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rickshaw

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About rickshaw

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  1. Sea Meteor Mk.14 in Royal Navy Service So began the development story of the FAA's Sea Meteor jet fighter. The first Jet Fighter to serve aboard an aircraft carrier and the first to take part in combat over the Japanese Home Islands. After the war, the FAA continued to use Sea Meteors and in 1954, after the experience of the Korean War called for a Fighter, All Weather to help protect the fleet in bad weather and at night. Glosters calling on their experience of building night fighters for the RAF proposed a naval version of the NF.14 which was accepted. As with the other other night fighter versions of the Meteor most of the design work and production was undertaken by Armstrong-Whitworth. However, because of the requirement for folding wings, the wing guns were eliminated. In order to provide some form of armament, a gun pack was installed under the fuselage. In order to accept the ammunition bins, the main fuselage fuel tank was reduced considerably in capacity. Therefore, the Sea Meteor FAW.14 flew with semi-permamently attached 300 gallon wing drop tanks. To further increase its range, a belly tank was developed. However, because it hung so close to the deck, it was impossible to fly back on with it attached so it had to be jettisoned on every sortie. The Admiralty, in a time of economic stringency was forced to curtail Sea Meteor FAW.14 operations. Because the aircraft's range was limited without the tank, the Sea Meteor FAW.14 was quickly replaced by the Sea Venom in the Fighter, All Weather role. The Model 1/72 Matchbox Meteor NF.14 (and a shockingly bad kit it is too!). Painted with a hairy stick. The decals came from the spares box. The gun pack from an Airfix Canberra B.2/B(I)6 kit and the drop tank from the spares box.
  2. Gloster Sea Meteor F.1

    Gloster Sea Meteor F.1 In 1945, desperate to get a jet powered aircraft aboard their carriers, the Lords of the Admiralty undertook trials with a Meteor I was used for deck-handling tests aboard aircraft carrier HMS Pretoria Castle in late 1944. Flown by Captain Eric "Winkle” Brown in March 1945, a hooked Meteor III made the first jet landing and take off from an aircraft carrier on HMS Ocean. The results from these trials were such that they decided to order 200 Meteor IVs, a version which utilised the Derwent V engine. This new engine provided 3,500lb of thrust, a 50% increase on the power offered by the Derwent IV used in later Meteor IIIs. The result was a sprightly improvement in the Meteor III's desultory performance. The first Meteor IV prototype took to the air on 15 August 1945 and the test programme went so smoothly that it entered RN FAA squadron service on 1 June 1946, just in time to sail onboard HMS Illustrious to the Far East to take part in the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands. Able to carry 2,000lbs under each wing, armed with rockets or bombs and its 4 20mm cannon, the Meteor IV proved a considerable success both as a fighter-bomber and a fighter against the Japanese Kamikaze planes deployed against the Allied fleet off Japan. Gloster Sea Meteor F.1, embarked HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, Operation OLYMPIC, invasion of Kyushu, Japan, 1946. The Model The model is the venerable Frog Meteor IV kit. The wings were made to fold by sawing them in half, just outside the engine nacelles. It was painted with a hairy stick and the decals came from the spares box.
  3. F-114 Dragon in USAF service

    F-114 Dragon in USAF service The Douglas F6D Missileer was a proposed carrier-based US Navy fleet defence fighter aircraft, designed by Douglas Aircraft Company in response to a 1959 US Navy requirement. It was designed to be able to loiter for extended periods at a relatively long distance from the Navy's aircraft carriers, engaging hostile aircraft 100 miles (160 km) away with its powerful radar and long-range missiles. Since the enemy would be fired on long before they reached visual range, the aircraft had little dog fighting capability and was strictly subsonic. When doubts were expressed about the Missileer's ability to defend itself after firing its missiles, the value of the project was questioned, leading to its cancellation. Portions of the Missileer continued development in spite of the cancellation, eventually emerging on the ill-fated General Dynamics–Grumman F-111B and successful Grumman F-14 Tomcat years later. When the USAF learnt about the existence of the F6D Missileer they were intrigued. One of the major threats facing the USAF Air Defence Command was destroying potential Soviet bombers high in the Arctic latitudes before they could get within range of US cities and other targets of strategic importance. The concept of the Missileer was such that it appeared to be an alternative route to the short ranged supersonic interceptors with their aerodynamic problems resulting from their high speeds. So, they secretly asked the aircraft production companies for a similar solution – a subsonic, long ranged, missile armed interceptor equipped with a powerful radar which could engage an attacking bomber from extreme range. After considering the submissions, it was decided that it might be best, considering the problems that Navy were having with their system to build a proof-of-concept design first before embarking on a completely new aircraft. Martin was selected, as they had the only medium bomber still in production which could be easily converted to carry missiles and a large radar. Martin, decided to consult with English Electric, the original designers of the Canberra as to what could be the best method to approach this problem. English Electric suggested that Martin might like to look at their P.12 design which essentially was what the USAF might be looking for. Equipped with a powerful radar in a large nose cone, coupled with several large, full-active radar seeking missiles with a long range, it appeared perfect. However, Martin preferred to adopt the design to their own version of the Canberra, the B-57. English Electric agreed to sign production rights over to