Newsletter 21
Summer 2008
Updated on 29Aug2008
Published by the Hawker Association
for the Members.
Contents Hawker Association

American Awards
Doctor Michael Pryce
Farnborough Airport
Hawker Thoroughbreds
Hawker's TSR.2 - P.1129
Joseph White
My Life with Hawkers
News of Future RN Carrier
News of Harrier
News of Hawk
News of JSF
RAF Club Camm Memorial
Summer Barbecue
Two Good Years at Kingston
    Ron Williams tells of his work on this little-known Kingston project...
    The mention in the Newsletter of the recent discovery of a P.1129 brochure at the RAF Museum, Hendon, warrants noting a little of the background to events in 1957.
    Hawker's private venture, the P.1121 supersonic fighter prototype with a deHavilland Gyron engine, was half built but had aroused no interest and was halted. This Gyron engine was left over from the cancelled Avro large supersonic bomber programme (it used four), which is probably one of the reasons it was offered to us.
    As usual the Project Office looked for alternatives. Ralph Hooper came up with the P.1127 based on a Bristol Engines vectored thrust proposal. John Fozard drew up the P.1128, a six seat twin Bristol Orpheus engined executive transport based on the wing and tail unit of the Hunter. I took on the P.1129 to meet the OR 339 specification (TSR.2 - Tactical Strike and Reconnaissance). This required a long range, high speed, low level bomber carrying a tactical nuclear weapon, a mission more suited to Tomahawk cruise missiles now.
Hawker's 'TSR.2' - The P.1129

toptop top
   The P.1129 was an extended wing version of my twin engined P.1125 which used the P.1121's wing and tail unit. Jack Simmonds in the Design Office did the detailed drawings for a submission. The aircraft did not meet all the requirements but was deemed to offer better all-round capability should scenarios change, as it did for the Hunter which was designed to an interceptor specification but was used for ground attack.
    Meanwhile Avro at Manchester, another Hawker Siddeley (HS) company, had their own design looking very much like how the TSR.2 finished up. It was decreed by senior management that two HS companies should not be seen to be competing against eachother so a meeting was set up at Manchester to sort it out. Kingston sent its top team; Sir Sydney Camm and Ron Williams.
    We went by train to Wilmslow arriving in the late evening where we were to be met by a car from Avro to take us to a hotel (pub) in Macclesfield. However, we arrived in Wilmslow in thick fog with about five yards visibility, and there was no car. The only taxi had already gone. We waited some time; Sir Sydney was not happy. Eventually the taxi, looking like a pre-war London cab, returned and after quite a ride we made it to the hotel.
    Next day was clear and a car took us to the Avro design offices at Chadderton. Coming from the leafy South I was shocked to see fields of smoking factory chimneys on the way, which obviously caused the fog. The meeting was with the Avro big-wigs. I do not remember their names but Roy Dobson or Roy Chadwick might well have been there. It was agreed to submit only the P.1129. Maybe this was to please Sir Sydney after the car fiasco and not because of the eloquence of my argument. On the way to lunch I overheard the Avro people congratulating Sir Sydney on having such a young, talented team around him (big head!) I probably looked about twenty-five then.
    So Kingston submitted but lost to Warton. The P.1127 went ahead ,and as Ralph Hooper is quoted in Roy Braybrook's excellent book 'Harrier and Sea Harrier' (Osprey, 1984), had we won the OR.339 contract the P.1127/Harrier series would not have happened. We would have been left with a void, as was Warton when, as TSR.2, the project was cancelled and the RAF adopted the Navy's HS Buccaneer as an interim solution. However, Warton did go on to make the operationally more flexible Tornado for a similar purpose.
    An example of how changing objectives affect the design is when my proposal for a Jet Provost basic trainer replacement (met later by the turboprop Tucano) was turned by Ralph Hooper into a Gnat replacement advanced trainer, the P.1182/Hawk. Thankfully!