TSR-2 - "Perfect example for unmasterable technology and mismanagement?"

Discussion in 'Modern' started by HoHun, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm have just finished reading the latest issue of the German "Klassiker der Luftfahrt" (4/2007), and I have stumbled upon the claim that the TSR-2 "is today regarded as the perfect example for unmasterable technology and mismanagement".

    I'm not an expert on that plane, but I noticed a distinct contrast between everything I had read on the type so far and the conclusion the Klassiker author presented as modern-day consensus.

    Roland Beamont as the test pilot on the TSR-2 might be a bit biased towards the type, but it's my impression that his description of the TSR-2 - which he reinforces with selected quotes from official reports - is technically detailed and records both the initial problems of the type and the way they were fixed. (At least, a quick web search did not turn up anything that contradicts Beamont.)

    So here my questions for the experts: What was the real cause for the TSR-2's demise? Is the Klassiker statement regarding the TSR-2 correct, or at least justifiable (never mind the "consensus" claim)? Did Beamont paint an overly optimistic picture of the TSR-2?

    Thanks for your help! :)

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Poloticis is what killed it, just like the Avro Arrow.
     
  3. CRASHGATE3

    CRASHGATE3 Member

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    There is still a lot of secrecy about the demise of the TSR2.
    I've just read a book about it and some of the contributors didnt want to be named !
    There is still some reluctance in official circles to even admit the project existed.
    There were cost over runs (there always are) but the project had enemies in high places right from the start.Lord Mountbatten,at the time chief of the defence staff (and a navy man) wanted the navy in the strategic role with Polaris , and wanted to keep the Buccaneer ( cost 5 for every 1 TSR2 ) He even persuaded the Australians to cancel (They wanted it but went on to buy the F111 )
    The new Labour party in 1964 had always been against it and were determined to cancel it and buy from America (the F111 )...which didnt happen..
    Misinformed about costs,schedules and milestones ,two thirds of the cabinet opposed the project and it (and many other projects at that time ) were cancelled (they even wanted to cancel Concorde but couldnt get out of it)
    The Government ordered everything to be destroyed (jigs,tools, manuals,airframes)...but luckily two airframes survive and many bits.
     
  4. HoHun

    HoHun Active Member

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    Hi Crashgate,

    >Lord Mountbatten,at the time chief of the defence staff (and a navy man) wanted the navy in the strategic role with Polaris

    Interesting - wasn't it in this era when the unmanned missile was expected to replace the manned aircraft completely, too? Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact timeframe, but your observation seems to fit right in.

    >and wanted to keep the Buccaneer ( cost 5 for every 1 TSR2 )

    Hm, I'm not a native speaker - does that mean the Buccaneer was more expensive or the TSR-2?

    (I just read that Eric Brown considered the Buccaneer the aircraft the Luftwaffe should have purchased instead of the F-104, by the way, so it's fascinating to see it considered for yet another role.)

    >Misinformed about costs,schedules and milestones ,two thirds of the cabinet opposed the project and it (and many other projects at that time ) were cancelled (they even wanted to cancel Concorde but couldnt get out of it)

    I think CVA-1 - of which Eric Brown gives a detailed description in his "Wings on my Sleeve" - was canceled at the same time, too? To me, it always looked more like a major landslide in defense politics after a change of the gouvernment, and it seems that's not far from your point of view, too ...

    That "Klassiker der Luftfahrt" assessment really has me wondering what they were reading when they wrote that article :-/

    Regards,

    Henning (HoHun)
     
  5. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    You could buy 5 buccaneers for 1 TSR2. The Bucc was a brilliant aircraft and was certainly better than the F-104 for the German Navy as a ship killer...safer too.

    The TSR demise was purely political. The bugs would have been sorted and Brittania would have had the best ass kicker in the world.

    The project was big and involved most of the industry in the UK. Too many vested interests and to many chiefs and few indians. So mismanagement for sure but the technology would have come good.

    Annoying the Germans can slag off good old UK..what was their last bombers? The He-177 and the bomber b project? No mismanagement or unmasterable technology there then.
     
  6. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    What the 104 was not an unsafe aircraft by any means she just worked in a tougher neighbourhood . With its high wingloading it made a superb weapons platform and at low level was unstoppable . You couldn't see it nor catch it but she could sure catch you. Can you name a better platform for strikes in the Baltic
    I'm not knocking the Bucc but its not even in the same class . I've worked with both the 104 and Bucc and you'd never get a 104 jock to swap for anything more then a day.
     
