British Secret Projects 2: Jet Bombers Since 1949

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Book Author(s)
Tony Buttler
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Hard Bound ; 8.5” x 11”, 352 pages
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Provided by: Specialty Press
Front Cover

Tony Buttler was born in 1956 and joined High Duty Alloys in Redditch in 1974 as a metallurgist. For nearly 20 years he was closely involved in the testing of aluminum and titanium airframe and engine components for many of the world’s most important airplanes. It was during this timeframe that his interest in military aircraft grew into a passion. Since 1995, Tony has been a freelance aviation historian, with this book being his twenty-sixth major release. He has also written many titles for the Warpaint series of monographs as well as many articles for most of the popular historical aviation magazines.

The cover painting by Daniel Uhr depicts the Armstrong Whitworth AW.56 flying high. The rear cover features a color photograph of an RAF Harrier with a full weapons load; an illustration of the single engine Vickers Type 571 strike aircraft; and model of the Avro 730 made by John Hall. I counted 107 black and white photographs, 150 color pictures, 264 black and white general arrangement drawings and illustrations, and 6 color illustrations or paintings on 352 glossy pages. Each design discussed is also accompanied by a short specifications table calling out wingspan, length, gross wing area, t/c ratio, gross weight, power plant, maximum speed/height, and weapons load where known.

This is the second edition of Tony Buttler’s first book that was published in 2003 by Midland. The first edition was a 176 page book that was a success and helped launch Tony Buttler’s career as an author. This second edition is completely redesigned and revised to the point it is now 352 pages, nearly double the page count of the first edition. This growth is largely due to the vast amount of information that has been released since 2003. This edition is basically grouped around the British tender design competitions and the complexity of the political decisions from the Air Ministry. All of your favorites are here, plus much, much more. Just take a look at the following table of contents to see for yourself.

