Mauler SAM

Not often you get a picture of people reloading a mockup. The obvious awkwardness of this may explain why the planned production vehicle had the launcher on top of a stepped down roof, as well as being stretched for more clear cut weight reasons.
If I read this correctly Mauler was a SARH missile, not a beam rider as stated elsewhere. Such as on the Wiki page.

If I read this correctly the VSR set was a L-band stacked beam type using the 'modern' flat antenna.

If I read this correctly the TIR set was FMCW, using separate transmit and receive dishes (of differing size).

If I make out the missile, it's not the same appearance as that in BSP. More like the Falcon type or in fact the HAWK.

I can also see why it fell, trying to squeeze HAWK-like capabilities of system into something at best 30% the size.

In turn by reading this I can seen why the UK might have proposed PT.428 and why....
In that it likely used the same FMCW type system for TIR, but for beam riding guidance obviating the issues of clutter complicating the seeker systems job.
I can also see why PT.428 is using two versions of missile, one unboosted and one boosted, to overcome the variables in target speed and in missile weight for the unboosted version.
If anything the US effort is just too advanced, particularly in miniaturisation.


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This is the first time that I've actually seen what the MIM-46 Mauler missile looks like! It does look remanicent to 'a scaled-down HAWK' Zen.


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the basic version was with semi-automatic guidance. they also did with infrared homing?
By the time the started considering IR-guided versions, the project was on the verge of cancellation. The intent a the time was to procure as small number of all-weather systems, with the radar, capable of firing both SARH and IR missiles, and large numbers of fair-weather only systems only capable of firing IR missiles only.
Configuration V seems to be a better base for a Navalised variant.
The Soviet Union was much better at self propelled anti air systems than the West..

This has continued right up to the present day where the only SPAA system the West has provided to Ukraine are a handful of obsolete German Gepards.
Configuration V seems to be a better base for a Navalised variant.
That basically WAS the navalized version.

The plan was that the mount will only have the track and direction radars and it be cue from the ships main search radar. Actually got an image of that around here somewhere.
If you could find it that would be nice!
The Soviet Union was much better at self propelled anti air systems than the West..

This has continued right up to the present day where the only SPAA system the West has provided to Ukraine are a handful of obsolete German Gepards.

It only appears this way because the Soviets were vastly more invested in the matter (in productive scale, not in interest) and because the WPO had far better military-industrial integration with its client-superpower relationships.

When you compare like to like i.e. whole-NATO developments and Soviet developments, you start to see the "better Soviet air defense" is just "early adopter syndrome" of absolute trash like Krug meeting the subsequent waves of slightly panicky investments to catch up to French and British bomber and missile development. Strategic air defense gets a lot of newsprint and air time but it's really undeserved IMO. The actual combat performances of anything older than S-300, with the noteworthy exception of the handling of the S-125 complex by the Serbs, is rather weak. You can chalk this up to defender use cases (and probably be right), but even in Vietnam the PAVN's PVO troops had to use MiG-21s as proxy for command guidance of the S-75s, due to American formation jamming. How often would a strategic air defense system be allowed to do that in nuclear combat?

In terms of radio-electronic combat the Soviet Army had a lot to say but not a lot to show on the subject. The US was plainly better in this regard to a somewhat embarrassing degree, even if America never fully understand what it was doing or why it did something, it could just invent a new jammer system out of thin air until about the mid-1970's. Since we've yet to see a major air campaign against late-stage Soviet air defense troops, it's an open question what is better of course, but complaining that your tank divisions are "only" protected by Rolands and Gepards, one of the most statistically lethal air defense combinations on the planet, is a bit of a poverty of riches.

Mainline Soviet air defense for a long time was just Chaparral/VADS equivalents, and later became a Gepard with some funky ACLOS rockets and a slightly better Chaparral, then the USSR imploded. Osa and such were not battlefield air defense units but rather division air defense for wide protection, and Osa was not very good, since it was continuously stymied by development problems and pushed through mostly as a industrial subsidy to keep the factory funded and workers employed I guess.

Kub and Buk are rather nice but again are division systems, not highly mobile tank-chassis ZRKs that move with company or battalion size units supporting the ZSUs in ground gaining offensives.

Everything else was barely keeping pace at the end of the day, but Krug was a dumpster fire that kicked it off.

