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Blue Streak ballistic missile

Spark

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Hi CNH,
As soon as I visit Kew will let you have details. This might also be of interest.

With the possibility of a 600lb. warhead it was suggested that 65,000lb ~75,000lb LOX/K missile be looked at as a possible alternative to Blue Streak.
This is from the same document as 4 warhead BS.

Would 65,000lb put it in the same ballpark as the 1958 AW IRBM?
 

Spark

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Hi CNH,
Sorry it took so long, found it in notes, hope it’s the one in question, AVIA 65/1427, “A Technical Reappraisal of the UK Ballistic Missile Programme Assuming the Availability of a 600lb Warhead,” hope its useful.





Spark said:
Hi CNH,
As soon as I visit Kew will let you have details. This might also be of interest.

With the possibility of a 600lb. warhead it was suggested that 65,000lb ~75,000lb LOX/K missile be looked at as a possible alternative to Blue Streak.
This is from the same document as 4 warhead BS.

Would 65,000lb put it in the same ballpark as the 1958 AW IRBM?
 

CNH

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AVIA 65/1427 is 'BLUE STREAK: financial policy'.

Is it a paper within that?
 

Spark

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Hi CNH,
It covers the costs of alternatives to Blue Streak made possible with the smaller warhead (1958?)
A cheap SLV BS/BK solution at a estimated £10million cost by 1963. Not sure what set of documents that belong too.
The “insurances” one assumes the EE developed LRBM backup technologies and specifically the solid propellant development are dropped as an economy measure in 1957 are mentioned in an accompanying document.
Elsewhere there is reference to Aerojets interest in ICI solid motor casing “tape” technology for Polaris but it is not the one I recall reading some time ago... Have read today several hundred photo pages of Kew documents and am not sure if they belonged to that particular costs piece.


CNH said:
AVIA 65/1427 is 'BLUE STREAK: financial policy'.

Is it a paper within that?
 

Spark

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Hi CNH,
Have found reference to bare manufacturing cost of Blue Streak cost per round, October 1958 given as £500,000 (1958£).(Not the source I was thinking off)
However 1958 total estimate was given as £1.4million per round allowing farther extra 75% for spares plus another 75% for ground support equipment and 15% contribution for central maintenance facilities. This estimate was for the round, one would think that the SLV with out the LRBM guidance and HTP power units etc. would be simpler there by cheaper and would explain Pardoe’s 1960 manufactured £250,000 SLV unit cost?

Spark said:
CNH said:
AVIA 65/1427 is 'BLUE STREAK: financial policy'.

Is it a paper within that?
 

Barrington Bond

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Found at DTIC
RAE Technical Note GW 398 “A Study of the Structure Weight of Ballistic Missiles” February 1956
Halfway through it actually mentions Blue Streak…

…until the final layout of Blue Streak is settled together with the shape of the re-entry stage…
 

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Michel Van

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the 3 Engine version on first picture
Look like Twin of the Soviet (or was that German?) G-3 / R-12H ::)
 

Michel Van

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i found this on you tube
feast your eye on this:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5JWGg_fn-4&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_Ir8M1EILE&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7Oc2wJ_XWw&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzMAgj-trz8&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWmZjVv4Vrk&feature=related
 

CNH

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A lot of TV programmes start of with various pre conceived ideas usually centring around 'cover ups', but to do the producers of this programme credit, they told the story straight. You can quibble with bits here and there, but it's a pretty good story told straight.
 

