Britain's Hawker Siddeley undertook several design studies in the period that preceded the selection of the Eurofighter "Typhoon" for the Royal Air Force (RAF). This included the earlier HS.1200 series of 1976 (detailed elsewhere on this site) which was inevitably followed by the "HS.1201". Whereas the single-seat, single-engine HS.1200 sported an appearance not unlike the American General Dynamics F-16 "Fighting Falcon" (save for the use of twin vertical tail fins), the HS.1201 was a completely different approach involving the engine (housed in a nacelle) seated over the rear section of the fuselage. The HS.1201 was detailed as a light-class fighter promising ease-of-maintenance, low cost operation and exceptional speed.
In either case, neither design was selected for further development.
The HS.1201 held a slim fuselage shape with the single-seat cockpit positioned at its usual place near the nose. Radar would have been housed in the sharply-pointed nosecone. The pilot sat reclined (as in the F-16 to help increase G-tolerance for the operator) in the ejection seat and a lightly framed canopy provided excellent vision out-of-the-cockpit. The positioning of the intended Rolls-Royce engine over the fuselage allowed the fuselage proper to be as small in area as possible and contributed immensely to the lightweight nature of this fighter. This also aided in maintenance and repair accessibility as well as general replacement of the entire unit, keeping long-term operating costs to a minimum.
The wing mainplane members (of variable incidence design) were situated at midships and given slightly sweptback trailing lines and noticeably sweptback leading edges. Each member was home to a single hardpoint and the wingtips were reserved for Air to-Air Missiles (AAMs). The tail section sat the single engine installation atop a short supporting structure, the powerplant straddled on either side by outward-canted vertical tail fins shielding the engine's heat output to an extent while also doubling as horizontal planes (this tailplane arrangement known as a "V-tail" or "Butterfly Tail"). Ground-running would be accomplished by a conventional, retractable / wheeled tricycle arrangement with the main legs located under each mainplane and the nose leg positioned under and aft of the cockpit area.
Because of the slim nature of the overall design, the 27mm internal automatic cannons were buried within the wing mainplanes to better address engagement angles in a dogfight (and work closely with the mainplane's variable incidence design). With missiles expended, dogfights would inevitably evolved into a turning battle in an attempt to gain the advantageous "kill shot". The gun pods therefore produced outcroppings at each wing leading and trailing edges and ultimately would share internal volume with the main landing gear assemblies. Beyond the cannon armament there would be 4 x AIM-9 "Sidewinder" missiles carried giving the fighter proper footing against enemy marauders - be they like-minded fighter types or bombers emerging from Soviet bases.
Designs in the HS.1201 study series would go on to include the "HS.1201-6" (RB.199 engine, full-span flaps), the "HS.1201-7" (RB.409-50R engine of 9,710lb dry thrust and 17,310lb with afterburner), the "HS.1201-8" (RB.246-06 engine), and the "HS.1201-9" (RB.409-50R engine, leading edge strakes, fixed wing mainplanes). As drawn up, the aircraft were given a running length of 49.9 feet with a wingspan of 33.6 feet. Weight reached 23,000lb when fully loaded with fuel and missiles and estimated performance included a top speed nearing Mach 1.4 (at about 6,000 feet of altitude).
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