Aircraft Type Index

Jet Fighter Planes Index



Saunders-Roe SR.53 Jet Fighter Plane

The Saunders-Roe SR.53 was designed as a high altitude interceptor for the RAF, it's purpose was to intercept and "stop" soviet nuclear bombers with only limited warning, it was an unusual design in that it was powered by both a turbojet and a rocket engine which used kerosene with hydrogen peroxide as an oxidiser. It was intended that the SR.53's rocket engine would only be used when either very high speed or the need to gain altitude very rapidly was required, fuel for the Spectre HTP rocket engine only being sufficient for seven minutes total burn time.

Saunders-Roe SR.53 Jet Fighter Plane


Only two SR.53's flew, the first prototype making it's first flight in may 1957. The SR.53 project was almost immediately abandoned due to advances in technology rendering the need for a duel power interceptor redundant, the more conventional English Electric Lightening was showing great potential and SAM (surface-to-air) missiles like the Bristol Bloodhound appeared to be able to negate the potential Soviet bomber threat, this was simultaneously combined with the need for defence cutbacks by the British Government.

Saunders-Roe SR.53 Specifications:

  • Crew: Pilot only
  • Length: 45 ft 0 in (13.72 m)
  • Wingspan: 25 ft 1 in (7.66 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 10 in (3.30 m)
  • Wing area: 274 ft (25.5 m)
  • Empty weight: 7,400 lb (3,360 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 18,400 lb (8,360 kg)
  • Engines: Single 1,640 lb (7.3 kN) Armstrong Siddeley Viper 8 turbojet and a single 8,000 lbf (35.7 kN) de Havilland Spectre 5a rocket motor
  • Maximum speed: Mach 2.2 (at 45,000 ft (13,700 m)
  • Service ceiling: 67,000 ft
  • Rate of climb: 52,800 ft/min (270 m/s)
  • Endurance at full power: 7 minutes (rocket motor fuel capacity limit)

Saunders-Roe SR.53 Armament:

  • Missiles: Twin wing-tip mounted de Havilland Firestreak infra-red guided missiles

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