British Aircraft Corporation (BAC)
British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) was created in 1960 after government pressure to rationalise an industry where ‘far too many companies were competing for a diminishing number of contracts’.
Out of this policy came the decision to only offer new contracts to organisations that had been formed through various mergers and take-overs.
One of the first contracts to be awarded was for the TSR-2, a supersonic all-weather strike reconnaissance aircraft to replace the English Electric Canberra. Vickers-Armstrongs were selected as prime contractor with English Electric Aviation as sub-contractor. An initial amalgamation was agreed and soon after Bristol Aircraft Limited and Hunting Aircraft Limited subsequently joined the group.
In 1963, BAC acquired the guided weapons interests of both Bristol and English Electric and in addition created companies to serve the newly-emerging space and electronics industries.
The cancellation of the TSR-2 project in 1965 was a major blow to the company although their continued success in the civil airliner market with the BAC1-11, and in the military sector with the improved Lightning, Canberra and new BAC Strikemaster meant that the factories were still stretched to capacity.
British Aircraft Corporation Headquarters at Weybridge
BAC reached agreement with Bregeut in 1966 to build the SEPECAT Jaguar Attack Aircraft and the first of eight prototypes flew in September 1968. Soon after, MBB, Fiat and Fokker joined forces with BAC (in March 1969) and formally created Panavia Aircraft GmbH to produce the Panavia Tornado, of which 992 were produced worldwide.
A major landmark in world aviation was established on 2nd March 1969 with the first flight of Anglo-French Concorde. The supersonic airliner would set new levels of comfort and performance on routes around the world and was said to be the pinnacle of British aviation engineering expertise.
Alongside the accomplishments of BAC, the Hawker Siddeley Group were also experiencing success with the likes of the Harrier 'Jump Jet' and Trident airliner, and both companies competed side-by-side for contracts throughout the 1960’s and early 1970’s - that was until the British Government indicated their desire for the two entities to merge.
However, it wasn’t until 29th April 1977 that British Aircraft Corporation, Hawker Siddely Aviation (and independant Scottish Aviation) were all finally nationalised and a new company emerged, British Aerospace Plc.
||English Electric Aviation Ltd
||Bristol Aircraft Limited
||Hunting Aircraft Limited
||British Aircraft Corporation