What if

Hot Research Topics => Aircraft, Armor, Weapons and Ships by Topic => Topic started by: StephenMiller on November 07, 2006, 02:49:22 pm

Title: Miles M.52
Post by: StephenMiller on November 07, 2006, 02:49:22 pm
Ever heard of the British Miles M.52?  Had it been authorised, Britain would have been the first to break the sound barrier in 1945 or 46.  
I wonder how any versions would have looked in the RAF, Fleet Air Arm, or other Commonwealth air forces in the late Forties-early Fifties?  Any ideas or variants to show?
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: StephenMiller on November 07, 2006, 02:55:54 pm
What would Britain have used had they been the first to break the sound barrier?  I know they had the Gloster Meteor and the de Havilland Vampire, which was sold to Canada, India, Burma, Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia, and South Africa.
Were there other proposed jet designs from that era?
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: PolluxDeltaSeven on November 07, 2006, 03:14:57 pm
If they succeeded in breaking the sound barrier in 1945 or 46, we could easily imagine a large serie of experimental aircrafts based on the M.52 and maybe the apparition of supersonic fighters years before what happened in real life...
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: Zen on November 07, 2006, 03:50:09 pm
Had it flown, it would have opened up acquistion of knowledge on the use of jet powered supersonic aircraft, using reheat. Of far more useful value than a mere rocket driven machine.

Supersonic flight, the engine (which would progressively be improved into a early turbofan), and the reheat would all have been of great benefit in the development of these things.

The UK would have lead in these areas instead of lagging behind others for a decade or so.

Imagine.....Attackers with reheat for example, as would the later Hunter or Sea Hawk drivative. Javelines with a decent reheat system, going supersonic. DH110 (Sea Vixen) might have had some trouble from this, but then would DH produce it as it was, with knowledge being accrued? I'd say they'd produce something closer the Super Venom earlier instead.

the harder part is what true supersonic machines would emerge later on, only Fairy's Delta II is clear.
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: kitnut617 on November 07, 2006, 04:19:00 pm
Do you want to buy a model of it, check out Hannants:

http://www.hannants.co.uk/search/?FULL=AVRK118 (http://www.hannants.co.uk/search/?FULL=AVRK118)
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: joncarrfarrelly on November 07, 2006, 04:32:14 pm
It was authorized and then later cancelled.

Anyhow the M.52 could not have broken the sound barrier in 1945 or 1946 because they didn't start building it until 1946, and construction was begun after the Bell XS-1 had already completed its first glide tests. The Miles and Bell projects were contemporaries and were both started towards the end of 1943...the Miles in October and the Bell in December.

Miles own test and modification schedule didn't have the supersonic version...the one with the fan and afterburner, ready until the latter part  of 1947.

While the M.52 would not have beaten the X-1 to Mach 1...it would probably have been the first turbo-jet powered aircraft capble of exceeding Mach 1 in level flight.

Cheers, Jon
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: joncarrfarrelly on November 07, 2006, 04:34:55 pm
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Had it flown, it would have opened up acquistion of knowledge on the use of jet powered supersonic aircraft, using reheat. Of far more useful value than a mere rocket driven machine.
Not really, as both the X-1 and the M.52 were designed as pure research machines to explore high-speed aerodynamics...and how you got to that speed was irrelevant.

Cheers, Jon
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: Archibald on November 07, 2006, 11:46:11 pm
Something cool could be a kind of race between the convair XP-92, the Miles M52, and the Leduc 010. Three odd-looking, late 40's aircraft...
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: Zen on November 08, 2006, 02:25:33 am
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Not really, as both the X-1 and the M.52 were designed as pure research machines to explore high-speed aerodynamics...and how you got to that speed was irrelevant.

No the M.52 had the propulsion system of a supersonic aircraft as we know it now, jet engine with reheat. That was as advanced and 'cutting edge' at the time as the aerodynamics, in operation it would by necessity add to the sum of knowledge in these things. No one had run a jet engine in an aircraft doing a speed over mach1, and did'nt for a while after the Bell X-1 had flown.

The M.52 was aimed to progression to 1,500mph, well over mach1.

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While the M.52 would not have beaten the X-1 to Mach 1...it would probably have been the first turbo-jet powered aircraft capble of exceeding Mach 1 in level flight.
Which was far more useful to the development of supersonic aircaft in the long term.