Spark

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Hi CNH,
I am very sorry to say but the Commentary when trying to sum up only tells half the truth and repeats UK political spin.
Simple direct questions When cost cutting was such a big issue:-
Why were the launch stands 6A 6B at Woomera built for manned spacecraft with 1,000,000lbf thrust SLV, yes purpose built stands for Satellite Launch Vehicles with at least a 16 ton LEO payload
Or may be Blue Streak RZ12 or should we say RZ13 was 1,000,000lbf thrust engine?
The captive stands at Spadeadam according to Val Cleavers papers had the same rating!
The LOX plant at Woomera could produce 18,000ton LOX a year other sources state 36,000ton LOX.
BS needed 65ton LOX per flight, cost saving plant?
The individual launch pad LOX storage tanks had 165 ton capacity, exactly what was needed with margin for the 16ft diameter 5xRZ2 and the upperstages. Cost cutting?
Tom Kerr and Charles Martin both agreed that the RAF manned SLV programme was cancelled in 1960. Tom Kerr told me that the manned craft “was Embryonic”
Number eleven from the Fifty a Year assembly line at Stevenage was to be the first trials SLV.
The truth is the programme ALWAYS had a duality of purpose. Please just look at the above hard facts, evidence.
Ian Smith told me that by 1959/60 the performance of a BS round with bomb was such that it could reach any were in the USSR from the UK. He knew better than any one else!
This means that in compliance with the original wishes it could be deployed in Canada or the Commonwealth.
He said that RR was working on storable propellants pre cancellation.
So with the minimum of effort the BS missile had storable propellants, was a global Weapon and could have easily been MIRVED with at least FOUR individual megaton weapons. Was the CHEAPEST best system according to Sir M Brundrett.
None of the above was mentioned in the commentary, not even in passing.
Black Arrow atop BS was super cheap SLV package and could easily out perform ELDO.
I understand that the US with drew the Free Scout launch offer the day after BA cancellation.
Hansard gives a hint at a reason for Cancellation.

PS,
Hi Michel ,
thanks for the posting, very intersting..


CNH said:
A lot of TV programmes start of with various pre conceived ideas usually centring around 'cover ups', but to do the producers of this programme credit, they told the story straight. You can quibble with bits here and there, but it's a pretty good story told straight.
 

alertken

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Spark: all that conspiracy stuff really won't do. Civil engineering takes worst case as standard: see current closure/restricted use of Hammersmith flyover until it can be beefed to take 4 rows of tank transporters. We initiated Blue Streak by drawing extensively on US IRBM/ICBM data; we retained it, pointlessly, after getting near-free Thor and failing to think through silo-siting, first strike/second strike. UK was tasked by Saceur (with whom Bomber Command was target-integrated from 1/5/58 *) with a target quota fluctuating around 104, of which 59 were to be addressed by the armed Thors, then by Blue Streak, the others by Blue Steel, then Skybolt. That lot broke the bank and was beyond industry's capability, inc. that of AWRE/ROFs to produce warheads. (See H.Wynn for targets; see R.Moore, Nuclear Illusion, Nuclear Reality for stumbles in UK Big Bangs).

What to do with hundreds of IRBMs? 50 IRBMs a year is a chimera: why, where, show me the holes? No Commonwealth SLV: show me the money. No ICBM Streak: why would we want such a thing? Eastern England is at IRBM range from the Donetz Basin. And it would be beyond DH's wit (see CNH's quote, P.107: "extremely difficult and unsatisfactory"): after we started to try to do it as IRBM, Martin, Lockheed and Boeing left us standing, onway to SLBM/ICBM.

There is confusion here between the art of the techno-possible - aerolobby, and the art of the possible - elected representatives of the taxpayer. The only spin lay in persevering with Blue Streak after we took Thor and joined USAF's Requirement that became Skybolt. Nothing in your post matches CNH's archive-grafting in Vertical Empire/II: he posts here: are you telling him he has missed the wood, distracted by the trees?

(*: to correct myself, 20/3: RAF Medium Bomber Force target-integrated with USAF/SAC, 1/7/58, and integrated into US SIOP,1/4/61, then with 106 Bomber + 59 Thor targets {which might have overlapped}; Canberra, then Valiant Tactical Bomber Force assigned to Saceur 2/7/59, 48 targets. TBF and MBF+Thor {to 23/8/63} assigned to Saceur 23/5/63. My point is: no scope for hundreds of BS).
 

