Blue Envoy


ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
8 September 2006
Reaction score
Any one have any details of the British Blue Envoy SAM/ABM? I believe it was evolved from the Bloodhound missile, but how closely where they related.
How would have Blue Envoy have stacked up against the Bomarc and the Bloodhound I/II?

There was also an evolved version of the Bloodhound that would have had even higher peformance than the Mk.I/II variants, the Mk.III. Was that related to Blue Envoy?
Images by Adrian Mann. Don't know how accurate they are.

Is that a waverider?!

Pretty darned accurate! The model is built from actual XBE engineering drawings that have "Secret" stamped all over them! An updated image will be appearing in the book "British secret projects: Hypersonics, ramjets and missiles" from Midland Counties soon, so be sure to look out for it.
British secret projects: Hypersonics, ramjets and missiles

See my earlier response to the notice of that book for just how much I'm looking forward to this one!

Sorry if I seemed rude Adrian, I just didn't know how much was from plans and how much was speculative.

No rudeness noted or implied!

I should further point out that much more prominently than the 'secret' marks, are the "Declassified' stamps, so please put the phone down before the MoD Plod show up! All the drawings I work from are of course, declassified, so no dodgy activity should be implied or inferred.

It's certainly a book to get - I've seen quite a bit of it, and it's as thorough, comprehensive, well-researched and well written as you might expect, with lots of new info, line drawings and illustrations.
Adrian, I just got my copy of BSP: Hypersonics, Ramjets, and Missiles and enjoyed your artwork in the book.

On the subject of Blue Envoy, are there any pictures/schematics of what the launcher might have looked like?
Hi Chicken!

I think there is a model of a Blue Envoy on its launcher (shown in a
magazine article some years ago) which looks like the standard
Bloodhound II launcher.

The shipborne version might have had a launcher developed from
Seaslug, or more likely, a Talos style launcher. Like Blue Envoy,
Talos rounds had to be assembled behind the launcher in a
hangar. I can't help thinking that if the UK had perservered with
a double ended cruiser we would have bitten the bullet and
bought Talos, or Super Talos (Typhon). In return the US might
have taken the British PT428 or Seawolf later on instead of the
failing Mauler.

Unfortunately even in the USN, Talos was rendered obsolete by
the Standard family and the fear of lower flying faster Russian
aircraft. Although Talos equipped ships would have been great
for coping with slow Russian bombers, they would have been
of less help in the Falklands than the smaller Seadart, which
was still too slow and difficult to launch and control.

Love the ships though.

UK 75
Randomly digging around looking at various UK projects I came across a book by Keith Francis entitled "The Education of a Waldorf Teacher", it is essentially a biography of the author with a focus on how he became a Waldorfian educationalist but a very brief part of his early career was spent at what he calls BAC (by which I believe he means Bristol Aeroplane Company rather than the later British Aircraft Corporation) where he worked in the thermo-aero-elasticity section as part of the Blue Envoy project. This account covers about three and a half pages and is truly fascinating with the author describing the use of the English Electric DEUCE computer (even when it was working the cycle for doing a set of calculations was usually about 3 weeks and the whole cycle had to be repeated if there was a mistake in the original calculations or if an engineer in another department had changed an element on the design in the meantime!). The author paints a picture of a dysfunctional organisation, in addition to the arrangements for the use of the DEUCE he offers two other examples. At one point it was discovered that, as a consequence of a lack of communication between teams and frequently changing design elements, the missiles centre of gravity was 23 inches in front of the nose, the result being that some of the weights team were sacked and its head demoted. In his final example, and final act on the programme before resigning from the company, the author had been calculating the effects of heat flowing into the main bulkhead. The shape of this bulkhead was apparently complex and irregular which meant the author would only be able to approximate in any case. Eventually it was decided that the thickness of the steel sheathing was to be 36 thousands of an inch and the author completed his calculations and had them run through the DEUCE on that basis only for the sheathing thickness decision to switched to 48 thousands on an inch within a couple of days of the calculations returning from the DEUCE.

The book can be found on Google Books here: the relevant pages are 28-32 inclusive.

Also, I came across this excellent paper by Jonathan Aylen and Mike Pryce which contains information about the Blue Envoy guidance system notably the development of the guidance computer. Blue Envoy aside it really is a wonderful document in its own right and testament to its authors knowledge and experience. I find the subject of how UK companies worked, the actual guts of companies, truly fascinating and it is an often under discussed issue that has a lot of bearing on the demise of various UK entities and industry sectors. It is all the more surprising given the trouble Ferranti (not the only offenders) got into with excessive profits on the Bloodhound programme:
Thank you.

Embedded...tacit...silo...before PERT/CPA, inter-disciplinary, cross-Company UK Aero Projects were managed with paper, with very occasional meetings, all assumed to be called as excuses for a trip out - a "jolly". Even a rail warrant to go, say from Bristol to Wythenshawe, was argued jealously. Projects were driven by two quests: to dodge blame, and to extract more resources for ME! No One was ever in charge. The reason was, of course, money. If...(Bloodhound example) MoS had appointed Ferranti or Bristol to be Prime Contractor, then: a) the true innovators (always seen in MoS as its own relevant Establishment) would be demeaned; and b) Prime would take a handling fee over Subs' invoices. If the whole Project was on cost plus, then so; but if Ministers had chosen to accept an upfront budget increment, to dump risk of over-run onto Prime, then Prime spent his waking days sloping his shoulders so the sh1t could flow down as a loss to Sub. All this meant that the actual analogy for UK Project Management Organisation was not silo but spaghetti.

One reason in 1948 for duplicating Red Heathen, to be Bloodhound and Thunderbird, was the notion that EE could be (vertically integrated, one-stop shop, Prime...all of those things) across EE airframe, Marconi lecky, Napier rocket, such that MoS need only Project Manage/integrate the Bristol Aeroplane+Bristol Aero-Engines+Ferranti job. But they all lapsed into their silos.

That interface with the Customer-as-(meddler-designer) is missing from the MBS Paper.
Actually the real problem was that until about 10 years ago neither the MoD nor predecessors/acolytes nor British industry had the faintest clue about the discipline of systems engineering. The British taxpayer has paid hansomely for this incompetance.
Length: 26.25 ft (8 m)
Diameter: 24 in (60 cm)
Span: 16.4 ft (5 m)

So Blue Envoy would be 25cm longer than Bloodhound II, 5cm greater diameter and the delta wing nearly twice the span.

Naval comparisons:
Sea Slug
Length: 6 m
Diameter: 41 cm
Span: 1.4 m

Sea Dart
Length: 5.25 m
Diameter: 42 cm
Span: 91 cm
Ahh! Thanks! Somewhat smaller then a Regulus I but likely taller due to the two boosters under and on top of the missile. I wonder if the wings would fold like on Regulus?
Do you have drawings of the Blue Envoy?

Similar threads

Top Bottom