The Avro Vulcan is a jet-powered tailless delta wing high-altitude strategic bomber, operated by the Royal Air Force from 1956 until 1984. Aircraft manufacturer A. V. Roe and Company designed the Vulcan in response to Specification B.35/46. Of the three V bombers produced, the Vulcan was considered the most technically advanced and hence the riskiest option. Several reduced-scale aircraft, designated Avro 707, were produced to test and refine the delta wing design principles; the Vulcan B.1 was first delivered to the RAF in 1956. The B.2 featured more powerful engines, a larger wing, an improved electrical system and electronic countermeasures. As a part of the V-force, the Vulcan was the backbone of the United Kingdom's airborne nuclear deterrent during much of the Cold War. Although the Vulcan was armed with nuclear weapons, it was capable of conventional bombing missions, a capability, used in Operation Black Buck during the Falklands War between the United Kingdom and Argentina in 1982; the Vulcan had no defensive weaponry relying upon high-speed high-altitude flight to evade interception.
Electronic countermeasures were employed by the B.1 and B.2 from circa 1960. A change to low-level tactics was made in the mid-1960s. In the mid-1970s nine Vulcans were adapted for maritime radar reconnaissance operations, redesignated as B.2. In the final years of service six Vulcans were converted to the K.2 tanker configuration for aerial refuelling. After retirement by the RAF one example, B.2 XH558, named The Spirit of Great Britain, was restored for use in display flights and air shows, whilst two other B.2s, XL426 and XM655, have been kept in taxiable condition for ground runs and demonstrations at London Southend Airport and Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield respectively. B.2 XH558 flew for the last time in October 2015, before being kept in taxiable condition at Doncaster Sheffield Airport. The origin of the Vulcan and the other V bombers is linked with early British atomic weapon programme and nuclear deterrent policies. Britain's atom bomb programme began with Air Staff Operational Requirement OR.1001 issued in August 1946.
This anticipated a government decision in January 1947 to authorise research and development work on atomic weapons, the U. S. Atomic Energy Act of 1946 having prohibited exporting atomic knowledge to countries that had collaborated on the Manhattan Project. OR.1001 envisaged a weapon not to exceed 24 ft 2 in in length, 5 ft in diameter and 10,000 lb in weight. The weapon had to be suitable for release from 20,000 ft to 50,000 ft. In January 1947, the Ministry of Supply distributed Specification B.35/46 to UK aviation companies to satisfy Air Staff Operational Requirement OR.229 for "a medium range bomber landplane capable of carrying one 10,000 lb bomb to a target 1,500 nautical miles from a base which may be anywhere in the world." A cruising speed of 500 knots at heights between 35,000 ft and 50,000 ft was specified. The maximum weight when loaded ought not to exceed 100,000 lb. In addition to a "special" bomb, the aircraft was to be capable of alternatively carrying a conventional bomb load of 20,000 lb.
The similar OR.230 required a "long range bomber" with a 2,000 nautical miles radius of action with a maximum weight of 200,000 lb when loaded. A total of six companies submitted technical brochures including Avro. Required to tender by the end of April 1947, work began on receipt of Specification B.35/46 at Avro, led by technical director Roy Chadwick and chief designer Stuart Davies. It was obvious to the design team; the team estimated that an otherwise conventional aircraft, with a swept wing of 45°, would have doubled the weight requirement. Realising that swept wings increase longitudinal stability, the team deleted the tail and the supporting fuselage, it thus became a swept-back flying wing with only a rudimentary forward fuselage and a fin at each wingtip; the estimated weight was now only 50% over the requirement. Though Alexander Lippisch is credited as the pioneer of the delta wing, Chadwick's team had followed its own logical design process; the initial design submission had four large turbojets stacked in pairs buried in the wing either side of the centreline.
