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Postwar British missile procurement

uk 75

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We have covered individual projects and the infamous Sandys 1957 White Paper in some depth but I wanted to draw together what we have learnt with some open questions:

Which missile projects across the board: Malkara to Blue Streak would you bin or save?

Which Foreign systems would you have bought instead? or vice versa which Foreign systems that we did buy should have been binned?

For example my pet hate is Seaslug. Masurca or Terrier later Standard would have been in service sooner or longer?
 

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Scrap all British AAMs in favour of licensing Sidewinder and Sparrow. Invest saved money in seeker research, and then build Skyflash and SRAAM-100 in the 1970s, leading to Active Skyflash in the 1980s.
 

zen

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You know I'm not convinced this is anything but an excercise in "scrap uk solutions and buy foreign" so until I hear about what would receive whole hearted support I'll refrain from adding my views.
 

pathology_doc

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Scrap all British AAMs in favour of licensing Sidewinder and Sparrow.
I think this is a bit on the harsh side, because I think you NEED local development expertise in order to be able to improve upon the basic model. That seeker research isn't going to write itself.

The big deficiency in British AAM development is their complete failure to ever produce a completely indigenous SARH AAM. Everything I've ever read of Red Dean, either from BSP or John Forbat, mentions the possibility of SARH control, but this is never elaborated.

The real problem, of course, is that until the adoption of the Phantom there was NO BRITISH FIGHTER EVER with a radar that had the innate capability to perform SARH illumination. And without that, Sparrow has no value unless you either bite the bullet and adapt/redesign AI.18 (is it even possible to add an illuminator to AI.23?) or replace it with an American SARH-missile-capable unit (and associated fire-control system).

The Crusader's radar dish MIGHT fit in the Lightning's centrebody, but even if it does, where are you going to package everything behind it plus the FCS and missile-interface gear? Is the drop-out package for the Firestreaks big enough?

The big problem for the British with AAM development was never the fighters or the missiles, IMO; it was the radar/FCS interface between the two. And that resulted from the insistence on fire-and-forget, which meant there was never any impetus to integrate SARH illumination into British AI sets from the beginning; the only thing they were ever going to be asked to do was to point a seeker head in the right direction for on-rack acquisition prior to firing.

IIRC Red Hebe was going to be SARH, but whatever might have happened in regard to producing an illuminator for it went out the window when the 1957 generation of interceptors was killed. Meanwhile, neither Firestreak nor Red Top ever went to the same school of hard knocks that Falcon, Sparrow and Sidewinder attended, so we will never know how well they would actually have performed in service.


As far as ship-launched SAMs are concerned, I think a case could be made for buying Terrier and/or Tartar. That system (and its Standard successor) has had a VERY long and fruitful development history, with a great deal of stretch. The other possibility would have been collaboration with the French, but I read online recently that even later versions of Masurca owe a lot to transferred US work on Terrier (with which it shared a common general layout from the start).

I looked at relative dimensions, recently - a double-ended US missile cruiser like the Leahy is actually not that much bigger than a WW2 Leander in OAL terms, and while I'm not suggesting for a minute that you can take a Leander-class hull, gut it and rebuild it into a double-ended CG, I think it shows what could have been. I need to re-read Friedman's post-war cruiser book and also grab a copy of "The Postwar Naval Revolution" if it's not too pricey - I'm pretty sure Terrier and/or Tartar options were seriously considered there.
 

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The designer from the Soviet OKB who produced the K-13 Sidewinder clone described copying that missile as a “university of missile design”. The majority of AAMs in development then were being designed like miniaturised aircraft, often with the airframe being designed by an existing aircraft firm. Sidewinder was derived from an unguided rocket with the absolute minimum of added complexity. It was basic in capability but reliable given the state of electronics development and other technologies at that time due to innate simplicity. Red Top and Red Dean were too complicated, trying to achieve too much. By copying the Sidewinder the UK missile producer could have ‘gone to university’ too and put an R-73 (AA-11 Archer) equivalent in production in the mid 70s.
 

pathology_doc

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Red Top and Red Dean were too complicated, trying to achieve too much.
Red Dean, for certain. Red Top? At least that one made it into service. What they should have been copying a lot earlier was either SARH Falcon, SARH Sidewinder, or Sparrow. And they still needed a compatible launch platform.

