BAC TSR.2 XR220
Taken at the RAF Museum Cosford on 24 September 2003.
During October 1960 an initial order was placed with the British Aircraft Corporation for nine prototype aircraft. These were assigned the consecutive registration codes XR219 to XR227. XR220 was the second prototype built and was due to be completed by January 1964. However manufacturing and logistical problems with XR219 caused a delay in XR220's roll-out.
By 9th September 1964 XR220 was ready to join XR219 at Boscombe Down for testing. XR220 was dismantled and transported to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire only for her tail section to be damaged in transit when the trailer it was being transported on jack-knifed. It wasn't until 24th February 1965 that XR220 completed her first successful engine ground tests. After successfully completing a series of ground tests XR220 was prepared for her maiden flight.
On 6th April 1965, the day of her maiden flight, the Labour Government terminated the project. Whitehall were doubtless aware that XR220 was due to fly that day and ministers were conscious that a successful flight would make it even more difficult to justify the cancellation of the TSR-2. She remained at Boscombe Down and was utilised in noise evaluation ground tests as part of the Concorde programme. Her Bristol-Siddeley Olympus 22R-320 engines were a direct predecessor to the Rolls-Royce Snecma Olympus 593 engines used in Concorde.
On 1st February 1967, airframe XR220 was transferred to MOD (Air) for preservation. A few months later, on 20th June 1967 she was transferred by road to RAF Henlow, home to the RAF Signals Engineering Establishment. There, XR220 was placed in storage in a hangar and was largely forgotten. By 1973 plans to move XR220 to the newly opened museum at RAF Cosford in Shropshire were formulated. On 4th May 1975, XR220 was dismantled and transferred to the RAF Museum Collection at Cosford. She is now in Hangar 2 at the RAF Museum Cosford and represents a significant aircraft in the Research and Development collection. She is one of only two surviving TSR-2 aircraft, the other being at Duxford.
Picture added on 23 January 2008