login   |    register
Osprey Publishing [ MORE REVIEWS ] [ WEBSITE ] [ NEW STORIES ]

Book Review
TSR2 Britain's lost Cold War strike jet, X-Planes 5
  • move

by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

TSR2 Britain's Lost Cold War Strike Jet from Osprey Publishing LTD is the fifth title in Osprey's series X-Planes. When Airfix announced the release of a new 1/48 kit of the TSR2 almost a decade ago, fans of Cold War RAF projects and X-planes were ecstatic; this book should fulfill their curiosity of the aircraft, its history, and its potential. With detailed photographs of TSR2 internal structure and components, modelers who may want to detail their model TSR2 (an those interested in what late-1950s avionics looked like) should find this book to be a must-have.

This book is 80 pages of content and photographs, and available in softcover (ISBN 9781472822482), ePUB and PDF. It is authored by Andrew Brookes and illustrated by Adam Tooby.
    The TSR2 is one of the greatest 'what-if' aircraft of the Cold War, whose cancellation still generates anger and controversy among aviation fans. It was a magnificent, cutting-edge aircraft, one of the most striking of the Cold War, but fell victim to cost overruns, overambitious requirements, and politics. Its scrapping marked the point when Britain's aerospace industry could no longer build world-class aircraft independently. After the demise of TSR2 the RAF's future jets would be modified US aircraft like the Phantom and pan-European collaborations like Tornado and Typhoon.

    In this book the eminent air power analyst and ex-Vulcan bomber pilot Andrew Brookes takes a fresh, hard-headed look at the TSR2 project, telling the story of its development, short career and cancellation, and evaluating how it would have performed in Cold War strike roles as well as in the recent wars in the Middle East.
    - Osprey

Author Andrew Brookes has special insight in the TSR2. His Osprey biography introduces him, in part, as having completed RAF pilot training after graduating from Leeds University. Following reconnaissance and strike tours on Victors, Canberras and Vulcans he joined the tri-service policy and plans staff of Commander British Forces, Hong Kong.

TSR2 Britain's Lost Cold War Strike Jet is presented through 80 pages with 11 chapters and sections:
    Political Backdrop
    Project Overview
    Flight Test
    What if TSR2 Survived?
    Comparisons with F-111 and Tornado
    Further Reading

Those chapter titles are not the same ones in my copy, but they do convey the content.

The text is very interesting for those of us who are interested in the development of aircraft and the state of the art of the era. It is full of first-hand accounts of aircrewmen - those who flew the TSR2 and those slotted to - and designers of the jet.

The TSR2 was long on development and short on flying so if you want "yank-and-bank" stories, this book will be a short read. What flight recounts there are relate an all to familiar story of an amazing cutting-edge aircraft that was just too incredible to be made to work within the constraints of technology and budget. Contrary to my preconceptions of the British aerospace and technology heritage that brought forth the Spitfire, Mosquito, and "The Wizard war," I was surprised that the TSR2 program was so badly mismanaged. This book explores the OR (Operational Requirement) that specified the demands for the aircraft, yet fell into a nebulous morass of bloated committees and feckless leadership. Under that sad situation the TSR2 was almost immediately under the microscope of scheming politicians - and no doubt conscientious ones - as well as evolving technologies of Cold War hardware. There is one account of 'an unnamed bureaucrat' who killed the idea of replacing TSR2 with a supersonic development of the Blackburn Buccaneer by stating the Buccaneer could not go supersonic 'with two Atlas rockets strapped to it' and yet after the TSR2 was cancelled, proposed the supersonic Buccaneer himself. That was the environment the TSR2 was being development under.

TRS2 did not die in vain as many of the components developed for it eventually matured into systems for other famous British civil and military aircraft. Not only that but TSR2's TFR (Terrain Following Radar) is recounted to have been declared superior to the TFR used in the F-111. Some Tornado crews familiar with TSR2 believe that TSR2 could have matured into a faster Tornado with longer range.

Interestingly, the TSR2 legend is more than once compared with the F-35 saga of today.

Photographs, Art, and Graphics
The book is populated with an excellent gallery of photographs of the TSR2 and specific components. I'd say about half are color and half are black-and-white. The images span the TSR2 from parts on test beds and along production lines, to taxiing and flight test scenes. All photographs are high quality. Original factory and MoD artwork and even advertisements of the aircraft are reproduced, too. A few of the more interesting ones are the Typical Armament Loads schematic, world-wide Strategic Deployment routes, and mission radii for supersonic, sub-sonic, and 1,000 NM design Sortie.

Original artwork by Adam Tooby presents "what-if" TSR2s:

    1. R is for Reconnaissance, a No. 13 Sqn TSR2 low and fast with a reconnaissance pack.

    2. 1970s TSR2: 3-view of Strike Command No. 40 Sqn. TSR2.

    3. 1980s TSR2: 3-view of No. 16 Sqn TSR2.

    4. TSR2 in Operation Granby: 'desert pink' No. 618 Sqn jet sowing JP233 anti-runway munitions during the Gulf War.

    5. Operation Allied Force: No. 31 Sqn over the Balkans in 1999 with 2,000lb Paveways and laser designator pods.

Three informational tables are provided:

    a. Performance Comparisons of the TSR2, Canberra B(I)8, and Tornado GR1 of thrust, weights, speeds, climb rate, radius of action, and ferry range.

    b. Principle equipment and suppliers: 14 components.

    c. Planned TSR2 Flight Profiles: fuel load; altitude; speed; distance; still air time; remarks, for six profiles: Economic cruise (with and without drop tanks); low-level cruise (with and without drop tanks); supersonic cruise.

Those graphic presentations stir the imagination, inspire modelers, and present the true information as envisioned at the time of TSR2 development.

TSR2 Britain's Lost Cold War Strike Jet is a fascinating presentation of one of the legends of Cold War British aviation engineering. The author's special insight of the TSR2 brings a unique authority to his text. That tect is supported with an excellent gallery of photographs of the TSR2 and specific components.

I have nothing to complain about this book. I think it is a fascinating presentation of one of the legends of Cold War British aviation engineering. Modelers and historians of the TSR2 should find the book a must-have for their library. Recommended.

Please remember to mention to Osprey and retailers that you saw this product here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: First-hand accounts of aircrewmen and designers is a detailed text. An excellent gallery of photographs of the TSR2 and specific components.
Lows: I have nothing to complain about.
Verdict: I think it is a fascinating presentation of one of the legends of Cold War British aviation engineering. Modelers and historians of the TSR2 should find the book a must-have for their library.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: XPL 5, 9781472822482
  Suggested Retail: $20,
  PUBLISHED: Jan 13, 2018
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View This Item  |  View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2020 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move