Martin as it appeared that manned fighter development in the UK was about to end after the issuing of the Sandy's Defence White Paper of 1957. Martin therefore took over the design and what was to become the F-114 Dragon fighter was born. By 1958, however the threat had substantially started to change. Manned bombers were on their way out, the Soviet Union had started to develop ICBM missiles. However, this was not obvious to the USAF until after the launch of Sputnik I. The USAF did not understand this and the development of the F-114 continued. Using the Navy's radar and missile was not possible because of the Air Force's pride. A modified version of the Missileer's equipment was developed. Bendix was awarded a contract to develop the AAM-12 Bald Eagle missile system. After launch, the Bald Eagle was boosted to Mach 3.5 by a large solid-propellant rocket booster, and then after a glide period, a long-burning sustainer motor slowly increased speed to Mach 4.5. Using a lofted trajectory that flew up and over the target at high altitudes, the missile had an effective range of 160 miles (260 km). On final approach the missile activated its AN/DPN-53 radar, adapted from the Boeing CIM-10 Bomarc, using these signals for terminal active radar homing. Westinghouse won the contract to develop the AN/APQ-82 radar for the aircraft. This was an advanced pulse-Doppler radar system with a maximum range against bomber-sized targets at about 140 miles, and was able to track sixteen targets at a time in its track while scan mode at up to 80 miles (130 km). The radar also broadcast midcourse corrections to the missiles, and was in charge of calculating their lofted trajectories. The 120 miles (190 km) range of the AN/APQ-82 meant the Eagle could not be fired at its maximum effective range of 160 miles (260 km), but the Eagle also had a home-on-jam capability that allowed it to attack targets at its maximum range, although this was reduced in practice as it did not use midcourse corrections and flew directly at the target at lower altitudes. By the time development of both the missile and radar had finished, as already explained, the threat had changed. ICBMs were now the main threat. The USAF found itself with an effective, long range interceptor but no enemy aircraft to intercept. So, they palmed it off on the Air National Guard where it served for ten years before finally being retired in 1973, with the end of the Vietnam War and it's substantially reduced budgets being their excuse. The Model The model represents an aircraft wearing the retirement scheme that the Washington ANG squadron wore when they retired the F-114 Dragon. It carries four out of a maximum of eight Bald Eagle missiles which it could carry. The model consists of an Italeri B-57B kit, coupled with the Freightdog Canberra P.12 nose. The Missiles were made from 1/48 missiles. It was painted with a hairy stick.
  4. Oh, I agree there were reasons, quite valid ones, at the time why they designed the Canberra the way they did. One was that the engines were slimmer and lighter and the wanted the fuselage for the maximum bombload with the engines out of the way. The problem was they'd never really experiences a powerful, jet engine pushing a plane sideways because it was situated out on the wing, so asynchronous thrust was discovered. This was just an exercise in "what might have been..."
  5. BAC Canberra MR.24 “Rudra”

    In aerodynamics you want to carry the heaviest items as close to the CofG as possible. that means that fuel and weapons tend to placed directly under the wing in most straight wing designs. That way, as they decrease, they create the least disturbance to the way in which the aircraft behaves. The radome is a given weight and it will always been the same. As it is almost purely just the scanner, if it is damaged it can be easily replaced. I put it there because I know that the tail of an ordinary Canberra is basically empty. It balances the increased length of nose as well.
  6. The Meteor PR.29

    The Meteor PR.29 Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union many secret stories of the Cold War have been revealed. One of the most interesting is that of the Meteor PR.19. This previously unknown aircraft was the UK's answer to the USAF's U2 spyplane. Flying higher than other aircraft, it was able to penetrate the formidable defences of the Iron Curtain and bring back vital information about troop movements, missile deployments and the testing of nuclear weapons. What has not been known until today was the antipodean chapter of this story. In 1958, the Australian Government began to become increasingly alarmed at what was happening in it's northern neighbour, Indonesia. It's President, Sukarno had come to power in the closing days of WWII when the Japanese decided to make the reimpositon of Colonial rule as difficult as possible after their inevitable defeat. He had fought a short but sharp war of independence agains the Dutch and finally forced their withdrawal from Indonesia in 1949. This had been largely accomplished through a combination of guerrilla warfare and clever political manouevring and the creation of a coalition with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), which was one of his main supporters. However, the Dutch had retained control of their separate colony of West New Guinea. Sukarno, having had a success with the Dutch in the East Indies, turned his sight on West New Guinea and began formulating his policy of "Konfrontasi" (Confrontation). Throughout 1959, armed insurgents and military personnel were landed in West New Guinea to attack the Dutch and again embroil them in an insurgency. The Dutch however responded vigorously, defeating these incursions with the help of the local New Guinean tribesmen who were supportive of their administration and disliked the invading Indonesians. Upset at the idea of what was perceived largely as a Communist inspired, revolutionary nation gaining a foothold on the border with its colony in New Guinea, the Australian government became agitated and beligerent. However, the Australian military was in a considerably run down condition at this time, with few forces available to it (only five regular Infantry Battalions in fact). Worried about