At the height of the Cold War in the 1960s the Soviet Union would have paid untold millions to gets its hands on a state-of-the-art, Bristol-made jet engine.
But now aviation buffs can buy it for £45,000 after it was put up for auction on the internet. The Bristol Siddeley Olympus 320 jet engine was used on the TSR-2 aircraft, a Cold War era plane which was considered state-of-the art but never went into action due to spiralling costs. The engine was built at the Bristol Siddeley factory in Filton in the 1960s. It is described on internet auction website eBay as a "stunning museum piece". The seller, Jet Art Aviation Ltd, says it a "monumental piece of aviation heritage". It suggests the engine – which was later developed and used in Concorde – would make a "serious addition to any major collection".
The cost of postage alone for the engine is listed as £1,200.
The aircraft design and development was considered ahead of its time and the plane was seen as the country's most advanced and capable military aircraft prior to its cancellation in April 1965. .
Only one prototype aircraft reached the test flight stage. Later it was ordered that all aircraft, engines, blueprints and tooling be destroyed to prevent the technology reaching enemy hands.
Two completed but untested aircraft survived and are now preserved, with one at the RAF museum at Cosford, Shropshire, and the other at the Duxford Imperial War Museum in Cambridgeshire.