CNH

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we retained it, pointlessly, after getting near-free Thor
Ah, the snag was that Thor with a UK warhead didn't have the range.
It might have done with lightweight warhead we got after the 58 agreement, but the trouble was that people get tunnel vision: we were pressing on BS and no one turned round and said, hey, what about Thor and lightweight warhead?
 

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Hi,
In as far as the book goes it is a very impressive effort. My personal perspective naturely is some what different how ever and includes knowledge of material from three private archives as well as Hendon and Kew.
My experience is different with an interest in the subject and memories that go back nigh on sixty years. I am nobody special but I do try to understand what I see, hear or read this more often leaves me with more questions than answers. For example my first memory on the subject is a BBC news report that I listened to in 1952/53 about an American claim for a blunt re-entry body. This was contradicted by some gentlemen from RAE Farnborough who reported that a scientist of German extraction working there had invented a means of making a more pointed streamlined body that could come back from space, fast. One of those speaking then said the US work was in fact preceded by someone at RAE (with an English name not the German) working on blunt re-entry bodies in 1948.
So I still do not have the answer to who it was that was working that early on the problem. But in trying to find the answer I discover to my surprise that BIS members postulated the use of a bluff ablative heat shield in 1938 and that RAE scientist was working on the problem in 1945!
Most important of all I owe a debt to those no longer with us who were involved and shared their experiences with me. To share in turn what they said with you and any body else that is interested. This has to be done as accurately and honestly as possible and you can then judge for your self. These stories are limited in scope but give I would suggest a some what different perspective to that found in the popular “official” based histories. Thus I have assembled a number of pieces of the jigsaw that are consistent and give what I believe is a bigger more truthful picture of what really happened.
So when I share the fact that the size of the launch pad LOX storage tank corresponds to that required for the largest intended dedicated SLV. That SLV was a medium lift vehicle with a 16ft diameter tank/body (5x RZ2) and the gantry/moving service tower was designed and built to take such.
The gantry was designed so that stages could be added to cater for upper stages of increased size when they became available as happened in ‘63.
The launch pad was built to take a rocket with three times the power of the BS missile when the stand gantry could have been built for a fifth of the cost if it was strictly intended for a missile raises questions of why?
When there were Four private UK companies making space suits in 1960 you have to ask why?
It all supports what different people who were in the know have told me over the years and the news report I heard broadcast on the wireless June/July 1960 about the RAF manned programme and its cancellation.
This kurt news item had a huge impact on me and the questions it raised, especially as with the spin given the official version of the cancellation of the Blue Streak missile and its RZ13 engine I initially fell for it hook line and sinker and was angry at the waste of money.

So with reflection when listened to the official versions began with in a week or so to show inconsistencies. With in a year or two with the snippets of information that leaked out it became crystal clear that the ”official version” was just like the V1000 cancellation a fabricated web of barefaced lies and half truths. (Sorry Ken but in the real world the truth is not always nice.) I do not know all the answers but the questions that arose still rankle so I value very highly the views, opinions facts, experiences that are shared, posted here on line.
The V Bombers, Bloodhound, and Thor were a local part of the landscape. It does not take much thought or imagination to see the vulnerabilities, pros and cons of the respective systems. The Thor was seen as a highly unbelievably vulnerable system, what we did not know was that the UK Government departments only thought before its deployment it was about 60% reliable. Rolls Royce made crucial inputs to make it safer system. As a missile it was according to erks who were involved operationally “a nightmare” for those RAF personal operating it. PRO documents show that to adapt it to underground launching would be too expensive and BS was still the cheaper preferred choice, option. On the plus side it was far better than the previous Corporeal for reliability etc.
Even when on occasion they are wrong, it helps to understand why mistakes posted or are repeated. For example the RZ13 was at one time and officially up to the time the Blue Streak missile programme was cancelled the intended engine for the operational missile at the beginning of its deployment. This is not a debating point it is a fact, but where is it referenced as such with the correct performance and specifications? Help, Please help me folks I know of only one correct source on the net; there must be others that I have missed?
Second example there are five open source engines that were intended at one time or another as possible alternatives for Blue Streak upgrades if or when it became necessary. There are two other closed source unpublished proposals for BS upgrades. Surely those five engines should be recorded as a part of the programmes history, at least on the main sites? You need luck and a great deal of diligence to find any references to them in recent times. So I freely acknowledge that it is very difficult today to make any thing like a real appraisal of what happened. Sorry folks if I have made too bigger post but all I want is the truth and more answers.