Outboard of the engines were two bomb-bays. In August 1947, Chadwick was killed in the crash of the Avro Tudor 2 prototype and was succeeded by Sir William Farren. Reductions in wing thickness made it impossible to incorporate the split bomb bays and stacked engines, thus the engines were placed side-by-side in pairs either side of a single bomb-bay, with the fuselage growing somewhat; the wingtip fins gave way to a single fin on the aircraft's centreline. Rival manufacturer Handley Page received a prototype contract for its crescent-winged HP.80 B.35/46 tender in November 1947. Though considered the best option, contract placement for Avro's design was delayed whilst its technical strength
English Electric Lightning
The English Electric Lightning is a fighter aircraft that served as an interceptor during the 1960s, the 1970s and into the late 1980s. It remains the only UK-designed-and-built fighter capable of Mach 2; the Lightning was designed and manufactured by English Electric, subsequently absorbed by the newly-formed British Aircraft Corporation. The type was marketed as the BAC Lightning, it was operated by the Kuwait Air Force and the Royal Saudi Air Force. A unique feature of the Lightning's design is the vertical, staggered configuration of its two Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet engines within the fuselage; the Lightning was designed and developed as an interceptor to defend the V bomber airfields from attack by anticipated future nuclear-armed supersonic Soviet bombers such as what emerged as the Tupolev Tu-22, but it was subsequently required to intercept other bomber aircraft such as the Tupolev Tu-16 and the Tupolev Tu-95. The Lightning has exceptional rate of climb and speed; this performance and the limited fuel supply made the Lightning a "fuel-critical" aircraft, meaning that its missions are dictated to a high degree by its limited range.
Developments provided greater range and speed along with aerial reconnaissance and ground-attack capability. Following retirement by the RAF in the late 1980s, many of the remaining aircraft became museum exhibits; until 2009, three Lightnings were kept flying at "Thunder City" in South Africa. In September 2008, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers conferred on the Lightning its "Engineering Heritage Award" at a ceremony at BAE Systems' site at Warton Aerodrome; the specification for the aircraft followed the cancellation of the Air Ministry's 1942 E.24/43 supersonic research aircraft specification which had resulted in the Miles M.52 programme. W. E. W. "Teddy" Petter chief designer at Westland Aircraft, was a keen early proponent of Britain's need to develop a supersonic fighter aircraft. In 1947, Petter approached the Ministry of Supply with his proposal, in response Specification ER.103 was issued for a single research aircraft, to be capable of flight at Mach 1.5 and 50,000 feet. Petter initiated a design proposal with F W "Freddie" Page leading the design and Ray Creasey responsible for the aerodynamics.
By July 1948 their proposal incorporated the stacked engine configuration and a high-mounted tailplane but was designed for Mach 1.5. As a consequence it had a conventional 40° swept wing This proposal was submitted in the November and in January 1949 the project was designated P.1 by English Electric. On 29 March 1949 MoS granted approval for English Electric to start the detailed design, develop wind tunnel models and build a full-size mockup; the design that had developed during 1948 evolved further during 1949. To achieve Mach 2 the wing sweep was increased to 60° with the ailerons moved to the wingtips. In late 1949 low-speed wind tunnel tests showed that a vortex was generated by the wing which caused a large downwash on the tailplane. Following the resignation of Petter, Page took over as design team leader for the P.1. In 1949, the Ministry of Supply had issued Specification F23/49, which expanded upon the scope of ER103 to include fighter-level manoeuvring. On 1 April 1950, English Electric received a contract for two flying airframes, as well as one static airframe, designated P.1.
The Royal Aircraft Establishment was sceptical of Petter's swept wing concepts. To test the design of both the wing, the tailplane and to assess handling, Short Brothers were issued a contract to produce the Short SB5 in mid-1950; this was a low-speed research aircraft and was designed so that different wing sweep angles could be assumed by the single aircraft. An assortment of tailplanes and wings were supplied and could be installed in order for their flight performance to be evaluated. However, following the first flight of the SB.5 on 2 December 1952, the trials demonstrated the choice of a tailplane and a 60 degree wingsweep and proved the design principles to be effective. From 1953 onwards, the first three prototype aircraft were hand-built at Samlesbury; these aircraft had been assigned the aircraft serials WG760, WG763, WG765. The prototypes were powered by un-reheated Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire turbojets, as the selected Rolls-Royce Avon engines which would power subsequent production aircraft had fallen behind schedule due to their own development problems.
Due to the limited internal space of the fuselage the fuel capacity was small, giving the prototypes an limited endurance, the narrow tyres housed in the thin wings would wear out. Outwardly, the prototypes looked much like the production series, but they were distinguished by the rounded-triangular intakes, short fins and lack of operational equipment. On 9 June 1952, it had been decided that there would be a second phase of prototypes built to develop the aircraft towards achieving Mach 2.0. P.1B was a significant improvement on P.1A. While it was similar in aerodynamics and control systems, it incorporated extensive alterations to the forward fuselage, reheated Rolls Royce Avon R24R engines, a conical centre body inlet cone, variable nozzle reheat and provision for weapons systems integrated with the ADC and AI.23 radar. Three P1B prototypes were built, assigned serials XA847, XA853 and XA856In May 1954, WG760 and its support equipment were moved to RAF Boscombe Down for pre-flight ground taxi trials.
