Cold War Interceptor...

...The RAF's F.155T/O.R.329 Fighter Projects, from Tempest Books

Title: Cold War Interceptor

Author: Dan Sharp

Publisher: Tempest Books

ISBN: 978-1-911658-03-0

First published back in 2017 this new hardback edition of the book from Dan Sharp takes on the topic of post-war fighter designs proposed for the RAF. They were intended to counter the potential threat of Soviet bombers possibly carrying their then new nuclear weapons.
The Introduction does a good job of setting the scene and background that leads into the detailed parts of the book which follow. There were a number of challenges faced by the British Government and the RAF. It was a time of ever faster technological development, of wishing to save money after the cost of WW2, trying to maintain the various aircraft manufacturers in the UK and to predict just what threat the new Cold War would present to the UK in the years to come. With the costs and the time it took to undertake a modern aircraft development programme, there remained the danger that they would be out of date even as they were due to come into service. The new threat of nuclear bombing led to an injection for military spending, and RAE (Royal Aircraft Establishment) came up with some ideas of what fighters might be used to combat enemy bombers. Chapter 3 examines the Threat that the programme was trying to meet before moving on to the various designs. These are the English Electric P.8; Hawker Hunter to P.1103: Hawker P.1103 Two-Seater: Fairy ER.103: Fairey Large: de Havilland DH.117: Armstrong Whitworth AW.169: Saunders-Roe P.187: Vickers Type 559 and Avro CF-105. There is a great deal of variation between the competing designs, some with swept wings, others with straight, some with two engines and others with four. Well illustrated with some excellent artwork which brings the various designs to life, along with many original design drawings.
In the end, the advent of the new ballistic missiles would render the use of a fighter, however good, being obsolete, and new politicians reviewed the whole project. So the final decision meant these designs never came into service. Well almost, as the English Electric P.8 clearly shows what would later become the Lightning and the Hunter went ahead. Some very interesting designs, a shame they didn't materialize but fascinating reading for the aviation enthusiast, and some many will have not seen before. The final chapter also tells us how each manufacturers offering was assessed and systematically eliminated. I enjoyed this one.

 

Thanks to Mortons Books for this review copy.

Robin