  • Introduction to the First Edition
  • Introduction to the Second Edition
  • Acknowledgements
  • Chapter One: Mosquito Replacement
    • Britain’s First Jet Bomber: 1944 to 1951
    • Westland P.1056, P.1057, and P.1061 [Page 009]
    • English Electric High-Altitude High-Speed Unarmed Bomber (Single Engine)
    • English Electric High-Altitude High-Speed Unarmed Bomber (Two Engines)
    • English Electric A.I Canberra
    • English Electric P.12
  • Chapter Two: Vital Bombers
    • Building Britain’s V-Force 1945 to 1955
    • Short S.A.4
    • Bristol Type 172
    • Handley Page HP.72A/HP.80
    • Avro Long Range Bomber
    • Short B.14/16
    • B.35/46 (and Operational Requirement OR.229)
    • Armstrong Whitworth AW.56
    • Avro 698
    • English Electric B.35/46
    • Handley Page HP.80
    • Short S.B.1
    • Vickers B.35/46
    • Sperrin, Valiant, Victor, and Vulcan
    • deHavilland DH.111
  • Chapter Three: V-Bomber Encore
    • Test Aircraft and Further Developments: 1947 to the 1960s
    • Bristol 174 and 176
    • Short S.B.1 and P.D.10 [Page 065]
    • Handley Page HP.88
    • Avro 710 and 707
    • Vickers Type 673 Pathfinder
    • Vickers Low-Level and Supersonic Valiant Developments
    • Vickers Type 722 Valiant Mk.3
    • Victor and Vulcan B.Mk.2s
    • Further Vulcan Development Proposals
    • Avro Tpe 732
    • Handley Page Victor III
    • Further Victor Developments and the HP.104
    • Handley Page Supersonic Victor
  • Chapter Four: Low-Level Introduction
    • Initial Low-Level Bomber Studies 1952 to 1954
    • B.126T
    • Avro 721
    • Bristol Type 186
    • Handley Page HP.99
    • Short P.D.9
  • Chapter Five: Fleet Air Arm Pirate
    • Naval Strike Aircraft: 1954 to 1958
    • M.148T (and NR/A.39)
    • Armstrong Whitworh AW.168
    • Blackburn B.103Fairey M.148
    • Hawker P.1108
    • Short P.D.13
    • Westland M.148
    • Saunders-Roe P.178
  • Chapter Six: High-Level Finale
    • High-Altitude Reconnaissance Bombers: 1954 to 1957
    • R.156T (and OR.330)
    • Avro 730
    • English Electric P.10
    • Handley Page HP.100
    • Short P.D.12
    • Vickers R.156T
    • Saunders-Roe P.188
    • Avro 730
    • Avro 731
    • OR.336
  • Chapter Seven: Canberra Replacement
    • Tactical Strike Aircraft: 1951 to 1958
    • Gloster Thin Wing Javelin
    • Blackburn B.103A
    • de Havilland Cristchurch DH.110
    • Hawker P.1121
    • Vickers (Supermarine) Type 565
    • GOR.339
    • Avro 739
    • Blackburn B.108
    • Bristol 204 [Page 151]
    • de Havilland Christchurch GOR.339
    • English Electric P.17
    • Short P.D.17/2
    • Fairey GOR.339
    • Gloster Thin Wing Javelin
    • Handley Page Study
    • Hawker P.1123 and P.1125
    • Hawker P.1129
    • Vickers (Supermarine) Type 571
  • Chapter Eight: TSR.2
    • Politics in Extremis: 1958 to 1968
    • Hawker Siddeley Supersonic Strike Aircraft
    • Hawker P.1121
    • OR.343
    • Vickers-English Electric Type 571 (TSR.2)
    • General Dynamics F-111K
    • Dassault/BAC Mirage IV
  • Chapter Nine: VG and OR.346
    • Swing Wings and Multi-Role: 1959 to 1964
    • Vickers-Armstrong Swallow
    • OR.346 and ER.206
    • Vickers-Armstrong ER.206 Projects (Type 581)
      • ER.206/1
      • ER.206/2
      • ER.206/3
      • ER.206/4
    • Vickers Type 582
    • BAC (Vickers) Type 583
    • BAC (Vickers) Type 585
    • BAC (Vickers) Type 588
    • BAC (Vickers) Type 589
    • HSA (Blackburn) B.123
    • HSA (de Havilland) DH.127
    • Hawker (Siddeley) P.1149 and P.1151
    • Hawker (Siddeley) P.1152
    • Hawker (Siddeley) P.1153
  • Chapter Ten: Vertical Take-Off
    • Harrier and NBMR.3: 1957 to 1985
    • Hawker P.1127
    • Hawker P.1126
    • Hawker P.1132
    • NBMR.3
    • BAC (English Electric) P.39
    • BAC (Vickers) Type 584
    • Short P.D.56 [Page 220]
    • Hawker (Siddeley) P.1150-1
    • Hawker (Siddeley) P.1154
    • Hawker (Siddeley) P.1155
    • Hawker Siddeley Kestrel
    • Hawker Siddeley Harrier
    • Hawker (Siddeley) P.1156
    • Hawker (Siddeley) HS.1175
    • Hawker (Siddeley) HS.1176
    • Hawker (Siddeley) HS.1179
    • Hawker (Siddeley) HS.1185 and AV-16
    • Hawker Siddeley Big Wing Harrier
    • BAe Kingston P.1208
    • BAe Kingston P.1209
    • BAe Kingston P.1126
  • Chapter Eleven: Over The Sea
    • Anti-Submarine Aircraft: 1945 to 1969
    • Land-Based Maritime Patrol Aircraft
    • Avro Shackleton
    • Avro 716 Shackleton Mk.3
    • Avro 719
    • Bristol 175 Development
    • Bristol 175MR
    • Bristol 206 and 207
    • Fairey Project 83 Maritime Patrol Aircraft
    • Avro 745
    • Hawker Siddeley HS.801 Nimrod
    • Carrier-Based Anti-Submarine
    • Fairey Type Q
    • Blackburn B.54 (Y.A.5)
    • Blackburn Y.A.7/8 and Y.B.1
    • Short S.B.3 Sturgeon
    • Fairey Gannet
    • Lightweight Anti-Submarine
    • Blackburn B.83 and B.91
    • Short S.B.6 (P.D.4)
    • Westland Light A/S Aircraft
    • Short Seamew
  • Chapter Twelve: Variations on a Theme
    • Supermarine Scimitar
    • Supermarine Type 522
    • Supermarine Type 537
    • Supermarine Type 561
    • Supermarine Types 562 and 564
    • Supermarine Type 567
    • Supermarine Type 576
    • NATO Light Strike
    • Avro 727
    • BAe Kingston SABA
    • BAe P.1238
    • BAe P.1233-1
    • BAe P.1234
      • P.1234-1
      • P.1234-2
      • P.1234-3
  • Chapter Thirteen: Strike Trainers
    • Background to Jaguar: 1962 to 1970
    • Folland Fo.147
    • Folland Fo.148
    • BAC (Vickers) Type 593
    • AST.362
    • BAC (English Electric) P.45
    • Hawker-Siddeley HS.1179 and HS.1170B
    • Hawker (Siddeley) HS.1173
    • SEPECAT Jaguar
    • AA-107 and BAC P.60 and P.61
  • Chapter Fourteen: A Destructive Localized Storm
    • Background to Tornado: 1964 to 1982
    • Anglo-French Variable Geometry Aircraft (AFVG) [Page 283]
    • United Kingdom Variable Geometry Project (UKVG)
    • BAC Advanced Combat Aircraft
    • Panavia MRCA (Tornado)
  • Chapter Fifteen: AST.396
    • A Battlefield Aircraft: 1970-1975
    • AST.396
    • British Aircraft Corporation Proposals to AST.396 (Report dated March 1972)
    • BAC P.69 (Jaguar Developments)
    • BAC P.70 (Pegasus Engine Solutions)
    • BAC P.71 (Lift Engine Solutions)
    • Other Possibilities and BAC P.66
    • BAC P.72, P.73, and P.74
    • Hawker Siddeley Aviation Proposals to AST.396 (Report dated March 1972)
    • HSA HS.1182 Variants
    • HSA HS.1189 Variants
    • HSA HS.1190 Variants
    • HSA HS.1191 Variants
    • HSA HS.1184 Variants
    • HSA HS.1185 Variants
    • HSA HS.1186 Variants
    • HSA HS.1187 Variants
    • HSA HS.1192-1
    • HSA Kingston HS.1195
    • HSA Brough HS.1197
    • HSA Brough P.153
    • Future Offensive Air System (FOAS)
  • Appendix One: British Bomber Projects Summary [Page 329]
  • Appendix Two: Post-War British Bomber Project Specifications
  • Appendix Three: Post-War British Bomber Contracts
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography and Source Notes
  • Index

