TSR.2 Air Defence Variant

During the development of the Lightning it became apparent that it would lack the range to intercept Soviet bombers armed with long range missiles before they could launch an attack on the UK. It was therefore decided to look for a long range interceptor to fill this gap. The favoured solution was the CF-105 Arrow, but Avro's existing production commitments meant none could be delivered to the RAF until 1969 at the earliest.

Thoughts then turned to a variant of the TSR.2 Eagle as an interim solution, which had initially been discounted due to the limitations posed by its wing – optimised for the low level strike mission the Eagle lacked the high altitude manoeuvrability required for the interceptor mission. However it was pointed out that the essentially modular construction of the aircraft would make it simple to substitute an alternative wing design – and the Eagle F.1 was born.

Fitted with the AI.23 system also installed in the Lightning, and armed with four Red Top heat seeking missiles ( the internal weapons bay being used for fuel ), the Eagle F.1 served until replaced by the Arrow in the early 1970s

Airfix TSR.2 kit, with wings from a Vigilante attached to the stubs of the original wing. Fin and tail surfaces are also from the Vigilante.