Post-war fighters/Fighter-bombers

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by Gerard, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    The Gloster Meteor was good looking aircraft....but was often described as an "ergonomic slum" for the pilot, who had no room or comfort, even down to gashing himself open on awkward bits of bulkhead and instrument panelling in the cockpit! It also had a well earned nickname of "Meatbox"...which had nothing to do with alliteration, but because it killed trainees and experienced pilots all over the UK with its unpredictable flying manners...including a tendency to nose over and dive straight into the ground in an unrecoverable bunt!

    The Javelin....took too damn long to develop, nearly ten years, so its technology was obsolete even before it came into service! It had a welter of serviceability and reliability issues too, so the very VERY few squadrons that flew it never managed to roster a full complement.

    As a kid I used to see lots of 50s and 60s types in the sky over my Shorts in Belfast picked up various contracts for rewiring and upgrading RAF and FAA types - Hunters, Canberras, Vixens etc. were a common sight over the playing fields of East Belfast LOL
  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    There is an comprehensive article on the TSR2 in the current May edition of the Aeroplane and an account of the events behind it.Despite the Canberra being only in squadron service for 6 years,it was decided to replace it with the TRS2 in 1957.The TRS2 was cancelled and the author states that it took another 15 years or so until an aircraft worthy of the TRS function entered squadron service......the Tornado.

    We talk of prototypes in aircraft development but apparently there were no TRS2 prototypes but rather 9 intended aircraft designated as a (DB) development batch,followed by 11 aircraft as a preproduction batch and finally the first production batch of 30 aircraft.A trainer version was proposed but it was thought that this would have been achieved by the conversion of production aircraft.It looks as if there were delays in first flight achievement due to engine reliability of the Olympus 22R and the politicians began to inquire..."when will it fly."Then after the first flight (XR219) on 27 September 1964,the F111 appeared on the scene and Air Ministry officials had travelled to the US to be briefed on it.All in all,the TRS2 was to make a total of 24 test flights before the project was cancelled on 6 April 1965 and a declaration made that an option on procuring 50 F111s would be made...also subsequently cancelled.

    It appears that XR219 was the only TRS2 to fly.XR 220 was destined to make the 25th flight on 6 April 1965 but an fuel oil pump snag held up the flight and while a change of pump was being undertaken the project was cancelled.......the declaration made during the Budget speech on that day.

    By this time the project had cost £150 million out of a predicted total cost of £750 million.It has been claimed that had the project allowed to be continued,the RAF would have received a more capable aircraft with a longer range and heavier armament 10 years earlier (this presumably is the Tornado reference) Apart from the total project cost,the cost of an individual aircraft is not mentioned.

    But it has to be said that the nation's financial state postwar was in dire straits and this was only one dimension in the decision to cancel....the attraction of the F111 and the seemingly failure of the Air Ministry to fully support the aircraft plus what some might regard as the political aspect.

    (Looking back on the era,as a comparison in 1965 prices,£80 million would be the cost of a 2000mw power station and £750 million would cover the cost of nearly 19000mws of power plant capacity.)
    Smudger Jnr likes this.
  3. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin


    An excellent post.

    I still think that the TSR2 is a stunning looking plane even when comparing it with modern day planes.

  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Thanks Tom,

    I thought you might be interested.As I have said a good article accompanied by the associated technical aspects.I think you might be able to pick up the article by digital means or at least order the individual magazine.

    Incidentally there is a photograph showing the workforce turnout in front of the large BAC hangars to greet XR 219 arrived at Warton on 22 February 1965 after conducting the 14th Flight up from Boscombe.This apparently was the delivery flight to Warton and the aircraft was put through to Mach 1.12 by Roland Beaumont using reheat.The flight trials were dogged with problems with the Olympus 22 R and vibration appeared to be the main problem...Beaumont suffered from engine vibration so badly on the 2nd flight that he lost vision...traced to the performance of a fuel oil pump initiating vibrations within a RPM range.....vibration restrictions continued in place throughout all flights.It was not until the 10th Flight that the undercart could be successfully trialled for retraction.

    XR 219 was the only TRS2 to fly and must be the one at Duxford.

    Roland Beaumont wrote an account of the TRS2 in 1968 as "Phoenix into Ashes"and might be another source of reference.
  5. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    XR 219 was the only TRS2 to fly and must be the one at Duxford.

    I thought I would check the destiny of the TRS 2 airframes.............XR 219 fell by the wayside

    Two airframes survived,the 2nd of the production batch,XR 220,said to be almost complete, survived to the present displayed at the RAF Museum,Cosford.

    XR 222,the 4th of the production batch and also said to be almost complete is now displayed at the IWM Duxford.

    XR 219,the only aircraft to fly with the completed XR 221 and the partially completed XR 223 was disposed of to Shoeburyness gunnery range to assess the effect of gunfire on the airframes.XR 219 was the last to be written of as a target,lasting until 1982. Surprisingly the production engines were also allocated to Shoeburyness for similar assessment.

    As regards the project cost.It was reported that between 1960 and 1964 the project cost had increased four fold (£750 million by 1964) and the 1965 delivery for squadron service had slipped back from 1965 to an estimated 1968-1969.Once the project costs had been met,it is recorded that the production cost for 110
    TRS 2s would amount to £332 million.Opponents to the project, cited that there would have been a saving of 250 £ million on the total cost had the F 111 being option that was muted when the project was cancelled but not taken up.

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