Major Frank Halford died 22nd April 1955 and right up until then he had been working on supersonic flight and rocket engines. His engines continued to be used in many aircraft and pioneer aviation development.
Photo courtesy of Jerry Hughes ©
Gloster Javelin F(AW) 1 Gyron Junior test bed XA552 taken at Farnborough 10-9-61 'displaying a very low flypast over the runway which under current rules would no doubt be prohibited!' Thank you Jerry!
Short Sperrin with Gyron engine in lower port nacelle at Farnborough SBAC Show
Two Sperrins were used in a variety of research trials through the 1950s, including engine tests using VX158 as a testbed for the Gyron turbojet - delivering 15,000 lbf (66.7 kN) thrust. The Gyron Gy1 replaced the lower Avon in the port nacelle . For the first flight with this engine configuration on 7 July 1955. VX158 was piloted by Jock Eassie and Chris Beaumont. Testing with this asymmetric engine configuration continued until March 1956, when the single Gyron Gy1 was removed and two Gyron Gy2 engines, each providing 20,000 lbf (89 kN) thrust, were fitted, one in each engine nacelle below the original Avon RA.2s.
The Short SA.4 Sperrin (named after the Sperrin Mountains, a range of hills in Northern Ireland) was a British jet bomber design of the early 1950s built by Short Brothers and Harland of Belfast, popularly abbreviated "Shorts". It first flew in 1951. The design had always been a fall-back option in case the more advanced jet designs of the V bombers were delayed, and it was not put into production because these swept-wing designs (such as the Vickers Valiant) were by then available. The Sperrin prototypes were however valuable for research data on large jet aircraft.
F115T was formed from discussions had by authorities during the mid-1950s and was formally drawn up on January 15th, 1955 - the goal to counter the threat being posed by Soviet supersonic high-altitude, nuclear-capable bombers with a design replacing the in-service Gloster Meteor and Javelin jet fighters.
Power stemmed from a single de Havilland "Gyron" afterburning turbojet engine of unknown thrust output and this would be paired with 2 x de Havilland "Spectre" rocket boosters for short bursts of performance power. Engineers estimated a maximum speed around Mach 2.5 at operational altitudes reaching between 60,000 and 90,000 feet with all systems engaged. As such, cockpit pressurisation and an ejection seat was a must as well as titanium construction for the temperatures produced at such high-speeds/high-altitudes.
F.155T offering was also rejected by authorities before the end and all work on manned fighters was halted after the 1957 defence review (the "Defence White Paper" of April 1957) due to the perceived onset of the "Missile Age".
Gloster Javelin FAW1 XA552
In 1962 Javelin XA552 was converted as a test-bed for the Gyron Junior engine that would power the first Blackburn Buccaneers
During its testbed career XA552 spent a lot of time on the ground.
Another flight-tested the afterburning Rolls-Royce Avon RA.24R turbojet.
Production was shifted to Bristol Siddeley at FILTON, and powered the Blackburn Buccaneer S.1.
The Gloster "Javelin" was the first British night / all-weather fighter designed specifically for the purpose. Although the development of the aircraft proved convoluted and it was not built in large numbers, it provided useful service for the British Royal Air Force (RAF) for over a decade.
"Javelin Fighter All Weather Mark 1 (FAW.1)". Initial flight of the Javelin FAW.1 was on 22 July 1954, with test pilot "Dicky" Martin at the controls. While many of the FAW.1s were used for test and trials, they were delivered in enough numbers to build up two RAF squadrons in West Germany in early 1956. There were still enough difficulties with the type to force the RAF to specify an unusual level of limits on the manoeuvres that could be performed with it. 40 FAW.1s were built in all.
The Saunders-Roe SR.53 was a British prototype interceptor aircraft of mixed jet and rocket propulsion developed for the Royal Air Force (RAF) by Saunders-Roe in the early 1950s. As envisaged, the SR.53 would have been used as an interceptor aircraft , using its rocket propulsion to rapidly climb and approach incoming hostile bombers at high speeds; following its attack run, the aircraft would be able to return to its base by making use of the secondary jet propulsion instead.
