The specification of the TSR.2 was based originally on Operational Requirement 339 for an aircraft to replace the Canberra in its long range interdiction and reconnaissance roles. In its present form, the TSR.2 can far exceed these requirements. It is suitable for all types of attack duty, with weapons ranging from rocket projectiles to high-yield nuclear missiles, and may be used in the strategic deterrent role.
Official news of the TSR.2 development programme was given on January 1, 1959 with the announcement that the main contract for a new supersonic attack and high/low-level reconnaissance aircraft for the Royal Air Force was to be placed with Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd, who would share the work equally with English Electric Aviation. Both of these companies are now incorporated in the British Aircraft Corporation and the design of the TSR.2 has been undertaken at Weybridge and Warton by a joint project team.
Weybridge works has responsibility for the fuselage, electronics and armament installations. Preston is reponsible for the wings, rear fuselage, power plant installation, fuel system, powered controls and autostabiliser system.
First photographs and some details of the TSR.2 were released officially on October 25, 1963. The general appearance of the aircraft is shown in the adjacent illustration of the first of 20 development and pre-production models. This aircraft (XR219) flew for the first time on September 27, 1964. A contract for 30 TSR.2s has been negotiated and it is expected that many of the pre-production models will eventually be brought up to operational standard for squadron use by the RAF.
The high-wing configuration of the TSR.2 was chosen to avoid undesirable airflow patterns over the horizontal tail surfaces. For the same reason, turned-down wingtips are utilised instead of the wing anhedral that is usual to ensure stability on aircraft in this class.
To meet the requirement for short-field operation, the TSR.2 has large blown flaps extending over the full span of the wings expect for the turned-down tips. To make this possible, all control surfaces are at the tail.
Aluminium-copper alloys are used in those portions of the airframe that are not subjected to high kinetic heating. Elsewhere, it has been necessary to utilise aluminium-lithium alloys imported from the United States, with ICI titanium alloys in areas adjacent to the engines. Much of the fuselage and wing structure embodies integrally-stiffened machined skins. The landing gear legs are forged and machined from an ultra-high-tensile Ni-Cr-Mo-Va steel evolved by English Steel Corporation.
The navigation attack system of the TSR.2 is the most advanced yet fitted to any aircraft developed for Western air forces, particularly in respect of flexibilty and all-weather operation. A mixed Doppler-inertial navigation system is used, with blind fixing from sideways-looking radar. The forward-looking radar, with the automatic flight control system, form an automatic terrain following system whioch will keep the aircraft at a pre-set height above local ground level under manual or automatic control under all weathers. Crew efficiency does not deterioate on long-range low-level sorties as the high wing loading minimises the gust response of the aircraft. Comprehensive analogue and digital computer facilities are provided to handle the navigation and attack data. The position of the aircraft is shown continuously on moving map displays in both cockpits.
Completely automatic sorties, including attack at high or low level, are possible, without any visual reference; but the crew monitor all phases of the mission and the pilot can take over control at any time. The pilot has a "head-up" display, in which basic flight data are projected onto his windscreen and are visible to him without the necessity of looking down into the cockpit critical phases of the flight or the attack. All systems are fail-safe. For example, the aircraft enters a climb automatically in the event of any failure of the terrain-following system.
On reconnaissance missions, weapons are replaced by a detachable ventral pack containing batteries of cameras and other equipment. High definition sideways-looking radar can be used to indicate only moving objects on the ground, obliterating all stationary objects from the display. A TV-type reconnaissance system can transmit pictures to a local ground station by day or night to present an immediate tactical picture of forward combat areas.
The TSR 2 is fitted with a Bristol Siddely Cumulus gas-turbine auxilliary power unit, enabling it to remain at dispersal for long periods without any ground support except refuelling facilities. It has a ferry range of several thousand miles and has provision for flight refuelling. Precise information details are secret, but it is able to operate from small off-runway areas, could penetrate many hundreds of miles into enemy territory on combat missions and is expected to exceed Mach 1 at low level, and Mach 2at high altitudes. The accuracy of its weapon delivery capability is officially stated to be within "tens of feet".
|Wing span||37 ft 0 in||(11.28 m)|
|Length overall||89 ft 0 in||(27.13 m)|
|Height overall||24 ft 0 in||(7.32 m)|