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Battle Flight: RAF Air Defence Projects and Weapons Since 1945 by Chris Gibson

overscan (PaulMM)

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From Crecy website, so I guess its OK to discuss now Chris?


Chris Gibson

RAF Air Defence Projects and Weapons Since 1945

•Places Britain’s air defences from anti-aircraft guns to interceptor in their historical, technological and economic context
•Includes development of interceptors, radar, guided weapons and airborne early warning systems
[/size]From the origins of netcentric warfare in the 1940s, the Stage Plans of the 1950s and the change of threat from aircraft to the ballistic missile, “Battle Flight” will examine the steps take to protect the British populace from nuclear Armageddon.Post-war Britain’s air defences comprised a mix of interceptors and anti-aircraft guns that were tailored to counter massed bomber raids by piston-engined aircraft. These defences were rendered obsolete by the jet engine and the atomic bomb. The search for a cost-effective anti-aircraft system began. Interceptors were the obvious first line of defence and would remain so to this day, but unguided rockets and the new surface-to-air guided-weapons (SAGW) were also examined. Wartime advances in guided weapons had ended, the teams dispersed and the work forgotten, but such weapons soon gained “Super-priority”.The defensive weapons required control systems and organisations that became the Air Defence Plans drawn up to integrate radar, command, control and interception. These plans (Nucleus, Igloo, Rotor, Ahead and Linesman) changed radically over a 20 year period, reflecting the rapid advance of technology in the post-war period. The Sixties saw a stabilisation and the interceptors as the main defence, with SAMs to protect the V-bomber bases and all thoughts of ABMs discarded as the ballistic missile became the primary deterrent on both sides. By the 1980s the advent of long-range interceptors such as Tornado saw a switch to protecting the north Atlantic convoys from Soviet attacks.As the 21st century dawned the spectre of terrorism and airborne threat changed from bomber to airliner with the prospect of shooting down hijacked airliners. Britain’s air defences have diminished to 5 squadrons of Typhoons and the Aster SAMs of the Royal Navy, while the Russian Air Force’s Blackjacks and Bears still make forays into Britain’s air defence zone.
 

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Overkiller

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Oooh yes please!

The "Vulcan's Hammer" of Air Defence projects, bring it on!

Cheers

Duncan
 

CJGibson

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'spose so.

Well, now you're familiar with my stuff, you'll know that there will be very little in it that's been covered before by other people. So don't be looking for Lightning info, Phantom info, Javelin info, photos of Bears and the like. Like Vulcan's Hammer, it's about alternatives to what happened in the main. As with Vulcan's Hammer some of the content builds upon what was previously published in BSP4, mainly additional info and clarifications. Here's a flavour, all subject to change of course.

It does have:

Parked in the GIUK Gap - Why we bought the Tornado ADV including some of the original proposals for the MRCA(AD), the First Sea Lord's first mate, a cat with two tails and the real reason we didn't buy Tomcat or the Eagle. How the US tried to shut down the UK aerospace business with an offer they couldn't refuse - but did.

The one that got away - EECo P.22 - This is a stunner, 1000nm range / 5 hours unrefuelled endurance, Mach=2+, a pair of Genies, rockets. Nice.

Just tell him we're skint - How to attack bombers with Red Beard and Genie. Some quite entertaining correspondence between the CAS and the Chief Secretary at the MoD

We're not defending the Bloody French - The Stage II and III SAGW programmes - interesting staged and multiple warhead SAGWs. Nuclear and Command Guidance Bloodhound, Land Dart

The Sandys Terminal Event - What came before F.155 - The origins of Sandys' thinking - The RAE's Supersonic Shrage Musik job x 2,
The EECo P.2 intruder - made Yellow Aster's day when he saw this. The EECo P.12 fighter (ditto), The British Volksjager (that's the Midge to you) Was Petter right? Cheap, land on a flexible mat, 36 x rockets so what's not to like? - Folland!

