B.A.C. TSR-2

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 aircraft.

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;
XR220 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.
XR222 at Duxford XR220 at Cosford Thermal Test Section at Brooklands
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.
XR219 awaits its fate at Shoeburyness XR219 at Shoeburyness

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
Sortie Date Duration Pilot Navigator Notes
1 24-Sep-1964 00:14 Beamont Bowen Call sign Tarnish 1; Boscombe Down
2 31-Dec-1964 00:14 Beamont Bowen Boscombe Down
3 02-Jan-1965 00:08 Beamont Bowen Boscombe Down
4 08-Jan-1965 00:20 Beamont Bowen Boscombe Down
5 14-Jan-1965 00:22 Beamont Bowen Major undercarriage malfunction. Boscombe Down
6 15-Jan-1965 00:24 Dell Bowen Boscombe Down
7 22-Jan-1965 00:28 Beamont Moneypenny Boscombe Down
8 23-Jan-1965 00:27 Dell Moneypenny Boscombe Down
9 27-Jan-1965 00:22 Beamont Bowen Boscombe Down
10 06-Feb-1965 00:29 Beamont Bowen Successful undercarriage retraction. Boscombe Down
11 08-Feb-1965 00:38 Dell Moneypenny Boscombe Down
12 10-Feb-1965 00:36 Knight Moneypenny Boscombe Down
13 16-Feb-1965 00:45 Dell Bowen Boscombe Down
14 22-Feb-1965 00:41 Beamont Moneypenny First (and only) supersonic flight. Boscombe Down to Warton.
15 25-Feb-1965 01:12 Dell Moneypenny Warton
16 26-Feb-1965 00:47 Beamont Moneypenny Warton
17 08-Mar-1965 00:52 Dell McCann Warton
18 08-Mar-1965 00:35 Dell Moneypenny Warton
19 11-Mar-1965 00:33 Dell McCann Warton
20 12-Mar-1965 00:46 Dell Moneypenny Warton
21 26-Mar-1965 00:33 Dell McCann Warton
22 26-Mar-1965 00:35 Dell McCann Warton
23 27-Mar-1965 00:34 Knight Moneypenny Warton
24 31-Mar-1965 00:32 Dell McCann Warton
Logged Times  
Total 13:07      
Pilots   Navigators/Observers    
R.P.Beamont 04:05 D.J.Bowen 03:18  
J.L.Dell 07:52 P.Moneypenny 06:44  
D.M.Knight 01:10 B.McCann 03:05  


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

Maximum speed: Mach 2.15 at Altitude
Maximum speed:
Mach 1.1 at low level
Combat range: 1150 miles (1850 km)
Ferry range: 4256 miles (6850 km)
Service ceiling: 54,000 ft (16,459 m)
Rate of climb: 50,000 ft/min (16,000 m/min)

Length: 89 ft in (27.12 m)
Wingspan: 37 ft 1 in (11.27 m)
Height: 23 ft 9 in (7.24 m)
Wing area: 702.9 ft (65.3 m)

Payload Internal weapons bay, 20 ft (6 m) with 1 nuclear or 6 x 1000 lb (450 kg) HE, or 4 x 37 rocket packs or nuclear's on inner pylons only.


Automatic flight control system (ACFS), terrain following radar (TFR), forward looking radar (FLR), sideways looking radar (SLR), inertial navigation system (INS), electronic counter-measures (ECM).

All-metal structure, making extensive use of integrally-machined skin panels. Airbrakes on top and bottom of fuselage on each side, between wings and tail unit.

Cantilever high-wing monoplane. Aerofoil varies, particularly at root, to ensure optimum efficiency. Very low thickness/chord ratio. Anhedral on tips only. Sweepback on leading-edges 60. Structure makes extensive usage of integrally-machined skin-stringer panels. No fences, vortex generators or sawcuts. Full-span blown flaps, except on wingtips

Landing Gear:

Hydraulically-retractable tricycle type, manufactured by Electro-Hydraulics Ltd. Main units retract forward into air intake fairings, nose unit rearward. Each cantilever long-stroke main unit has two wheels in tandem. Twin-wheel nose unit is steerable hydraulically and can be lengthened hydraulically before or during a take-off run to put the aircraft into a take-off attitude. Dunlop wheels, disc brakes and Maxaret anti-skid units. Dunlop and Goodyear (alternatives) special high-strength low-pressure tubeless tyres. Irving brake-parachute can be reefed to avoid control difficulties in cross-wind.

Tail Unit:
One-piece all-moving vertical tail surface. All-moving horizontal surfaces ("tailerons") operate together for pitch control and differentially for roll control. Each horizontal surface has a control surface inset in its trailing-edge, but these are locked in high-speed flight. All controls fully powered by electronically-controlled hydraulic jacks developed by H. M. Hobson Ltd.

Crew of two in tandem on Martin-Baker 8VA rocket-powered ejection seats, under individual rearward-hinged jetisonable canopies in air-conditioned and refrigerated cabins. Ejection cycle is timed so that navigator leaves first if pilot actuates his ejection system. Navigator can eject by himself.

Updated 24 February 2012

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