the possibility of real war on its doorstep again, Canberra sought re-assurances from Washington under the terms of the ANZUS Pact. Washington after deliberation decided that while it was willing to guarantee the defence of Australia, it was not willing to underwrite the possibility of Australia being the aggressor in any potential conflict with Jakarta which Washinton was wooing as a potential ally. Canberra got the message and was forced to do a policy reversal, moderating its previously beligerent language. The suddent withdrawal of Australian support, with the clear message from the United States that it was unwilling to support the continued administration of West New Guinea by the Dutch, meant the Dutch were left swinging in the wind. They therefore decided that it was proving too expensive to maintain their control of this far-flung colony on the other side of the world and so they withdrew after negotiating a handover to the United Nations, who then made Indonesia the "controlling power". In order to confirm their annexation of the former colony, Jakarta engineered a plebiscite in conjunction with the UN. When the "Representative Elders" had voted almost unanimosly in favour of Indonesian annexation, the United Nations in turn formally handed the territory to the Indonesians in 1969. This plebiscite was essentially rigged and was one of the most shameful chapters of the United Nations. Unsure about its inability to determine independently what was actually occurring in this remote area the Australian government asked the RAAF what could be done. The RAAF recognised they had only a limited reconniassance capability in the form of a few modified Canberra B.20s. However, these were known to be vulnerable to the MiG 15 and 17s that the Indonesian Air Force were equipped with, while they would have been easy meat if Jakarta purchased more advanced, supersonic fighters. The RAAF though, from information received from migrants who had joined their ranks in the great post-War immigration diaspora from the UK were aware of the RAF's effort to develop high altitude reconniassance versions of the Meteor which were able to cruise high above the maximum ceiling of the early MiG fighters. So, it was recommended that the RAAF approach the RAF for help. The RAF however, refused to even discuss the matter with the RAAF, worried that any such information might leak to the Communist Bloc', despite it apparently being known amongst the ranks of its emigrant personnel. The RAAF undeterred decided to develop their own version. A77-3, ex-WM262, an RAF Meteor NF.11 had been assigned to the RAAF for use in trials at the Woomera Rocket Range in Australia in connecton with the development of various guided weapons, including the Blue Boar guided bomb. This aircraft had crashed in 1955. Initially, efforts were made to repair it, with parts ordered from the UK to rebuild the aircraft. However the RAAF decided to use it instead as the basis of it's high altitude aircraft so it was officially written off charge and the RAF informed of its scrapping. Engaging the services of designers from the Weapons Research Establishment (WRE) and the Government Aircraft Factory (GAF), they made considerable alterations to the original airframe, providing it with a much greater wingspan and using two considerably more powerful CAC produced R.A.7 Avon jet engines which were used in the CA 27 Sabre fighters which had replaced the Meteor in RAAF service. The result was named the Meteor PR.29. It carried two cameras in a modified nose, one a vertical and the other at an oblique angle. The two cameras enabled a large swathe of countryside to be photographed in considerable detail. It was intended that once the operational attitude was reached, A77-3 would essentially become a powered sailplane with its engines throttled. It was intended that A77-3 would be the first of several aircraft to equip a special Reconniassance Flight which would be under the control of a newly established National Reconniassance Office. On trials, A77-3 reached an altitude of 65,000 feet with ease, creating a new, unofficial Australian altitude record. Operating from bases in Far North Queensland or New Guinea, the PR.29 was expected to be able to cover West New Guinea easily. In order to preserve the clandestine nature of the aircraft, all national markings and registration numbers were removed. The only marking known to be carried was the title "Seagull", written just below the left cockpit in recognition of its distinctive white wings. The only time the aircraft carried it's full compliment of markings was on it's initial roll out for the RAAF and Government representatives who were involved in the project. Painted white on it's uppersurfaces to better reflect the tropical heat and camouflage it against the clouds that it often flew over, its lower surfaces were painted "high-speed" silver and it was an impressive sight. With a tactical radius of over 1,500 miles, a top speed of approximately 600 mph and operating at over 60,000 feet, it was a very splendid addition to the RAAF's capabilities. The RAF first became aware of the aircraft after it undertook several clandestine missions from the Butterworth RAAF base in Malaysia over Indonesian Borneo and Sumatra in 1965. Sukarno had decided to again employ his policy of "Konfrontasi" but this time over the Malaysian states of Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo which Indonesia claimed. When news of the "very long wing spanned photo-recce version of the Meteor being used by the RAAF," reached London, alarm bells went off in the Ministry of Defence, which had been considering whether to deploy their own Meteor PR.19 in the campaign against Indonesian aggression. Several senior officers immediately flew out to Malaysia to investigate fearing a massive security breach. Only after some pointed questioning of their RAAF counterparts was the story reluctantly revealed to them. Rather than a copy, the PR.29 was more a case of parallel evolutionary development. A77-3's career though, was relatively short lived. Entering service in 1963, A77-3 was already considered outmoded by it's users and the previous plan to build several were dropped. Its range was too short to enable it to cover the