The publication of the 1957 Defence White Paper on April 4 that year coincided with the maiden flight of the first English Electric P.1B, XA847. The paper called for an air-defence strategy relying on ground-based guided missiles, but development of the Lightning (as it became) was deemed too far advanced for it to be cancelled.
Although the 1957 Defence White Paper favoured an air-defence strategy centred around ground-to-air guided missiles, manned interceptors would still be required to fill the gaps in the system until the missile infrastructure was fully in place. The Lightning F.1 entered operational RAF service with No 74 Sqn in June 1960 - the same year No 56 Sqn received the Lightning F.1A, six examples of which are seen here armed with pairs of Firestreak air-to-air missiles.
One of the UK’s most ambitious aircraft research and development programmes at the time of the 1957 Defence White Paper was the Fairey Rotodyne, a compound helicopter conceived as a short- to medium-haul airliner capable of operating into and out of city centres. The sole prototype, XE521, first flew in November 1957.
Первый экземпляр P.1A в полете
English Electric’s P.1 was originally conceived in response to Air Ministry Specification F.23/49, which called for a supersonic interceptor capable of destroying high-altitude bombers. The P.1A research protoype, WG760, seen here, first flew in August 1954, but by 1957 the government had begun reshaping its defence policy.
SR.53 на земле
The experimental mixed-power Saunders-Roe SR.53 made its first flight on May 16, 1957. Designed as a supersonic high-altitude interceptor powered by a de Havilland Spectre rocket and Armstrong Siddeley Viper turbojet, the type was to be developed into the SR.177, which was never built and was cancelled in December 1957.
XD 145, the first of two Saunders-Roe SR 53 mixed rocket- and jet-powered prototype interceptors that were to lead to the projected larger Saunders-Roe SR 177. The power for the SR 53 was provided by a 1,640lb s.t. Armstrong Siddeley Viper ASV8, fed by two small intakes just aft of the cockpit canopy, plus a hefty 8.000lb thrust DH Spectre rocket engine using High Test Peroxide in place of the more volatile liquid oxygen. XD 145's maiden flight took place on 16 May 1957 with the Company Chief Test Pilot at the controls. Sqn. Ldr. John Booth, who also took the second SR 53. XD 151 aloft just under seven months later, on 8 December. Capable of Mach 2 in level flight at 36.000 feet, SR 53 and SR 177 development was halted following the destruction of XD 151, on 5 June 1958. According to the accident investigation, Booth, for reasons unknown, had decided to abort the take-off from Boscombe Down and had deployed the braking 'chute. Unfortunately, distance was not on Booth's side, the aircraft overshot the end of the runway, striking an approach lighting pole and exploded, killing Booth.