The Hawker Hunter is a transonic British jet-powered fighter aircraft, developed by Hawker Aircraft for the Royal Air Force during the late 1940s and early 1950s. It was designed to take advantage of the newly developed Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet engine and the swept wing, was the first jet-powered aircraft produced by Hawker to be procured by the RAF. On 7 September 1953, the modified first prototype broke the world air speed record for aircraft, achieving a speed of 727.63 mph. The single-seat Hunter was introduced to service in 1954 as a manoeuvrable day interceptor aircraft succeeding first-generation jet fighters in RAF service such as the Gloster Meteor and the de Havilland Venom; the all-weather/night fighter role was filled by the Gloster Javelin. Successively improved variants of the type were produced, adopting more capable engine models and expanding its fuel capacity amongst other modifications being implemented. Hunters were used by two RAF display teams: the "Black Arrows", who on one occasion looped a record-breaking 22 Hunters in formation, the "Blue Diamonds", who flew 16 aircraft.
The Hunter was widely exported, serving with a total of 21 overseas air forces. During the 1960s, following the introduction of the supersonic English Electric Lightning in the interceptor role, the Hunter transitioned to being operated as a fighter-bomber and for aerial reconnaissance missions, using dedicated variants for these purposes. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary roles with the RAF and the Royal Navy until the early 1990s. Sixty years after its original introduction it was still in active service, being operated by the Lebanese Air Force until 2014; the Hunter saw combat service in a range of conflicts with several operators, including the Suez Crisis, the Aden Emergency, the Sino-Indian War, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the Rhodesian Bush War, the Second Congo War, the Six-Day War, the War of Attrition and the Yom Kippur War. Overall, 1,972 Hunters were manufactured by Hawker Aircraft and its successor, Hawker Siddeley, as well as being produced under licence overseas.
In British service, the Hunter was replaced in its principal roles by the Lightning, the Hawker Siddeley Harrier and the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. During 1945, the Second World War came to a close and a new postwar Labour government, headed by Clement Attlee, came to power in Britain; the incoming Attlee government's initial stance on defence was that no major conflict would occur for at least a decade, thus there would be no need to develop or to procure any new aircraft until 1957. In accordance with this policy, aside from a small number of exceptions such as what would become the Hawker Sea Hawk for the Royal Navy, the majority of Specifications issued by the Air Ministry for fighter-sized aircraft during the late 1940s were restricted to research purposes. Aviation author Derek Wood refers to this policy as being: "a fatal error of judgement, to cost Britain a complete generation of fighters and heavy bomber aircraft"; as the Cold War arose in the late 1940s, the RAF came to recognise that it would urgently require the development and procurement of fighters equipped with features such as swept wings.
By this time, it had become apparent that newly developed jet propulsion would form the future of fighter aircraft development. Many companies were quick to devise their own designs to harness this means of propulsion. Hawker Aviation's chief designer, Sydney Camm, had proposed the Hawker P.1040 for the RAF, but the demonstrator failed to interest them. Further modifications to the basic design resulted in the Hawker Sea Hawk carrier-based fighter. However, the Sea Hawk possessed a straight wing and was powered by the Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine, both features that became obsolete. Seeking better performance and fulfilment of the Air Ministry Specification E.38/46, Sydney Camm designed the Hawker P.1052, a Sea Hawk outfitted with a 35-degree swept wing. Performing its first flight in 1948, the P.1052 demonstrated good performance and conducted several carrier trials, but was determined to not warrant further development into a production aircraft. As a private venture, Hawker proceeded to convert the second P.1052 prototype into the Hawker P.1081 with swept tailplanes, a revised fuselage, a single jet exhaust at the rear.
On 19 June 1950, the P.1081 conducted its maiden flight, was promising enough to draw interest from the Royal Australian Air Force. In 1951, the sole P.1081 prototype was lost in a crash. In 1946, the British Air Ministry issued Specification F.43/46, which sought a daytime jet-powered interceptor aircraft. Camm promptly prepared a new design for a swept-winged fighter that would be powered by the upcoming Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet; the Avon's major advantage over the earlier Nene engine, as used in the earlier Sea Hawk, was adoption of the axial compressor, which allowed for a much smaller engine diameter and provided greater thrust. In March 1948, the Air Ministry issued a revised Specification F.3/48, which demanded a speed of 629 mph at 45,000 ft and a high rate of climb, while carrying an armament of four 20 mm or two 30 mm cannon. Fitted with a single air intake in the nose and a T-tail, the project evolved into the more familiar Hunter shape; the intakes were moved to the wing
Fairey Aviation Company
The Fairey Aviation Company Limited was a British aircraft manufacturer of the first half of the 20th century based in Hayes in Middlesex and Heaton Chapel and RAF Ringway in Lancashire. Notable for the design of a number of important military aircraft, including the Fairey III family, the Swordfish and Gannet, it had a strong presence in the supply of naval aircraft, built bombers for the RAF. After World War II the company diversified into mechanical boat-building; the aircraft manufacturing arm was taken over by Westland Aircraft in 1960. Following a series of mergers and takeovers, the principal successor businesses to the company now trade as FBM Babcock Marine Ltd, Spectris plc, WFEL, the latter manufacturing portable bridges. Founded in 1915 by Charles Richard Fairey and Belgian engineer Ernest Oscar Tips on their departure from Short Brothers, the company first built under licence or as subcontractor aircraft designed by other manufacturers; the first aircraft designed and built by the Fairey Aviation for use on an aircraft carrier was the Fairey Campania a patrol seaplane that first flew in February 1917.