Barrington Bond said:
They did sort of - the bit about retaining Thor.
Royal Air Force Historical Society Journal 26
http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/journals.cfm
 

Michel Van

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thx for inside view Spark
it look that RAF had plans for to put british Military present in Earth Orbit- manned spysat, manned lifting body space fighter / Bomber
or something like that


one question i have
Blue Streak (2xRZ2)was a light launch rocket/ICBM
SLV (5xRZ2) consider a medium launch rocket
what to hell they consider as heavy launch rocket ?
 

Spark

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Hi Michel,
Interesting question, in response to LBJ/Kennedy’s Moon Challenge there was a news story when former UK Blue Streak workers discussed and advocated the re-instating of the former military programmes key elements.
What I heard shocked me as a young man because it was the very first time I heard references made to the larger BS 14ft or 16ft medium launch vehicles. The launch facilities launch pads already existed at Woomera. It was stated that it would only need seven or eight launches to place an equivalent LEO payload to the Saturn V. This was thought possible but the best idea was a flotilla of craft to give mutual support and to mount a proper Moon Expedition.
Reference was made to the heavy payload vehicle this would have had eight RZ2 rocket engines and was considered a follow on programme although it had been one of the first studies to be schemed in the context of the Military Programme. The reason for this was it was not certain that a manned craft could be orbited and docked with a orbiting space station. So the idea was the station and return capsule would be orbited as a single entity! The projected payload must have been in the region of some twenty tons but by the early ’60’s thirty tons would be more likely based on figures used in a lecture by one of Val Cleavers colleagues for the medium lift vehicle. The larger vehicle was possible but as the existing facilities could only cater up to the size of the medium lift vehicle they would be the preferred choice but they only had a payload capability equivalent to or slightly better than the Saturn I
I was given details of the military requirements at a BIS conference held at Cosford some years ago. Namely a ten crew space station serviced by a multi purpose five man space plane/ferry that could also act as an independent platform for three crew for up to three weeks. “Near space control”, “satellite inspection” and “reconnaissance”.
I leave you to figure out what is meant by “Near space control” and it’s other implications.
So this gives a clue to size of the capsule needed by the RAF/RAAF for the big launcher, your guess is as good as mine because I do not recall any figures , a five man or maybe a ten man return, either are impressive.
It is of interest but the schemes for the return capsule were kept as a back up in case the Space plane was a technical failure or was delayed.

Michel Van said:
thx for inside view Spark
it look that RAF had plans for to put british Military present in Earth Orbit- manned spysat, manned lifting body space fighter / Bomber
or something like that


one question i have
Blue Streak (2xRZ2)was a light launch rocket/ICBM
SLV (5xRZ2) consider a medium launch rocket
what to hell they consider as heavy launch rocket ?
 

Michel Van

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a 8xRZ2 engine rocket would be Saturn IB class with 20~30 metric tons payload


RAF wandet a MOL analog, but in size of MORL !
i guess with 2 Lifting body on top with crew
like the Armstrong Whitworth "waverider" Lifting body, launch configuration


 

Barrington Bond

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For what it’s worth…
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17390290
Just discovered that General Alan Brooke in 1942 was in talks with Vichy France to arm them and that Churchill and De Gaulle were not to be told.
Still secrets turning up.
Chevaline was secret kept from Parliament for quite some time.
Just saying that perhaps there might have been something “on the QT”.
I find it strange that De Havilland having now the knowledge to build the Blue Streak would not produce designs for larger versions. We seem to find lots of improved, extended, enlarged, stretched designs from other companies trying to push their wares so I cannot see DH’s designers sitting on their laurels and not coming up with stuff that wasn’t more than just improved Mk1,2,3,4 ad nauseum Blue Streak with added chrome trim, go faster stripes and spray on rally mud (and I’m not talking about basic BS with bolted on boosters…).
And yes I do know we were bankrupt but I do believe that there were probably some dreamers in the RAF who might have been in hush hush talks with DH just to see what might be possible with their now acquired knowledge.
After all – Per Ardua Ad Astra.

