in being through the battleship holiday (better still, rewrite Washington to limit building, not ban it, the holiday disastrously penalizes the export-oriented UK yards and the UK delegation should have realised that). Meanwhile the extra ordnance, and any export orders, may allow Armstrong Whitworth to avoid merging with Vickers, leaving us with two naval ordnance centres of excellence in addition to the Navy.

Then when rearmament starts we have sufficient hulls and yards to run the rebuilding programme without holding ships at sea for strategic necessity, which means all of the QEs, Rs, Refit and Repair, and Hood have been refitted to modern standards and reliability when it all kicks off. While at the same time, competing ordnance design organisations mean we likely have the manpower to sort the turret problems that dogged us in real life, and build turrets at the rate we need.

Two G3s at Denmark Straits would have made things very interesting for Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, and Scharnhorst would likely have been hunted down much more quickly. Put a pair into the Med and the Regia Marina burns up even quicker than in OTL, and then the whole RN can execute a Pacific pivot much earlier than 1945.
 

Kat Tsun

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DERA. All of it. The industrial-economic capacity to both design and manufacture things in-house is more important than individual weapons, as shown by the FRES (and FCS) failures.
 

Nick Sumner

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One of my fearless displays of ignorance - Kat Tsun, what was DERA?
 

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Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, IIRC.
 

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A properly mandated and qualified oversight of defence contacts and the requirement for vehicles, systems etc to properly fulfill the nations defence needs. This would mean having a consolidated defence statement which is cohesive and allows for changing threat levels.
 

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Volkodav said:
There were multiple options to replace the Buccaneer, including Scimitar, but there was nothing suitable to replace the SR177. In fact there were strike variants of the SR177 proposed that deleted the rocket and had a more powerful turbojet. If it proved too difficult to develop a strike variant of the Scimitar (tandem seats, radar, nav attack system, then Skyhawk could have been a very interesting option and permitted Hermes and Victorious to remain viable into the 80s.

There was also the Etendard, Fury and dare I say it, the A-6.
"replace the Buccaneer, including Scimitar"???
Wasn't the Scimitar a dog in terms of safety, reliability and capability, compared to the Buccaneer?


Regards
Pioneer
 

zen

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It was a 'dog' thanks to the RN 'learning' about how to maintain a modern twin engined fighter, how to train to operate from a CV said aircraft, and how to use it.
It was a 'dog' thanks to the use of certain solenoids to the fuel system, which had all sorts of problems and I think are the root cause of the leaks it had.

IT was a 'dog' due to a lack of proper 'Area Ruling', making it stubbornly subsonic, lacking reheat (which had been intended for the prototype) and because it lacked full 'blow' over the wing.

Most of that is resolve-able with more being ordered in the Twin seater FAW variant, which also resolves the lack of AI radar and the need for that second crewman.

However it was better for a FAW variant than DH's 110 (Sea Vixen), it had better visibility from the cockpit and was more agile.
 

Kadija_Man

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Scimitar was good looking but unreliable. It had over 1,000 hours maintenance per flight hours at one stage and 51% of all manufactured aircraft were lost in accidents. It had severe limitations on what it could carry and what aerobatics it could perform - which was, interestingly why it was popular with pilots. Pilots assigned to Scimitar squadrons had many hours flying at light loads as a consequence. I once corresponded many years ago with an ex-FAA pilot who lauded it's performance while noting its limitations.

The Buccaneer S1 was severely underpowered. It's Gyron Junior engines were not the best for such a heavy aircraft and it had reliability issues. The S1 ended it's carreer after a couple of accidents in 1970.
 
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