Battlestar Britannica - Vulcan ADV, Woodford's MRSA studies, ASR.411 Supertanker, FIMA AEW version. Tankers (V1000, MRSA again) AEW projects, reverse refuelling the Hawkeye, Vulcan AEW


Wot, no Phantom? BAC P.46 air defence variant - the RV Jones fighter

Guns - brief chapter on AA guns, Dr Beeching's (yes, that one) first report, Ripfire, Autofire AA rockets. Possibly an animation of a Green Mace battery in action, but that's a side project.

Radar - a short chapter on radar, ROTOR, plan AHEAD, Blue Joker, Orange Poodle, Red Cabbage

ABMs - Comparison of UK with US ABM proposals. Gerry Bull's involvement


Adrian has been busy, see attached for some early work-in-progress. OK, we know the spinner colour is wrong, Yefim told us.

Still in progress, still early

Chris
 

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uk 75

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Tally Ho! I am waiting to get my order off to you
 

Thorvic

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uk 75 said:
Tally Ho! I am waiting to get my order off to you

This is being published by Crecy Publishing under their Hikoki line, rather than Chris's own Blue Envoy Publishing
 

uk 75

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Thanks for the ref. I have checked the site and it looks like a Winter treat. I wonder if Amazon will get theirs.
 

CJGibson

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Chaps,

Would I be correct in thinking that everyone knows what Backfire, Badger, Blinder and Bear look like and rather than include GAs of these in Battle Flight, should I use the space for something a bit more tasty?

Like this.

Chris
 

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phil gollin

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Yes, but any information regarding the difference between the UK's/NATO's understanding of their performance figures/tactics and Soviet reality WOULD be very useful.


.
 

uk 75

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Chris

That 3 view of the Arrow is right on the nail.... I await your Opus with great eagerness...

All the best
UK 75
 

CJGibson

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Evening chaps,

Battle Flight has gone to the printer and as promised, a chapter summary.

Battle Flight – RAF Air Defence Projects and Weapons

Chapter 1: X-Rays and the Evolution of the Threat
How the threat from the UK changed from 1000-bomber raids by Bulls to Badgers and Bears with free-fall nuclear bombs and stand-off weapons before moving to the ballistic missile. Post-Polaris the air-breathing threat changed to a dedicated maritime strike force of Backfire and Badger to attack NATO lines of communication.

Chapter 2: Lethal Confetti – Air Defence Artillery
The postwar development of British AA guns with the quest for more height, accuracy and rate of fire. Dr Beeching’s (yes, him) report on anti-aircraft guns and new rocket weapons such as Typhoon and High-Flyer. Also looks at Wallis’ Green Lizard and how the ever-more complex fire-control systems made the SAM a more effective alternative.

Chapter 3: Caelum Tuemur - We Watch over the Skies
Postwar early warning radars and plans from the Type 14 to the Type 93 and how they fitted into the air defence plans such as ROTOR, AHEAD and Linesman. Radar projects such as Red Cabbage, Blue Joker, Wealth, STAR, BMEWS and over-the-horizon techniques.

Chapter 4: We’re not Defending the Bloody French! - SAMs
Surface-to-air missiles - Bloodhound in its Mk.2, Command-guidance and nuclear guises, the origins of Blue Envoy and the hearing aid computer, Land Dart and why it didn’t prosper. The Stage II and III projects. A look at the post-Bloodhound projects such as FMS, SAM-72, SAM-3 and Guardian.

Chapter 5: Catch a Falling Star – ABMs
The fruitless search for a dual-purpose weapon. The basic systems based on Stages 1½, 1¾ and II. The bespoke ABMs such as Project 29 (the real one, not the one based on Bloodhound) and 36. Comparisons with US experience with ABMs. Helmet and Gerry Bull. ATBMs – Wolverine and how pushing the envelope killed British SAM projects.

Chapter6: Achieving a K-Kill -Weapons against Aircraft
Development of interceptor armament including the Aden, recoilless guns and air-to-air rockets. Nuclear weapons against aircraft, how the Air Staff calibrated their model and why such weapons fell from favour. Tossing Red Beards at Bears and the Air Staff’s efforts to acquire Genie. What would replace Red Top and the quest for more firepower leading to the flying battleship.

