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British Secret Projects 1

British Secret Projects 1 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review June 2018 Title British Secret Projects 1
Author Tony Buttler Publisher Crecy
Published 2017 ISBN 9781910809051
Format 344 pages, hardbound MSRP (USD) $44.95


Project and prototype expert Tony Buttler returns with the spellbinding British Secret Projects 1: Jet Fighters Since 1950.

Available in North America from Specialty Press, Crécy's handsome hardback spans 344 pages over 14 solid sections:

  • Naval all-weather fighter development
  • Naval day interceptors: 1945 to 1957
  • Land-based fighter progress: 1946 to the mid-1950s – Part 1
  • Land-based fighter progress: 1946 to the mid-1950s – Part 2
  • Developments of the standard fighters: 1950 to 1956
  • Breaking through the "sound barrier": 1943 to 1957
  • High-speed research: 1952 to 1962
  • High-altitude fighters: 1953 to 1959
  • The first fighters with variable sweepback: 1948 to 1952
  • Rocket and mixed-powered fighters: 1952 to 1957
  • No more fighters and a reorganised industry: 1957 to 1974
  • Ideas outside the general trend
  • A return to real fighters: 1975 to 2000
  • Steps beyond Harrier: 1977 to the 1980s

The familiar enjoys coverage. Scimitar. Sea Vixen. Hunter. Lightning. Sea Harrier. And more. With all their antecedents, developments, and derivatives.

How about those bizarre early English Electric P.1 designs? And those variable-geometry proposals of the operational aircraft?

But stillborn studies and purely "paper" projects proved most intriguing. And they naturally consume the bulk of the book.

These include supersonic, thin-wing derivatives of, for instance, classics Hawker Hunter and Gloster Javelin – as well as truly spellbinding designs like Saunders-Roe's P.177/SR.177.

Photos, drawings, and models – most from official and manufacturer sources – illustrate the account. Chronologically arranged entries recap design, development, timelines, and fates. And dimensional, performance, and armament specifications – actual, projected, and proposed – accompany each.

A handy appendix lists, by company, every British jet fighter project since 1950. A second recaps fighter project specifications. And a third summarizes prototype contracts. A glossary, selected bibliography, and index wrap things up.

The scope and depth of this study easily surpass any of Buttler's earlier efforts. It admirably outlines competing technical, political, and economic influences. Counterfactual history enthusiasts will love it. And I can't wait for his sequel on British bomber projects!


My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!