IIRC Red Top was faster than Sidewinder (though AIM-4D is faster than them all; AIM-4H with proximity fuzing is one of my favourite what-ifs), and matches the warhead weight of many earlier versions of Sparrow. What was the range limit? Guidance? Or kinematics?
 

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Red Top is a fine weapon but expensive. Its basically an attempt at near AIM-9L performance with 1950s technology. It was never fired in anger to my knowledge, so we don't know how well it would have worked in practice. I suspect its complexity would have somewhat outweighed its bigger warhead and better seeker. Probably fine on bombers (its intended target) but poor against fighters.

I'd like to see some evidence of any SARH weapon that proved more than marginally useful in combat prior to the late 70s / early 80s (R-27 / Sky Flash / AIM-7M). Possibly AIM-54, though it has a terminal active phase.
 

pathology_doc

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I'd like to see some evidence of any SARH weapon that proved more than marginally useful in combat prior to the late 70s / early 80s (R-27 / Sky Flash / AIM-7M). Possibly AIM-54, though it has a terminal active phase.
Let's be fair to early-model AIM-7. Its design brief was for BVR kills at high-supersonic closing speeds, not high-G dogfights. The only reason it was ever asked to perform in the latter context was a political constraint for visual confirmation of target ID. Granted, it had reliability issues, but some of those had to have been exacerbated by taking it into a flight environment that wasn't all that friendly to its innards. Wartime for a Sparrow should have been a one-trip deal, a single cat launch and then being fired at an approaching Soviet nuclear-armed bomber. The likelihood of any fighter bringing its Sparrows back in the original design intent would have been zero; they'd have stayed aloft as long as they had a missile left to fire.
 

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This is a wide-ranging topic, I will add some thoughts.

I think as a rule-of-thumb, the private ventures in the missile field have probably produced more successful programmes than those laid down by official requirements. Whether that is coincidence or a result of complicated requirements I leave open for discussion.

The early crop of projects like Green Cheese and Red Boar were clumsy second-generation systems, they never got very far but they contributed to guidance technology. As Overscan says, a lot of these early projects were over complicated and too ambitious.

Generally the SAM field was pretty good, I have never really understood the Bloodhound/Thunderbird duplication and I feel both could have been combined as a more mobile system and Bloodhound should probably have been updated further during the 1960s. Blue Envoy probably ended at the right time, it was not really worth the expenditure for a long-range system and probably would not have remained relevant past the 1970s.
With Mauler out of the picture, ET.316 built on BAC's private venture work to produce Rapier.

Naval SAMs on the whole were decent. Blue Slug was a monster but it was a first attempt, there has to be a learning curve. Buying Tartar sounds good but dollars are in short supply and better used elsewhere. Sea Cat was a lucky success, but I feel not pursuing the supersonic Sea Cat 2 development was a mistake, it could have been a useful stopgap until the Sea Wold was ready. It might have also been an export success if it did really did prove possible to keep the same launcher and magazine facilities. Orange Nell looked a promising concept but never went much beyond paper and probably would have been pushing British expertise too far at that time. I think a Skyflash Sea Sparrow analogue to replace Sea Cat might have been interesting, of course competing with Albatross and Sea Sparrow in the export market it might not have done that well.

The lack of a decent anti-ship missile (either air or sea-launched) until the 1970s is probably the most surprising omission of the post-war requirements and developments.

Blue Steel was a good idea when it was formulated but delayed development left it behind in terms of range and ability, Avro seem to have spent too much time tinkering with developments than getting on with the job. A whole host of stand-off weapons as Chris outlined in Vulcan's Hammer show how productive the engineers were on the drawing board but few of them look feasible weapons. Switching to Polaris once Skybolt was out of the picture was probably the smartest move.

Enough has been said about Blue Streak, Blue Water would probably have worked ok but losing it wasn't a big deal in the long-term.

