Black Archer - the keroxide IRBM & FICTIONAL alternative to Blue Streak

Archibald

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Also known as "David Andrews, BSE own IRBM" - 1958


What if it was considered as an alternative to Blue Streak in 1958-60, rather than... Skybolt, then Polaris ?

Black Arrow without the fairing and waxwing third stage was no bigger than a Polaris / Poseidon / Trident

- IRBM in silos
Much smaller and compact than Blue streak, no LOX

- ALBM on Vulcans (to replace Blue Steel and OTL Skybolt)
It could happen, because the very dense peroxide results in a very small missile

- SLBM, submarines
The trickiest part. The closest thing are the Soviets R-27 and R-29 missiles, fueled with toxic / hypergolic / storable NTO-hydrazine. So I'm wondering, did the Soviets and Russians got accidents with these toxic-fueled SLBM ?
Could Great Britain put "Black Arrows" inside its boomers, in place of Polaris / Chevaline ?

- Civilian rocketry
David Andrews proposal was far larger than Black Arrow and closer from a Delta than a Scout. Could it replace OTL Blue Streak / Europa? As a high-end alternative to France's Diamant ? Black Prince, somewhat ?
 
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Dilandu

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. So I'm wondering, did the Soviets and Russians got accidents with these toxic-fueled SLBM ?
A lot with R-27. At least one case of fuel leak during loading led to two sailors fatally poisoned. Three incidents with the destruction of the missile onboard the submarine caused by water leaking into the tube:

* On K-219, in 1973 - the malfunction of fire suppression system caused the flooding of the missile tube on submerged sub. Missile tanks collapsed, fuel self-ignited, but the flooding system prevented the worse outcome.

* On K-444, in 1976 - due to human mistake. Three missiles were prepared for live fire trials, two were launched, third put on standby - and operator forgot which one & sealed the wrong tube. Missile collapsed under pressure, but the crew handled the situation.

* On K-219 again, in 1986 - for some reason, water started to leak into the tube. Crew tried to pump it out, but to do that was forced to switch off the automatic pressure control system. The missile tanks started to leak, then the fuel ignited and exploded. The crew was able to evacuate (only three peoples died), but the sub sunk.

R-29 was more reliable; there were several explosion during testing, but as far as I knew, no during service.
 

Archibald

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Many thanks ! It is amazing there was not more accidents.

I have found two interesting tidbits
a) The Soviets themselves discussed keroxide for SLBM
b) the Swedes and their tp.61 torpedoes series also used keroxide since 50 years, without any Kursk-like disaster.

Keroxide and submarines really have a tortured, contrasted story together. Sometimes it goes perfectly well (the Swedes) and sometimes, it is a complete disaster (RN subs in the 50's and Kursk, obviously)
 

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Archibald

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I have carefully checked a number of aircraft to see their ground clearances and the size of their bomb bays.

Stage Data - Black Arrow

  • Stage 1. 1 x Black Arrow-1. Gross Mass: 14,104 kg (31,093 lb). Empty Mass: 1,070 kg (2,350 lb). Thrust (vac): 234.820 kN (52,790 lbf). Isp: 265 sec. Burn time: 142 sec. Isp(sl): 251 sec. Diameter: 1.98 m (6.49 ft). Span: 1.98 m (6.49 ft). Length: 6.86 m (22.50 ft). Propellants: H2O2/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: Gamma 8. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Black Arrow-2. Gross Mass: 3,537 kg (7,797 lb). Empty Mass: 535 kg (1,179 lb). Thrust (vac): 68.234 kN (15,340 lbf). Isp: 265 sec. Burn time: 113 sec. Isp(sl): 251 sec. Diameter: 1.37 m (4.49 ft). Span: 1.37 m (4.49 ft). Length: 2.90 m (9.50 ft). Propellants: H2O2/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: Gamma 2. Status: Out of Production.