Th e NA.39 prototype was built under great secrecy.
Pre-production build of 9 prototype NA.39 aircraft and a development batch of 14 S.1s ordered 2 June 1955.
The Blackburn NA.39 was a rugged carrier-borne, high-speed low-level strike aircraft and in its production form, it became famous as the 'Buccaneer'.
The Blackburn Buccaneer was the first jet aircraft specially designed for flying very low under the radar at high subsonic speeds. It was developed in the fifties and entered service at the Royal Navy in 1962.
The Blackburn NA.39 prototype (XK486) was first flown at RAE Bedford on 30th April 1958, piloted by Derek Whitehead.
NA.39 prototype XK486 made in September of that year its first official public appearance at the SBAC airshow at Farnborough. By that time it was officially named ‘Buccaneer’ with S.1 as type designation.
XK486-was lost on 5 October 1960 when it crashed due to an engine failure. The crew ejected safely.
XK487- was later used by Ferranti for radar experiments associated with the B.A.C. TSR.2. It was withdrawn in 1967 and burned a year later. XK488, - is now on display in the Fleet Air Air Museum at Yeovilton.
XK 489- was withdrawn and scrapped in 1964. XK 490- Crashed in October 1959 when flown by a U.S. NASA crew. Pilot W.H. Alford stalled it when he set the thrust lever at zero during landing approach forgetting the blown flaps needed compressed air from the jet engines. The plane was too low for a safe ejection and both Alford and his flight observer J.G. Joyce were killed.
XK 491- was withdrawn and scrapped in 1966 after being used for spinning and ejection seat tests.
Great PDF available -
Buccaneer S1 First production model, powered by the Gyron Junior 101 turbojet engines. Forty built, ordered on 25 September 1959, built at Brough and towed to Holme-on-Spalding Moor for first flight and testing. On 26th January, the first production HS Buccaneer S Mk1 (XN922) took off on 23rd January 1962. Sadly, this aircraft was later involved in a fatal crash on take-off at Boscombe Down, on 5th July that same year. This was due to the boundary layer control blow not being available due to a failure in the system. Attempted to take-off with an asymmetric external payload of 1 x 1000-lb bomb without 'Boundary Layer' blowing but in 'Blown' configuration. Swung off the runway at Boscombe Down, and wing sheared off
The aircraft struck the hangar offices of ‘D’ Squadron killing the observer (Lt. Gwyn Jones) and seriously injuring the pilot. A Mr P Wright, engineering officer in the offices at the time was also killed. A further ten S.1 aircraft ordered in September 1959 were completed as S.2s with Rolls Royce Spey engines.
S.1 had as most important shortcoming that its two Gyron Junior engines of 3221 kg thrust each provided not enough power for take off at maximum fuel load from an aircraft carrier. To solve this problem temporary a number of S.1’s was used as a tanker to fuel-up the other Buccaneers in flight shortly after take off . Final solution was a version with more powerful engines; the Buccaneer S.2. The Buccaneer S.1 never fully met its expectations and it had a relatively short operational career at the Royal Navy when all machines were permanently grounded after two crashes in December 1970.
Great resource link - https://www.thunder-and-lightnings.co.uk/buccaneer/history.php
List of surviving Buccaneers
More great Links
NA.39 prototype XK490 with the Gyron Junior jet engine.
Blackburn Buccaneer S.1. both Gyron Junior engines running at Gatwick Aviation Museum March 9th 2012
Photo: Sea Vixen FAW.2 XJ565, de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre, Hertfordshire.
The DH airframe 6477 started life as the very last Comet 4C and was subsequently converted to become the first prototype Nimrod.
The Hawker Siddeley Nimrod was a maritime patrol aircraft developed and operated by the United Kingdom. It was originally designed by de Havilland’s successor firm, Hawker Siddeley; further development and maintenance work was undertaken by Hawker Siddeley’s own successor companies, British Aerospace and BAE Systems.
Hawker Siddeley Nimrod 2000
RAF Nimrod: A Mighty Hunter
The Tragic Story Of Nimrod XV230