Blue Water: More sources of info

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ACCESS: Above Top Secret
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27 September 2006
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Just to follow up the earlier thread on Blue Water I can point you to couple of sources which should be available in old libraries and Amazon.

A book published in the 60s in two separate editions, one in about 1962-3 and the other in about 1967 called British Army Vehicles and Equipment (probably an Ian Allan book) had a lengthy article with photos of the Blue Water missile and its launcher. I am sure someone who uses this site will have a copy (although my Oxford library no longer has the one I used to refer to).

International Defence Review or Interavia- a large format magazine from about 1962-3 has in one of its editions a detailed account of NATO-Soviet nuclear forces which includes Blue Water. The same publication also has advertisments for the Alvis Stalwart vehicle showing it carrying a Blue Water launcher (interestingly the same ad shows a Stalwart carrying a Mauler-like system which may be the BAC PT428 forerunner to Rapier). Again I used to have access to a copy of this in the MOD Library, but no longer.

Finally, the Profiles issue on the FV 432 refers to a variant designed to carry Blue Water (presumably similar to the US tracked Pershing launcher).

Blue Water was aimed at replacing the Corporal/Sergeant type of missile with a simpler more airportable system. Unfortunately the US had already ordered Sergeant and the West Germans followed suit, so there was no economy of scale to justify production of Blue Water for NATO. The Rhine Army has to wait until 1976 to replace its Honest Johns with Lance (Sergeant was rejected as a Corporal replacement as being too cumbersome, in any case TSR 2 and HS 1154 were seen as more flexible nuclear delivery systems).

Although widely described in books and articles, the TSR 2 delivered Blue Water system was never a serious programme. The WE 177 weapon was the only projected system for TSR 2, later Buccaneer and Tornado. Interest in a stand-off system for TSR 2 was generated by the collapse of the Skybolt programme, but the RN Polaris programme made any attempts by the RAF to keep some nuclear role (other than the Theatre delivery role for SACEUR) a non starter. Polaris had in any case always been seen as the long term follow on for Skybolt, events just hastened the procurement.

UK 75
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