The gallery above reproduces an Intelligence Report from the U.S. Military Attache, London dated December 12, 1947 which was found in the files of the U.S. Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff, Development, Director of Research and Development, Aircraft Division, Airplane Branch, RG 341 at National Archives II in College Park, Maryland. The report describes the Armstrong Whitworth AW.56, a tailless heavy bomber proposal designed to Specification B.35/46, which ultimately produced the Avro 698 Vulcan, Handley Page HP.80 Victor, Vickers Valiant, and Short S.A.4 Sperrin. The design was characterized by large-span swept wings and the absence of a horizontal tailplane. It was powered by 5 Avon AJ.65 jet engines, 4 in the wing roots and 1 in the rear fuselage with its own dorsal intake. The AW.56 had a span of 120 ft, a length of 80 ft, and an all-up-weight of 113,000 lbs. To read more about the AW.56 and other V-Force bomber contenders, please refer to Tony Buttler’s excellent British Secret Projects: Jet Bombers Since 1949.
In the intelligence report, Kent K. Parrot, Major, Air Corps, Air Technical Liaison Officer, noted that of the 4 companies submitting unorthodox design studies to Specification B.35/46, Armstrong Whitworth had the best research background for their project. He also expressed great interest in the application of boundary layer control through the use of wing suction in the proposal. Parrot does not state how the information was acquired, though it was probably provided to him as part of an agreement to share technical military information between the two countries. The document features 7 high resolution drawings of the aircraft proposal showing the general arrangement and details of its construction; these can be viewed by clicking through the gallery above.
All images from NARA Archives II, College Park, MD, RG 341