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Anyhow the M.52 could not have broken the sound barrier in 1945 or 1946 because they didn't start building it until 1946, and construction was begun after the Bell XS-1 had already completed its first glide tests.

Miles flew its wing and tail assembly on a modified prop aircraft, the 'gilet' wing I think they called it because it was so thin (to them).
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: joncarrfarrelly on November 08, 2006, 12:41:39 pm
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Not really, as both the X-1 and the M.52 were designed as pure research machines to explore high-speed aerodynamics...and how you got to that speed was irrelevant.

No the M.52 had the propulsion system of a supersonic aircraft as we know it now, jet engine with reheat. That was as advanced and 'cutting edge' at the time as the aerodynamics, in operation it would by necessity add to the sum of knowledge in these things. No one had run a jet engine in an aircraft doing a speed over mach1, and did'nt for a while after the Bell X-1 had flown.

The M.52 was aimed to progression to 1,500mph, well over mach1.

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While the M.52 would not have beaten the X-1 to Mach 1...it would probably have been the first turbo-jet powered aircraft capble of exceeding Mach 1 in level flight.
Which was far more useful to the development of supersonic aircaft in the long term.

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Anyhow the M.52 could not have broken the sound barrier in 1945 or 1946 because they didn't start building it until 1946, and construction was begun after the Bell XS-1 had already completed its first glide tests.

Miles flew its wing and tail assembly on a modified prop aircraft, the 'gilet' wing I think they called it because it was so thin (to them).
The Miles "Gillete Falcon"...Gillete as in razor. Which first flew in August of 1944 to incrementally test features of the M.52 wing design...and later the moving tail, the aircraft went through a series of modifications during the test program.

The Bell XS-1 #1 airframe was completed by the end of 1945 and began its flight testing in January of 1946...before Miles started cutting metal for their M.52 1,000 mph airplane (not 1,500mph).

The M.52 flight test program was to begin with the M.52 in its basic config without fan or afterburner...Miles planned to take the aircraft through a series of step-by-step tests and rebuilds culminating in the full up high-speed version utilizing the fan and afterburner. They hoped to have reached that point by the end of 1947.

Anyhow the Power Jets fan and afterburning system intended for the M.52 is different in design and philosphy from the afterburners that were becoming somewhat common by the end of the decade. The first US afterburner engine concept was tested at NACA Langley in 1943.

The FD.2 was the first aircraft to exceed 1,000mph in level flight...I honestly doubt that the M.52 in any form would have been capable of attaining that speed, not unless they had followed Don Brown's suggestion in 1943 and set the aircraft up for air drop.

Its a cool project that I've always liked, but it was not the "super-plane" some seem to believe. Also by the time it would have been completed better designs for transonic and low supersonic flight characteristics research and service development were on both British and US drawing boards.
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: Martin H on November 08, 2006, 03:15:06 pm
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I honestly doubt that the M.52 in any form would have been capable of attaining that speed, not unless they had followed Don Brown's suggestion in 1943 and set the aircraft up for air drop.
 
It was intended for Airdrop...a pair of former Grandslam Lancs were allocated for the program. TSRjoe did give me the serials...but i cant recall were i put them  
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: joncarrfarrelly on November 08, 2006, 03:53:08 pm
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I honestly doubt that the M.52 in any form would have been capable of attaining that speed, not unless they had followed Don Brown's suggestion in 1943 and set the aircraft up for air drop.
 
It was intended for Airdrop...a pair of former Grandslam Lancs were allocated for the program. TSRjoe did give me the serials...but i cant recall were i put them
Not originally.
Airdropping was a very late addition to the program.
 
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: Zen on November 08, 2006, 04:13:01 pm
Assessments by BAe, I think the 70's concluded that the machine would have  achieved its goals, about mach 1.53 or there abouts.

Whittles afterburner was relevent. But yes it was different, as was the engine itself. Closest to 'fan air reheat' concepts derived much later from early PCB work, if I reccal correctly.
truth is Whittle was not easy to get on with, and Miles had been given the supersonic project as a sop for all their failures to get government work, in the expectation of their failure.
This being the era of the 'old boy network', Miles where never on the inside of that, and had the distressing habbit of comming up with good ideas, executable for much less than the favoured manufacteres. Government much prefers to spend huge sums of money achieving very little.
The government having been handed the patents on the jet engine and derivatives for free by the patriotic Whittle, then handed them over the USA for nothing.
Power Jets was not favoured, RR, and DH had far more clout in government circles.