Total height is slightly less than 10 m / 32 ft, and diameter, 2 m. Not much larger than a Polaris A3.

So here what I suggest...

It must be possible to design a 2-stage keroxide rocket a little more "squat" than OTL Black Arrow. Shrink the diameter to 72 inch, that is - 6 ft or 1.83 m.
As for the height - how about picking the length of the Victor bomb bay, that is, 32 ft and 10 inch ?

- Meanwhile it seems both TSR-2 and Avro Vulcan have ground clearance of 7 ft. So it would fit !
- The submarines: I had not realized that GB build its Rubis before its Redoutable - imean, they build three attack subs in 1960-64 before starting their boomers. And the two were loosely related.
- Finally, the silos. Compares a Black Arrow with a Blue Streak, add dense and room temperature peroxide instead of boiling LOX...

So guess where this is going ?

1963. Skybolt is dead, and neither McNamara nor JFK budged on Polaris.
"Dear McMillan, if you want Polaris... it is either "MLF, NATO, dual key" or NOTHING.
McMillan "Go screw yourself"

And then somebody remembers BSE and David Andrews... and Andrews has a plan.

Since BASING is such a complicated issue - between silos, bombers, submarines - it has designed a small and compact two stage missile that... FIT EVERY OPTION

Behold, the BLACK ARCHER "versatile missile".

- Aircraft ? it fits - Victor, Vulcan, TSR-2 - frack, even Short Belfast !

- silos ? far, far smaller than old Blue Streak K11 monstrosities. Hail HTP 1.4 density !

- submarines ? no problem either.

Since OTL Resolution derived from Valiant... must be possible to build some more Valiant with missile tubes.

Now the year is 1964 and the British government has on hand a missile that "fits all options". Silos, aircraft, submarines... its up to them.

What do you think ?
 

PMN1

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Some things in a silo are going to be the same size and volume whatever the missile size, so what percentage size and volume would our Black Archer silo be compared to a Blue Streak silo?
 

Archibald

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Far, far smaller.
- Blue Streak size : 10 ft diameter by 90 ft tall
- Black Archer: 6 ft diameter, 32 ft tall
Also
HTP compared to LOX has two enormous advantages.
- It is ultra-dense, 1.4 times water.
- It doesn't boil off permanently, so need to top, replenish, empty, rinse, repeat...

All the above should result in silos much smaller than old K11...

And don't forget, silos are only a stopgap - just like Victor, Vulcan and perhaps, TSR-2.
(note about TSR-2: think Mirage IV - think Rafale, think ASMP... the last two are still in service, despite 50 years of submarines !)

The real deal is nuclear submarines... and there, GB is quite lucky to have the Valiant attack subs as "template".

So by 1970, Great Britain nuclear deterrent has Black Archer(s)

- in a handful of silos, think Plateau d'Albion rather than Blue Streak / K11

- on varied airborne platforms: Vulcan, Valiant, TSR-2...
(and why not VC10, Belfast and Concorde ??!! it fits on all of them !)

- in Valiant - Resolution "hybrid submarines" (maybe not as big as OTL Resolution: Black Archer is a whole different animal than Polaris)

This is pretty much what France did with the M1 / M20 /M45 on one side, and the S1 / S2 / S3 - except with solid-fuel rather than keroxide...
 
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zen

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If the UK hit on the refridgeration of HTP, keeping cool so it doesn't degrade in storage......

Then it's feasible, especially with new lightweight nuclear warheads.

Further thought.....kerosene as fuel means a possible rocket accelerated ramjet becomes possible.
 

Archibald

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There are varied level of purity and performance for HTP - notably 90% and 98%.
My understanding is 90% is more friendly / less sensitive to impurities BUT performance takes a hit.
98% pure HTP has top notch performance but can be a real bastard if water or impurities start ruining the party. KABOOM.
 