Chapter 7: Force Multipliers - Top-ups and Tip-offs
Elint types from the Washington to the Air Seeker via the Comet, Nimrod and VC10. Development of in-flight refuelling from the origin of the role with Cobham’s prewar work, the wartime proposals for the Pacific theatre, the postwar adoption by the RAF with Valiants then Victors and VC10s. Brief history of the V1000. The rise of the multi-role aircraft including the Super-tanker and BAe Woodford’s MRSA proposals based on Airbuses, FIMA and the LARC. The 50 year saga of the RAF’s search for an AEW type, Fishpond, Netcentric warfare in 1944, C-97AEW, Andover AEW and ASR.387, ASR.400, E-2K, HS.748AEW and the Nimrod debacle, plus Woodford’s MRSA and LARC again.

Chapter 8: The 1950s Terminal Event - Sandys, F.155 and Under-the-Counter Fighters
Why Britain had a fighter gap in the early 50s, the British Volksjäger, mixed thinking on powerplants. Proactive air defence – Warton’s intruders; the P.2 and P.12. The 1954 Air Defence Working party, the RAE’s Schräge Musik fighters, and the origins of Sandys’ thinking. Albion’s Foxbat, the F.155 juggernaut and how its end came with a beeping sphere and the Sandys Terminal Event. How the under-the-radar P.17 led to the under-the-counter P.22 fighter from Warton and thus prompted the rise of the mud-mover.

Chapter 9: Two Decades of Certainty - 1957 Onwards
The Admiralty lead the field in fighters while the mud-movers muscle-in on air defence with the rise of the multi-role fighter such as Warton’s PL.1. The threat changes from east to north prompting a change in air defence strategy. How Sandys did us a favour by clearing the decks. The Phantom CAP fits the GIUK Gap. The 1964 Air Defence Working Party report lays the foundation for the air defence systems we have today. The Jones fighter and how the Italians helped it evolve into the Tornado ADV we know today.

Chapter 10: Tornado ADV - A Merely Symbolic Force or Flying Battleship?
The alternatives to, and evolution of, the Tornado ADV and the threat from America. Why the RAF bought the Tornado ADV rather than the Tomcat or Eagle. The Phantom options and the development of, and alternatives to, Skyflash. Knife and fork prototypes from France and the Tornado for the Force de Frappe – how the French could have saved the entire MRCA project and the ACF could have kept the Bears at bay. Stretching the Tornado ADV.

Appendix – Operational requirements and Staff Targets
 

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phil gollin

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Excellent !


1000 or 2000 pages ?


Honestly I am sure it was very difficult to edit it down.


Does it include TNA:pRO refernces ?


Thanks a lot, I can't wait.


.
 

Thorvic

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Excellent news Chris, is the expected publishing date still scheduled for the End of October ?
Given the above schedule i take it you may be doing a signing session with Crecy at Scale Model World in November ?
 

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Knowing all too well what your stuff is like, Chris, and having read the chapter summaries, I find myself with no choice but to push the button for a pre-order. Now to keep myself busy for three and a half months...
 
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Overkiller

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This has to be my most eagerly anticipated publication this year, the chapter contents posted above certainly seem to indicate we are in for another treat! On an aside, that CGI posted above, is that fighter the RAE Mach 2 study, or some iteration thereof?

Cheers

Duncan
 

AEWMan

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Chris,

Does Fighter Command's "Vanguard Flight " get a mention in the book?
 

CJGibson

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Nope, I concentrate on dedicated AEW types in Battle Flight, but 1453 Flight's Neptune trials from Kinloss do get a brief mention in "The Air Staff and AEW" as despite their success they were a) too expensive due to the number of platforms needed to provide coverage and conduct the constant patrols that were required and b) could only operate effectively over the sea, which the Air Staff considered too limiting for their western European theatre needs at the time.

