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Introduction

In 1955, the F.155T requirement was issued for a new interceptor for the RAF.  This machine was to be capable of all-weather interception of targets flying at 60,000 feet and Mach 1.3 using guided weapons.  From start up the fighter was to reach 60,000 feet at a range of 70 nautical miles from base in 6 minutes at a speed of at least Mach 2.  Several companies submitted designs to meet the requirement; Armstrong Whitworth, De Havilland, English Electric, Fairey, Hawker, Saunders-Roe and Vickers.  Almost all the designs used rockets for boost at high altitudes and carried 2 or 4 missiles.

For further information on these and other post-war British fighter designs, please consult the excelent "British Secret Projects: Jet Fighters Since 1950", by Tony Buttler.  A detailed history of the development of British Guided Weapons can be found in "British Secret Projects: Hypersonics, Ramjets and Missiles", by Chris Gibson and Tony Buttler.






The Vickers Armstrong (Supermarine) Type 559, featuring a canard layout with endplate tailfins, two stacked turbojets with rocket boosters in the wing trailing edge and carrying two Red Hebe radar guided AAMs on the top of the fuselage.  The aircraft is shown in 25 Squadron colours.  In service, the winning F155T design would have been used by Javelin squadrons.






The Saunders Roe P.187, developed from the SR.53 and SR.177, featuring a conventional clipped delta wing and T-tail.  Two turbojets were placed side-by-side in the rear fuselage, with four rocket boosters above them.  Two Red Hebe radar guided AAMs and two Red Top IR guided weapons could be carried.  The nose forward of the cockpit slid down to improve visibility on landing.  The aircraft is shown in 41 Squadron colours.






The Armstrong-Whitworth AW.169, the largest of the submitted designs.  Four turbojets were to be fitted in two underwing pods, each pair fed by a single intake.  The rocket booster was fitted in the lower fuselage.  Two Red Hebe radar guided AAMs were carried on the wingtips, and the WSO was seated in a partially submerged cockpit alongside the pilots' more conventional accommodations.  The aircraft is shown in 46 Squadron colours.






The initial proposal from Fairey was based on their Delta II research machine, and was only capable of using the smaller Red Top IR guided weapon.  A rocket booster was fitted on either side of the fuselage aft and the entire cockpit and nose drooped for landing.






The Fairey Delta III, the joint winning design, (along with the AW.169).  A much enlarged development of the Delta II research aircraft.  Two rocket boosters were fitted between the turbojets in the aft fuselage.  The normal weapons load was two Red Dean AAMs under the wings, but four Red Top weapons could be carried as an alternative.  The pilot and WSO were seated side-by side and the forward fuselage, including the cockpit, could be "drooped" to improve visibility on landing. 
Additional profiles of the Fairey Delta III in service can be seen here.






The de Havilland DH.117.  A relatively small design, powered by two turbojets under the fuselage and a rocket booster in the extreme tail.  The armament of two Red Top AAMs was carried under the trapezoidal wings and the pilot and WSO were seated in tandem.  This design came a "bad fourth" in the competition.






The English Electic P.8.  A development of the P.1B (Lightning),  this design featured a new wing (with the familiar arrow-head planform) and an area ruled fuselage.  There were no booster rockets, and the armament of two Red Top missiles was carried on the wingtips. 






The handsome Hawker P.1103 was a single engined machine, with the booster rockets in removable pods on the wings.  The weapons - Red Hebe is shown here - were carried on the wing tips.  This design was to lead to the P.1116 and P.1121 strike fighters.






Very much an addendum to F155T, is the Avro 729.  Based on the small mixed power Avro 720 (the prototype of which was partially constructed), the 729 featured an enlarged cockpit, but little else is known as the design was never officially tendered.






The Avro Canada Arrow was also considered for RAF service, allthough not strictly for the F155T requirement.  Instead the CF-105 would have been ordered instead of the Thin-Wing Javelin, to requirement F153.  However, had this occurred then the F155T requirement might not have been raised, so it is a worthwhile inclusion here.

© Richard Pawling, 2007
Correspondence to richard@rp-one.net

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