In the third report of the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors, reported in Flight magazine of 15 January 1925, aviation figures prominently. C. R. Fairey and the Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd, was awarded £4,000 for work on the Hamble Baby seaplane. Fairey subsequently designed many aircraft types and, missiles; the Propeller Division was located at the Hayes factory, used designs based on the patents of Sylvanus Albert Reed. C. R. Fairey first encountered Reed’s products in the mid-1920s when investigating the possibilities of the Curtiss D-12 engine; the Curtiss company manufactured propellers designed by Reed. Another example of utilising the talents of independent designers was the use of flaps, designed by Robert Talbot Youngman which gave many of the Fairey aircraft and those of other manufacturers improved manoeuvrability. Aircraft production was at the factory in North Hyde Road, with flight testing carried out at Northolt Aerodrome, Great West Aerodrome, Heston Airport, at White Waltham.
Losing the Great West Aerodrome in 1944 by requisition by the Air Ministry to build London Heathrow Airport, with no compensation until 1964, caused a severe financial shock which may have hastened the company's end. One notable Hayes-built aircraft type during the late 1930s and World War II was the Swordfish. In 1957, the prototype Fairey Rotodyne vertical takeoff airliner was built at Hayes. After the merger with Westland Helicopters, helicopters such as the Westland Wasp and Westland Scout were built at Hayes in the 1960s. Receipt of large UK military contracts in the mid-1930s necessitated acquisition of a large factory in Heaton Chapel Stockport in 1935, used as the National Aircraft Factory No. 2 during World War I. Flight test facilities were built at Manchester's Ringway Airport, the first phase opening in June 1937. A few Hendon monoplane bombers built at Stockport were flown from Manchester's Barton Aerodrome in 1936. Quantity production of Battle light bombers at Stockport/Ringway commenced in mid 1937.
Large numbers of Fulmar fighters and Barracuda dive-bombers followed during World War II. Fairey's built 498 Bristol Beaufighter aircraft and over 660 Handley Page Halifax bombers in their northern facilities. Postwar and Gannet naval aircraft were supplemented by sub-contracts from de Havilland for Vampire and Venom jet fighters. Aircraft production and modification at Stockport and Ringway ceased in 1960. On 13 March 1959 Flight reported that Fairey Aviation Ltd was to be reorganised following a proposal to concentrate aircraft and allied manufacturing activities in the United Kingdom into a new wholly owned subsidiary called the Fairey Aviation Co. Ltd; the Board felt that the change, taking effect on 1 April 1959, would enable the Rotodyne and other aircraft work to be handled by a concern concentrating on aviation. It is proposed to change the company's name to the Fairey Co. Ltd, to concentrate general engineering activities in the Stockport Aviation Co. Ltd, whose name would become Fairey Engineering Ltd.
Under these changes, the Fairey Co. would become a holding company, with control of policy and finance throughout the group. The government in the late 1950s was determined to rationalise the UK's aero industry; the Ministry of Defence saw the future of helicopters as being best met by a single manufacturer. The merger of Fairey's aviation interests with Westland Aircraft took place in early 1960 shortly after Westland had acquired the Saunders-Roe group and the helicopter division of the Bristol Aeroplane Company. Westland Aircraft and the Fairey Company announced that they had reached agreement for the sale by Fairey to Westland of the issued share capital of Fairey Aviation, which operated all Fairey's UK aviation interests. Westland acquired all Fairey’s aircraft manufacturing business and Fairey's 10% investment in the Aircraft Manufacturing Company Fairey's workforce employed on manufacture of the outer wings of the Airco D. H.121. was transferred to Westland. Fairey received 2,000,000 Westland shares of 5 shillings each and a cash payment of £1.4m.
