BAC TSR-2

1st Flight 1964

The British Aircraft Corporation TSR-2 (for “tactical strike and reconnaissance 2”) was a cancelled Cold War strike and reconnaissance aircraft developed for the Royal Air Force in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The TSR-2 was designed to penetrate a well-defended forward battle area at low altitudes and very high speeds, and then attack high-value targets in the rear with nuclear or conventional weapons.

Another intended combat role was to provide high-altitude, high-speed stand-off, side-looking radar and photographic imagery and signals intelligence, aerial reconnaissance.

Only one airframe flew and test flights and weight-rise during design indicated that the aircraft would be unable to meet its original stringent design specifications.

The design specifications were reduced as the result of flight testing.

The TSR-2 was the victim of ever-rising costs and inter-service squabbling over Britain’s future defence needs, which together led to the controversial decision in 1965 to scrap the programme.

It was decided to order an adapted version of the General Dynamics F-111 instead, but that decision was later rescinded as costs and development times increased.

The replacements included the Blackburn Buccaneer and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, both of which had previously been considered and rejected early in the TSR-2 procurement process.

Eventually, the smaller swing-wing Panavia Tornado was developed and adopted by a European consortium to fulfil broadly similar requirements to the TSR-2.

Specifications

Crew: 2

Length: 89 ft (27 m)

Wingspan: 37 ft 1.68 in (11.3203 m)

Height: 23 ft 9.24 in (7.2451 m)

Wing area: 702.9 sq ft (65.30 m2)

Empty weight: 54,750 lb (24,834 kg)

Gross weight: 79,573 lb (36,094 kg)

Max take-off weight: 103,500 lb (46,947 kg)

Power plant: 2 × Bristol Siddeley B.Ol.22R Olympus Mk.320 afterburning turbojet engines, 22,000 lbf (98 kN) thrust each dry, 30,610 lbf (136.2 kN) with afterburner

Performance

at 40,000 ft (12,192 m)

M1.1 at sea level

Maximum speed: Mach 2.35

Range: 2,500 nmi (2,900 mi, 4,600 km)

Combat range: 750 nmi (860 mi, 1,390 km)

Service ceiling: 40,000 ft (12,000 m)

Rate of climb: 15,000 ft/min (76 m/s)

Thrust/weight: 0.59

Armament

Total weapons load of 10,000 lb (4,500 kg); 6,000 lb (2,700 kg) internal and 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) external

Internal weapons bay, 20 ft (6 m) long, with (initially) 1 Red Beard 15 kt nuclear weapon or as intended 2 × OR.1177 300 kt nuclear weapons or 6 × 1,000 lb (450 kg) HE bombs.

Final designed normal load in nuclear role of up to 4 × WE.177 nuclear weapons, two side-by-side or in tandem in weapons bay, two on external underwing stores pylons, Or 4 × 37-inch (0.94 m) rocket pods or nuclear weapons on inner pylons only.

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