Air International 2007-04
B.Fairclough - TSR2 - Triumph and Tragedy /Military/
This group of Canberra WD937, Lightning XR755 and TSR2 XR219, on the apron at BACs Warton aerodrome clearly illustrates their relative sizes. It also emphasizes the TSR2's sleek lines.
XR219 on the engine-running apron at Boscombe Down. Of particular note are the two open cockpit canopies for pilot and navigator and the open bomb bay doors, immediately ahead of the main undercarriage.
Engine failures, one of which resulted in the loss of the Vulcan test-bed, were a major cause of delay in the flight test programme. Although the reason was identified and rectified, the first flight on September 27, 1964, was made with unmodified engines that were limited, at the discretion of chief test pilot Roland Beamont, to 100% power for the first two minutes of flight only.
To meet the demanding requirement of supersonic flight at sea level, whilst retaining a relatively short take-off and landing performance, the TSR2 had a aerodynamically efficient wing. The shoulder-mounted wing was a 60° delta with its outermost 4ft having an anhedral of 30°. Inboard of the downturned wingtips were powerful flaps, blown with high pressure air tapped off from the engine.
To minimize the landing distance, TSR2 was equipped with four airbrakes and a large brake 'chute. As seen here, the airbrakes could also be deployed in flight in order to control speed during the descent,or for tactical reasons.
Although designed specifically to penetrate hostile airspace by flying at low-level and high speed, the TSR2 would have transited at medium (approximately 25,000ft) altitude, prior to descending for a terrain-following dash to the target. Sophisticated terrain-following and navigation systems would have allowed it to fly down to heights of 200ft and speeds of Mach 0.9 at night and in all weathers.
Front (left) and rear (right) cockpit instrument and control layouts of the definitive (at the time of cancellation) mock-ups. These are more representative of the production cockpits than that of XR219, which contained a number of flight-test instrument displays. The rear cockpit of XR219 also lacked some of the weapon system instrumentation that would have been available to the navigator/weapon systems operator.
Due to the unreliability of the main undercarriage retraction system, it was felt prudent to carry out the first few test flights with the undercarriage down. On flight four, the undercarriage failed to fully retract, but fortunately lowered satisfactorily to enable a safe landing to be made. The first successful retraction took place on January 14, 1965, on the fifth flight.
British Aircraft Corporation TSR2