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Alternatives to the Bloodhound SAM in RAF service

uk 75

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The Bloodhound SAM was one of the most successful Cold War weapon systems. It served faithfully right up until the end of the Cold War both in the UK and overseas (until 1977 in Germany and before then in Cyprus(?) and Singapore).

The rest of NATO (even France) used Hawk for the same role. The larger and longer range Nike family was used to provide the NATO belt in Germany, Italy and Turkey.

Would the UK have been better served by another system in the 80s
 

uk 75

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Sorry, the last bit of that seems to have got lost

Would the UK have been better served by a different system in the 80s?

Should the UK have procured Patriot or another system for use after the Cold War?
 

alertken

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There's no simple A to this Q. In purely business terms GW has poorly rewarded UK-Plc's investment. cf US, clearly sheer volume of the home market put US in the position where a battery or two/a squadron or ship or two's loadout could be slipped off production across a shift or two. Seaslug, quite evidently, was a misuse of British resources - AWA/Whitley consumed 2 decades to kit out, was it 8 vessels. Nuts. Despite much infusion of US data under various "exchange" Memoranda, little that we did was on-spec, less was on-time, nix was on-budget. UK would have been better off building zero GW and taking what US or France would sell, or if politicos insisted on the jobs angle, licence. Bloodhound, and the nonsensical duplication of Thunderbird, added nothing to National Defence that could not have been met by Hawks in their endless iterations. NATO Hawk Program/SETEL consortium could have/should have included UK. MIM-23B Improved Hawk was still with 20 Users in 1999. HSD did good work for years overhauling them.

We did it because Ministers were persuaded that UK must retain competence across the board of military technology. That is an entirely legitimate position - you never can tell...if today's firm buddy might renege tomorrow. France took the same position. My criticism of the managerial record of GB Dynamics is that France did a better job, selling several products widely, inc. to US Forces. I think Skyflash-on-Viggen was UK's sole AAM exported discretely from a UK platform, where, e.g Magic, has non-Gallic applications.
 

pathology_doc

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I think Skyflash-on-Viggen was UK's sole AAM exported discretely from a UK platform

I gather you're not counting Red Top/Firestreak to the Saudis and Kuwaitis because they were sold as an integral part of the Lightning's armament, which seems quite valid. I'm given to understand that one of the things that put the brakes on the RAAF Avon Sabre getting Firestreak is that the only internal volume left for the missile support equipment (electronics, cooling bottles etc.) was the gun bays, whereupon AIM-9B was a no-brainer.


That is an entirely legitimate position - you never can tell...if today's firm buddy might renege tomorrow.


Given the USA's stance post-war with regard to nuclear weapons, I'd say that was entirely justified. There was every reason for the Brits to suspect they might be stiffed down the track (and then look what happened in Suez).

Why, when the British Army got two perfectly reasonable SARH SAMs, did the RN have to settle for a poxy beamrider that never fired more than a handful of shots in anger even when its platforms were in the combat zone? This is one of the great mysteries, as is the fact that British industry DID produce those two SARH SAMs very successfully and yet never fielded a successful radar-guided AAM until Skyflash. (If I'm granted my wishes in heaven, I would very much like to visit the alternative reality in which Red Dean actually got to its live firing trials before cancellation.)
 

CNH

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Bloodhound did a very good job up to the end of the Cold War, when it became redundant (if can you say this of a missle never fired in anger!).

Buy American? Those wonderful Americans SAMs were not in production when we began development of Red Duster, and it can be argued that Red Duster was one of those rare British projects whoich did what it was suppose to do.

Sea Slug? Sigh. Slagged off so much. Look at when the requirement was issued, and what the state of the art was. Put Bloodhound on ships - sure, if you can afford the space. Beam rider - bad idea, but that wasn't obvious at the time. There is no better judge of 'They should have ...' than hindsight.
 