Despite ostensibly being contemporary with Thunderbird/Bloodhound and HAWK, it was worse in all aspects and instead of just buying a couple and waiting for a better system, the mindset was to buy thousands of the things and that becomes a problem. Kub ended up comparable to HAWK...a decade later, but it had too few ammunition rounds to be useful for tactical defense of the division. Enter Osa, to kill the flying things, being a approximation of Roland, which was division air defense for French Army of 1972. Because Osa had a protracted and rather painful gestation period resembling the Mauler except instead of being thrown in the bin and restarted with more realistic requirements, it just kept failing tests until requirements were adjusted to something that could actually be made, albeit dollar short and a decade late. So you have the Shilka, Strelas, Osa, Krug, Kub. Great it's finally over, but now we need something replace the Krug and maybe the S-75 as well. We can make this big ass truck that uses the latest phased array technologies for that job for the PVO troops. Krug 2. This begins in 1967, and produces results a decade later with AKA S-300.

The "early adopter" cycle repeats. C'est la vie. The Soviets had the same problem Britain and America in developing a strategic SAM system in the Nike Hercules and the Bloodhound missiles, except they didn't actually just stop and wait to break out of it, because they really couldn't. America, after a decade of titanic thonks and possessing of fairly good LAADS in the Vulcan/Stinger/Chaparral triplets, eventually came up with MIM-104 one day after seeing the S-300P I guess.

You end up with weird overlapping generations and crazy quilts of SAM belts using once-common-now-obscure and bizarre antique systems in a realm where being an antique is bad because your opponents know your every electromagnetic pattern, and your effectiveness mostly hinges on how much of a surprise you are to automatic electronic defense systems of aircraft (or ballistic missiles) and of the pilots of the aircraft in particular.

Now MIM-104 is the crazy quilt and S-400 is fairly new and threatening, but eventually America will replace the MIM-104 with something like MEADS and Russia will be stuck with S-400 and the crazy quilts, the S-300V/P cousins.

Battlefield air defense is substantially easier in though than strategic air defense though, and substantially cheaper, and that is why the Soviets made do with the trifecta of Strela-2/Strela-1/Shilka or Igla/Strela-10/Tunguska for decades. Now I guess it's supposed to be Verba/Sosna ZRK/AU-220 but who even knows.

After all, Roland is perhaps the best performing air defense ever built, and was sort of the last of the "1950's air defense" systems. Rapier, ADATS, and Crotale are no slouches either. It's hard to imagine what you'd realistically need to cover once you've bought Roland and Gepard though, besides theater air defense of the HAWK. That seems to be adequate for at least 30 years of battlefield air defense if the handful of engagements, near all successful, it's been involved in against the best trained contemporary air forces say anything.

Now imagine if the only battlefield air defense systems of the NATO were Bloodhounds, Nike Hercules, and HAWKs, except they all use whichever radars are the oldest of these, and by unfortunate early adoption reasons you have to make literally every subsequent system of the next generation operate these older radar equipment for the next 15 years. Only until the generation after that can develop new radar complexes of 1970-1975 to do the same thing to the generation after that.

I mean that's effectively what the US Army does now yet everyone seems to be complaining about it. Is the Soviet practice not good?

Mauler was only particularly bad I think because it came at a time when SARH was hard and had abnormally high requirements for low altitude engagement I guess. If it were a ACLOS missile like Roland using a radar it would have been fine, since ACLOS is easier, and it probably would have been canceled anyway due to the Vietnam War eating the Army's budget. Even Crotale still required a two-ship operating scheme until the 80s after all, and it's effectively the same thing as Mauler.

It's the American Osa, if anything, except instead of pushing it through for another half decade and getting a okay-ish battlefield defense ZRK the USA just beat it to death behind a shed and told France to make something nice. This was probably bad for them, because USA didn't consider Roland good enough to buy, but probably because it didn't lower its standards either.

It wanted a Crotale NG no matter what, and it wasn't going to stop until it got it, then the Swiss made a laser guided Roland/Crotale-type system and America bought that instead.

The US Army's brain was just too big for electrical engineers in the '50's to handle I guess.

So yeah, the West and USSR were a lot closer in development of air defense than most Westerners like to think. The USSR just built more useless junk (Krug) alongside some good stuff (Osa, Kub) and ended up buying some real good stuff (S-300) that informed a lot of Western stuff (MIM-104) eventually. It had about as much diversity as the NATO industrial bureaus, and could have done without the junk I guess, but then it's debatable whether it'd have any of the good stuff. That's not really a development problem though.

