Liberator Space fighter/Recce platformEdit
The USA and the USSR had been to space and the UK and the New Commonwealth where not about to be left behind in this race.
The UK on it's own just coudn't afford this effort , and so it approached the members of the New Commonwealth for support, be it monetry, technology or any support the country could give. The responce was imediate and thankfully positive, with as one Canadian minister put it " Canada and it's New Commonwealth partners, stand ready to particeipate in this effort to put a Britain in Space ".
The inital work on the rockets to get them there was based upon the various marks of the Black Prince Ballistic missile. Finally culmanating in the Black Prince 12 which launched the first Britain into space in 1974 from the Commonwealth space centre in Kenya.
From now on missions into space where a regular feature of Commonwealth news broadcasts and newsreels, with Pilots and navigators from Canada, Australia, Singapore, South Africa to name just a few taking part in the programme.
Later in the 1970's reports circulating from the USA ( NASA was riddled with foreign spies and no secret could be kept ) made the Uk aware of the new plans for the Space Shuttle. The UK at the time could not afford this type of comitment but it was decided that they could afford a single seat craft of this type, a craft that could be used to protect the New Commonwealth's sattelite system and to degrade and possibly destroy others should it become necessary.
The programme to produce the UK's space plane was a hard one, with false starts and failurs but with technology transfers from NASA ( I mentioned the spying thing earlier ) the team was able to push the P2000 to production and service entry by 1987.
The P2000 entered RAF Space Command under the name of Liberator, she was named for the craft used by Blake in the hugely popular Blakes 7, and recieved a warm welcome from space geeks and tv heads throughout the new Commonwealth.
As a single seater the craft could only be trusted to the most able of the RAF's pilots and it is perhaps ironic that the first 5 missions were flown by Royal Navy pilots seconded to the RAF, but she proved a tame ride and no misshap is recorded anywhere.
The only known military service she performed was during the 91 disaster when two Liberator's sowed mines in US and Soviet sattelite orbits ( for mines read steel cubes, each capable of doing enough damage to a ROSAT to render it unserviceable ) and one instance of using its Purdey designed smoothbore ball-bearing airgun on the space shuttle Endevour, though no record of any damage exists.
Neither craft was recovered after the disaster and no more were launched, the only example extent at the moment resides in the Imperial war museum at the Capitol city of Oxford.