About This File
TSR2...........The Alternative Story
6 April 1965 was set to be a sad day for the British aircraft industry, the cancellation of the TSR2 was imminent, the costs were spiralling and the project was slipping further backwards, the project had its supportures but its biggest enenmies were those in power.
But, on the morning of the 5th April something nobody saw coming happened, something that if it turned out to be true could save the entire project and thousands of jobs in the UK avation industry, indeed ministers in parliment were astonished to say the least, if the project was killed off now the British public would be furious , questions would be asked and answeres would be demanded, the government had some serious decisions to make, and quickly for the offer was for 24 hours only !
So what had happened ? Well at 9:45 GMT the British Aircraft Corporation were thrown a lifeline, an American company had stepped in with an offer to see the project through, they were willing to finance all that had been spent on the project so far, this would mean that all the British tax payers money was safe, they were willing to pay back to the British government what they had spent on development costs so far.
In return they wanted the British to basically start again with the project financially, they would work with BAC to carry out further development and testing on a 50/50 cost basis , supplying their own expertise as an aid to the programme.
So, essentially the TSR2 project could be saved, from now on the cost would only be half of the projected costs , somebody wanted in on this venture badly, but who and why ?
April 6th was the day the axe was supposed to fall on the TSR2, government ministers shuffled in their seats as the announcement was due to be made, silence fell , the announcement was short. "The TSR2 Project WILL Continue", there were gasps of amazement amid cheers of joy.
Over the next few hours many questions were asked, some answered, some not, but the main one was WHO ??
Enter onto the scene one of the worlds if not the worlds most famous aircraft manufactures,
Yes, Boeing, the company famous for its outstanding range of airliners and bomber aircraft.
Boeing saw the potential of the TSR2 programme and whilst traditionally being a manufacturer of large designs it wanted a smaller tactical bomber/attack aircraft than its previous offerings.
The war in Veitnam was looming and rather than starting from scratch the wise men at the company saw that the combined companies that make up the British Aircraft Corporation had the expertise to pull the project through , they just needed access to more money, money Boeing were willing to commit.
Boeing would not only help financially, they wanted to help solve the current issues and take development further, indeed they wanted to market the project world wide !
The flight testing carried on at quite a pace, problems were found and solved, with there not being as much red tape and politics to go through as previously progress was finally being made.
To get things moving and keep politicions quiet the first batch of the BAC/Boeing Thunderstrike GR1A as it was to be known entered service with the RAF on December 1st 1966 and the RCAF taking its aircraft the following year. Only 100 of this version were produced 60 for the RAF and 40 for the RCAF.
The GR1A was hurried into service so that the BAC/Boeing designers could address some of the types more seroius problems.
From day one the TSR2 had been dogged by the extremely tight fit of its engines, airframes were matched to engines and a single engine removal to take 60+ hours, obviously this could not continue, there was no way the airframe could be widened externally, the only sensible answer was to get rid of the bombay and move the engines slightly closer together, the airframe was strengthened for under fuselage pylons and a fixed 700 gallon tank in its place also doubling up as a heatsink for gearboxes and the like, this was a trade of in all directions but as the original design required a removeable 680 gallon tank in the bombay and an optional 1000 gallon panier tank it was considered the best way forward.
The next issue was with the main gear, right through the testing phase it had proved troublesome and prone to slapping when the first wheel made contact with the runway, numerous fixes had been tried but even now the in service GR1A's were still having issues.
Again Boeing's design team came up with the solution, it was stunningly simple ! They got rid of the tandem swivelling upon retraction complicated system for a more conventual single leg with a pair of wheels attached to it, the same alloys as used on the B52 main gears were used as it was considerably stronger the the British equivalent.
The improvements implemented over time were immense , just about every single part of the aircraft and its systems were changed in someway , only the basic shape of the original TSR2 remained the same.
Even while the original GR1A's were being delivered the next model was starting to enter the production phase, this time the aircraft had gained two 30mm Aden cannon under the nose, the original proposal for a side ways looking radar had been abandoned soon after Boeing got involved [this was now installed into the reconnaisance pod] so the cannons used up the space that had been gained by its removal.
