AFTER the EAGLE

The machinations over replacing the cancelled TSR2 turned into a saga in themselves. In the Buccaneer, the RAF ended up with a splendid low-level strike aircraft rather by default, but — via the F-111K and a host of other contenders — it took a long time to get there WORDS: CHRIS GIBSON

TSR2 — or Eagle — XS944 in the markings of No 237 Operational Conversion Unit, earmarked as the OCU for the type. It went on to fulfil that role for the RAF’s Buccaneers.
CHRIS SANDHAM-BAILEY
F-111K — or Merlin — XV884 in No 12 Squadron colours. This serial was allocated to the first production example.
CHRIS SANDHAM-BAILEY

“Unless we abandon almost all our current commitments outside Europe we shall need an aircraft of the TSR2/ F-111A class for the strike/reconnaissance role in the 1970s and no alternative aircraft will suffice.”

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