whole of Indonesia, either from Australian or Malaysian bases. This was seen as a severe shortcoming. While A77-3 had been undergoing it's trials, the RAAF had been considering the need for a much longer-legged and more capable successor. The obvious choice was that of an improved version of the Canberra. However, that is another story and lies outside the scope of this short article. A77-3 therefore became a unique, semi-experimental aircraft which allowed the RAAF to gain experience in high-altitude flight, a region where it had not previously dared to venture. A77-3 was unfortunately lost in October 1967 when it is believed it encountered an Indonesian MiG 21 fighter over Indonesian Borneo. Nothing was heard as the aircraft was maintaining radio silence but it is assumed they were downed by an air-to-air missile fired at extreme range, with the MiG 21 on an almost parabolic trajectory to come within range of the PR.29. It and it's crew, Flt.Lt. Jon Laws and Fly.Off. Allud Jones were marked "missing". Their bodies were never recovered and their relatives were informed they had died as the result of an "accident". With the recent discovery in the archives of the documents which revealed the existence of this astounding aircraft, their relatives can now have closure, knowing they died proudly in the service of their country. The Model The model is constructed from several sources. After discussions with PR19_Kit over at the What-If forum (imitation as they say, is the sincerest form of flattery ;D ) and having looked at the plans of the original Pr.19, I sorted through the spares box and came up with a plan. As per the original PR.19, the fuselage is an NF.11, in this case the Xtrakit offering. The wings are from an ancient Airmodel U-2 vacuform and the engines from an equally ancient Novo Canberra B(I).8, inverted, to give them the "underslung" look. The actual intakes come from the High Planes Canberra B.6 which was used to form the basis for my BAC Canberra MR.24 "Rudra". A77-3 did exist as an NF.11 which was used at Woomera for the Blue Boar guidance system trials. It crashed in 1955 and was written off charge in 1957.
  7. BAC Canberra MR.24 “Rudra”

    BAC Canberra MR.24 “Rudra” After the Sandys White Paper in 1957, English-Electric, the company that had designed and built the Canberra was fated to merge with Bristol Aeroplane Company and Vickers-Armstrong to form the British Aircraft Corporation. At the same time, there was the ill-fated decision to end manned bomber and fighter development. There was also a draw down of the RAF. Many squadrons were to be disbanded and of course, their aircraft scrapped. The Canberra production line was to be kept open for a while longer though, as orders both domestically and overseas for this versatile medium bomber continued. Many nations were also supplied with refurbished Canberras, as well as new built ones. BAC foresaw that there would be a large demand for spares for some time to come. So, the corporation decided to purchase back from the MoD many of the retired Canberra airframes and all their associated equipment. This left BAC with a problem though. While the aircraft had been comparatively cheap, once they were stripped of valuable components, there was a still a large quantity of capital tied up in the airframes for which they could only realise as scrap. Idling at his desk one day, a junior designer was daydreaming when it suddenly hit him. BAC could build a new, different version of the Canberra, using the derelict airframes! Casting his eye around, it alit upon a copy of Flight that he'd just been reading. He grabbed it and found the editorial which talked about the upcoming Indian plan for a new Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft, to replace the Indian Air Force's ragtag collection of old WWII Liberators and converted civilian Lockheed Constellation passenger aircraft. It was expected that it would be a contest between the new P-3 Orion, Hawker Siddeley Nimrod or the Breguet Atlantic. Grabbing a pad, he quickly sketched a Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft, utilising Canberra components. Realising that the thirsty turbo-jet engines would prevent it from having adequate range, he replaced them with a pair of turbo-props. In order to provide an adequate search radar, a radome was attacked to the rear fuselage. The nose and rear of the fuselage was extended considerably to provide room for more fuel and crew. Taking his rough sketches to his superior he spoke eloquently about his idea and showed him the sketches. His superior, intrigued by the idea and realising the utility of utilising a combination of remanufactured and new components, took his subordinate to see the Chief Designer, Sir Frederick Page. Page listened to the proposal and said, that the young man was to be given time to develop it. He had to report back in 4 weeks with a serious proposal. What he came up with was to become the Canberra MR.24 “Rudra”. “Rudra” was the Hindu god of wind or storm and the hunt. The proposal was squarely aimed at the Indian need for a new Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft. Powered by two Rolls Royce Tyne Turbo-props, with an extensive extension to the fuselage both fore and aft of the wings and a large extension to the wingspan. There was also intended to be a large ventral radome and a MAD boom and other sensors to allow it to detect submarines. Page decided on his own authority to authorise the construction of an aerodynamic prototype as a “proof of concept”. A B.6 with relatively low hours was chosen. Extra fuselage frames were inserted and the tips of the wings extended. A new undercarriage was designed, based on existing designs for the HP Herald, to ensure adequate clearance for the propellers and the radome on rotation. Flown with the “trade plate” registration of G-RUDR it was painted in the standard MR scheme of the day, white upper fuselage and grey lower and wings. The Tyne nacelles were also finished in white. A black anti-glare panel in front of the canopy completed the scheme. G-RUDR was taxied in October 1963 but it was quickly realised that there was insufficient fin area to control the aircraft with its huge turbo-props. So a triple tail was quickly