Some excellent points have already been raised about air-to-air missiles, entrusting their development to aircraft companies was probably the only realistic choice but it did lead to "mini-aircraft" rather than integrated weapon systems. As pathology_doc notes, radar development was one step behind, which given the other developments in fire-control for naval and ground applications by the same companies was inexcusable. Companies like Marconi and Elliots should really have been able to tie up their radar and guidance teams. Plumping for IR-guided was the only realistic choice and one that was still competitive, even the Soviets never really moved away from IR and SARH missile pairings.
Taildog was a big missed opportunity, a very good family of missiles could have resulted.
 

pathology_doc

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Some excellent points have already been raised about air-to-air missiles, entrusting their development to aircraft companies was probably the only realistic choice but it did lead to "mini-aircraft" rather than integrated weapon systems.
Before I judge Folland/Vickers (Red Dean), De Havilland (Firestreak/Red Top) and Fairey (Fireflash) too harshly in that respect, I'd love to be able to read detailed accounts of the early development of Falcon, Sparrow, AA-1 Alkali and some of the other early AAMs (including ones which never made it). Unfortunately, we have no Russian or American John Forbats that I know of to give us the inside story on those the way Forbat did for Red Dean. That was a real eye-opener.
 

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Regarding Red Top: not sure what the stats were for high altitude engagements (would be interesting to know), but it was quite poor below 10,000ft (as predicted by its mathematical model). From 84 firings, 94% launch success; 25% guidance/fuzing success; 30% overall success. Failures were mainly attributed to poor guidance. Conclusion was it did not have an all-round capability below 10,000ft and should ideally be fired at a range of about a mile within a 20deg cone aft of target with as small a sight line rate as possible .
 

pathology_doc

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Regarding Red Top: not sure what the stats were for high altitude engagements (would be interesting to know), but it was quite poor below 10,000ft (as predicted by its mathematical model). From 84 firings, 94% launch success; 25% guidance/fuzing success; 30% overall success. Failures were mainly attributed to poor guidance. Conclusion was it did not have an all-round capability below 10,000ft and should ideally be fired at a range of about a mile within a 20deg cone aft of target with as small a sight line rate as possible .
Source?
 
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overscan

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Regarding Red Top: not sure what the stats were for high altitude engagements (would be interesting to know), but it was quite poor below 10,000ft (as predicted by its mathematical model). From 84 firings, 94% launch success; 25% guidance/fuzing success; 30% overall success. Failures were mainly attributed to poor guidance. Conclusion was it did not have an all-round capability below 10,000ft and should ideally be fired at a range of about a mile within a 20deg cone aft of target with as small a sight line rate as possible .
Head-on capability was largely dependent on a hot exhaust target. Its design mission was hitting a Tu-22 Blinder during supersonic dash, when the exhaust plume would be detectable head-on. It had issued with subsonic Jindavik targets particularly at low altitudes, but that was far off the design mission.

Reports I've read praise the guidance systems and warhead. The missile airframe had G, range and encounter geometry limitations you needed to respect, but when fired within parameters it was ahead of its contemporaries in lethality.
 

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There's a interesting article by Colin Hempstead from ICON magazine available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/23787168 on Firestreak and Red Top.

From the citations:

Firestreak Weapon System: Silver Jubilee 1958-1983 (Lostock, 1983). The names of neither editor nor publisher appear in this 'in-house' pamphlet, and it cannot be found in the British Library catalogue, but several copies are held in the library of the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, London.

Red Top Weapon System Missile: General and Technical Information (AP118C-0601-1A [Formerly SD 4865, Vol. 1, Book 1]). A copy is available the archives at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, Cambridge.

M. Hollingsworth and G.C. Owen, Fireflash to Skyflash (RAF Benevolent Fund Enterprises, London, 2004)
 
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yellowaster

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Regarding Red Top: not sure what the stats were for high altitude engagements (would be interesting to know), but it was quite poor below 10,000ft (as predicted by its mathematical model). From 84 firings, 94% launch success; 25% guidance/fuzing success; 30% overall success. Failures were mainly attributed to poor guidance. Conclusion was it did not have an all-round capability below 10,000ft and should ideally be fired at a range of about a mile within a 20deg cone aft of target with as small a sight line rate as possible .
Source?
From a Strike Command report commissioned in 1979 to investigate why Red Top performance was so poor during missile practice camp firings. As noted, the missile was meeting its design criteria - it just hadn't been designed for the low altitude profiles the RAF was flying in the 1970s (stats were based on 12 years of firings).
 