CJGibson

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Indeed. I agree with Nick. Which horse would you have backed in 1949? Ramjet? Rocket? My view is that when the Brakemine team and the talented Flt Lt Benson were wound up, UK GW lost a lot of ground.
Add Dr Beeching's heavy AA working party into the mix and decision making gets somewhat interesting. Remember that Red Duster was more or less a test vehicle for the entire SAGW programme.

Chris
 

pathology_doc

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This is also all wound up in wider UK AD strategy, as early as the mid 50s the UK gave up trying to defend the whole of the UK against air attack and soon abandoned even trying to provide defence to populated areas

Wasn't the problem here (or at least one of the major problems) affordability?

- which further eroded the market for British missiles and systems.

Granted, subject to affordability of course - what would you have ditched to pay for a Bloodhound battery or two around every major city? Or are you positing that large-scale adoption at home would automatically translate into sales abroad?

with the decision not to pursue ABM the UK essentially embraced annihilation in case of war.

But IIRC the thinking there was that there was no realistic way to stop all the incoming ICBMs because there wasn't enough fissile material for both the ABM warheads (nuclear was essential, and probably still is) and those for the deterrent; and even a moderate proportion of enemy warheads getting through would be enough to render the British Isles uninhabitable. So you might as well protect the deterrent, if anything, and let the other side know that if it tries any bullshit it's losing several of its major cities.

In any case, the whole point of the nuclear deterrent is that both sides know they face annihilation (or in the case of a USSR vs. UK war with the US inexplicably sitting on the sidelines, too much pain for Krushchev to justify pushing the button).
 

pathology_doc

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Looking again at your post, it appears to me that you stated that it HAD happened but not why. That being said, we are at least in agreement.

Of course it's the big argument - do you bite the bullet and contract for more, knowing that the unit price will be reduced and you might sell some abroad or get another squadron/battery loadout or two a few years down the road, or do you stay within your means, buy the whole production batch in FY X through Y, and accept that you might never find customers?

Ultimately an obsolescent SAM defending your airbases is better than none at all, but what would you replace it with? Sea Dart in a fixed land installation? How hard would that be, when the technology is proven anyway and the production line already exists?
 

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Sea Dart was no good for defending the V bombers bases - not nearly enough range. One of the reasons why Bloodhound was so large was that it was very long range (>100 miles).

Thunderbird had a range of about 50 miles; Sea Slug 15 miles. Producing one design that would fit the three requirements would not have been easy.

Something that baffles me: Sea Slug was widely condemned for being a beam rider. How difficult would it have been to take the guidance system form Bloodhound and fit it to Sea Slug? You wouldn't have to make any mods to the missile. Different radar fit to the ship, but that's not difficult.
 

uk 75

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I think Bloodhound at least was a good buy. The only alternative would have been to join the
NATO Nike Hercules programme. But when we purchased Bloodhound we wanted to be able to send them out to Cyprus or Singapore by air.

Hawk and Thunderbird met a similar requirement. I think joining Hawk and scrapping would have made some sense, thought we did manage to export Thunderbird to Libya (cancelled thru a coup) and Saudi or Kuwait (who then replaced it with I Hawk).
 

uk 75

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Sorry the computer crashed in mid thought.

Seaslug could only have been replaced by a member of the Terrier family (Tartar was shorter
ranged). Until the arrival of Standard this system took up more ship space than Seaslug and
needed a Cruiser (Vittorio/Garibaldi or De Zeven Provinzien) to ship it. France developed Masurca along Terrier lines much later than Seaslug and it took up about the same amount of space.
Beamriders were popular for shooting down slowish moving bombers (the likely threat). Like Terrier Seaslug could also be hurled at a surface target with devastating effects.

Back to my thread. In Hackett's World War 3 book Bloodhound has been partially replaced in 1985 by "Eurosam". This was the long drawn out programme which also helped produce the Aster (Sea Viper) now carried on Type 45s. In fact a Type 45 can more than meet the Bloodhound air defence role on its own, and is of course much more mobile and flexible. In the absence of a Continental Army requirement (already met in any case by the German and US Patriot batteries in the late 80s) the Type 45 is the Bloodhound replacement. I imagine the same would be true for the Falklands.