Archibald

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A whole bunch of pictures and excerpts from books (God bless this forum !) showing how Black Archer could have been carefully sized to fit TSR-2, Vulcan and Victor.
And Concorde, for frack sake ! It really had one hell of a ground clearance, 10 ft or more.
 

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Michel Van

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So far i know is from HTP 90% on to 99% become unstable and dangerous special with organics impurities !
keep it at 90% on save site
SSLB with HTP on Submarines ?
A HTP powered Torpedo malfunction sank the Russian Submarine Kursk !

Black Archer As Black Diamant first stage, would interesting replacement for the Toxic bandwagon of Diamant A
you know that burn mixture out turpentine and fuming nitric acid...
 

Archibald

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Yes, RN - HMS Exploder, Excruciator, and the torpedo explosion that killed 13 sailors...

Except, there is an amazing development of that tragedy. Behold: Sweden Tp.61 keroxide torpedoes, and their prolific offspring.

The British in the early 60's dumped their dangerous HTP torpedoes on the Swedes... and they turned it into a tech wonder for their Gotland subs !



Un-be-lie-va-ble

An analysis of the failures showed that the basic problem was the decision to reuse the Mark 8 torpedo body. Hydrogen-peroxide in contact with materials other than synthetic rubber and porcelain is corrosive and explosive.

The British shared their design studies and failure analysis with the Swedish Navy who profited from this knowledge to make their reliable and high-speed Tp 61 torpedo. This implies that had the British continued HTP development they might have had a high-speed torpedo much sooner.
 
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Zoo Tycoon

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I remember going along to talk given by one of the guys involved in the Bristol Siddley rocket development, I’m afraid I’ve long forgotten his name. He said most of the U.K. baseline work was done with 75% with a 85% kept as an a fairly simple improvement opportunity. He continued that handling 75% was relatively straightforward but 85% was starting to get scary. Above 85% it was terrifying with all sorts of instabilities, indeed even moving it around was problematic. I remember him also describing making enquiries about the HTP to be delivered because at times the supplier struggled to maintain the purity at the volumes being produced. This was particularly problematic when doing performance work with 85% where test could be delayed for months while they waited for a suitable delivery.
 
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Archibald

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Well it seems it remained a major issue until at least the 90's - impurities in the HTP indeed made +85% extremely dangerous.

Since then however it seems things have improved...
 

Michel Van

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i look into TL were German Empire Won WW1 and WW2
There work on Rocket engines in WW2 let to power a certain german Saturn Rocket with HTP and Kerosine...
 

zen

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Yes, RN - HMS Exploder, Excruciator, and the torpedo explosion that killed 13 sailors...

Except, there is an amazing development of that tragedy. Behold: Sweden Tp.61 keroxide torpedoes, and their prolific offspring.

The British in the early 60's dumped their dangerous HTP torpedoes on the Swedes... and they turned it into a tech wonder for their Gotland subs !



Un-be-lie-va-ble

An analysis of the failures showed that the basic problem was the decision to reuse the Mark 8 torpedo body. Hydrogen-peroxide in contact with materials other than synthetic rubber and porcelain is corrosive and explosive.

The British shared their design studies and failure analysis with the Swedish Navy who profited from this knowledge to make their reliable and high-speed Tp 61 torpedo. This implies that had the British continued HTP development they might have had a high-speed torpedo much sooner.
Doesn't this suggest another AH thread?
 

CJGibson

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Hold on there Bald Eagle...can you please amend your post to clarify whether Black Archer is or isn't a genuine Ministry of Supply code name. I know it's in the speculative section, but such things can gain arms and legs when they escape this forum.

Thanks

Chris
 

Archibald

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It is 100% fictional. I changed the thread title accordingly. No problem.

Some kind of nod / lame pun related to Black Arrow... and Black Knight (must resist making bad puns with the later name, because Monty Pythons "tis but a scratch " ROTFL )

And "bald eagle" - really ? I would be more a "hairy panda" - too much hair and superfluous kg...
 