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Looking through Ministry notes, it is clear that Red Top was designed for high altitude use against supersonic bombers. This effectively covered the Air Ministry requirement for P1 (target speeds Mach 1.3 - 2.0) but the Admiralty requirement for Sea Vixen insisted on targets down to Mach 0.7. That's why Blue Dolphin (radar Red Top) was proposed. Pulse and CW versions were considered but the additional CW emitter required would only fit in AI.18, not AI.23 due to space limitations, and a redesigned radar would not be available until the 200th Lightning, so the Pulse version was preferred. Blue Dolphin was then cancelled on cost grounds.
 

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Here's an interesting diagram from the article above. What it makes clear is how much more sensitive you need to be to detect skin heat at 65 degrees compared to the jet pipe at 500 degrees. Also I found a note in the Ministry memos that the seeker in Red Top would be effective from the front aspect from 65,000ft down to 15,000ft.
 

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Red Top appears about comparable with early Sidewinder as far as accuracy and effectiveness is concerned, which isn't really surprising when considers that both were built at about the same time. Sidewinder really wasn't all reliable in it's first three or four versions. The US Navy however stuck with the weapon and eventually the technology delivered what they wanted.

Red Top OTOH, appears to have basically been abandoned after it's initial version was produced. There was only one version it seems and that was used by all users (RAF and RN). There was ASIUI supposed to be a SARH version which was proposed but never developed called "Blue Dolphin" or "Blue Jay Mk. V,"
 

pathology_doc

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Turned up the enclosed - might be of interest
Is there a public way to access the entire report? Of interest, I've seen several in-service dates for Red Top mentioned - 1963, 1964, even 1973 for some reason, which is just absurd given when Sea Vixen was retired - and this one seems to add another.

The missile airframe had G, range and encounter geometry limitations you needed to respect, but when fired within parameters it was ahead of its contemporaries in lethality.
IIRC the warhead was at least as large as that of the contemporary Sparrow.

There's a interesting article by Colin Hempstead from ICON magazine available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/23787168 on Firestreak and Red Top.

From the citations:

Firestreak Weapon System: Silver Jubilee 1958-1983 (Lostock, 1983). The names of neither editor nor publisher appear in this 'in-house' pamphlet, and it cannot be found in the British Library catalogue, but several copies are held in the library of the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon, London.

Red Top Weapon System Missile: General and Technical Information (AP118C-0601-1A [Formerly SD 4865, Vol. 1, Book 1]). A copy is available the archives at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, Cambridge.

M. Hollingsworth and G.C. Owen, Fireflash to Skyflash (RAF Benevolent Fund Enterprises, London, 2004)
The ICON magazine article is a goldmine. As for the three references, I have the third in my possession. The Benecke and Quick book in the references is one I believe I may have once held in my hands at a secondhand bookstore and neglected to buy. This makes me a very stupid person.

It will be very interesting to see if the weapons brochures and manuals themselves, now declassified, can make their way into electronic form at some stage.
 

uk 75

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Thanks everyone for entering into the spirit of this and producing lots of interesting stuff..

As a non-enginer I have a General Question which is how did the US manage to stick with an evolutionary Approach to Missiles:

Terrier-Tartar morphed happily into Standard which in updated form is still around today

SideWinder and Sparrow were similarly improved over time.

Hawk which for most NATO countries was the Thunderbird equivalent remained in Service in revised forms for much longer

Dragon was Pretty Duff but Hellfire and Tow lasted a good Long time

Maverick has outlived Martel etc.

I have a lot of sympathy with Zen as at certain Points the British kit was better than foreign analogues, but then could not be developed further.
Seaslug was no worse than the earlier Terriers but could not evolve as Terrier did into something better.
Vigilant, Malkara and Swingfire all did their Jobs excellently but were dead-ends
Rapier is the best example of a System which was better than the US and European equivalents. BUt even here, the competitors had better platforms
 

kaiserd

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Just like in relation to aircraft the UK missile (and radar) industry was vulnerable to the same reoccurring issues as excessive ambition, insufficient money, technology and experience, with the same drive to “catch-up” with a lack of realism of what they were really capable of or what they had to work with.
With honorable exceptions like the Skyflash development of the Sparrow and the Blue Vixen radar (in the updated Sea Harrier) the likes of the French and Sweden arguably consistently achieved more with less.
 

zen

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No it's not "could not", it was would not. A choice to be lured away Mr Toad-like to some new wonder weapon rather than do the work and pay the money.
 