designed, again utilising existing Canberra components, in this case the wing tips which had been discarded when they were extended. Later that month, it successfully undertook its first test flight. During the 1964 SBAC Show at Farnborough it was demonstrated before a large crowd, including a visiting delegation from the Indian Air Force. In late 1964, G-RUDR was flown to India at the request of the Indian Air Force who were intrigued by the possibilities that it presented. They extensively tested it over the Indian ocean and around the Indian coastline. However, on the flight home the aircraft suffered an unexpected structural failure when landing back in the UK. It broke its back and the subsequent investigation showed that the resonance from the large propellers had caused structural fatigue with the subsequent failure of the fuselage extension, behind the cockpit. G-RUDR was broken up and the project terminated when the expected orders from India did not materialise. India in the end ordered Russian Il-38 “May”, receiving them finally in 1977, the B-24s having soldiered on until 1974. The Model The model is a mix of two Canberra kits. An old Novo B(I)8 and a High Planes B.6. The Novo kit supplied the tail planes and the inner wing extensions (the roots are twice as wide as a normal Canberra). The High Planes kit supplied the wingtip extensions (its tail planes) and the extra fins (the wing tips which were removed for the extensions, plus a bit of plasticard). The radome came from a Falcon vacuform for the Skyraider. The engine nacelles came from a Revell Atlantic kit. Unfortunately somewhere along the way, one of the nacelle fronts got lost and I contacted Revell for a replacement which they sent but it took far too long to arrive. In my impatience I scratchbuilt a replacement. Of course, the replacement arrived the day after I'd finished and had started painting it. I actually think it looks better than the original and its very hard to tell the difference at a distance. If I had it over, I'd do the same to both sides. Apart from that there were two big wooden dowel extensions, fore and aft of the wing, a plastic tube MAD boom, scratchbuilt undercart with wheels from a Victor resin set and of course a LOT of PSR.
  8. Australia enters the Space Age!

    Australia enters the Space Age! WRESAT (abbreviation for: Weapons Research Establishment Satellite) was the name of the first Australian satellite. It was named after its designer, the Weapons Research Establishment located in Adelaide, South Australia. WRESAT was launched on 29 November 1967 using a modified American Redstone rocket with two upper stages known as a Sparta from the Woomera Test Range in South Australia. The Sparta (left over from the joint Australian-US-UK Sparta program), was donated by the United States. The launch made Australia the seventh nation to have an Earth satellite launched, and the third nation to launch one from its own territory, after the Soviet Union and the United States (the UK, Canada and Italy's satellites were also launched on American rockets unlike the French Astérix, which launched on an indigenous rocket out of Algeria). WRESAT weighed 45 kg (99 lb) and had the form of a cone with a length of 1.59 m (5 ft 3 in) and a mouth diameter of .76 m (2 ft 6 in). It remained connected with the third rocket stage and possessed with it an overall length of 2.17 m (7 ft 1 in). WRESAT circled the Earth on a nearly polar course, until it reentered the atmosphere after 642 revolutions on 10 January 1968, over the Atlantic Ocean. The battery-operated satellite sent data during its first 73 orbits of the Earth. What was not known to the public at the time was that the US Space Agency, as part of the USAF's Anti-Ballistic Missile program had shipped two Atlas boosters to Woomera Rocket Range to be launched against Kwajalien atoll in the Eastern Pacific. The plan was to test the ABM system with a missile launched from an unusual vector other than the usual North-East direction from the US mainland. However, the Nike Zeus programme was terminated before the two Atlas boosters could be launched from Woomera. Richard Smith, the director of the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientic Industrial Research Organisation) realised what a treasure trove the two Atlas boosters represented. Marooned at Woomera, he managed to convince NASA and the Australian Government to allow their purchase at cost price. He then set the CSIRO the task of copying the boosters. The result was the creation, at a cut price of the Australian Space and ICBM Programme. The new version of Atlas was named the Yamurru (Aboriginal for “Ghost”) as it appeared to spring from nothing, as far as the public were concerned. The US Government was just as surprised when Australia announced in March 1970 that it would be launching a new, indigenous type of launcher from Woomera into the Western Pacific Ocean. HMAS Melbourne was dispatched from Sydney to recover the capsule. It's helicopters accomplished this and the new Astronaut was revealed to the public – Sqn. Ldr. Greg Norman, an ex-RAAF Mirage pilot. Having proved the credentials of the Yamurru, the CSIRO started developing a re-entry vehicle for the ICBM version. Using the data that had been assembled by the UK ICBM programme in the early 1960s, a re-entry vehicle was designed to carry a 50 kilotonne atomic warhead. This was felt to be the largest warhead that Australia would assemble easily and in sufficient numbers. A dummy warhead was flown several times and was successful to prove the CEP of the system. Stationed deep in the centre of Australia, the Australian Missile Force represented a deterrent to any who dared to threaten the Australian nation. The locations of the numerous above ground missile shelters are not marked on any maps and the vastness of the continent prevents any potential enemy from flying over it to discover their locations. The locals are sworn to secrecy and special units of the Army, composed of mixed Indigenous Aborigines and white soldiers guard them securely. The Model The model is by Australian company Horizon Models and features the Mercury capsule, all the various ICBM warheads and so on. It is easy to put together but difficult to paint properly.
