quicksilver-wsr wrote:The TSR2 debacle is one of those complex issues that is never satisfactorily resolved. The aircraft had room for bombs (nukes, if needed)
The nuclear requirement actually drove much of the design - basically the aircraft was sized around them.
There was a lot of politics, but a lot of people forget the inter-service politics. The RAF are documented to have worked very hard to exclude the Buccaneer from consideration, an aircraft that could do quite a lot of what TSR 2 could. That appears to have been one of the things driving the ambitious requirement - there had to be no possibility of Buccaneer being an option.
TSR 2 appeared at a time when many things were becoming possible but the technologies were not mature. When you look at the history of the broadly equivalent F-111 you can see that the issues that were becoming apparent with TSR 2 meant that the US had to wait a long time and spend a lot of money to get a worthwhile aircraft that didn't spend most of its time in bits. It was to early for an aircraft like TSR 2, whatever its flying qualities.
Neither was the organisational structure required to manage such complicated projects in place and 'bedded in'. This was still in many ways the case as late as the 1980s when Nimrod AEW failed. The approach that gave us the Lancaster was no longer good enough for such a complicated aircraft. Various people knew this and tried to do things about it (hence, in part, the much lamented consolidation of manufacturers) but the required changes were not in place until many years later (not that they are perfect now).
TSR 2 failed for many reasons in parallel. However the fallout and lessons learnt were part of what made the next iteration of aircraft possible.
Looking for single reasons, a-la newspaper headlines, is, in my experience, one of the major barriers to understanding history and military-technological history in particular.
PS: The small wings were good, given the aircrafts role. You want a high wing loading if you are at low level, otherwise you get bounced around by turbulence and accumulate huge amounts of fatigue that causes you to retire your aircraft early before (sometimes after) the wings drop off.