Chris
 

CJGibson

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Dug out my ASAEW notes from Kew.

At 1000ft the tweaked AN/APS.20 could detect a Canberra flying at 300ft at 65nm. AN/APS.20 radar was "somewhat delicate", needed much "day-to-day maintenance" and the datalink was unreliable. The Neptune wasn't ideal as an AEW aircraft as it was too small, unreliable and could either control or report, but not both simultaneously. Accompanying fighters couldn't be seen on the radar due to clutter, so couldn't be vectored. Worked best if the radar picture was sent back to ground station, which limited the patrol line to 35 miles from the ground station. A 24 hour patrol line would require 9 Neptunes, which in 1955 was too expensive. Despite all that, HQ 12 Group were very happy.

Chris
 

AEWMan

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Yes Chris you are spot on, but I think another major factor (having read the final trial report) was the incredibly short range and duration of our interceptors/fighters of the time. There was no TANSOR as there were no Tankers! SAC was streets ahead of us in that respect (thanks to a British company).

Is the Air Staff and AEW out yet please? As I'm really keen to get a copy.

Cheer

Ian
 

CJGibson

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Evening All,

Good news and bad news. Battle Flight has been printed, but is on a boat, running the gauntlet of Somali pirates, en route to the UK.

The plan is to launch it at Scale Model World at Telford on 10th Nov. I'll be there, weather and S92 reliability permitting.

Meantime, I thought a look at the index might be helpful.

Chris
 

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Nick Sumner

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So will it still be in stock on 31st October as advertised?

If the pirates capture the boat - are they likely to sell the books any cheaper?

Just asking.
 

CJGibson

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The books might be cheaper from the pirates, but hiring the Cessna Caravan to paradrop your payment will put the cost up. Plus they only get 1-star for speed of delivery on Ebay Feedback.

Chris
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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If Somali pirates set up an online retail site for their warez, it would presumably be Shebelle.com.
 

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Confirmation from Crecy that the Book has been delivered and is now being distributed. B)
 

Thorvic

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Rceived my copy from Crecy today, very nice from the brief look, me thinks i shall be reading it whilst at SMW over the weekend :D
 

uk 75

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Chris

Bought my copy yesterday from the Aviation Bookshop team at Keith Manning's Aviation Fair. Had a nice long bus ride to go through the pages and enjoy the sunshine as well.

The book is a worthy companion to the Vulcans Hammer. I have moaned about other books and can only suggest to their authors that they look at your books to see how it should be done. The drawings, photos and text are integrated and unpadded. The artwork is used to amplify the accounts of the weapons systems and also adds some fun.

We are indeed fortunate to have you, Damien Burke, Tony Buttler and Michael Pryce producing such splendid tomes. I am hoping that Bill Rose's Vertical Take Off Fighters will have copied your approach.

As ever, like a greedy 10 year old, I am now thirsting for more. The account of the tracked Landdart for the Royal Artillery and references to tactical air support remind me of what is still the most glaring gap in the world of 60s what if. The RN is well covered by Norman Friedman and others. What we now need is a book about the world of the Air Portable Strategic Reserve and Project Prodigal and in particular the vision of an airportable force supported by helicopters and stovl fighter bombers and transports which floated around between 1958 and 1965. Number 38 Group was created to operate this stuff but had to make do with P1127 RAF and Andovers. The Army did not get Jumping Jeeps or Contentious tanks but we still have the CVR family and the 105mm light gun which were also products of this time.

But for this morning I am delighted with your two books and they will continue to give me much pleasure and new avenues to follow for many months. The accounts of P46 and P45 and Air Defence TSR 2s will give what if modelmakers much to add. As for the Battleship Vulcan with CF 299.
 

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Thanks Ralph, always nice to hear from a happy customer.

Speaking of thirst, if anyone fancies a brew/pint/blah, I'll be up in London and at Kew from Wed 21st until Saturday 24th, unless the day job intervenes.

PM me and we can sort something out.