The West built mostly good stuff (Roland, Crotale, Rapier, HAWK, Patriot), some mediocre stuff (VADS/Chaparral), and a small number of very lame things (Bomarc, Hercules, Bloodhound, Thunderbird) that were quickly and quietly disposed of or sidelined and broadly isolated to Anglo-American industrial zones. Because it didn't go early adopter and buy the first thing in huge quantities all at once like Krug, it did a bit better in the long run. HAWK didn't need backwards compatibility with the Hercules, and the West didn't spend any effort updating old and busted systems like Bomarc or Hercules, when it could simply scrap them and replace them with large quantities of Patriots. The USA wasn't using Hercules, Ajax, or Bomarc in 1989 after all. Despite being a later start, it caught up and didn't suffer from the industrial deadweight that updating older infrastructure brings.

Not sure what you mean by that last statement as Ukraine is getting IRIS-T(!), Starstreaks, Martlets, Stingers, as well as some Oerlikon GDFs. Gepard after all is not exactly "obsolete" unless you think repackaging the exact same radar and cannon in a towed trailer airfield defense connected with telephone lines is an improvement or something, but it might as well be to Rheinmetall. Hardly crusty stuff, except for the ancient Iglas Germany dug out of the DDR's warehouses, but better than keeping them there to explode spontaneously in the future.
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Kenneth P. Werrell in (Archie to SAM - A Short Operational History of Ground-Based Air Defense. p 94 to 96) reports that "The record shows that development costs had risen from the original $78 million to $380 million, and the readiness date slipped six years, The secretary of defense killed Mauler in July 1965. The Army decided to terminate Mauler and employ other weapons instead: Hawk and Hercules."
Could the Mauler have been made to work?
I doubt it based on my reading. IR homing maybe, which would make it a superior sort of Chaparral.
It needed another generation of technology at least.

For the USN they scabbed together Sea Sparrow Basic Point Defence Missile System.
Chaparral was what the US Army got.
If it was a 70s system instead of a 60s, Mauler likely could have been workable.

The only big high end thing with it was combining all multiple seekers in one missilr and the automatic mode.

Other then those two things, and the mechanic issues with the missiles breaking each other, it was pretty standard deal.
For the era ACLOS was achievable, whether by Digital Command Guidance, or by a variant of beam riding.

Chief issue is the resolution through clutter even for FMCW is likely to involve an altitude and velocity 'notch' blind zone. It would be hard to keep track through that.
Could the Mauler have been made to work?

Anything can be made to work if you bother with it long enough. Mauler would have worked eventually if the US kept funding it.

With it being essentially Crotale VT-1 with 1950's electronics, it wouldn't have worked for a long time though, unless the US decided to reduce the requirements and sequentially spiral/increment in capabilities to follow-on Maulers. This is sort of what France did with Crotale, except it was unconscious. There was no Master Plan to follow up for Crotale, Thomson-CSF just made things that export customers wanted, because Crotale began as a export system for the South African Air Force in lieu of Roland's Army origins.

However, what began as a relatively simple EO/IR TV-guided missile complex (EDIR) became a very advanced radio ACLOS system with TV backup and single-unit operation with battlefield range similar to Kub. Crotale VT-1/Liberty hit nearly all the marks desired of MIM-46 with the exception of TBM defense (lol). VT-1 isn't produced in serial until like 1993 or something for the Finnish order, but ironically enough it was developed specifically for the United States.

Mauler also had a somewhat bizarre fixation on radar over infrared/EO guidance that probably would have limited it in growth at the start. I'm sure it eventually would have gotten TV guidance (like EDIR) but it would do this only after incorporating radar guidance as a means of heavy jamming use or something prboably.

But the USA probably should have just bought Crotales in the late 70's that would be better. Sadly DIVAD ate the ADA budget and was bad.
They should have accepted PT.428, which would have achieved the desired capability. But why listen to the Brits when you can demand they pay part of Maulers cost?
They should have accepted PT.428, which would have achieved the desired capability. But why listen to the Brits when you can demand they pay part of Maulers cost?

