lmml 14/32
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TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:15 am

I am fascinated with the story of TSR 2 (my car is dedicated to this plane by my personalised number plate).

What was so complex about it? Why was it claimed to be ahead of it's time? How did it compare with the F111 then and how relevant would it have been today given that the F111 is still in service (although in a specialised role)?

Thanks
 
GDB
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:10 am

Take a spec for a low level strike aircraft to replace the Canberra, then add a Mach 2.3 high altitude and 1.8 low level max speed, ask for short airfield capability, an avionic package with not just terrain following radar as expected, but add on slide-ways looking scanners and much else besides.

Then give the contract to two separate companies, force then to merge to get the contract, set up a management structure that would confuse Kafka, have the customer add on extra spec and extra blinged up spec - taking it beyond the original tactical mission to also partially encroach on the V-Bomber's patch, most of all, completely ignore that fact that the country is already building an almost perfect fit for the original spec but as it's being built for the Navy, never consider it, despite the industry having a shrinking purse.

The only reason, for a time, some F-111's were considered after TSR.-2 was cancelled, was to meet aspects of the RAF's 'East Of Suez' mission, once that was to be run down the remaining mission for an aircraft in that class ended.
(So presumably the RAF brass stopped using the maps for ministers that moved Australia several hundred miles north to show how TSR.2, later F-111, could do the job in that region without the aircraft carriers and those pesky Buccaneers).

And the RAF ended up with that naval aircraft, the Buccaneer, quickly falling in love with it, finding it's low level abilities did not need Mach 1.8, it had range enough, it would have benefited from adapting the TSR-2's terrain following radar but it was not be be, since it was another of those 'interim' aircraft, (1969-1994).
Rather like the Shackleton AEW.2 (1972-1989), Jaguar (1973-2006).
 
rfields5421
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:29 pm

Sometimes I think the guys who write specifications, especially additions to the original specs - all failed high school physics.
 
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Revelation
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:54 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 1):
Rather like the Shackleton AEW.2 (1972-1989), Jaguar (1973-2006).

Thanks for the very interesting recitation of the facts, GDB!

I'd love to know your opinion of the report in:

RAF Tranche 1 Typhoons For Early Retirement (by hka098 Jan 13 2011 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin!
 
fridgmus
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:19 pm

Forgive my lack of knowledge, but what is a TSR-2?

Any photo's?

Thanks,

F
The Lockheed Super Constellation, the REAL Queen of the Skies!
 
GDB
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:25 pm

The Typhoon thing is (if it does happen), a reflection of an Air Staff made up of ex Tornado crew, they'd rather pump upwards of £8 billion into maintaining the GR.4's out to at least 2020, (currently with a 75% availability), rather than upgrading earlier Typhoons and allowing more Tranche 3's - the latter with an increased buy - to replace some Tornados.
As well as more UCAV's, retaining Harriers (£190 million out to 2018), letting all that money and effort on Nimrod MRA.4 get pissed away (which could carry Storm Shadow long range LO AGM's as fitted to Tornado and eventually, one hopes and presumes, to Typhoons).

They want the F-35, had it not been for the carrier program which they almost got axed too, the UK would not even be in the F-35 project all.
So it seems they have not changed so much from the mid 1960's.
 
474218
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:44 pm


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Andy Marks-UK Air Pix



IMO one of the top ten most beautiful aircraft ever built.
 
GDB
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:57 pm

Quoting fridgmus (Reply 4):
but what is a TSR-2?

Meaning Tactical Strike And Reconnaissance
 
fridgmus
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Sat Jan 22, 2011 6:31 am

quote=474218,reply=6][/quote

IMO one of the top ten most beautiful aircraft ever built.[/quote]

Oh Hell Yes! Our British brothers know how to build some seriously beautiful and capable aircraft!

I saw a couple of B&W pictures of the aircraft in the A.net database. Didn't put it together!

One can only wonder if she was adopted and put into production what she could have done!

Thanks,

F
The Lockheed Super Constellation, the REAL Queen of the Skies!
 
ebj1248650
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:52 pm

She would have been fabulous in service. I have to wonder what the export potential of the airplane might have been, had it been put into production.
Dare to dream; dream big!
 
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ptrjong
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:40 pm

Quoting ebj1248650 (Reply 9):
She would have been fabulous in service. I have to wonder what the export potential of the airplane might have been, had it been put into production.
Quoting ebj1248650 (Reply 9):

Didn't you read GDBs fabulous reply 1, or what?

Peter 
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:12 pm

Quoting fridgmus (Reply 8):
I saw a couple of B&W pictures of the aircraft in the A.net database. Didn't put it together!

My cousin took me to the museum at RAF Cosford and we saw:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/30/BAC_TSR2_Cosford-01.jpg/800px-BAC_TSR2_Cosford-01.jpg

We both spend around a half hour just walking around and staring at it and taking photos.

Quoting GDB (Reply 5):
So it seems they have not changed so much from the mid 1960's.

It seems not. It's just mind boggling that they are going to walk away from around one third of their Typhoon fleet.
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last.
Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin!
 
GDB
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:22 pm

Quoting ebj1248650 (Reply 9):
I have to wonder what the export potential of the airplane might have been, had it been put into production.