The next design change was probably the most ambitious , Boeing wanted something that was never on the cards for the TSR2 project, they wanted a navalised version , something to compete against the RA-5C Vigilante, the British design team were astounded by this, but Boeing who had several aircraft for evaluation and flight testing had now got their own production line running, with all this extra capacity anything could now be possible !
The modifications to the bombay area and fitting of under fuselage pylons had inherantly strengthened the whole underside of the aircraft, a "full strength" arrestor hook had been installed from day one instead of the original proposal for an "one time" emergency type, the fin was essentially cut in half to make it fold for carrier stowage.
Production of all the navalised versions was to take place at Boeings own plant, initally the US Navy were very reluctant to even trial the idea of a British jet on their carriers, but Boeing's persistance paid off and the Navy placed orders for two versions ; an all out attack variant and a dedicated reconnasiance platform.
For the Marines it was a no brainer, the aircraft was perfect for their "in country" mud moving roll.
It should be noted that all these US aircraft and indeed the Export version that followed all used US built Pratt and Whitney engines, US sourced ECM and countermeasure systems and carried either two Browning 20mm cannon or the 20mm Vulcan "gatling gun"
Export customers for these US built versions included Isreal and Austrailia among others.
Meanwhile back in the UK the RAF versions continued to flourish, changes were generally small and more inline with keeping up with current upgrades to software and such, the biggest problem was with there being so many versions in service at the same time, engines grew ever more powerful even though the design had never been short of power, a dog fighter it was not but down low at high speed nothing came close.
The terrain following radar was a world beater, the ride was stable down low and the wide angle HUD made sure "head down" time was virtually not needed.
South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia and Canada were among the UK spec exports.
Once the Royal Navy accurired its Malta Class carriers it too became users, these carriers and these aircraft being the biggest the Royal Navy had ever operated.
The one thing that did come about from the navalised versions was the fitting of cannards to the nose section , roughly in line with the pilots position. These were fitted to cure a nose down tendancy in certain circumstances when taking off from a carrier, infact several US Navy aircraft were lost and all remaining aircraft were only to be flown by senior pilots with 2000 hours or more.
Two small pitot tubes were positioned in front of each intake to limit the angle of the canard if the airflow became close to intake surge limits.
Pilots reported a general feeling of more stability under weapon launch conditions and the RAF's
GR7 version came with them as standard fitment........if only they had been discovered earlier.
The GR7 was basically the RAF's ultimate Thunderstrike, the original internal ECM fit was very limited in effectiveness and difficult to upgrade so after many years of trying different configurations of US built pods the design team at BAC eventually came up with two purpose built pods which could be installed onto the wingtips replacing the two IRM stations, the pods could be removed in less than one hour making upgrading easier and as a bonus they were more aerodynamic and didnt use up a valuable wing pylon.
The complete number of versions and operators as well as actual combat accounts would be the topic of several volumes, far too much for this brief account of an aircraft which was destined never to be if it was not for a last minute gamble from Boeing.
After a total production run from the two factories of 4500 aircraft I think it is safe to say the gamble paid off.
As you've probably already realised the TSR2 is a bit of a favourite of mine,
So.....what's new this time you ask ? More versions, more stuff remapped, more model tweaks, new cockpits and still more to do. Half the fun is seeing if you can find what's changed from the previous releases [if you had them]
This is one aircraft I will probably never stop tweaking so I thought I'd better get what I have so far realeased.
For those of you that already have the older version I can't stress enough that you should move them somewhere safe in case you dont like these.
Just letting them overwrite is NOT a good idea as you will screw up both sets.
Installation is just a case of copying everything FROM the TO_MOD_FOLDER TO your modded game install.
Just remember this is a What If, I'm not really concerned about what would have been feasable and what would'nt, we will never know so I've just gone on what I would like to see.
.......NOT TO BE USED IN ANY PAYWARE OR RE-RELEASED WITHOUT MY PERMISSION....