Also, Corgi produced a great Bloodhound playset when I was a kid!
 

sferrin

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Land-based Talos might not have been a bad idea for adoption on both sides of the pond.
 

zen

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I think there was a case for Green Flax (aka Thunderbird II) to be mounted instead of SeaSlug.
Certainly that would impact on the County class destroyers and their useful life. As it would any successor.

That said SeaSlug worked at the time, and was extensively proven. I've heard report it was a reliable system due to the effort put in.

But yes was it the right course?

Well I think there are a host of factors that make direct import of anothers weaponry a hazardous proposition. Exchange rates and currency reserves play a part in the decision.
Not good saying our kit is not so good if its more affordable, and buying foreign will actualy reduce the available funds for the rest of the military procurement.

Licensing has more attractions, but depends on the cost of the license and the terms (restrictions).

Bloodhound was exported, not something likely with any license build weapon, let alone imports.

By the 80's we're into convoluted territory.
IF..........if SAM.72 was persued, would'nt this be the solution?
IF.......if we have naval thunderbird, we have no SeaDart at least as early as we did, so do we see a Successor to naval thunderbird or a development of SeaDart?

Its strange of course that when I asked what people would choose for the UK overall they avoided the matter, yet here we are debating a specific choice with the usual meanderings about importing foreign.
So do excuse me if I get a little bugged by the avoidance of answering what the UK should do for itself.
 

pathology_doc

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sealordlawrence said:
Buying more only lowers unit prices so far, any system will ultimately always end up costing x amount.


Sea Dart was proposed in a land based version- look it up.
Oh, I was thinking of digging pits and dropping in complete Type 42 systems. WIth extended magazines and possibly larger or higher-thrust boosters for longer range.
 
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uk 75

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Landdart

In the Salamander book on Rockets and missiles Landdart is illustrated as a simple transposition
of the system on a Type 42 to a land base (there is some BAe artwork showing it).

The 4 round launcher
http://www.skomer.u-net.com/projects/seadart.htm
was part of the Guardian air defence system proposed initially after the Falklands War.

Thunderbird

When the BAOR took Thunderbird Mk2 out of service in the 70s it was replaced by a combination of
Rapier against low flying aircraft and reliance on the NATO I Hawk belt for Corps defence. In the 70s noone envisaged a British field army needing such a system outside Europe.

Comparison with foreign systems

I do wish British colleagues would remember that this site is visited by non-Brits as well. It is useful to look at all options in what-if, including foreign source systems and compare the capabilities on offer. In the case of Bloodhound this was initially only Nike missiles but later on in the 80s the Norwegians adopted a Sparrow derivative which was a contender for the UK sam replacement.

Bloodhound Seaslug and Thunderbird

Although hindsight makes the missiles look cumbersome and odd, I think it is fair to say that all three were
decent and effective for much of their lives. Seaslug compared well with the early Terriers. It should have been replaced by Seadart frigates much earlier, but Seadart proved an equally hard missile to develop. But so too did the US Standard missiles (France gave up Masurca and bought Tartar until the Aster came online).
Neither Thunderbird nor Hawk were as mobile as their developers hoped. It took the Soviets to develop tracked mobile SAMs in this role (but of course they had no funding limits). Patriot in its Sam D form was initially highly tracked mobile, but this had to be given up.
 

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CNH

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You say the shape was horrendous, but it is difficult to see how to design it any other way, given the storage limitations. With four boosters and a sustainer, the layout was not pretty but it was logical.

The trials on GirdleNess don't mention any break up problems.
 