  9. BAC Lightning F.Mk.23 – בָּרָק

    Very nice. Interesting bombload there.
  10. BAC Lightning F.7/F.Mk.27 in Israeli Service

    No, it would not. That would then have been a hybrid between an A-7 and a Lightning, not a converted Lightning. However it is an idea for the future.
  11. With the revelation of Duncan Sandys as one of the Duchess of Argyll's lovers, so could have ended the career of Duncan Sandys, before he could hand down his infamous White Paper. The consequences of which were far reaching. Instead of the RAF cancelling all aircraft development in favour of guided weapons, the British aircraft manufacturers continued to produce aircraft. The result was a proliferation of types. Some successful, some not... In 1961, the English Electric corporation began to develop a new version of it's Lightning interceptor. Utilising a mixed powerplant consisting of a rocket motor and a Turbojet they hoped to provide the RAF with the means to intercept any approaching enemy bombers, well out into the North Sea before they could approach the British coastline. The first version was a little, well "insipid" was the best word to describe it. The Avon turbojet which was chosen was just adequate to push the aircraft back to base. Roll Royce however came to the party with a new type of powerplant, a Turbofan, the Spey. When combined with a de Havilland Spectre producing approximately 10,000 lbs of thrust for over 30 minutes, the aircraft was capable of a phenomenal performance, climbing to 80,000 ft in less than five minutes and reaching a speed of Mach 2+. In 1964, English Electric went on a sales drive, attempting to sell their new interceptor to primarily small countries which did not require long range but required high performance such as Singapore, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Israel. They had considerable success in all of them. In Tel Aviv in particular, fears of the Arab Bomb drove their acquisition of the Lightning F.7 as it had been christened by the RAF. They up armed their aircraft, using the overwing pylons for two additional Sidewinders in addition to the two Red Top missiles normally carried, with of course two 30mm ADEN cannons. The Model The model is a combination of a Matchbox 1/72 Tempest nose, a Lightning F.Mk.6 fuselage and wings, plus a Spey exhaust from a Fujimi F-4 Phantom. It also has a lot of putty. I've often thought that the Lightning would be better served with a chin intake, rather than the annular one it was built with. If a rocket was added instead of one of it's twin engines and a large, more efficient Turbofan instead of it's Avon Turbojet, well, it was a sure winner.
  12. BAC Lightning F.Mk.23 – בָּרָק – in Israeli Service The English Electric Lightning is a supersonic fighter aircraft of the Cold War era. It was designed, developed, and manufactured by English Electric, which was subsequently absorbed by the newly formed British Aircraft Corporation. It was then marketed as the BAC Lightning. The Lightning was the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft. The Lightning was used by the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Israeli Air Force (IsAF) and the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF). The Lightning is powered by two Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet engines in a unique staggered stacked installation in the fuselage. The Lightning was developed to intercept increasingly capable bomber aircraft (Tupolev Tu-16, Tupolev Tu-22, Tupolev Tu-95), and thus has exceptional rate of climb, ceiling, and speed; pilots have described flying it as "being saddled to a skyrocket". This performance made the Lightning a "fuel-critical" aircraft, meaning that its missions are dictated to a high degree by its limited range. Later developments provided greater range and speed along with aerial reconnaissance and ground-attack capability. The Export Lightning, developed as a private venture by BAC; while the Lightning had originated as an interception aircraft, this version was to have a multirole capability for quickly interchanging between interception, reconnaissance, and ground-attack duties. The F.23 was based on the F.3 airframe and avionics, including the large ventral fuel tank, cambered wing and overwing pylons for drop tanks, but incorporated an additional pair of hardpoints under the outer wing. These hardpoints could be fitted with pylons for air-to-ground weaponry, including two 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs or four SNEB rocket pods each carrying 18 68 mm rockets. A gun pack carrying two ADEN cannons and 120 rounds each could carried in front of the cockpit. Alternative, interchangeable packs in the forward fuselage carried two Firestreak missiles, two Red Top missiles, twin retractable launchers for 44× 2-inch (50 mm) rockets, or a reconnaissance pod fitted with five 70 mm Type 360 Vinten cameras. BAC also proposed clearing the overwing hardpoints for carriage of weapons as well as drop tanks, with additional Matra JL-100 combined rocket and fuel pods (each containing 18 SNEB 68 mm (2.7 in) rockets and 50 imperial gallons (227 L) of fuel) or 1,000 pounds (450 kg) bombs being possible options. This could give a maximum ground attack weapons load for a developed export Lightning of six 1,000 pounds (450 kg) bombs or 44 × 2 in (51 mm) rockets and 144 × 68 mm rockets. As already related, the UK became the prime supplier to the Israeli Defence Forces for defence equipment after the 1956 Suez Crisis saw the end of the Nasser regime in Egypt. With the removal of the main agent provocateur