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The sense of this thread is of relative failure in UK GW technology in comparison with success in airframes - Empire of the Skies, when Britain ruled OK.

While I submit neither was so - UK never ruled the skies, UK GW was not inherently useless - I do endorse a GW summary of could have done better.

I suggest the cause was MoS decision in 1949 to assign GW to the airframe industry, and then in 1950 to assign Highest Priority to Bomb, Bombers and GW...equally. Thus eroding all.

Avro put its unwanted onto the stand off bomb; GR Edwards never understood Special Projects; English Electric agreed to do GW on the strict basis of no capital call; the brown goods electrical firms agreed to take on these funnies on the strict basis that higher priority was for exports of radiograms...priorities...The potential business volume of GW was at the level of sculpture, where businesses, even airframe businesses, looked for long batch production.

US created a new industry by alliances, academia+ordnance: GW was simply a novel explosive projectile. UK saw them as flying devices, of less interest than proper flying devices.
 

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I just got done rereading "Hypersonics, Ramjets and Missiles" and BSP1 (redux) over the weekend, and the same old theme keeps coming up in my mind: insufficient integration of radar, missiles and airframes. Certainly of radar and missiles. ARH was the game in Britain because it was tactically ideal, but the best is the enemy of good enough and when crunch time finally comes, industry is left trying to shoehorn a CW illuminator into a pulse-doppler radar with distinct lack of success, thus making the missile developments pointless and dooming all indigenous SARH efforts to failure.

Ideally a completely new radar should have been developed with illuminator capability built in from the start, and a matching seeker head that could go into the Red Top airframe (or a development thereof), to replace AI-18 on a weight-and-space basis in Javelin and Sea Vixen at least. Let's take that and run with it.

Assuming the historical timeline of F.155T failing and TSR.2 development going ahead, maybe this AI.18C (for want of a better term) and SARH/IR missile mix enables an immediate smooth transition of TSR.2 from the problematic low-level strike/attack role to that of high-performance, long-range interceptor, replacing Javelin AND Lightning with minimum fuss and justifying a big enough buy of sufficiently common airframes (engines, wings, landing gear, most of the fuselage) across Fighter and Strike Command to make the aircraft both affordable (on a per-unit basis) and justifiable politically... and with that weapon system in service, you don't need RAF Phantoms any more. Sure, the fight goes low-level eventually, but TSR.2 was born for that in its initial incarnation; the airframe can take it, and the engines are up to the acceleration requirement of a low-level chase.

A similar system goes onto P.1154, which with TSR.2 filling multiple roles in the Air Force is now a Navy-only project, ending the infighting involved in differing service requirements and giving the Navy a supersonic fighter-attack aircraft with a competent all-weather radar/AAM system (thus watering down one of the carrots that buying Phantoms offers). That's the end of Sea Vixen and Scimitar, withdrawal of which ends service-cost requirements for those aircraft, although Buccaneer probably stays on in the strike/attack role until the retirement of the Ark Royal.

Viable?

With honorable exceptions like the Skyflash development of the Sparrow and the Blue Vixen radar (in the updated Sea Harrier) the likes of the French and Sweden arguably consistently achieved more with less.
In Sweden, SAAB is the only game in town. Yes, they are a monopoly, but they also know they've only got one shot at the prize and they make it the best they possibly can.

Something happened at GEC in between Red Dean and Skyflash. They got competent, and I'd love to know how.
 

zen

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If you want to get a better idea of the radar side of things Chris Gibson's book Black Box Canberras is rather useful.
 

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Post no.23 is a wilfully fact-free screed. As ever though, alertken is close to the truth.

The fact is that all three UK services used only indigenous surface to air missile systems during the Cold War - I can't think of another country aside from the USSR/USA that achieved that. Some of those systems achieved exports (Blowpipe, Sea Dart, Sea Wolf, Bloodhound, Rapier) too.

Skyflash was hardly an "honourable exception" - it laid the foundations for Meteor and (alongside the SRAAM efforts) ASRAAM, the RAF today is headed towards a position where it uses only UK designed (either solely or as part of a consortium) munitions.

Sure, there were things that could have been done better; having the UK operating Exocet, Harpoon and Sea Eagle simultaneously suggests an industrial planning failure of some sort. Losing a strong initial position in ATGMs seems another but overall the UK missile industry seems to have successfully developed a reasonable array of long-serving weapons and attained notable export success along the way.
 