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JFC Fuller

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Both Friedman and Polmar mention break-up problems, Friedman mentions they occurred during the Woomera for the Mk1 and that there were similar problems with the MkII in 1971. Both authors question whether the MkII ever actually formerly entered service. R.J Daniels was ultimately head of the Royal Corps of the Naval Constructors (See "The End of an Era") and worked on designing the Sea Slug ship side hardware and is scathing about the missiles configuration and its impact on ship design, he makes it very clear that his preference would be for the booster to be mounted in the conventional stacked configuration in the fashion of Terrier.
 

uk 75

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Sealord

Your sources are excellent and the points are valid. However, the bundle Seaslug allowed it
to be fitted to a destroyer (albeit a large one) whereas Terriers needed a cruiser hull (US, Dutch and Italian to fit). Tartar was a shorter range weapon.

The RN mainly wanted to use its County class ships to screen a carrier or amphib group from attacks by Il 28 Beagle class ligt bombers (Indonesia etc) or large cruise missiles (Kennel etc) and the Tu 16 Badger. In that role I think it remained valid into the 70s. Antrim tried to fire it at some Argentine fighterbombers- a role for which it was not designed.

At the risk of annoying Zen still further, Tartar on board a Daring might have been a cheaper option in the 50s (the French did this with their destroyers despite Masurca). Germany and Austria chose the US Adams in this role. But the County class were much more impressive limited war ships in peacetime and looked good.

Had Seadart arrived in the late 60s as originally planned Seaslug could have had a graceful retirement.
 

zen

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UK 75
Its not annoying me that you might speculate about importing or licensing some foreign product, so much as the absense of what you will support the UK doing for itself.

Always you talk of importing this or that thing, or licensing this or that thing, but never do I seem to hear from you or others of this ilk talking of what we should do that is not importing or licensed from others.

What would you support the UK doing for itself, not importing not licensing, but developing for itself.
 

alertken

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zen: you're peevish that I and others are not inventing another UK-solo what-if SAM. For myself the A is, as you detect: nothing.

The now very expensive Twigge/Early Devt. UK GW takes us through the 1947-50 period, pre-cascades of US data from Burns/Templer, then cascades of Korean War $. UK started with 20 GW projects (and numerous underwater funnies), ran into resources priority issues; Ministers stated "equal No.1 priority" for the Bomb, its platforms, and GW. Result: everything drifted and bloated, financially. 4 GW projects survived, all involving both diversion of the brown goods electrical industry from exports, and human conflict in UK Aero: GR Edwards is recorded as wholly disinterested in Vickers Special Products Division; Avro staffed its (to be Blue Steel) Division largely with refugees from RAE. We tried to do everything in dribbles and succeeded in few Aero-industry volume production runs, fewer on-Spec runs, zero on-budget, on-schedule runs. Despite £/priority privilege to UK GW, we kitted our Forces with many imported/licenced products, and most (all?) UK designs benefited from US/French data. If we knew then what we know now...UK would not have entered solo-GW.
 

zen

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Stop making stuff up Ken, my question is a 'generic' one not specific to SAMs or even missiles at all. It just happens I mention this in this thread.
Its about what we plough our resources and industry to achieving ourselves at the expense of other areas where outsourcing will 'do' and frees up such resources.

You answer is 'nothing', and I suspect thats because it is generaly nothing, or to put it another way the UK should become a cash cow for others and do nothing for itself.

If so, that speaks of a deeper issue.
 

CNH

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I think it might be helpful if people took a step back and considered the problem from the perspective of the 1940s.

At that time, no one had developed any succesful SAMs. We could have sat back and said, 'Let the Americans develop one and we'll buy the end result'.

In the context of the late 1940s, that was not an option which anyone in the UK would have gone for. Developing our own SAMs was taken as a given.

A more interesting question is: did we make the right choices? And also: Where did things go wrong?
 