Chris
 

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Hi

I received my copy from Amazon today and it is absolutely fascinating, there is so much new material and I was especially interested in the Interceptor version of the P45 I had only previously seen the strike-trainer proposal for ECAT programme. I think the book also gives the clearest explanation of why we didn't get F15s or F14s.
It is quite sad that the UK never did get a multi purpose transport/MR/tanker/AEW aircraft as the programme might have made more economic sense than a tiny order of Nimrod MRA4 again there is plenty of detail in the book

This book is being thumbed through so much already that I will probably have to get a second copy!

Regards
Alan
 

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Out. Bloody Standing. A damn good read, and well worth the wait.

The only criticism I would offer is of the editing - the people at Crecy/Hikoki very clearly need a nuclear-tipped Red Hebe shot up their backsides, because there are multiple typos scattered throughout the work. I know from doing a long series of edits on something non-aviation-related how easy it is for the author to miss stuff - he's typed the bloody thing and looked over it so many times the errors just hide themselves - but that's what a good editor or editorial team should catch.

That didn't really distract from the enjoyment of the book. though. It will be getting a second read-through before very long, I suspect.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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So, I received a review copy of Battle Flight a few weeks ago and have been reading it. Just finished today. An excellent book. So...

First impressions - very nice production. Good Crecy.

Its been done as a companion volume to Chris's earlier work, Vulcan's Hammer: V-Force Aircraft and Weapons Projects Since 1945 which is a must-have purchase. Nice quality paper, great design, and
high quality reproduction of artwork.

Second impressions - more typos than I'd like. Bad Crecy. Chris, I have a 1st class honours degree in English and I'd done editing before. Just sayin'.

The book chapters are broadly thematic rather than chronological. This makes sense, because it covers an awful lot of different topics under the broad heading of Air Defence - AA, SAMs, radars, fighters, AWACS, tankers and more,

Chris has done an excellent job of unearthing new material for this book not previously covered in the British Secret Projects series. His focus is wider and emcompasses some truly wacky concepts as well as the saner ones, all put into context by the well-written text.

Positives? Pretty much everything. Well written, interesting text complimented by well-drawn artwork by Chris and Adrian Mann, whose work just gets better. Lots of projects I'd not seen before, and more inyteresting details on some familiar ones. Sections on radar technologies, etc, are well done, goving enough information for context without drowning you in technical detail.

Any negatives? Not really any of note. I did feel that the section on F155T ("The 1950's Terminal Event") was missing artwork of the Saunders-Roe P.187 and de Havilland DH.118, and could have included some different choices of model photos and artwork to differentiate it more from the existing coverage in BSP, but this is a personal view based on my own research of this specific area. It gives me some cause to hope my own much-delayed efforts in this area might not be entirely in vain if they can be brought to fruition.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

And - worth the wait? Chris did a great job delivering this rapidly, I can't say we've been "waiting" long at all.
 

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worth the wait? Chris did a great job delivering this rapidly, I can't say we've been "waiting" long at all.

My inner ten-year-old says June (when this post went up) to December is an eternity to wait. So there. Nyah. :p


This may be coloured by a couple of Really Bad Experiences I've had with Amazon this year (unconnected with anything I've bought on this board's recommendation, thank Christ) including the total loss of something bought for a three-figure sum. After that, for a while any wait was agonising.
 

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Just got my copy as well. I'm in the 'States and not as familiar with UK projects as I'd like. Thanks for the this and Vulcan's Hammer. Special thanks for including the chapter on EW radars.
 

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Received my copy today from Amazon Spain.
Congratulations Mr Gibson for another excellent book: organized exposition of facts, comprehensive research and tons of very informative illustrations. You need unbuilt projects to understand the full story. Then History makes sense.

Congratulations to Hikoki as well. I like vey much the feeling of their books.

We have a lot of unbuilt projects from UK and Germany...a book on US and Russian Air Defence would be also very welcome!
 

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My copy is currently lying under the tree all nicely wrapped. The temptation to peek is... too... much!
 

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