Although never developed
beyond the prototype stage, the British Aircraft Corporation TSR-2 was
one of the most exciting and controversial British combat aircraft designs
of the 1960s. During the mid 1950s, the increasing sophistication of air
defence systems led the RAF to consider the procurement of a high speed, low
level strike and reconnaissance aircraft to replace the Canberra. In October
1957, the Ministry of Supply released the first specification for such an
On 1 January 1959 the Ministry of Supply announced a design had been selected for production. Called the TSR-2 (Tactical Strike and Reconnaissance Mach 2), the aircraft was developed by a joint design team. A contract for eleven TSR-2 prototypes was concluded in October 1960, the first XR219 made its maiden flight from Boscombe Down on 27th September 1964.
By March 1965 XR219 had completed twenty-four flights, and a second aircraft was to join the programme. The initial reports indicated that the TSR-2 was an outstanding technical success. However the project was scrapped on 6th April 1965 as a budget cut back by the Labour Chancellor James Callaghan. The jigs and most of the airframes destroyed immediately. The TSR-2 tooling and the partially completed aircraft were scrapped.
A government study into the feasibility of resurrecting the TSR-2 project was carried out during the early 1980s. There was, briefly some speculation that TSR-2 might yet see the light of day in an updated form, but after the study concluded that it would be far too expensive (the previous destruction requiring a complete start-over from scratch) and that the technology was no longer cutting edge, the TSR-2 was cancelled forever.
|Two finished but un-flown aircraft eventually survived, though with substantial internal damage;|
is at RAF Museum Cosford.
XR222 is at Imperial War Museum Duxford
XR224, XR225, XR226 and XR227 were scrapped.
The nose section on display at the Brooklands museum in Weybridge, Was built by B.A.C. Weybridge in 1963 & was used for thermal test work at the Royal Aircraft Establishment Farnborough, and was retained for Concorde heat trials.
|A number of unfinished airframes were hastily scrapped, with very few parts retained intact. The only airframe ever to fly, XR219, was taken to Shoeburyness along with two unfinished frames XR221 and XR223 and used for as targets to test the vulnerability of a modern airframe and systems to gunfire. The latter two airframes were scrapped between 1972 and 1973, while XR219 soldiered on until 1982.|
|The Planes are Officially Listed as:|
|XR219||BAC TSR-2||f/f 27/09/1964, l/f 31/03/1965, to PEE Foulness Island 17/08/1965, scrapped 01/1977|
|XR220||BAC TSR-2||To 7933M, preserved RAFM Cosford|
|XR221||BAC TSR-2||Aircraft complete when order cancelled, to PEE Foulness Island 13/09/1965, later scrapped|
|XR222||BAC TSR-2||preserved IWM Duxford|
|XR223||BAC TSR-2||Aircraft complete, wings fitted when order cancelled, to PEE Foulness Island 27/09/1965, later scrapped|
|XR224||BAC TSR-2||Fuselage complete when order cancelled, to RJ Coley and Son Co. Hounslow Middlesex and scrapped|
|XR225||BAC TSR-2||Fuselage complete when order cancelled, to RJ Coley and Son Co. Hounslow Middlesex, sections moved to BA Taylors West Bromwich and scrapped|
|XR226||BAC TSR-2||Fuselage complete when order cancelled, to RJ Coley and Son Co. Hounslow Middlesex, sections moved to BA Taylors West Bromwich and scrapped|
|XR227||BAC TSR-2||Forward and rear fuselage fitted when order cancelled, to RJ Coley and Son Co. Hounslow Middlesex, sections moved to BA Taylors West Bromwich and scrapped|
|Sorties Flown By XR219|
|1||24-Sep-1964||00:14||Beamont||Bowen||Call sign Tarnish 1; Boscombe Down|
|5||14-Jan-1965||00:22||Beamont||Bowen||Major undercarriage malfunction. Boscombe Down|
|10||06-Feb-1965||00:29||Beamont||Bowen||Successful undercarriage retraction. Boscombe Down|
|14||22-Feb-1965||00:41||Beamont||Moneypenny||First (and only) supersonic flight. Boscombe Down to Warton.|
1 Pilot & 1 Navigator
Empty 54,750 lb (24,834 kg)
Loaded 79,573 lb lb (36,169 kg)
Maximum takeoff 102,200 lb (46,357 kg)
Engines 2× Bristol-Siddeley Olympus B.O1.22R
Thrust with Afterburner 2× 30,610 lbf (2× 136.7 kN)
Thrust/Weight: 0.77 lbf/lb