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yellowaster

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By 1960 the RRE were looking at a long-range ECM-resistant non-coherent AI for the 1965-70 timeframe, with a coherent AI following after. If required the non-coherent radar would incorporate a CW illuminator for SARH. As part of the non-coherent effort work was carried out to prove various techniques, including MTI, reflecting plate antenna, low-noise amplifiers (maser and parametric), synthetic display and Q-band ranging. Work was also carried out on an AAGW CW SARH receiver (GEC A5). So the technonology was being developed - what was missing was the official requirements and the accompanying funding to progress things beyond basic research.
 

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By 1960 the RRE were looking at a long-range ECM-resistant non-coherent AI for the 1965-70 timeframe, with a coherent AI following after. If required the non-coherent radar would incorporate a CW illuminator for SARH. As part of the non-coherent effort work was carried out to prove various techniques, including MTI, reflecting plate antenna, low-noise amplifiers (maser and parametric), synthetic display and Q-band ranging. Work was also carried out on an AAGW CW SARH receiver (GEC A5). So the technonology was being developed - what was missing was the official requirements and the accompanying funding to progress things beyond basic research.
It seems fair to say that the acquisition of the F-4K/M with the AN/AWG-11 effectively removed the requirement for a British origin system.
 
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kaiserd

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Post no.23 is wilfully fact-free screed. As ever though, alertken is close to the truth.

The fact is that all three UK services used only indigenous surface to air missile systems during the Cold War - I can't think of another country aside from the USSR/USA that achieved that. Some of those systems achieved exports (Blowpipe, Sea Dart, Sea Wolf, Bloodhound, Rapier) too.

Skyflash was hardly an "honourable exception" - it laid the foundations for Meteor and (alongside the SRAAM efforts) ASRAAM, the RAF today is headed towards a position where it uses on UK designed (either solely or as part of a consortium) munitions.

Sure, there were things that could have been done better; having the UK operating Exocet, Harpoon and Sea Eagle simultaneously suggests an industrial planning failure of some sort. Losing a strong initial position in ATGMs seems another but overall the UK missile industry seems to have successfully developed a reasonable array of long-serving weapons and attained notable export success along the way.
Your really miss-reading my comments.

The UK had a lot of technical know how and talent in the fields of missiles and radar and had real achievements. But there was also a lot of expensive failures caused by or at least contributed to by the issues I noted above.
And at certain points like Red Hebe and the AWAC Nimrod radar debacle hubris met cold hard reality to predictable results.
This is not to disparage UK efforts or talent; just pointing to the repeated pattern of trying to catch up to or overtake a generation of US or other countries aircraft/ missiles / radar etc despite having significantly less money, experience and in some instances technology that lagged behind.
Sometimes this can be pulled off, a lot of the times it can’t.
It is notable that the UK record in this regard improved when part of international partnerships and joint-projects.
More money, less-insular requirements and sharing of international partners technology and experience obviously helped.
 
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JFC Fuller

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Your really miss-reading my comments, perhaps you should examine your own personal insecurities & prejudices.

The UK had a lot of technical know how and talent in the fields of missiles and radar and had real achievements. But there was also a lot of expensive failures caused by or at least contributed to by the issues I noted above.
And at certain points like Red Hebe and the AWAC Nimrod radar debacle hubris met cold hard reality to predictable results.
This is not to disparage UK efforts or talent; just pointing to the repeated pattern of trying to catch up to or overtake a generation of US or other countries aircraft/ missiles / radar etc despite having significantly less money, experience and in some instances technology that lagged behind.
Sometimes this can be pulled off, a lot of the times it can’t.
It is notable that the UK record in this regard improved when part of international partnerships and joint-projects.
More money, less-insular requirements and sharing of international partners technology and experience obviously helped.
I read precisely what you wrote and it was deeply inaccurate. As are statements like "repeated efforts to catch up to or overtake a generation of US...". I have never seen such a requirement in any UK Operational Requirement document from this period, requirements were set based on perceptions of operational need, sometimes these requirements were overambitious and the results inevitable - that is something common to all countries who develop their own defence material today.

