After the end of the
second World War, the British
military felt there was
a need for an independent strategic bombing capability
that they should not be reliant upon the U.S. Strategic Air Command. In
1947, Air Ministry issued a request in the form of
Specification B.35/46 for an advanced jet bomber capable of carrying a
nuclear bomb, and other Specification B.14/46
for a more conservative jet bomber that
would provide insurance in case the advanced B.35/46 effort ran into
Vickers responded with the T.660
Valiant that became the the first V-bomber, and Short submitted SA.4 Sperrin
that was basically a
jet-powered version of World War II style bomber with conventional tail
assembly and straight wings.
Short received contract for two prototypes. The First Sperrin prototype
made its maiden flight in 1951. By this time, the Valliant project was
Air Ministry had decided that the Sperrin would not be put into
production, but work on the two prototypes was allowed to continue.
The Sperrin program was changed to serve as a research aircraft. The two
Sperrins were used in a variety of research trials that included Blue
Danube nuclear bomb test.