The only likely contender was Australia, however in 1963 they brought the F-111, in part due to concerns that TSR-2 would never enter service, it was a controversial project way before it's actual cancellation in 1965.
Even with that, the spiralling costs and delays would have put the RAAF off, ironically their choice, the F-111 also had delays and cost overruns which the RAAF directly experienced. But they've only very recently finally retired the F-111.

A lot of stuff is still claimed about 'US interference and pressure' and a wanton desire to sabotage the industry by the Wilson government illustrated by the breaking up of not only the TSR-2's save for two, in building, but also the scrapping of the production equipment to stop a future government re-starting the project.
Both are untrue.
From the RAF F-111 order to it's 1968 cancellation - when economic problems accelerated the role 'East of Suez' ending - the fact was that the purchase of the projected 50 F-111's could be financed over years, TSR-2 was all up front.
The head of BAC, Sir George Edwards, had a company policy of once a project is cancelled, scrapping all of it, including production equipment, since he thought it unhealthy for his company to not move on to new projects right way and no dwelling on what might have been.
He did the same thing when the Vickers 1000 jet transport was axed in the mid 1950's, everything associated with it was scrapped and later the BAC 3-11 wide-body airliner.

(For the avionics contractors, elements of the TSR-2's planned nav/attack systems found their way into the F-4M Phantom, Harrier and Jaguar).

BAC, until absorbed into BAe in 1977, did have projects to move on to, they were the main UK part of the bi national Jaguar and tri-national Tornado, would build major assemblies for the F-4K and F-4M's in British service.
Given that only 50 of the (cheaper) F-111 were ordered, was it really a sound basis for the future of major combat aircraft projects in Britain to pour so much effort and limited amount of cash into TSR-2 that would have had at best, a similar sized production run?

Across the Channel, France built up a major export business over decades with the various Mirage aircraft, they did not gold plate requirements for new types, they were more practical and pragmatic.
Better (or worse perhaps) yet, the Mirage III which started this most successful series, was heavily influenced by the record breaking British Fairey Delta machine, they even offered to join an Anglo-French consortium to further develop this experimental plane into an operational aircraft.

Never happened, why would it have done - the RAF had no requirement for such an aircraft - fixated as they were on very large interceptors armed with just two large AAM's, the 1957 Defence Review killed all them only the entry level supersonic interceptor, the BAC Lightning, excellent as it was, surviving.
Marcel Dassault himself once mused but for the way you do things in England you could have had the Mirage for yourselves.
 
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cpd
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:38 am

Is that for real, M1.8 LOW LEVEL speed?? Heck - that's really fast.

Did the TSR.2 fly as intended?

Quoting GDB (Reply 12):
Never happened, why would it have done - the RAF had no requirement for such an aircraft - fixated as they were on very large interceptors armed with just two large AAM's, the 1957 Defence Review killed all them only the entry level supersonic interceptor, the BAC Lightning, excellent as it was, surviving.
Marcel Dassault himself once mused but for the way you do things in England you could have had the Mirage for yourselves.

I've always been astonished at the way the British went about large programs at that time.

It's also unthinkable that the British didn't get involved with the French on fighter plane development, for things like Mirage and FD.2. Considering how remarkable progress was on Concorde once it got off the drawing board. The export potential could have been enormous and the ability to work well together seems obvious.

The French also had experience with really fast prototypes, such as the spectacular Nord 1500 Griffon, a machine that reached some 1450mph with Major Andre Edouard Turcat at the helm.

Instead, others took Mirage III (Mirage IIIE for Australia), F/A-18 and F-111 (which turned out to be an excellent plane). Britain's loss. France and America's gain. It's no surprise the RAAF went for the F-111 given the uncertain future of the TSR2. A RAAF order wouldn't have been enough to sustain it. They got it right not going for the British product, even if the chosen F-111 had troubles of its own.

In those days, it was almost as if some people "expected" that the colonies would choose British planes almost by default, as if there were some obligation for them to do so.

Quoting GDB (Reply 5):
The Typhoon thing is (if it does happen), a reflection of an Air Staff made up of ex Tornado crew, they'd rather pump upwards of £8 billion into maintaining the GR.4's out to at least 2020, (currently with a 75% availability), rather than upgrading earlier Typhoons and allowing more Tranche 3's - the latter with an increased buy - to replace some Tornados.

Unbelievable. That's all I can say. They'll ditch what are relatively sparkling modern planes, just for that.  

[Edited 2011-01-23 20:41:47]

[Edited 2011-01-23 20:42:17]

[Edited 2011-01-23 20:45:25]

[Edited 2011-01-23 20:49:33]
 
mandala499
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RE: TSR 2 - What Was So Complex?

Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:22 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 1):
Take a spec for a low level strike aircraft to replace the Canberra, then add a Mach 2.3 high altitude and 1.8 low level max speed, ask for short airfield capability, an avionic package with not just terrain following radar as expected, but add on slide-ways looking scanners and much else beside
Quoting 474218 (Reply 6):
IMO one of the top ten most beautiful aircraft ever built.

Beautiful aircraft indeed!!!!! So beautiful it ended up in a Japanese manga cartoon series apparently:


And Airfix made a model kit out of it!
http://i637.photobucket.com/albums/uu97/highnoon1966/8212-Stratos4-Box_1.jpg
*shakes head*

Apparently some guys just got too serious about it!
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/0e/Stratos4_TSR-2MS_flight_profile.png/800px-Stratos4_TSR-2MS_flight_profile.png

What a "surprising" second life of the TSR2 in some people's imagination!   

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !

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