[ College of Aeronautics, Cranfield. ] 'Secret' typed thesis, with 71 diagrams, on the interception of atomic bombers, titled 'Turning Performance and Manoeuvrability of Aircraft at Supersonic Speeds by Lieutenant (E) R. A. Langley, Royal Navy'.

Lieut-Commander R. A. Langley, Royal Navy [ College of Aeronautics, Cranfield; Nuclear War; Atomic Weapons ]
Publication details: 
The College of Aeronautics, Cranfield. May 1952.
SKU: 18233

The problem with which the thesis deals is summed up at the start: 'If war broke out in the near future, attack by atomic bombers would become an immediate possibility, and one of the biggest problems would be the defence of this Island, which, with its areas of dense population, particularly around its essential industries, would present many ideal targets to the enemy. It would, therefore, be essential to destroy, or attempt to destroy, each enemy bomber before it reached the coast. [...] In the immediate future [...] our first line of defence against enemy bombers must remain the pilot-manned interceptor-fighter, [...]'. The thesis consists of [7] + 65pp., folio, followed by 71 'figures' (many on graph paper) on a further 70 leaves, 68 of them folio and the other two larger fold-outs. In grey card folder, printed with the Cranfield crest and details, and with the title and date in manuscript. The word 'SECRET' in manuscript at heads of both the cover of the folder and the title-page. In fair condition, with light signs of age and wear, and the seven preliminary leaves somewhat creased and chipped. The seven pages preceding the text include a dedication page ('fama nihil est celerius'), lists of contents and illustrations, and full-page summary. The final page carries a list of references. There are also two pages of 'Notation'. The summary reads: 'The turning performance and manoeuvrability of aircraft at supersonic speeds has been investigated in order that the problems of aircraft interception at these speeds may be more easily understood. The range of investigation has been restricted to Mach numbers between 1.0 and 2.0, and to altitudes between 36,000 ft. and 50,000 ft. | A study of the manoeuvres likely to be undertaken by an interceptor-fighter when closing in to attack an enemy bomber flying at a Mach number of 0.9 indicates that, generally, only a small speed margin over the bomber is desirable in the turns, in order to keep the penetration of the bomber to a minimum and to avoid excessive normal acceleration on the fighter. But it is shown that at these low supersonic Mach numbers, 1.0 to 1.2, the minimum turning radius in the stratosphere may be limited by the maximum usable lift coefficient available, or by insufficient thrust to overcome the increased drag in the turn. Reheat considerably increases in manoeuvrability, and is considered to be essential for any interceptor-fighter of the immediate future designed to operate at these speeds and altitudes.' The only work by Langley listed on Copac is another College of Aeronautics production, co-written in 1953 with C. F. Bethwaite, and titled 'Note on research into some aspects of stall warning devices'. By 1962 Langley was a Lieutenant Commander, and having completed his appointment at the Escuela de Guerra Naval, Madrid, has been appointed Head of the Air Engineering Department, Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon, Plymouth.