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Grey Havoc

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Well, there has been at least one occasion where relying on 'outsourcing', as some have put it, has ended in disaster. I'm speaking of the failure of the MIM-46 Mauler system, which the UK government was hoping to import for the British Army. If development of what would become the Rapier hadn't already been undertaken domestically (first as a private venture, then as a government funded backup), the BA would have been up the proverbial creek.
 
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pathology_doc

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Grey Havoc said:
Well, there has been at least one occasion where relying on 'outsourcing', as some have put it, has ended in disaster. I'm speaking of the failure of the MIM-46 Mauler system, which the UK government was hoping to import for the British Army. If development of what would become the Rapier hadn't already been undertaken domestically (first as a private venture, then as a government funded backup), the BA would have been up the proverbial creek.
Isn't Skybolt an equally disastrous example? Possibly even more so?
 
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CNH

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Which brings us to another point.

It was clear in the late 1940s that SAMs were feasible and that there would be different requirements from the different services. It strikes me that a more logical approach might be look at what such missiles had in common, such as the guidance system, and standardise on that. Instead, we had three different missiles being developed all using entirely different techniques.

It is the sort of thing that the Ministry of Supply should have grasped from the outset, but then we all know what we think of the MoS. That the DRPC didn't press for more commonality is more surprising.

However, it is easier for us to sit here sixty years later and say, 'I wouldn't have done it that way!'

Bloodhound and Thunderbird were probably as good as other contemporary systems. Seaslug, as you say, was marginally successful.
 

JFC Fuller

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CNH said:
Which brings us to another point.

It was clear in the late 1940s that SAMs were feasible and that there would be different requirements from the different services. It strikes me that a more logical approach might be look at what such missiles had in common, such as the guidance system, and standardise on that. Instead, we had three different missiles being developed all using entirely different techniques.

It is the sort of thing that the Ministry of Supply should have grasped from the outset, but then we all know what we think of the MoS. That the DRPC didn't press for more commonality is more surprising.

However, it is easier for us to sit here sixty years later and say, 'I wouldn't have done it that way!'

Bloodhound and Thunderbird were probably as good as other contemporary systems. Seaslug, as you say, was marginally successful.

Absolutely, both Bloodhound and Thunderbird were technically successful and achieved reasonable foreign interest- both could be seen as successful programmes- in stark contrast to other UK missile efforts. I agree entirely that it seems odd that greater standardisation was not pursued.
 
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zen

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sealordlawrence,

When someone deliberately missconstrues a statement, then yes, that is making things up. As I said, it was a generic, UK-as-a-whole over all spectrums, all areas, not one specificaly related to any specific area let alone SAMs, which is part of missiles and guided weapons.

What I see here is some engage in the 'buy foreign' ON EVERY TOPIC.
On all GW.
On ships.
On aircraft.
On tanks.
On guns.
On bombs, including The Bomb.
You name it, there it is, again and again. It adds up to the idea the UK should do nothing, and at no point comes a 'trade off'. Where perhaps we should give up on this and give up and that, but make suchandsuch something we do do, and plough whatever we can into making it so.

A more interesting question is: did we make the right choices? And also: Where did things go wrong?
Excellent questions, and in my mind the sort of answers we should seek.
I would go further and even pay tribute to Ken here, because we can see there are systemic faults throughout the UK military-industrial complex and mirrored in the politicians and civil servents.
Things keep comming to a head and rationalisation causes all sorts of havoc, as if rapidly changing requiremens was'nt bad enough.
 

pathology_doc

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sealordlawrence said:
Skybolt failed, so what? UK got Polaris, a better solution anyway, who cares about Skybolt? The point of using the global market is that you can pick and choose.
In the long run, you're probably right. I'm just putting it forward as one of those examples where the UK service in question hung its hopes on a foreign missile only to have them dashed by cancellation. The question of whether they should ever have tried for it is another matter altogether. I think they should have - there are upsides to having a part of your nuclear deterrent that can be called back if you find the missiles the other side just launched aren't actually heading your way. Be terrible to fling sixty-odd ICBMs at the USSR on launch warning some time in the late sixties only to find that their real intention was a limited smackdown of China, for example. I would stay out of that war and tell the V-force to come on home - or at least come back into friendly territory, plug into tankers and wait it out for a few hours.
 

uk 75

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As usual this thread has produced some excellent discussion and info.