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Archibald

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Yes, RN - HMS Exploder, Excruciator, and the torpedo explosion that killed 13 sailors...

Except, there is an amazing development of that tragedy. Behold: Sweden Tp.61 keroxide torpedoes, and their prolific offspring.

The British in the early 60's dumped their dangerous HTP torpedoes on the Swedes... and they turned it into a tech wonder for their Gotland subs !



Un-be-lie-va-ble

An analysis of the failures showed that the basic problem was the decision to reuse the Mark 8 torpedo body. Hydrogen-peroxide in contact with materials other than synthetic rubber and porcelain is corrosive and explosive.

The British shared their design studies and failure analysis with the Swedish Navy who profited from this knowledge to make their reliable and high-speed Tp 61 torpedo. This implies that had the British continued HTP development they might have had a high-speed torpedo much sooner.
Doesn't this suggest another AH thread?

I don't know much about naval matters. But the Swedish submarine force - wow.
Between these torpedoes and the Kockums AIP submarines... pretty awesome.
"SAAB of the seas" lol
 

CJGibson

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Ah, you don't remember Texan bars...I was alluding to a need to slow down and not get carried away.

Thanks for clarifying it. It will save me a lot of bother next year.

Chris
 
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Archibald

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How about that... the great M. Gibson telling my little self - that my alt-British IRBM makes so much sense, it might confuse historians... :D :p:p:p (just kidding ! )
 

Archibald

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More seriously... the trick is to limit the vehicle to two stages - since it doesn't launch satellites in orbit.

- In the case of Black Arrow, this mean the Waxwing solid-fuel stage goes away, and also the "lipstick fairing" (the red pointy thing)

- In the case of David Andrews & BSE competiting proposal to Black Arrow (1964) / IRBM alternative to Blue Streak (1958) - same thing.
The third stage goes away. This one, I call it Black Archer.

Both two-stage vehicles can be smaller than 32 ft and thus fit into the Victor bomb bay, thanks to HTP being ultra-dense.
 

Archibald

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Maximum specific impulse for keroxide is 327 seconds. This need 98% peroxide which can be very dangerous - with water and impurities ruining the day. That was a major issue that explains a lot of rocket and torpedo accidents in the 50's. Purer and safer H202 manufacturing processes become available in the 80's. As noted by David Andrews himself in his 1990 paper.

As noted by Zoo Tycoon upthread, less accidents with 75 or 85 % HTP but specific impulse takes a hit. Once again, this is more a problem for orbital rockets. Missiles can certainly accept the lower performance. Black Arrow engines ran at 260 seconds, probably on 85% H2O2 or even lower. A missile would be similar.
 

Archibald

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Some words about the TSR-2.
ITTL a two-stage, narrower Black Arrow (6 ft rather than 7 ft diameter) is strapped to its belly. The TSR-2 drops it at 50 000 ft, Mach 2 and 30 degree of incidence. This provides a 1600 m/s boost to the rocket. And it more than compensates the removal of the Waxwing solid fuel third stage.
End result: the TSR-2 / missile combination has near orbital performance. It could very much deliver a small warhead to Mach 27 - orbit,
9000 m/s.
For the sake of comparison
- Skybolt: mach 12
- Polaris : mach 15
For the TSR-2, shooting a warhead to near orbit solves a major issue: RANGE. It can now lob a nuke into suborbital flight, to fall down in a ballistic arc on Moscow or Leningrad... and this way it can replace the V-bombers on the nuclear strategic mission.
 

CNH

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Delightful though your postings have been, they do run into some difficulties.

The TSR 2 could not carry any missiles underneath, since they block out the terrain radar and the Doppler radar. An attempt was made to see if it could carry Skybolt; but the only way it could be done was to mount it on top of the aircraft, and launch it by climbing up and rolling upside down. Not the best of manoeuvres.