Regards,
Barry
 

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Its usually said that building the Blue Streak silos would have taken up a substantial chunk of the UK's concrete manufacturing capacity.

Anyone know how much concrete and steel a typical silo would have used?
 

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If solid fuel motors were possible resulting in a smaller missile and therefore smaller silos (at less cost??), given Britain's policy at the time is to 'ride an attack out' rather than launch on warning, what does this do for the introduction of RN SSBN's, after all, if you are going to ride it out, you don't really need the practically invulnerable platform that the SSBN represents?

Could you still see SSBN's eventually as Soviet missile accuracy improved and doubt about being able to ride it out grew even though a fortune has been spent on the silos?
 

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Hi,

When Blue Streak was considered for cancellation the idea that came closest after Polaris was for a new solid fuelled missile (to use American technology) to enter service around 1970, the problem was that something was needed in the interim and it would still need the investment in silos. Polaris was cheaper, risk free, and more survivable.
 

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Here is a nice DH image of a Blue Streak model from my time at Hatfield.
 

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Michel Van

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BillRo said:
Here is a nice DH image of a Blue Streak model from my time at Hatfield.

i love the way, how the model almost floating in air
 

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Hi.
Nice photo but what is the cable or pipe on the side???
BillRo said:
Here is a nice DH image of a Blue Streak model from my time at Hatfield.
 

Spark

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Hi,
Ian Smith said that BSLRBM could reach any were in the USSR from UK sites / hard emplacements/silos.
The Commonwealth aspect meant that it could also be sited on the Canadian 50th parallel.
This was a practical and realistic and very cheap solution for a joint deterrent.
This would act as a tripwire solution.

PMN1 said:
If solid fuel motors were possible resulting in a smaller missile and therefore smaller silos (at less cost??), given Britain's policy at the time is to 'ride an attack out' rather than launch on warning, what does this do for the introduction of RN SSBN's, after all, if you are going to ride it out, you don't really need the practically invulnerable platform that the SSBN represents?

Could you still see SSBN's eventually as Soviet missile accuracy improved and doubt about being able to ride it out grew even though a fortune has been spent on the silos?
 

CNH

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What is more interesting about that model is that it doesn't show it in ELDO f1 configuration, but with what could be a possible missile configuration.
 

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Hi CNH,
It fits one version of the DHP bluff heat sink variants as presented in documents to the Woomera RAF trials team in 1959/60. They also were given the original EE tasked high speed stealth re-entry head type as an alternative possibility, but the drawing for which was somewhat more sketchy.

CNH said:
What is more interesting about that model is that it doesn't show it in ELDO f1 configuration, but with what could be a possible missile configuration.
 

BillRo

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I would guess my photo is of the model shown above from the Farnbrough Air Show, probably for the press release. It even shows the conical lights used to illuminate the display. It dates from the early 60's - pre ERNO and pre DH Enterprise being taken over by Hawker-Siddeley.
 