Can I perhaps draw the threads together and focus us a little.

We seem to agree that whatever the shortcomings of Seaslug and Thunderbird it proved possible to
make Bloodhound into an effective weapon system.

I would argue that this is actually apart from the costly and very static Nike system there was
no alternative to Bloodhound.

France tried some prototypes but eventually signed up to the Hawk programme (despite opting out of the
NATO joint military set up). I think I am right in saying that French Hawks served right up to the end of
the Cold War. I think France also took part in the early Nike Ajax SAM belt in Germany but opted out of
this when it left the NATO military structure.

It is strange then that if we fast forward to the 90s, it is France rather than Britain that is leading the European SAM
effort and which produces the ASTER missile system. France seems to disprove Zen's concerns up to a point. Its Navy
uses Tartar and only deploys 3 Masurca equipped ships. Yet by the 90s France is in the position to develop both maritime and
landbased SAMs.

The United States offers another example. Despite the experience of Mauler it uses the aborted FABMDS programme as a starting point for an effort which eventually after much tortuous development leads from the 60s to SAM D and Patriot.
In the meantime the cumbersome Nike Hercules has to soldier on much like Bloodhound.

To meet Zen halfway should Britain have developed iits own Patriot from the 60s or its own ASTER in the 90s? I would argure that the continuing problems with Seadart, Seawolf and Rapier in the 70s and 80s prove a big chunk of activity for the UK to handle and there is not much resource left over. Seadart in particular, in my view, at least, is nearly as disappointing as Seaslug. Its launcher cannot be easily used for other weapons (unlike Standard) nor is a vertical launched version an option.
Its performance is no worse, probably better in fact, than Standard. However, it is a deadend. Seawolf is again an effective missile but it launch and fire control arrangements were needlessly complicated (something which always marks British missiles out from their US counterparts-except for Rapier perhaps.

The US also has its limitations. The failure of Mauler in the early 60s has consequences even today. The US army were forced to field a lashup system (very British in fact) using Sidewinder missiles and available technology. Efforts to procure Roland were also messed up. So we Brits are not the only ones to fowl up...
 
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starviking

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sealordlawrence said:
Absolutely, both Bloodhound and Thunderbird were technically successful and achieved reasonable foreign interest- both could be seen as successful programmes- in stark contrast to other UK missile efforts. I agree entirely that it seems odd that greater standardisation was not pursued.
Let's not forget the lower end of the scale - the Shorts Seacat achieved excellent foreign sales.
 
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JFC Fuller

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starviking said:
Let's not forget the lower end of the scale - the Shorts Seacat achieved excellent foreign sales.

Indeed, Shorts in general seem to have been a well run GW team (Tigercat, Blowpipe, Javeline, Starburst, Starstreak and LMM), which is probably part of the reason why it still survives today under the Thales banner. Not only did Shorts do their own missiles but they also had considerable involvement in imported missiles including license production of Hellfire. They were also a dynamic company, not afraid to collaborate internationally (Aramis with Matra) or sell licenses.
 