But had it flown and proved itself, this machine would have had a profound effect on the UK's development of aircraft.

AS it was it was canceled, after a visit from Bell (who then went on to supposedly come up with solutions Miles had reached, all on their own), and a series of flying models was developed instead, taking years to work and costing many times more. One of the successful models was in fact a scaled version of the M.52.
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: joncarrfarrelly on November 09, 2006, 09:17:07 am
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Assessments by BAe, I think the 70's concluded that the machine would have  achieved its goals, about mach 1.53 or there abouts.

Whittles afterburner was relevent. But yes it was different, as was the engine itself. Closest to 'fan air reheat' concepts derived much later from early PCB work, if I reccal correctly.
truth is Whittle was not easy to get on with, and Miles had been given the supersonic project as a sop for all their failures to get government work, in the expectation of their failure.
This being the era of the 'old boy network', Miles where never on the inside of that, and had the distressing habbit of comming up with good ideas, executable for much less than the favoured manufacteres. Government much prefers to spend huge sums of money achieving very little.
The government having been handed the patents on the jet engine and derivatives for free by the patriotic Whittle, then handed them over the USA for nothing.
Power Jets was not favoured, RR, and DH had far more clout in government circles.

But had it flown and proved itself, this machine would have had a profound effect on the UK's development of aircraft.

AS it was it was canceled, after a visit from Bell (who then went on to supposedly come up with solutions Miles had reached, all on their own), and a series of flying models was developed instead, taking years to work and costing many times more. One of the successful models was in fact a scaled version of the M.52.
Miles attempted to keep the project alive by suggesting a re-engined version using a newer turbo-jet design and a rocket-powered version. Nothing came of either proposal.

Vickers received the contract to develop the scaled-down remote control versions of the M.52 shortly after the contact with Miles was canceled...the aircraft was designated A.1.
The project was rife with misfires and failed launches, the final flight in 1948 was the most successful with an indicated speed of Mach 1.4...the flight control system then, evidently, malfunctioned as instead of plunging into the sea when commanded the aircraft continued headed west out into the Atlantic. Radio contact was lost at 70 miles...no one knows how far it flew before crashing. The test vindicated the M.52's aerodynamics...but by that time the point was moot.

The Miles flight test program for the M.52 was planned in gradual stages, beginning without the afterburning system to test the aircraft up to speeds of around 300mph to test handling, landing behaviour etcetera. The next stages would have required the afterburner and would have eventually reached the speed of sound after a series of gradual speed increases. The final phase would have been to get to 1,000mph using a high-speed dive from 50,000 '+ altitude down to @ 30,000 feet. The aircraft was not expected to be capable of 1,000mph(@ Mach 1.5) in level flight.

Bell began work on the XS-1 long before they ever saw the Miles work, check the development timelines of the two projects for yourself if you don't want to believe me.
But I realize I'm talking to a wall here as some folks are in love with the notion that the evil Yanks stole Britain's supersonic glory.
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: joncarrfarrelly on November 09, 2006, 02:55:37 pm
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Its just plain wrong to say the M52 would have had no value to us in the UK or our development and technology. It clearly would have.
Where did I ever say it wouldn't have been of value?
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: Zen on November 10, 2006, 05:15:28 am
The tenure of the posts suggested it.

If I have put words into your mouth then accept my appologies, but I will not apllogise for saying that canceling the Miles M.52 was a bad move that was damaging to us.

It needs to be forcefully put that such decisions have done more harm than good, to make it clear we should avoid such idiocy in future. The more it is suggested by implication that everything was 'fine' or the 'best of all possible outcomes' the more ground is prepared for more such decisions that will cost us even more.

Part of a lineage of bad decisions, stretching to this very day.
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: joncarrfarrelly on November 10, 2006, 08:27:10 am
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The tenure of the posts suggested it.

If I have put words into your mouth then accept my appologies, but I will not apllogise for saying that canceling the Miles M.52 was a bad move that was damaging to us.