  7. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the buccaneer.

    A ship does what? 30 knots? Not difficult to catch and you can't do mach 2 at sea level. The bucc had excellent range and speed at sea level and even outperformed the Tornado, which replaced it, in some aspects. Decent firepower too.

    The F-104 obviously is a fighter and has better performance at altitude and so has more chance of surviving air combat. Weren't F-104 sales more to do with bribes than the aircraft itself?

    And I would add that the TSR2 would have been far superior to the F-104.
     
  8. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Not the ship's speed in knots it's reaction time in seconds . The Baltic is a small body of water compared to the ocean so range is not as important but a high ingress speed, small radar signature , and very lo and then be able to get out fast you can't beat it . Very stable aircraft but most losses in the 104 were from pilot error . The 104 zipped along a 540knots at sea level without straining and that is pretty fast
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    The F-104 was a wonderful interceptor in its day that got jerked around by half of its customers who wanted the airframe to do more and more. Pb is correct about the pilot error situation as during its introduction there were no transitional aircraft or trainers to properly train pilots to fly the F-104. Many pilots in the Luftwaffe went from the F-86 into the F-104 with little or no transitional training.

    Although there was the bribery situation with Germany and the Netherlands, Lockheed did nothing different than any other company was during during that period.
     
  10. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Would you care to tell that to the USA investigators looking into the BAe Saudi links?
     
  11. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Which BAe Division and what program? There's been several investigations - I used to work for BAe.

    My point - US investigators will prosecute the companies involved. Other countries just look the other way...
     
  12. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    Bribery, kickbacks and backhanders in the defence industry?

    Shock Horror!:)

    I thought that was game.

    From what I have read, The F-104 sales around the world were bought and paid for.:lol:

    Eric Brown who speaks German and was Naval Attache in Bonn was amazed that German Navy bought it. The F-104 is not my cup of tea...now the English Electric Lightning:twisted: Shame it had the range of a lawnmower.:rolleyes:

    Anyway, had the TSR2 gone ahead then UK would have had a stronger aviation industry than we do now. The UK government for some truly bizarre reason liked kicking it in the nuts every possible reason. Thousands of skilled jobs gone for no good reason.

    Concorde couldnt be cancelled because of the French and the Harrier couldnt be cancelled due to the USMC. And they were sad about that too.
     
  13. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    The RCAF selected the 104 no kickbacks involved and it was not as an interceptor it was purchased as tacticle nuclear strike weapon . The Lightning was a good aircraft but had as one pilot put it "room for your ass and a gallon of gas" or if you bailed out you were always a $5 cab ride awy from your base
     
  14. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Lockheed just offered more money than their European counterparts...;)
     
  15. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    Couldn't agree more . . .

    Did Lockheed bribe officials in the '50's '60's? Undoubtedly. Did other companies do the same thing? Again, undoubtedly.

    I think what really "sold" the F-104 was the cache it had as being the first (and, for a long time, the only) Mach 2 aircraft in the world. It was extremely effective at low levels as a strike fighter, nuclear or not. It's a testament to it's low level speed capability that when Darryl Greenamyer attempted (and succeeded) in breaking the world low-level speed record, he decided to use an F-104 airframe to do it in.

    And broke it he did . . . almost 1,000 mph at 200 feet above sea level. Nothing else can do that and, probably, nothing else ever will.
     
  16. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Any French participants in this topic, nope, didn't think so.
     
  17. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    So what was the Starfighter crisis all about all about and how did they fix it?

    Obviously the Starfighter was a better interceptor than a Buccaneer but the Bucc was still a better low level ship killer.
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Some Airforces (Germany) lost about a third of their F-104s. Training was the key. The T-38 helped as well.
    True, the Bucc was designed as an attack aircraft to begin with. The F-104 mutated into that role.
     
  19. CRASHGATE3

    CRASHGATE3 Member

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    Hi Henning
    I'm sorry my post wasn't very clear on the Bucanneer...I think the other posts have put that right
     
  20. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    Be a bit hard for the Bucc to be used as a fighter as it didn't carry any air to air weapons until very late in its life.

    On a more objective point, in its element i.e. at very low level, almost nothing could catch the Bucc. On a regular basis the only plane that could catch it on the deck was the F111.
     
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