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zen

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UK75
France's efforts do not refute me at all, they made the effort, paid for it and the results are there to behold.
And no its not 'halfway', in fact in the naval arena we can see an abortive effort, in the form of SAM.72, during the 1970s which founders for a lack of other services supporting the idea. Mainly due to Bloodhound still being viable in their eyes and cheaper to continue with. Plus there was SeaDart.
Its an argument that could be made, to ditch SeaDart and Bloodhound, to be replaced with a new common missile. There's a whole other side to this of course in the form of 'the system' and the radars. But there it is, in history, a path not taken.
However we read that a missile, based on the form of SeaWolf, but at least twice its size, designated XPX.430 is mooted to the requirement.
I have a number of musings over what SAM.72 requirements are, and some suspicions. If I'm right its not upto the task of being a direct replacement to either SeaDart or Bloodhound.
But not 'halfway' rather 'there' for the exploration of an alternative history.
I would also agree that the lack of VLS for SeaDart is both a bit of a puzzler and a restriction on the weapons development. Though I've heard rumour of such an concept mooted, and it seems such a sensible move, nothing tangible emerges about this, leaving the question "why?". Especialy so , when its always been part of PX.430 (SeaWolf) right back to the 60's.
Not that VLS really makes SeaDart an alternative to ASTER, it would only delay the decision about a new SAM Perhaps that might have avoided some of the delays and dead ends that have plagued the search for a new AAW destroyer.
I'd even agree the twin arm launcher's lack of alternative weapons to fire is another problem, some good questions there about how that state of affairs came about. But then one might muse over the lack of SeaEagle for shipboard or submarine launch later on.
 

JFC Fuller

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SAM.72 was nothing more than a feasibility study that went absolutely nowhere, and it is said that it would have required international cooperation (BSP4). There was also the Wolverine ATBM proposal of the late 80s that suggested the usage of a stretched Sea Wolf with a tandem motor and vertical launch (with a flechette warhead and an active seeker derived from work done on active radar homing Sky Flash- possibly the same one proposed for GWS.27 Sea Wolf) and also Landwolf- all went nowhere and barely made an impact. If you really want to pursue this line of thought it is also worth looking at GWS-31 (Mk 2 Sea Dart) in the Land Dart configuration possibly with Wolverine as a shorter range complimentary system but with longer range director for the Land Dart than the proposed Marconi 805SW, both Plessey (Commander- AR327) and Marconi (Martello Series culminating in S753) worked on advanced 3D surveillance radars well into the 90s- still, whats the point?
 

zen

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International cooperation was de rigour for virtualy everything.

Landpax I think, not Landwolf.

Whats the point? Of what? Developing your own missile system?

I would not be surprised if the ARH seeker being mused over for GWS27 was the same as for Active Skyflash. Seems par for the course really.

Mentioning that I'm minded of the proposal to produce Seaflash, Skyflash for shipboard SAM duties along the same lines as SeaSparrow and Aspide. Another path not taken.

Point to make, there are paths away from how things actualy happend, and they lead to all sorts of different places.
 

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Interesting thread, been in Greece for the last week, so catching up. Like Nick, I still think UKGW, particulalry SAGW and AAGW never recovered from the dead years of 1945 - 49. Could it be that the Staffs were somewhat starstruck by what they discovered in Germany?


I have....

LANDPAX - SAM Project study leading to NAST.1210 for a new land based SAM. Versions of SEAWOLF were considered

Landwolf - Version of BAC Seawolf considered for NAST.1210.

SAM.3 - BAC SAM study for AST.1210.

SAM.72 - Feasibility study from 1972 for a medium-range SAM. Foundered on the lack of a RAF requirement for such a SAM and the need for international co-operation on the project.

Chris
 

CNH

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I still think UKGW, particulalry SAGW and AAGW never recovered from the dead years of 1945 - 49.
Not only GW - I think a lot of things went by the board in that period. Too much to do, and too little to do it with.
 

zen

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Seems this thread is on the Alternative History and Future Speculations section, and so paths not taken are clearly within its remit.
Whereas not engaging in alternative history and future speculations would seem to lie in some other area of the Secret Projects Forum.
I will certainly agree that more could have been done with SeaWolf, including the lightweight launcher options.
In that area, one might question the need for ASTER-15, had the GWS27 development been persued, and strangely enough we see CAMM persued instead of ASTER-15. It seems Type 45's will hold ASTER-30, but I've not read of any -15 ordered.
Why not a licensed system? Depends on the weapon obviously, on the license, on the 'cost' (more than money) and how things might progress. Why, what have you got in mind?
SeaDart II had a key problem, not of the missile but rather the system and radars and of course the need for launchers, whether they be box or arm type. Its quite a puzzler, the lack of VLS, even when I've read of TVC, its described as 'off the rail', implying the continued use of an arm launcher.
 

