Dornier / BGT Viper AAM

overscan (PaulMM)

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Development of Viper was initiated by Dornier and BGT in 1969 as a Sidewinder (AIM-9B) replacement. It used a improved seeker, featuring increased sensitivity, wider look angle, and increased tracking rate. Improvements to the rocket motor and aerodynamics increased the range. One very odd feature was the IR search and acquisition unit in the missile launcher, which allowed multitarget engagement by not having to rely on the host aircraft to locate a target.

Expected first flight was 1975, with service entry on the F-4F and MRCA in 1977.

The project was cancelled in 1974 because of the US AIM-9L program, though Viper was superior in a number of aspects.

Sources
Jane's Weapons Systems 1974-75 p143
Illustrated Encyclopaedia of the Worlds Rockets & Missiles Bill Gunston, 1979 p213
 

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Ha i hoped the forum had something about this missile ;D

Does somebody know if the missile seeker had all aspect capabilities like the aim-9L ?

thx
 
Bodenseewerk/Dornier Viper


These two companies are working, under Bundeswehr contract, on a Sidewinder replacement based on Bodenseewerk's experience gained during Sidewinder licence production. The company advanced its own technology by developing the Sidewinder 1A improved guidance and control unit, designated FGW Mod 2, which is unaffected by sun-reflecting surfaces and has a much smaller dead zone when approaching the target into sun.

Viper is a medium-range/dogfight missile with a motor burn time about double that of Sidewinder and a minimum effective range of 200m-300m. The motor is a new unit being developed by Kongsberg Vapenfabrik. The missile's launcher is equipped with an infra-red search unit to acquire targets and then point the Viper IR head in the correct direction. The launcher also houses a cooling unit for the IR heads.

Viper is designed to lock on to targets within a squint angle of ±15° while on the launcher, compared with Sidewinders ±2°. The prototype missile should be ready by the end of the year and service entry is scheduled for 1975-1976. MRCA and Alpha-Jet will be amongst the types to carry the weapon.
 
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The seeker capabilities aren't impressive; given it compares off boresight seeker capabilities with the AIM-9B ones, I assume it was still a tail chaser, to enter service just when the US was getting the AIM-9L ready.....

Even the original R550 Magic missile had a 40º off boresight angle, although it was still mostly a rear chaser, with better angles and thus a larger fire envelope.
 
At the same time that they discussed the Lance program, the ministers also disclosed that Germany and Norway have signed an agreement for collaboration on the development of the Viper air-to-air missile. Dornier System has been conducting studies of the weapon for the German air force.
AWST June 18, 1973
Aerodynamic testing of Dornier Viper air-to-air missile for the German air force is scheduled to begin in Germany by year end. The missile’s solid rocket motor is now in test. The missile head, including infrared seeker, is operating on a functional mockup. Norway is participating with Germany in developing the propulsion system for the air-to—air missile (AW&ST June 18, p. 22).
AWST July 9, 1973
Germany plans to halt development of the Dornier Viper air-to-air infrared guided missile. The Viper had been envisioned as a follow-on to earlier
model U.S. Sidewinders. The Germans are discussing with the US. their role in operating the AIM-9L missile, and also a partnership with the US. in developing the next generation of infrared guided missile.
AWST November 11, 1974
Germany has halted development of its Dornier Viper air-to-air infrared missile, earlier thought to be a follow-on to older model Sidewinder missiles (AW&ST
Nov. 11, p. 11) and will procure the AIM-9L advanced Sidewinder for its inventory.
AWST December 23, 1974
 
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Viper
Sidewinder follow-on under development for the German forces by Dornier System, using a Norwegian motor and guidance from Bodenseewerk, which produced Sidewinder guidance heads under licence. Viper improves on Sidewinder in target acquisition, launch requirements, thrust endurance, manoeuvring capability and proximity fuzing. The system includes test equipment. The launch rail can include a target-seeker to assist missile lock-on.

Flight International 25 October 1973
 
An article on Dornier Aerodyne and Viper was in the French Aviation Magazine, Issue 612 15/06/1973 (I don't have it).
 
Looks like Air Power magazine's prediction about the Kukri. But that ended up being a R550/Magic copy.
 
I finally got my hand on 'BGT - Die Geschichte eines Hochtechnologie-Unternehmens' which is the official history of BGT up to the acquisition by Diehl.
The book has some nice pictures and some background on the Viper.
It claims that the missile was primarily a BGT product, but that Dornier got the lead role because one of their project-management-teams had just gotten freed up by the canceling of the Korps-Aufklärungsdrohne while BGT would have had to build such a team from the ground up.

In 1974 apparently some issues with the AIM-9L seeker were discovered in testing that endangered the whole program, leading BGT to offer a hybrid of the AIM body with the Viper seeker-head. This combination was called ALASCA (All Aspect Capability). This solution was tested at China Lake until 1978, but returned to the background already in 1976, after the issues with the AIM-9L were resolved. The book claims that ALASCA had, compared to the AIM-9L, a 30% larger 'Seeker-detection-range' (Not sure if i translated that correctly, the original is "Suchkopf-Auffassreichweite").

Based on ALASCA BGT later also build the experimental SARS (Semi Active Radar Sidewinder) first in cooperation with GEC-Marconi and later with Motorola. But presumably this had very little left in common with the Viper.
 
In 1974 apparently some issues with the AIM-9L seeker were discovered in testing that endangered the whole program, leading BGT to offer a hybrid of the AIM body with the Viper seeker-head. This combination was called ALASCA (All Aspect Capability). This solution was tested at China Lake until 1978, but returned to the background already in 1976, after the issues with the AIM-9L were resolved. The book claims that ALASCA had, compared to the AIM-9L, a 30% larger 'Seeker-detection-range' (Not sure if i translated that correctly, the original is "Suchkopf-Auffassreichweite").
Unfortunately in the digitized version of 'NATO : a business history' the exact page talking about this is missing.
 

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The seeker capabilities aren't impressive; given it compares off boresight seeker capabilities with the AIM-9B ones, I assume it was still a tail chaser, to enter service just when the US was getting the AIM-9L ready.....

Even the original R550 Magic missile had a 40º off boresight angle, although it was still mostly a rear chaser, with better angles and thus a larger fire envelope.

ALASCA stands foe "ALl ASpect CApability" so the BGT seeker was clearly pretty modern with cooling,
 
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Looks like Air Power magazine's prediction about the Kukri. But that ended up being a R550/Magic copy.
Not really the case.
Kukri had features of both the AIM-9 and Magic, both of which were in the inventory at the time, so this was logical to look at both missiles when starting design.
The Magic and Kukri have a considerably different diameter, for example.
So not really a Magic "copy".
 

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