The sale did not include Fairey Air Surveys or the works at Heston, home to the weapon division, which had a contract for research into advanced anti-tank missile systems. Fairey's remaining net worth was £9.5m. In 1977 the Fairey Group went into receivership and was nationalised by th
A monoplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with a single main wing plane, in contrast to a biplane or other multiplane, each of which has multiple planes. A monoplane has inherently the highest efficiency and lowest drag of any wing configuration and is the simplest to build. However, during the early years of flight, these advantages were offset by its greater weight and lower manoeuvrability, making it rare until the 1930s. Since the monoplane has been the most common form for a fixed-wing aircraft; the inherent efficiency of the monoplane can best be realized in the unbraced cantilever wing, which carries all structural forces internally. By contrast, a braced wing has additional drag from the exposed bracing struts or wires, lowering aerodynamic efficiency. On the other hand, the braced wing can be made much lighter; this in turn means that for a wing of a given size, bracing allows it to fly slower with a lower-powered engine, while a heavy cantilever wing needs a more powerful engine and can fly faster.
Besides the general variations in wing configuration such as tail position and use of bracing, the main distinction between types of monoplane is how high up the wings are mounted in relation to the fuselage. A low wing is one, located on or near the base of the fuselage. Placing the wing low down allows good visibility upwards and frees up the central fuselage from the wing spar carry-through. By reducing pendulum stability, it makes the aircraft more manoeuvrable, as on the Spitfire. A feature of the low wing position is its significant ground effect, giving the plane a tendency to float further before landing. Conversely, this ground effect permits shorter takeoffs. A mid wing is mounted midway up the fuselage; the carry-through spar structure can reduce the useful fuselage volume near its centre of gravity, where space is in most demand. A shoulder wing is a configuration whereby the wing is mounted near the top of the fuselage but not on the top, it is so called because it sits on the "shoulder" of the fuselage, rather than on the pilot's shoulder.
Shoulder-wings and high-wings share some characteristics, namely: they support a pendulous fuselage which requires no wing dihedral for stability. Compared to a low-wing, shoulder-wing and high-wing configurations give increased propeller clearance on multi-engined aircraft. On a large aircraft, there is little practical difference between a high wing. On a light aircraft, the shoulder-wing may need to be swept forward to maintain correct center of gravity. Examples of light aircraft with shoulder wings include the ARV Super2, the Bölkow Junior, Saab Safari and the Barber Snark. A high wing has its upper surface above the top of the fuselage, it shares many advantages and disadvantages with the shoulder wing, but on a light aircraft, the high wing has poorer upwards visibility. On light aircraft such as the Cessna 152, the wing is located on top of the pilot's cabin, so that the centre of lift broadly coincides with the centre of gravity. A parasol wing aircraft is a biplane without the lower pair of wings.
The parasol wing is not directly attached to the fuselage, but is held above it, supported either by cabane struts or by a single pylon. Additional bracing may be provided by struts extending from the fuselage sides; some early gliders had a parasol wing mounted on a pylon. The parasol wing was popular only during the interwar transition years between biplanes and monoplanes. Compared to a biplane, a parasol wing has lower drag. Although the first successful aircraft were biplanes, the first attempts at heavier-than-air flying machines were monoplanes, many pioneers continued to develop monoplane designs. For example, the first aeroplane to be put into production was the 1907 Santos-Dumont Demoiselle, while the Blériot XI flew across the English Channel in 1909. Throughout 1909–1910, Hubert Latham set multiple altitude records in his Antoinette IV monoplane reaching 1,384 m; the equivalent German language term is Eindecker, as in the mid-wing Fokker Eindecker fighter of 1915 which for a time dominated the skies in what became known as the "Fokker scourge".
The German military Idflieg aircraft designation system prior to 1918 prefixed monoplane type designations with an E, until the approval of the Fokker D. VIII fighter from its former "E. V" designation. However, the success of the Fokker was short-lived, World War I was dominated by biplanes. Towards the end of the war, the parasol monoplane became popular and successful designs were produced into the 1920s. Nonetheless few monoplane types were built between 1914 and the late 1920s, compared with the number of biplanes; the reasons for this were practical. With the low engine powers and airspeeds available, the wings of a monoplane needed to be large in order to create enough lift while a biplane could have two smaller wings and so be made smaller and lighter. Towards the end of the First World War, the inherent high drag of the biplane was beginning to restrict performance. Engines were not yet powerful enough to make the heavy cantilever-wing monoplane viable, the braced parasol wing became popular on fighter aircraft, alth