Battle Flight: RAF Air Defense Projects and Weapons Since 1945

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Chris Gibson
Other Publication Information
Hardcover, 176 pgs, 200 B&W photos and illustrations, some color photos, drawings
Product / Stock #
Provided by: Specialty Press

This book looks at the RAF and Britain’s air defense, post-World War II. More specifically, it looks at the defense of Britain from nuclear strikes.

This book is broken down into ten chapters, beginning at the end of WWII when the British defenses were set up to protect her from massive raids by piston-engined bomber aircraft and the post-war realization that the advent of the V-1 and V-2 missiles and the jet engine had rendered all of this obsolete. Add the atomic bomb to this, and the RAF was scrambling to devise new defenses.

The author does a good job of discussing the Soviet threat, as well as all of the various programs that were being devised to deal with it. Those that made it to reality, as well as those that never made it off paper, are all covered. All of the aircraft projects, as well as those involving missile defense, are discussed, with coverage even given to dealing with hijacked airliners.

I found the plan for the RAF to purchase F-14s and/or F-15s to be particularly interesting. Also of great interest was the plan for arming the Vulcan with 10 Sea Dart missiles, or an AEW version of the Vulcan. Some of these projects were very futuristic in design and some, such as the Airborne Control aircraft based on the C-97 Stratofreighter as illustraited on page 122, are…well, downright ugly!

With the resurgence of the Russian Air Force and the fact that they have resumed Tu-95 and Tu-160 spy flights as were done by the old Soviet Union, it is scary that now there are only 5 Typhoon squadrons and Aster Surface to Air missiles to protect Britain.

This is an interesting book that gives great insight into the decisions and programs which he presents in a very readable format. For the casual modeler, there may not be enough to justify the cost of the book, but I can recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the RAF or British military history, as well as to those who like to do “what if” modeling, as there are some projects in this book that would really turn a few heads. The author presents his information well and in a manner that holds the reader’s interest. I enjoyed it!

My thanks to Specialty Press for the review copy and IPMS/USA for the review opportunity!


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