Barrington Bond

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Aircraft Engineering January 1964 Volume XXXVI No.1 419th Issue
Inertial Guidance
The British Scene
A Review of Inertial Guidance Developments, Use of Inertial Techniques in the Civil Field together with Description of the Gyros, Platforms and Accelerometers being Produced by the British Industry
Page 11
“Although the first British operational inertial navigation system is that of the Blue Steel, it should be kept in mind that a number of British inertial systems had been produced prior to this, but due to the vagaries of politics none had entered operational service. Navigational platforms for fighters, bombers, Blue Streak and Blue Water as well as other missiles all suffered a similar fate. Some were cancelled in the early project stages while others (notably Blue Streak) were cancelled at a time when the system had been built, tested and was in production. This unfortunate state of affairs at least gave the British Companies involved an opportunity to gain a vast amount of experience which they could hardly have afforded without Government support.”
Page 17
“As far as Blue Streak was concerned, the contract for the complete inertial navigation and guidance system was placed with the Company in November, 1955. The decision to accept such a large defence contract was not without hesitation on the part of Sperry, since it required a large Company investment on one contract. However, the Company were pressed very earnestly that the acceptance was in the national interest and agreement was subsequently reached. The technical problems involved were to say the least challenging and a very considerable expansion had to be embarked upon, including the creation and staffing of the Bracknell plant.
In the course of development work on the Blue Streak, Sperry’s achieved the first successful missile stable platform in Great Britain of very considerable accuracy and their successful progress enabled the Government to cancel the development of an alternative radio/radar guidance system. A three-axis accelerometer of the required accuracy was in production at Bracknell in 1957 and the stable platforms for Blue Streak were made with an American design of gyroscope although Sperry’s did use the indigenous mercury-supported gyro in early versions. The cancellation of Blue Streak brought an end to the whole project.
However, the stable platform suitably modified by the Kelvin Hughes Division of Smith’s, was successfully used in the high-altitude research rocket, Black Knight.”
 

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The description of the INS development above is delivered in quite on optimistic tone. The reality was that Elloitts Automation struggled with Blue Steel and yes it is true that Black knight did eventually fly with a fully automatic INS, it was only the last few (2?) flights. Most flights on the program used a ground based manual control uplinked to vehicle itself.
 

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Hi
To correct false histories; Avro started work on a stand-off bomb in 1950, a new team was formed c. 1955 with some one from RAE. they looked at a range of alternatives before re-inventing the original design. this is prime source; has any one details on guidance and propulsion please??? To delivere a A-bomb rather than a H-bomb.
spark


Zootycoon said:
The description of the INS development above is delivered in quite on optimistic tone. The reality was that Elloitts Automation struggled with Blue Steel and yes it is true that Black knight did eventually fly with a fully automatic INS, it was only the last few (2?) flights. Most flights on the program used a ground based manual control uplinked to vehicle itself.
 

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I left the RAF in 1956 after teaching at the non-RAF officers Signals' School, Yatesbury. I joined the team at DeHavilland Propellers, Hatfield to work on the "Blue Streak" guidance system after the Fairey "Firestreak" project (which I was to have joined) was cancelled. Notably, there were three technological competitors for the active components in the servo system R&D:
1. Hardened thermionic valves (12AT7 variants etc)
2. Magnetic amplifiers, saturable reactors etc and
3. "Transistors" - primitive germanium point-contact and PN-junction prototypes!
Within about one year the project was moved to Stevenage and I took this opportunity to join a more commercial electronic R&D company. I do recall that, also hosted in our lab, there was a small team working on a very compact three-axis gyro platform expected to be integrated with our servo amplifiers. AFAIK, this was not a Sperry device.
I should add that on site at Hatfield there was more than just servo and gyro R&D, although I never witnessed this.
There must have been an actual (or a suitable model of) the Rolls Royce engine in a test rig since often, when taking a reading with an Avometer, the pointer would disappear as it resonated with the sound waves generated by the hydraulic pipes which actuated the model and which passed under the floor of our lab.
Lastly, a further clue to what was afoot was the large tubular structure mounted in plain public view beneath beefy Goodmans' vibrators!

Pete Dewar C.Eng., MIEE., MIET.
 

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM1C-KYKLrQ
 

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Are there any good scale drawings of the Blue Streak available? I cannot find any on the web.
 

Silencer1

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Thanks for sharing this video!
Sad, that European space program in general didn't follow the path, predicted by this documentary.
International cooperation, however, has been realized in some successful aircraft projects, so this "Blue Streak" experience could be a good starting point.
In some points the documentary reminds me current Space X launches...
 
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