Well, with actual hindsight, the Anglos should have just swallowed their pride, shuttered all their ground mobile missile programs before 1960, and bought into Roland as a NATO-wide air defense system a couple years later. The only people who ended up with good mobile battlefield air defense weapons after the early 60's were the French, and this includes the Warsaw Pact, as Osa was rather pointlessly big/tall and expensive, relegating it to division rather than battalion/regiment level, and limiting its mobility in general.

Of all the Mauler/PT428/Osa/whatever programs of the late '50's and early '60's, the Roland was the only system that actually produced a functional and cheap-enough air defense platform for mobile ground forces on a single chassis. Everything else would have been expensive, too physically large/tall, or too limited in its mobility to protect tank/mechanized infantry troops on the move.

Rapier is a very distant second to Roland, since it could be mounted on a tracklaying chassis and could rapidly lay into position in less than a minute, but it wasn't exactly a stop-and-shoot system like Roland where a quick brake, missile launch, and return to movement was the order of the tank. Rapier might have had had field gun mobility but Roland had main battle tank mobility.

Unfortunately, that all requires future knowledge, but given that the British in the first place abandoned PT428 and chose Mauler, they probably figured it was going rather poorly. They just didn't know at the time that Mauler was going about as well as the BAC system had.

While that would also leave all NATO ground air defense for mobile battalions at the mercy of whatever the Continental half of MBDA can dream up, it's not like America or Britain have achieved much in that realm at the moment, besides decadal warming-over of the Hellfire and adapting ASRAAM to ground launch. That said, LFK NG is a snail compared to the speed at which CAMM and IM-SHORAD was done.
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Could the Mauler have been made to work?
As shown earlier in the thread the maular was basically the west version of the osa, so with another decade and a development cost of well over billion then ya it could have been made to work, I doubt it would have been worth it.
It would have ultimately resulted in something comparable to Roland, roughly about a decade earlier, at maybe twice the cost both per unit and in research/development, if everything went well. Mauler was probably more a victim of the Vietnam War than anything else, as the US Army is generally rather bullheaded in pursuing its idealized weapon systems. It doesn't really yield in the technical requirements until it's too late, unless it's really desperate for something, or a some big shakeup happens that jolts it to lucidity.

Everything except the anti-TBM mission (lol) could probably be done by 1974 or so if they just kept hammering away at it. Osa had similar problems and shows up in the mid-70's, and the US electronics industry was not any worse than the similarly vibrant Soviet one at the time. The TBM mission would eventually be taken up by SAM-D/Patriot and later THAAD around same time, so it would all slot into place.

Mauler's ultimate fate is not dissimilar to how later advanced weapons like Comanche and Crusader were burned on the altar of the GWOT.

Naturally, these weapon requirements, if they weren't mirages, reappeared when technology at the time had progressed to the point that the cost of early adoption was mitigated and they became commonplace. ADATS Linebacker was essentially Mauler in performance with a much easier pathway to establishing factories in America (the contract was through Anglophone GDLS rather than Francophone Euromissile), and all the various little things that killed MIM-115. Comanche has been replaced by the rather less ambitious FARA, and Crusader is being met by ERCA and piecewise upgrades to Paladin, etc. etc.
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Perhaps if the US Army had restarted the programme with the same requirements but developed it using 1970 electronics instead of 1960 electronics especially for the SARH seeker as there were massive advances in the state-of-the-art in electronics especially digital ICs during that decade.
By the time Mauler was actually "restarted" (1970), that was unnecessary, as France had done all the heavy lifting. Rapier, Roland, and Crotale were all down selected between 1972-1974 and Roland won.

America proceeded to bungle this by asking France if it could basically build an entirely separate supply chain (not a bad idea, but the start of one, as they went with a new design tracking-illuminator radar, for one thing), which it did to a point, and then through a silly series of events which are strikingly modern, the ADA Branch managed to convince itself that Sergeant York was worth more than Roland and killed MIM-115 to save DIVAD (lol said the scorpion lmao). I suspect this is because the DIVAD was American-built and gave DOD some manner of leverage over the TDPs, while Roland required a lot of talking to the French and use of metricated components.

Ironically, at one point (FY81) USAF considered outright procuring Rapiers for UK base air defense because of ADA's foot dragging, which was shortly after the initial 95 fire units for two MIM-115 battalions were ordered, which was later cut to a single battalion.

Perhaps the MIM-115 used some technology developed for Mauler in its Hughes designed T-I radar though, who knows.
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