Catalogue description Records of the Civil Aircraft Research and Development Branch and Successors

Details of Division within SUPP
Reference: Division within SUPP
Title: Records of the Civil Aircraft Research and Development Branch and Successors

Records of the Civil Aircraft Research and Development Branch and successors relating to responsibilities for supersonic transport projects comprising registered files in SUPP 29

Date: 1956-1988
Related material:

For files originating in the Air Ministry and Ministry of Aircraft Production which continued in use in the Ministry of Supply see Ministry of Aviation, Division within AVIA

See also AVIA 27

Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Department of Trade and Industry, Concorde Branch, 1983-1988

Department of Trade and Industry, Concorde Division, 1971-1974

Department of Trade, Concorde Branch, 1974-1983

Ministry of Aviation Supply, Concorde Branch, 1970-1971

Ministry of Aviation, Civil Aircraft Research and Development Branch,, 1959-1961

Ministry of Aviation, Concord Branch, 1966-1967

Ministry of Aviation, Directorate of Civil and Transport Aircraft, Research and Development, 1961-1966

Ministry of Supply, Civil Aircraft Research and Development Branch, 1956-1958

Ministry of Technology, Concorde Branch, 1967-1970

Physical description: 1 series
Administrative / biographical background:

When the Ministry of Aircraft Production was dissolved on 1 April 1946 responsibility for the design, development and production of aircraft for the Admiralty and Air Ministry passed to the Ministry of Supply. It was dealt with in a separate Air Division under a controller of supplies (air), renamed controller of aircraft in 1953, who, although an officer of the Ministry of Supply, had a seat on the Air Council.

The ministry also became responsible for the work of certain Experimental Establishments previously under the Ministry of Aircraft Production. However, the technical control of Groups 43 and 41 of RAF Maintenance Command for the repair, modification, etc of aircraft returned to the Air Ministry in April 1946 and July 1947, respectively.

The Ministry of Supply changed its name to the Ministry of Aviation in October 1958 when it assumed the civil aviation functions of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.

The Civil Aircraft Research and Development Branch was under the charge of the Director of Aircraft, Civil. Its responsibilities included the development of civil aircraft projects, military versions of civil aircraft projects, and civil and military versions of certain helicopters; development of airfield and aircraft passenger equipment, sanitation and water systems; project analysis and performance estimations on civil and military transport aircraft, and the collection and analysis of data on foreign transports.

The Civil Aircraft Research and Development Branch changed its name in 1961 to the Directorate of Civil and Transport Aircraft, Research and Development, within the Aircraft General Services Division. (The name of the latter was changed to Aircraft General Services, Research and Development Division, in October 1961.)

It was responsible for assessment (including economics) of existing projected civil transport aircraft, and of requirements and proposals for developments of current military transport projects; provision of data on performance characteristics of military transport aircraft; liaison with Corporations, the Air Ministry (subsequently MOD (Air Force Department), ARB and RAE; technical preparation and supervision of special contracts on behalf of ARB; weight analysis and estimation; collection of data on foreign transport aircraft; special investigations and development of supersonic transport.

By May 1961, the title of the Director had changed to the Director of Aircraft, Civil and Transport, having been titled the Director of Civil Aircraft, Research and Development since April 1960. A separate Concord Division was set up in December 1966.

When the Ministry of Aviation was abolished in February 1967, its responsibilities for sponsorship of the aircraft industry and its research and development functions passed (along with the Concord Division) to the Ministry of Technology (Mintech). During its stay in Mintech, when the division became known as the Concorde Division, it was headed by a Director General/Concorde who was responsible for the technical direction of the Concorde project, comprising executive responsibility for the development of the airframe and equipment, co-ordinating responsibility for the development of the engine. These aspects were handled by Section 1a of the Concorde Branch, whilst Section 1b took executive responsibility for engine manufacture.

In October 1970, the Mintech's Aviation Group (which included the Concorde Division) passed, with the Mintech responsibilities for aerospace research, development and procurement, to the new Ministry of Aviation Supply. Although the Ministry of Aviation Supply was not formally dissolved until 1 May 1971, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) assumed in April 1971 responsibility for the Ministry's main policy areas. The Concorde Division, with its two branches, passed therefore to the DTI.

The main policy areas that DTI assumed from the Ministry of Aviation Supply in 1971 involved sponsorship of the aerospace industry; government's relations with Rolls Royce, Short Bros and Harland & Beagle Aircraft; Concorde; research and development on civil aircraft, aero-engines and associated equipment as well as non-defence uses of space.

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research