ABOVE: BAC TSR-2 XR219 at Boscombe Down, 1964

The Heritage Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) has announced details of an upcoming conference to be held at Cosford Air Museum on 13 May. Aiming to “review and assess the TSR-2 in depth”, the day-long seminar will bring together a number of speakers to “present the requirement and the resulting programme in the context of the geo-political, military, political and industrial circumstances”.

The BAC TSR-2 (Tactical Strike and Reconnaissance, Mach 2-capable) aircraft was the last major military aircraft programme undertaken by the British aircraft industry alone. Developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s for the RAF in response to a specification for an airborne nuclear-capable strike platform, the project – in the words of BAE Systems – “had a formative influence on the shape of the British aircraft industry”. Featuring shoulder-mounted delta wings and all-moving horizontal tail surfaces, the prototype first flew in September 1964. However, a crushing blow came a matter of months later when, in the Budget Speech of April 1965, the controversial cancellation of the project was announced.

The upcoming conference will “examine in depth and detail all aspects of the aircraft and the programme” including the political requirement for a tactical nuclear strike, the specification design drivers, the political and industrial aspects of the programme, and the circumstances and implications of its cancellation. The conference will also “offer lessons for major military procurement programmes of the present day and future”, including Tempest.

The event will be held at RAF Cosford from 10:00 – 18:00, including a catered lunch and refreshments. RAeS and RAFM members can benefit from discounted tickets, and all can be purchased here.