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zen, #32: It adds up to the idea the UK should do nothing, and at no point comes a 'trade off'. Where perhaps we should give up on this and give up and that, but make suchandsuch something we do do, and plough whatever we can into making it so.

If this thread is expiring, may we not leave it with any argy-bargy between us. I do not in the least disagree with you, as here quoted. I do not subscribe to any Buy Everything notion. Simply, I am sympathetic with Ministers' constant dilemma: vested interests yelling ME for £, when we must prioritise. If: an off-the-shelf piece of proven kit can meet (a high %age) of your Requirement, then abandon perfection and grab what's on offer. See my wife for amplification. If not...then either abandon your Requirement, or step up to cost and pain. So: 1950-ish: UK chose to go solo on SAMs, 3 of them. One by one, resources conflicts caused other projects to lapse - plastic V1s, ASMs, ATMs, Naval anything-much.

Ministers can be criticised for embarking on more than we would be able to deliver - compartmentalisation, lack of co-ordination, no one Minister of Defence until 1964; industry can be criticised for disdain for any concept of cost-effectiveness/value engineering until...well, ah, erm...

UK did try to do almost everything in Defence technology; some solo successes followed; we did much better when we started collaborating. One advantage of cross-border JVs was that no one Govt. could lightly chop it. But in the 1950-ish timeframe the mood of the time was not to talk to the French or overly rely on US, whose President had intended to pull out of any European Defence entanglement, right up to Stalin's escapade in Berlin.
 
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pathology_doc

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alertken said:
If this thread is expiring, may we not leave it with any argy-bargy between us.
Agreed. This is why I'm writing my "Carthaginian Secret Projects" thing (see: the Bar) for a bit of a laugh, because it lets me explore these sorts of things in an utterly fictitious setting that doesn't upset any applecarts among anyone now living.

Ultimately (a) it's fun to talk about where they should have spent the money, but (b) there is an unavoidable tendency to have the discussion through the lens of the retrospectoscope. It's a lot harder to stand back in nineteen fifty something with the pressing need for some sort of SAGW or AAGW weighing over one's head but never being entirely sure exactly how far one's allies have progressed with such work, whether their needs fit "ours" (whoever "we" are), and what do we do if they don't?

It's easy to say "buy Terrier/Tartar off the shelf", but IIRC what Friedman calls the 3-T system required obscene amounts of money to bring up to any reasonable standard, and who's to say the US might not have stuck the UK with part of the bill - possibly an unaffordable part? There's the potential for the whole thing to have degenerated into a TSR.2 vs. F-111K fiasco, with neither system being bought in the end despite massive outlay (and then AFVG piled on top of that). Plus how long do you wait for your ally to get it right, especially since your warship designers need to know exactly what systems you are going to buy in order to design their ships to take them?

OTOH look at what GEC did turning Sparrow into Sky Flash - somewhere in there they started to get their radar-guided AAM development astonishingly right, the reasons for which would be worth exploring in detail - and think of what might have been done with Tartar in the same vein.

If: an off-the-shelf piece of proven kit can meet (a high %age) of your Requirement, then abandon perfection and grab what's on offer.

The best is the enemy of good enough, true. Part of the problem, and not just in Britain, was service requirements that were impossible to meet with the technology of the day.
 
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PMN1

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CJGibson said:
Which horse would you have backed in 1949? Ramjet? Rocket? My view is that when the Brakemine team and the talented Flt Lt Benson were wound up, UK GW lost a lot of ground.
Out of interest, what ceiling did Brakemine have?

Also, while looking around, I found this... :)

 
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