It needs to be forcefully put that such decisions have done more harm than good, to make it clear we should avoid such idiocy in future. The more it is suggested by implication that everything was 'fine' or the 'best of all possible outcomes' the more ground is prepared for more such decisions that will cost us even more.

Part of a lineage of bad decisions, stretching to this very day.
Where I did not agree that the cancellation was foolish? What I disagree with is the notion that it was the best thing since sliced bread and somehow would have catapulted Britain way beyond everybody else...it would have been useful just as the X-1 was useful, for research. However both designs were already being eclipsed by what the engineers had on the board and in the prototype sheds...nothing exists in a vaccum.

Britain's biggest problem was not one of technology, rather it was that none of the governments...Conservative or Liberal, seemed to have a grasp of what was available or what was needed and seemed incapable of defining a policy and a focus. Wood's Project Cancelled and other writings make that painfully clear. The British aviation industry also played a major role in the whole mess.

I wonder what would have happened if the RAE and the other advanced research organizations had been combined into a single entity and setup with the resources and support of the NACA or later NASA...this was finally done but not until the 1990s.
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: Zen on November 10, 2006, 03:53:11 pm
A good question that.

However politics intervene, and noware more prominently than Suez and its aftermath. If I was looking for a point in time where the most damage was done, that would be it. Not that some of D.Sandys work was wrong, but the scale of cancelations and the quick fix solutions where what set us up for more disasters in the 60's and onwards.

Consider three of the projects 'killed'. SR177 and the Detla III.
In each case the machines would have evolved over time from then, and in each had potential beyond the narrow scope of their orrigins to fulfill a number of roles.

Its clear to see that the Delta III could have offered a Canberra replacement in medium to high altitude operations, and by this driven a simpler and more affordable solution to the low level strike requirement. Though its hard to see the RAF opting for the Buccaneer and they might still seek F111's
The SR.177 equaly has potential to evolve into a cheaper to operate fighter than the Lightning and a potential alternative the Jaguar after the P1154 business(cheaper I suspect than the Jaguar). Its lifespan might well near match that of the Etandard.

The Red Hebe AAM, is clearly a technical nightmare, but one that is resolvable if they take the step of removing the terminal ARH components which they never got to work with the SARH. A greater amount of knowledge would have been gained on guided missiles and of benfit to other projects I suspect.

The consequences of that are to delay some decisions into the 60's and 70's when more is known about whats needed, and to undrmine the drive for the 'quick fix' as it was F4 Phantom II. A delay that might have forced some more rational thinking on naval aviation.

But the big casaulty seems to be the Medium Fleet CV.
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: Archibald on November 13, 2006, 09:49:13 am
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The Red Hebe AAM, is clearly a technical nightmare, but one that is resolvable if they take the step of removing the terminal ARH components which they never got to work

Very interesting coment! I heard that they tested some rounds on a Canberra... EE even proposed a fighter Canberra with the system.
 
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: Zen on November 13, 2006, 03:45:16 pm
That was Red Dean.

Red Dean and Red Hebe where based on the same missile body from Vickers.
However Red Dean was to use a PD and Red Hebe a CW SARH guidance. I understand both where to then, at around 4nm from target, switch to ARH (active homing) using a X-band set onboard the missile (the same as was to be used on Green Cheese), and that is the heart of the technical problems Vickers had with the project. Switching from SARH to ARH, this and arguments over weather the missile needed to be locked on before launch.
Dummy rounds where flown on a Canberra, but not on the wingtip, not sure how far they got with it all in testing.

Industry was effectively of one voice that the 16ft long 1,330lb missile was too large and draggy. Under this pressure Vickers did sketch a scaled down version, at 675lb in weight. Its that scaled weapon you can see on the wingtips of the P1103 model Camn had in his office, pictured in Tony Butlers book. Its roughly 13-14ft long.

All this was the product of Red Hawk, an ealier attempt to produce a all-aspect missile.
Title: Miles M.52
Post by: Archibald on November 16, 2006, 10:28:10 am
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I understand both where to then, at around 4nm from target, switch to ARH (active homing) using a X-band set onboard the missile (the same as was to be used on Green Cheese), and that is the heart of the technical problems Vickers had with the project. Switching from SARH to ARH, this and arguments over weather the missile needed to be locked on before launch.

Very, very interesting comment! Thanks for the info!!!