As I witnessed with British Secret Projects 1: Jet Fighters Since 1950, (check out the IPMS USA Review web page), the British aircraft manufacturing companies proposed many diverse aircraft designs. Tony Buttler covers several real aircraft like the TSR2, Harrier, Canberra, etc. but the mainstay of this tome is the paper projects that were made in response to the design competitions. Naturally, if you want insight into the politics of aircraft selection and procurement, you are going to get a view to the behind the scenes mechanizations. Tony kicks things off with the successor to the de Havilland Mosquito, the twin jet Canberra. This book also includes a listing of all British bomber projects since 1949 by company in the first appendix and a second appendix sorted by the British Ministry specifications. I was impressed with the organization and depth that Tony Buttler was able to apply to this subject. Its hard to pick a favorite section, but the sub-chapter on the English Electric P.10 proposal is quite fascinating with its huge vertical fin structure. The canard P.10 was designed to cruise above 70,000 feet and exceed Mach 3.0. Powered by two turbojets in the wing root, it featured a ducted ramjet wing for high altitude cruising. This unique wing was designed to provide low supersonic drag at cruising speed. A 3-view drawing, two cut-away drawings, and color photographs of the manufacturer’s model are included.

Tony Buttler’s research into the documentation is refreshing and allows a clearer picture to follow the thought process as each design progressed. Since many of these ‘paper’ projects were top secret, many did not survive, especially since the losers generally trashed their proposals as they went on to the next specification. Tony Buttler is able to weave in a tremendous amount of design studies from the competition as a whole in conjunction with the political drama of the day and still manage to provide a compelling and readable storyline. Impressive.

My thanks to Specialty Press, Crécy Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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