against Israel, there was a decrease in the level of tension in the Middle East. However, Israel still felt insecure and desired to protect it's territory and it's people from the possibility of attack by the surrounding Arab nations. In 1964, they ordered from the British Aircraft Corporation the BAC Lightning F.Mk.23, a specialised fighter-bomber variant of the Lightning interceptor which the RAF had adopted. Named the בָּרָק in Hebrew (for “Lightning”), the F.Mk.23 came equipped with extra hard points for air-to-ground weapons such as bombs, rocket launchers and/or fuel tanks. The F.Mk.23 also came equipped with an inflight refuelling probe but that was not publicised at the time of purchase. Operationally, the F.Mk.23 proved a formidable opponent to any of the Soviet supplied MiG fighters that the Arabs were being re-equipped with in the early 1960s. It could out accelerate, out climb and out turn any of them, except the early, sub-sonic MiG-15/17. It was even able upon occasion to intercept the Soviet flown MiG-25 Foxbat reconnaissance aircraft flying at 50,000 feet which were considered “untouchable” by the Russians. What it lacked though, was a large warload and range. The inflight refuelling probe allowed the range to be extended. However, there was nothing to done about the size of the warload. The Model The model is the venerable Matchbox Lightning kit, with enhancements from the Odds and Ordnance range of resin air-to-ground weapons. It carries twin Matra JL-100 combination fuel/Rocket pods on it's overwing hard points and two 1,000 lb GP bombs on it's wingtip stations. It carries twin Red Rop IR guided missiles and two 30mm ADEN cannon. It has, in my opinion, scrubbed up quite well and carries it's Star of David markings with pride, I feel.
  13. The Fairey Delta II – דֶלתָא – in Israeli service. The Fairey Delta 2 or FD2 (internal designation Type V within Fairey) was a British supersonic research aircraft produced by the Fairey Aviation Company in response to a specification from the Ministry of Supply for a specialised aircraft for conducting investigations into flight and control at transonic and supersonic speeds. Key features of the type include the adoption of a delta wing and a droop-nose. On 6 October 1954, the Delta 2 conducted its maiden flight, flown by Fairey test pilot Peter Twiss. The Fairey Delta 2 holds the distinction of being the first jet aircraft to exceed 1000 mph in level flight, flying faster than the sun moves across the sky. On 10 March 1956, it set a new world speed record of 1,132 mph during a test flight. The Delta 2 held the absolute World Air Speed Record for over a year. It continued to be used for test flights, and was allocated to the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) in 1958. To satisfy a requirement for a testbed aircraft for the in-development "ogee delta" wing design, one of the Delta 2 aircraft was extensively rebuilt to become the BAC 221. On 1 May 1964, the modified aircraft performed its first flight. As a result of flight testing conducted by the 221, the ogee delta wing was subsequently adopted for the Concorde supersonic transport airliner. The FD2 was also used as the basis for Fairey's submissions to the Ministry for advanced all weather interceptor designs, culminating in the proposed Fairey Delta III to meet the F.155 specification. In 1959, Fairey and Dassault entered into an agreement to co-produce the Delta II as a fighter aircraft. Combining Dassault's knowledge of combat aircraft and Fairey's knowledge of high speed aerodynamics, they proposed the Delta II to NATO as part of it's competition to find a common fighter-bomber aircraft. Fighting off the US competitor, the F-104 proved difficult but when some smart detective work by the French detective Monsieur Clouseau showed that Lockheed was not above paying massive bribes to Government officials of NATO countries to secure the contract, the scandal that erupted ensured that the Fairey Delta II found it's place in the armouries of the world. Equipped with a redesigned nose to carry a large radar scanner and carrying four British IR guided missiles (initially Firestreaks but later Red Tops), and underwing hard points for the carriage of external fuel tanks and/or bombs, the Fairey/Dassault Delta fighter bomber proved a large success, equipping the air forces of Holland, Belgium, Norway, West German and Italy, as well as other nations, including Australia, South Africa and Israel. As already related, the British became the main supplier of Israeli defence equipment after the 1956 Suez Crisis saw the end of the Nasser regime in Cairo. While the Israelis were wary of their new found liberation from direct threat from the Arab nations which surrounded their tiny country, they decided that the cornerstone of their freedom was their Air Force. It was therefore an easy decision to decide to adopt the Fairey/Dassault Delta II Fighter-Bomber in 1962. It's high speed and superb aerodynamic performance ensured that the Israelis were the superiors of their neighbours. When the Arabs followed suit and purchased their own Dassault Delta aircraft, the Israelis introduced their distinctive yellow triangle markings, to prevent a “blue-on-blue” incident occurring. http://imageshack.com/a/img923/4891/eglJ0W.jpg[/img] The Models Both models are converted Novo Fairey Delta II kits. About 12 months ago, I started work on converting a Eastern Express version of the Frog Mirage III kit into a two seater Mirage using the Falcon vacuform nose. However, it required too much filling for my liking and I basically abandoned it. It