Aircraft production: Swift

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Aircraft production: Swift

S.Ll.

Mark 3, tho' improved, is not fit for operational (squadron) service because not efficient at heights required. Mark 4. 40 are nearly finished & will have to be accepted. But further Hunters will have to be bought for use in lieu. Marks 5 & 7 : better hopes, because improvemt. in Mark. 4, tht. these will be satisf. for role intended. Shall know in a month's time – about 5. Mark 6 is out because role wd. be at gt. height, where machine is inefficient. Mark 7 : we shall know in 3 mos. wtr it will work with Blue Sky. Decisions recommended. i) replace Mark 4's by Hunters. Tho' accept delivery of 40. ii) m'tain order 50 Mark 5.'s. Further decn. in a month. iii) m'tain order for 30 Mark 7.'s. Further decn. in 3 months. iv) cancel order for Mark 6. This wd. keep firm in being & capable of producg. new naval fighter. If Mark 7 is successful, rather more can be ordered later. As insurance – iv) see wtr fighter recce equipmt. (Mark 5) can be fitted into Hunter. This is easy to ascertain. v) On Mark 7. Order Blue Sky weapons. Explore means of converting Hunter to take it. When weapons are ready (16 mos) we shall have one or other aircraft to take it. Some risk : but justified by avoidance of delay in producing guided missiles, in which RAF need early practice.

H.M.

Support these recommns. Throughout this, better has bn. enemy of good – partly for financial reasons. If we wait for Blue Jay and Javelin, we bank on getting both right and in time. Sorry to think we were putting all our g. missiles into this basket. Therefore, we shd. make Blue Sky. For what aircraft? Prs. Swift will, with Mark 7. But also adapt Hunter to carry it. And off-load some work fr. Hawkers to other firms. Need also to keep Vickers' team in being for prodn. of naval fighters. Addl. cost of our recommns., as cpd. with cutting losses, is £3 M.

D.S.

Support these recommns. Always diff. to know when to abandon attempts to improve. 18 mos. ago it was thght Swift wd. be better than Hunter. But this is moment to admit tht. Swift has failed as all-purpose fighter. Will this affect off-shore orders for Hunters? Wd. increased demands for our own use reduce those earnings?

S.Ll.

Prodn. will be 50 a month. May be some delay. But manageable. Shall have to run prodn. for another 6/9 months. de. L. Strong support for recommns. On g. missiles, it wd. be wrong to rely wholly on one method. Blue Sky is diff. system fr. Blue Jay – which may not work, tho' superior in conceptn.

R.A.B.

Cost of these recommns. : £24½ M. in addn. to £10 M. on Marks 1-3?2. Cost of cancellg. all : £21 M. – but more Hunters & Canberras wd. then be needed. My only doubt is wtr we produce Blue Sky. Wd. like to discuss that further with H.M. Spent £5 M. on research. Tho' I'm disposed to accept this. Agreed : Accept recommns., subject to R.A.B. discussg. with M/D. proposals re Blue Sky weapons.

P.M.

Form of announcement. Avoid impn. tht. Swift is a total failure.

H.M.

Don't want to say things wh. we may soon have to contradict. Can't avoid implying doubts about Swift. Tho' we must be careful not to damage morale of firm. Read provisional draft answer. Approved in principle.

Taken from C. 16(55) - Meeting held on 22 February 1955.