Red Hebe, which you keep insisting was a failure, is hard to judge as such. It was dependent upon a carrier aircraft (F.155T) which was cancelled in 1957 and development was abandoned, we don't know if it would have been a success or failure had development been taken further.
 
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pathology_doc

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By 1960 the RRE were looking at a long-range ECM-resistant non-coherent AI for the 1965-70 timeframe, with a coherent AI following after. If required the non-coherent radar would incorporate a CW illuminator for SARH. As part of the non-coherent effort work was carried out to prove various techniques, including MTI, reflecting plate antenna, low-noise amplifiers (maser and parametric), synthetic display and Q-band ranging. Work was also carried out on an AAGW CW SARH receiver (GEC A5). So the technonology was being developed - what was missing was the official requirements and the accompanying funding to progress things beyond basic research.
It seems fair to say that the acquisition of the F-4K/M with the AN/AWG-11 effectively removed the requirement for a British origin system.
Out of interest, could/would you flip this argument around and say that the existence of a British-origin system might have removed the (perceived) requirement for the British Phantom?
 

zen

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If you want to get a better idea of the radar side of things Chris Gibson's book Black Box Canberras is rather useful.
Dave Forster's actually :)
Far from books and memory fades...about a thousand miles away.

But the book is worth it's cost. , thanks to having some previews.
 

JFC Fuller

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Out of interest, could/would you flip this argument around and say that the existence of a British-origin system might have removed the (perceived) requirement for the British Phantom?
That is an interesting question, and one we have probably done to death in other threads. Though in summary:

Between the RN and RAF there was a broad requirement, as of the early 1960s, for the following to enter service between the mid 1960s and late 1970s:

RN Sea Vixen replacement (mid 1960s) - first P.1154 then F-4K (approx. 150, only 48 delivered)
RAF Hunter FGA.9/FR.10 replacement (mid--late 1960s) - first P.1154 then F-4M (approx. 150)
RAF Lightning replacement: (mid-late 1970s) - ultimately Phantoms displaced from the RAFG attack role by Jaguars (approx. 175-200)

For multiple reasons (beyond the scope of this thread) the P.1154 programme failed as a joint programme with the RN withdrawing, this left the RAF version vulnerable to cancellation - which happened. We now know the aircraft did not have to be V/STOL and that it could be truly joint because all three roles were, at one point or another, fulfilled by the F-4K/M which were essentially the same aircraft. Had the UK been able to develop its own truly joint airframe (my personal favourite is a Vickers Type 583 derivative) it seems reasonable to assume, based on actual radar work the UK was doing at the time, that it could and would have carried a UK system.
 
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zen

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Out of interest, could/would you flip this argument around and say that the existence of a British-origin system might have removed the (perceived) requirement for the British Phantom?
That is an interesting question, and one we have probably done to death in other threads. Though in summary:

Between the RN and RAF there was a broad requirement for the following to enter service between the mid 1960s and late 1970s:

RN Sea Vixen replacement (mid 1960s)- first P.1154 then F-4K (approx. 150, only 48 delivered)
RAF Hunter FGA.9/FR.10 replacement (mid--late 1960s) - first P.1154 then F-4K (approx. 150)
RAF Lightning replacement: (mid-late 1970s) - ultimately Phantoms displaced from the RAFG attack role by Jaguars (approx. 175-200)

For multiple reasons (beyond the scope of this thread) the P.1154 programme failed as a joint programme with the RN withdrawing, this left the RAF version vulnerable to cancellation - which happened. We now know the aircraft did not have to be V/STOL and that it could be truly joint because all three roles were, at one point or another, fulfilled by the F-4K/M which were essentially the same aircraft. Had the UK been able to develop its own truly joint airframe (my personal favourite is a Vickers Type 583 derivative) it seems reasonable to assume, based on actual radar work the UK was doing at the time, that it could and would have carried a UK system.
Would have entered IOC with the AI.24 FMICW (not Foxhunter) after 1972 based on then 1962-65 projections.
Only 'future' alternative was slightly earlier FMCW set using seperate transmit and receive aerials.

But I still feel this is pointless as we will hear a 'summing up' by UK75 telling us all only the US could provine the answer and the uk was pointless to pursue anything itself.
 
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uk 75

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Zen
I hate to disappoint, but in fact we have seen some cogent accounts here of why the UK had some decent programmes.
 

zen

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UK75
And which among them receives your support?
 
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