13th September 2023 – British S—-t Projects: Jet Fighters since 1950

Tony Buttler – British S—-t Projects: Jet Fighters since 1950

This lecture looks at the development of British Jet Fighters from the late 1940s, starting with the programmes that led to the Hawker Hunter, Gloster Javelin and de Havilland Sea Vixen generation and finishing with Eurofighter Typhoon. However, it does not concentrate on just hardware, but instead looks at many of the competing designs which stayed on the drawing board. These are known as ‘S—-t Projects’ because for years it was not possible to access the original brochures and proposal documents because of the 30-Year secrecy rule. But from about the 1990s onwards these papers started to become available and that gave the opportunity to put together a history of British Jet Fighter development from a different angle. For example, including unbuilt proposals enables a review to be made of the long range interceptor programme from the mid-1950s which, as a competition, was won by the Fairey ‘Delta Three’, a design for a very large aircraft which in the end was never ordered. Where possible, references to the radars intended for the various types will be included and there is a large selection of project model photos and 3-view drawings, plus images of those types that were built.

Tony Buttler MA AMRAeS

For twenty years Tony Buttler worked as a metallurgist at High Duty Alloys (part of the Hawker Siddeley Group) analysing and testing aluminium and titanium forgings manufactured for the aircraft and defence industries. It was during this period, working in the aircraft industry, that his deep interest in military aircraft was established. In 1994 he took a Masters Degree in Information Science and Archives at Loughborough University and since 1995 he has been a full-time aviation historian and author.

Since then he has written 42 major books, numerous titles in the Warpaint series of modeller’s books and well over a hundred articles for all of the important historical aviation magazines. He also presents lectures to branches of the Royal Aeronautical Society and to other aviation bodies and groups. His foremost area of interest and research has always been the design and development of military aircraft covering the period from the mid-1930s to the 1980s.

In 2017 Buttler became a member of the Society’s Historical Group Committee, and in November 2022 he received the Society’s Aeronautical Heritage Specialist Group Award for that year in recognition of his contribution to aviation history.