However, there is a bigger issue for these ballistic missiles being carried on the likes of the V bombers, and that is guidance. Inertial guidance at that stage was simply not up to the job. Skybolt used star seekers which required pushing the computer technology at that time to its very limits. The UK would simply not have had the expertise to do that. In addition, you want the star seeker on the missile, and if mounted underneath the aircraft, that wouldn't be possible.

In my book on Skybolt, I devote a chapter to the possible alternatives left to the UK if they were not able to acquire Polaris on acceptable terms.
 

Archibald

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D'oh ! You are the author of the book "Skybolt: at arm length" (AFAIK ?)

And of course you nailed it right.

Skybolt needed its star tracker to be mounted outside, not inside a bomb bay, to watch for the stars.
Hence the pylon-mount on both Vulcan and B-52. Subsonic bombers.
And all the hassles to mount it on the supersonic B-58 and B-70... and why it was never done.
Damn.

There was a plan for the XB-70 to carry Skybolt on subsonic wing pylons, drop the whole things - before going to Mach 3 and unleash a volley of SRAMs nested in its payload bay.

The Mirage IV I think has the same issue as the TSR-2 - it had a big "conformal" radar dish right between the air intakes, making the ASMP a tight fight there. And the ASMP had no star tracker whatsoever.

I vaguely remember McNamara at some point backed poor McMillan in a corner, more or less telling him "Ah, sure, Great Britain can avoid Skybolt cancellation... by paying its developement and operational cost all by itself, since it is no longer useful to us, the United States..." no surprise McMillan hit the roof and picked Polaris instead.

I have to say, it was by far the best option from both cost and *invulnerability* point of view.

Skybolt on B-52 "Chrome dome mission"
(= permanently airborne with tanker support)
versus
Polaris on nuclear submarines
-
: as far as vulnerability and "loitering" go, the second one win hands down.

The Air Force atempt at countering the Navy Polaris by putting Skybolts on B-52s was pretty clever.
They very much tried to "make B-52s relevant again" by turning them into "flying IRBM platforms" - kind of "flying boomers !"

Clever, well tried, but it failed.

In a sense, aircraft can't hide in the sky, and can't fly permanently unless on unobtainium
By contrast, nuclear submarines can hide on the ocean depths... and can "float" for near eternity...
floating is easier than flying
Boomer vs Bomber = boomer wins by K.O

But don't tell that to Curtiss Lemay or Thomas Power... they would have kittens...
 
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Archibald

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In a sense, ALBMs (Skybolt) and SLBMs (Polaris) are IRBMs on mobile platforms (B-52s and nuclear subs) moving closer from the Soviet Union... except nuclear subs are far, far less vulnerable than B-52s, even if the later stand on alert.
- Alert on the ground = wiped out by a suprise attack.
- Alert, airborne = Chrome dome = massive tanker support, plus Goldsborough, Palomares, Thule frightening accidents...
 

PMN1

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Anyone have an idea of what size missile you would get if you wanted Titan II performance with HTP?
 

Archibald

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It is all a matter of density.
The oxidizers (N2O4 & HTP) are equally very dense at 1.45
N2H4 is lower but still lightly above water 1.032
But kerosene is way below water at 0.8

Basically HTP negates kerosene and it must be a draw with N2H4 / N2O4...
 

Zoo Tycoon

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Ker/H2O2 has an Isp of 273

N2H4 / N2O4 had an Isp of 292

So Ker/H2O2 has approx. 7% less energy so it’s range will be lower, a bit more than 7% lower due to the snowball effect.
 

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A whole bunch of pictures and excerpts from books (God bless this forum !) showing how Black Archer could have been carefully sized to fit TSR-2, Vulcan and Victor.
And Concorde, for frack sake ! It really had one hell of a ground clearance, 10 ft or more.
My apologies for the late reply, but it seems you were thinking of hanging the missile underneath the Concorde. In all likelihood this would severely impact any capability for supersonic deployment due to the added aerodynamic drag and interference.
 

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