Sunday, October 11, 2015

Book Review: British Secret Projects: Jet Fighters Since 1950

Tony Buttler
British Secret Projects: Jet Fighters Since 1950
Hinkley, UK: Midland Publishing, 2000
Category: Aviation History

Rating: 4-Stars

As one of the originators of the jet engine, it is only natural that the United Kingdom should have a rich history of jet aircraft design - many of which were actually built and flown as demonstrators or prototypes, and many more of which never made it that far.  This book provides a survey of these aircraft - the ones that didn't quite make it into production or which were the forerunners of later, production fighters.

Drawing on original archives and preserved aircraft, this book chronicles the forerunners of such aircraft as the Harrier, the Panavia Tornado, the Eurofighter Typhoon, even the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.  All of these aircraft had all, or at least part of their origins in the UK-developed concepts and flight test articles that preceded them.  The Typhoon, for example, underwent a series of concept iterations - even prior to the flight of the British/German EAP (Experimental Aircraft Program) that was its most immediate and obvious predecessor.  And British developers pioneered many of the concepts for vertical and short take-off and landing jet fighters that later influenced the design of the F-35.

Well written and laid out, with plenty of illustrations and photographs, Tony Buttler's volume has earned a well deserved place in preserving the aviation history that many of us take for granted today.

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