Military Factory logo
Icon of F-15 Eagle military combat fighter aircraft
Icon of AK-47 assault rifle
Icon of Abrams Main Battle Tank
Icon of navy warships
Icon of a dollar sign
Icon of military officer saluting

Armstrong Whitworth AW.169

High-Altitude Mach 2 Interceptor Proposal

Armstrong Whitworth AW.169

High-Altitude Mach 2 Interceptor Proposal

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The Armstrong Whitworth AW.169 was proposed in the 1950s as a high-speed, high-altitude interceptor to counter the Soviet threat.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United Kingdom
YEAR: 1958
STATUS: Cancelled
MANUFACTURER(S): Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft - UK
PRODUCTION: 0
OPERATORS: United Kingdom (proposed/cancelled)
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Armstrong Whitworth AW.169 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 2
LENGTH: 83.66 feet (25.5 meters)
WIDTH: 51.67 feet (15.75 meters)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 55,116 pounds (25,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x de Havilland Gyron Junior PS.53 turbojet engines (wing-mounted); 1 x Spectre rocket (fuselage-mounted); Up to 15,000lb of combined thrust output.
SPEED (MAX): 1,553 miles-per-hour (2500 kilometers-per-hour; 1,350 knots)
CEILING: 60,039 feet (18,300 meters; 11.37 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 55,000 feet-per-minute (16,764 meters-per-minute)
ARMAMENT



PROPOSED:
2 x Air-to-Air Missiles (beam-riding or radar-directed) carried on wingtip mounts.
Graphical image of an air-to-air missile weapon
Graphical image of a short-range air-to-air missile
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-radar/anti-radiation missile
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• AW.169 - Base Series Designation.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Armstrong Whitworth AW.169 High-Altitude Mach 2 Interceptor Proposal.  Entry last updated on 3/19/2019. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
As tensions between the East and West rose during the Cold War period (1947-1991), and military technology advanced at a feverish pace alongside it, the primary conventional threat to Britain lay in the potent, nuclear-capable Soviet bomber force. Into the 1950s, by which point the turbojet engine was the undisputed road to future aerial victory, aircraft were ever-more capable of flying higher and faster than before - exceeding speeds beyond Mach 2. To counter the threat posed by potential marauding enemy raiders, various programs were undertaken by British aerospace firms to find a local solution in the form of a Mach 2-capable, high-altitude interceptor/day-night fighter.

Backdrop

From meetings and studies conducted throughout the early-to-mid-1950s, authorities drew up a "wish list" of sorts, detailing the type of interceptor that was required to stay one step ahead of the Soviets. This involved a design of very advanced form offering considerable performance with the capability to utilize an "all-in-one" weapons arrangement involving onboard systems and externally-launched Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs). Beyond the speed requirement would be an excellent rate-of-climb to ensure the aircraft could get to altitude in short order - and then fly out to the target at supersonic speeds. It was envisioned that a crew of two would be needed to properly man the airplane and its required systems and sub-systems to their fullest and it was also intended that this aircraft would reach Initial Operating Capability (IOC) as soon as 1962 - at which point several in-service interceptor-types would already be seeing their retirement. For the Armstrong Whitworth concern, the timetable saw a first-flight tentatively scheduled for mid-1959 and Initial Operating Capability (IOC) reached by mid-1962.

Specification F.155T was eventually written up and released on January 15th, 1955 for the new interceptor while a separate specification was forged for a compatible AAM that would supply the aircraft's inherent firepower (no fixed cannon armament was to be fitted).

The Radar Fit

The radar-of-choice for the new aircraft became the AI.18 ("Airborne Interception" Mk.18) series to be fitted into a hollowed-out space in the nosecone. This X-band unit would be supplied by GEC (General Electric Company) and built upon the framework of the existing Mk.16 series that was intended for the Gloster "Javelin" all-weather fighter-interceptor (detailed elsewhere on this site). This same unit went on to provide service for the new de Havilland "Sea Vixen" fleet defense fighter (also detailed elsewhere on this site). Range of the radar reached up to 20 miles.




The AW.169 Takes Shape

Armstrong Whitworth, having built planes since before the First World War (1914-1918), provided a possible design to fulfill the rather lofty requirement - this becoming the proposed "AW.169". Its layout had origins in the earlier research-minded AW.166 which helped to evolve the initiative. The resulting design utilized a super-slim, dart-like fuselage to contain the radar fit in the nose, a twin-seat, side-by-side cockpit emplacement, avionics, and fuel stores. The cockpit split the crew members by having only the pilot under the lightly-framed canopy seated towards port side and the radar operator buried (slightly lower) within the fuselage along starboard (under a shallow blister-style covering). The ultra-thin wing mainplanes were swept back at the leading edges and straight at the trailing edges with clipped wingtips. These members were further shoulder-mounted along the fuselage sides and positioned at midships. Passing through each member at their respective midway point was a "paired" engine nacelle utilizing a single aspiration point (complete with variable-depth, high-speed shock cone) at front and split exhaust ports at rear. The nacelles extended well-ahead of the wing leading edges. The tail unit would rely on a single vertical fin supporting high-mounted, all-moving horizontal planes. For ground-running, a short-legged conventional, retractable tricycle arrangement would be featured. Construction would incorporate lightweight, though strong, alloys.

The interceptor's weapon loadout was to be 2 x Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs), one seated at each wingtip. This would be used in conjunction with the nose-mounted radar fit and onboard crew-managed systems to create a potent ranged counter for Soviet bombers.

Engines and Structure

Power would stem from 4 x de Havilland "Gyron Junior" PS.53 turbojet afterburning (reheat) engines paired with a single Spectre rocket unit offering upwards of 15,000lb of thrust combined. The Gyron Junior, a downsized version of the de Havilland Gyron, was in-the-works in the early-to-mid-1950s and first-run in August of 1955. It entered service with such types as the eventual Blackburn "Buccaneer" naval fighter detailed elsewhere on this site. The rocket unit, buried in the underside of the fuselage, was intended for short-term concentrated bursts. This sort of augmented performance would have assisted in getting the new interceptor to the required Mach 2.0 speeds (and much faster in a dive).

Dimensionally, the aircraft was to have a running length of 84 feet with a span of 51.7 feet, making it much more long than wide. By the end of it all, the AW.169 was to gross in the vicinity of 54,000lb making it a large, powerful interceptor on paper.

The End of the Road

Despite the promise held by the AW.169 design, it never advanced beyond its paper stage, a cockpit mockup, and wind tunnel testing. There was considerable work still to be had for this advanced interceptor form so attempting to make the 1962 IOC date was a long shot at best. As such, it went on to join many other offerings of the period in going nowhere - but nevertheless showed just how forward-thinking British aerospace was in the "Age of the Turbojet".




MEDIA







Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 1600mph
Lo: 800mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (1,553mph).

    Graph average of 1200 miles-per-hour.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
0
0

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.


Site Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy  |  Cookies  |  Site Map

www.MilitaryFactory.com. Site content ©2003- MilitaryFactory.com, All Rights Reserved.

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world.


Facebook Logo