sat on the corner of my modelling desk ever since, looking forlornly at me. I had the idea of using the FD II kit as a production aircraft and then I thought who would the British sell it to. Ah, ha! I thought, Israel! So I then started thinking about what was required to make it into a production fighter. Mmm, a radar would be necessary. Now, where to get a radar nose? Ah, ha! I had the spare nose from the EE Mirage III kit. So, I checked in the box and yes, there it was. So, after carefully removing the entire nose section of the Delta, I glued the nose from the aborted Mirage in it's place and it fit perfectly. Excellent. Now, I had another FD II kit, which I'd bought off EvilBay which was partly constructed. My mind was thinking, how about the two seater Mirage nose? So, out came the razor saw and off it came (and off came the intakes from it's sides as well). Yes, it was a good fit but I needed to replace the sides to the fuselage where the intakes had been. Not too hard at all. So, now I had two FD IIs. A fighter and the second a trainer. I used the Mirage III's drop tanks on both kits and used up my horde of Red Top missiles. The nose wheel was a bit high on both kits so I cut that down on the two seater. The single seater ended up with the noseleg from the Mirage. What both are lacking is a gun. Oh, well, that fits with the mentality of the period that missiles are an assured kill... Knowing that the Israelis operated in real life, Mirages, I had Kit print up some yellow triangles designed to fit the FD's wings and tail and they came up a treat, as you can see. The Israeli Star of Davids are from another aftermarket sheet I have.
  14. The Folland Gnat Mk.1 – יַתוּשׁ - in Israeli Air Force Service The Folland Gnat is a British compact swept-wing subsonic fighter aircraft developed and produced by Folland Aircraft. Envisioned as an affordable light fighter in contrast to the rising cost and size of typical combat aircraft, it was procured as a trainer aircraft for the Royal Air Force (RAF) as well as by export customers, who used the Gnat in both combat and training capacities. Designed by W.E.W. Petter, the Gnat has its origins in the preceding private venture Folland Midge. The issuing of Operational Requirement OR.303 by the British Air Ministry served to motivate the type's development, the Gnat was later submitted to meet this requirement. Its design allowed for its construction and maintenance tasks to be carried out without specialised tools, making it suitable for use in countries that had not yet become highly industrialised. The Gnat has been viewed as a major motivating factor towards the issuing of the NATO NBMR-1 requirement, which sought to make available a common strike/attack light fighter with which to equip the air forces of the various NATO members. Although never used as a fighter by the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Gnat T.1 jet trainer variant was adopted and operated for some time. In the United Kingdom, the Gnat became well known due to its prominent use as the display aircraft of the RAF's Red Arrows aerobatic team. The Gnat F.1 was exported to Israel, Finland, Yugoslavia and India. The Indian Air Force became the largest operator and eventually manufactured the aircraft under licence. Impressed by its performance during combat, India proceeded to develop the improved HAL Ajeet, a modified variant of the Gnat. In British service, the Gnat was replaced by the Hawker Siddeley Hawk. As already related, the British became the major suppliers of Israel's defence equipment after the 1956 Suez Crisis saw the end of the Egyptian Nasser regime. As part of that role, the Folland Gnat was chosen by the Israeli Air Force as part of the rapid industrialisation of the Jewish homeland. It was small, light and not overly technical for production in Israel. Armed with two 30mm ADEN cannon and two Sidewinder Air-to-Air missiles, coupled with a light weight radar set, the יַתוּשׁ (Hebrew for “Gnat”) was considered an ideal starting point for the Jewish aero-industry. The Israeli Air Force was impressed by the Gnat's performance and fought successfully in the 1967 and 1973 wars against the opposing Arab forces, but the aircraft was recognised to have problems including hydraulics and unreliable control systems. To address these issues, the Israeli Air Force issued a requirement for an improved "Gnat II" in 1972, at first specifying that the new version was to be optimised as an interceptor, but then expanding the specification to include the ground-attack role. Over 175 of the built licensed version, the יַבחוּשׁ, were produced in Tel Aviv. The Model The model is the Olimp 1/72 Gnat Ajeet, the Indian version of the Gnat. However, where it differs is in the additional tail pipe, which is modelled on that added to the A-4 Skyhawk by the Israelis to improve protection of the engine from IR Guided Missiles. It has had two AIM-9B Sidewinder missiles added and a new radome has been painted on the model. Due to the carpet monster temporarily eating one of the mainwheels, I appealed for a set of undercarriage and receive a set from both TomZ and JayBee. Much appreciated. Of course, after their arrival, the wheel turned up on my desk. The model is tiny compared to most other aircraft of the period.
  15. Self Loading Rifle 1/35

    You think British equipment is thin on the ground - consider Australian! No trucks, no (proper) APCs, no MBTs (other than Centurion). No rifles, no SMGs. No webbing, no packs, no uniforms. Figures are few and far between.
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