ER.134 was drawn up to provide a research aircraft to investigate the supersonic flight regime up to and possibly beyond Mach 2.5.
Ostensibly a research aircraft, ER.134 was to investigate the planform and construction techniques to be used on theAvro 730 supersonic bomber. One of the primary tasks of the Bristol 188 was to investigate how structures would stand up to the kinetic heating that occurred at high Mach Numbers.
After the Avro 730 was cancelled the Bristol 188 continued as a research projects developing the construction techniques required for high-speed flight. Constructed from Stainless Steel the 188 posed considerable problems to the fabrication engineers at Bristol Aircraft. Many new techniques were developed including puddle welding and heat treatment.
The Bristol 188 was to be powered by a pair of De Havilland Gyron Junior turbojets. These were a scaled down version of the Gyron, the first turbojet to be developed in the UK for supersonic flight. Unfortunately the Gyron Junior was to suffer from high fuel consumption, which would restrict the endurance of the Bristol 188, thus preventing the airframe from heating up to the extent required.
Various proposals to develop the 188 were considered including, ramjets, rockets, a fighter version and reconnaissance variants. One serious proposal involved the fitting of "wedge" type intakes, but all came to naught.
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