I'd suggest that the golden age of aircraft development was in the 1950's and 1960's.
So I thought I'd share two aircraft which made it from the design stage to flight ... and then got cancelled. Please feel free to add your own
favourites too !
British Aircraft Corporation - TSR2
The TSR2 was designed to an RAF specification for a new aircraft designed to penetrate enemy airspace at low level, high speed and to be able to
deliver both conventional and nuclear weapons with a high degree of accuracy. First flight took place in 1964, the aircraft was cancelled shortly
afterwards on the grounds of cost, despite the TSR2 being widely recognised as being the most advanced, most potent aircraft under development in the
The British then took options for the undoubtedly inferior American F111, then they cancelled that order too, leaving the RAF with a hotch potch of
aircraft which served into the 1970's.
The TSR2 is the greatest "what if" of British military aviation.
The Bristol Brabazon
Perhaps the most expensive white elephant British civil aviation has ever produced, but perhaps one of the most beautiful & graceful too, the Bristol
Brabazon was a proposed post WW2 transatlantic airliner, the prototype first flew in 1949. Prop driven, with enormous cabin space (probably as
capacious as a modern day 767 or A320) it was designed to carry as many as 50 (!) passengers in first class luxury from London to the US East
Overtaken by the jet age, Britain's own Comet jet airliner & Boeing's 707, the Brabazon was just the wrong aircraft in the wrong era. It was
cancelled almost immediately.
But what a graceful giant she was !
Hey, what's your favourite cancelled aircraft projects ?
I know an old chap who worked on the TSR2, (he's now unfortunately having cancer treatment,so don't want to push him too much).He reckoned it was a
fantastic aircraft,he also saw politicians watching the jigs for it being smashed up,no doubt in his mind that they were doing as their masters in the
Kremlin told them to do !.Me?,it would'nt suprise me one bit.
I posted something fairly recently which gave the reasons for these being canceled - there was no need for them as all intelligence indicated that the
Soviets had shelved all their Mach 3 capable bombers, and their other aircraft were not as capable as previously thought. Put simply, the technology
gap did not exist as accepted, and infact the US was far ahead of the USSR without having to operate hugely expensive Mach 3 fighters and bombers.
Why order and operate them if cheaper alternatives exist? Hence the cancellations - and while I would have liked to have seen more A-12 based
aircraft in the air, I don't exactly hold a grudge for any of hte above projects.
Out performed by the YF-22 in quite a few tests and Northrop had dropped the ball on the B-2 program, with the result that no one had the confidence
in them to deliver the product in both a timely and a fiduciary manner. The fact that Lockheed can be said to have dropped the ball on the F-22 is
another matter altogether.
A-12 Avenger II
Drastically overweight, over budget and underperforming before it even flew. No real loss.
After they harnessed the horse to the satellite programs in the 60's the budget priority for the fast manned planes was ridden into the flames. Look
at the progress aviation made from 1940 to 1960, then compare that to the next 50 years. Imagine what they would be flying out in Groom if the
appropriations for development had continued.
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