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RAE Test Missiles - CTV, RTV, GPV

overscan

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In the immediate post-war period, the development model for missiles was that government research establishments would conduct basic research, with the results passed to industry to turn into production items.

The RAE was given the lead on air-to-air missile research. They produced a variety of test rounds to explore the basics of aerodynamics, guidance (with assistance from TRE/RRE), etc.

The initial test vehicle was CTV.1, which was tested with various arrangements of boosters etc. CTV.2 followed, then RTV.1. RTV.2 became known as the GPV (general purpose vehicle) and was much larger, to better simulate surface-to-air missiles.

Folland apparently worked on GPV design, which was constructed by Short Bros. There is a clear linkage between GPV and Folland's Red Dean design.

Full details of the RAE's test programme can be found in

T. L. Smith (Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough) RAE Guided Weapon Test Vehicles in the 1950s in The Aeronautical Journal

Abstract

A test vehicle, in the G.W. sense is a body used in free flight to test components, structures, aerodynamics, servo controls, guidance systems and propulsion. The body may have weapon-like characteristics or may be designed purely to investigate a particular phenomenon or theory which has a bearing on the design of weapons. From the inception of the G.W. Department this work was given an important place in the programme and played a major part in laying the foundation of knowledge and experience on which the G.W. work in this country was built.

Two early test vehicles were CTV.1 and KTV.1. CTV.1 was used for a good deal of aerodynamic investigation, together with the development of free flight instrumentation and measurement techniques, it was our first “beam rider”, and was also used in a command guided role. The beam riding work was done in co-operation with TRE who were responsible for the guidance aspects of CTV.1. RTV.1 was a larger vehicle used mainly on beam riding guidance research. A later version was used in a vertically launched role to study launching and stability problems preparatory to the Black Knight work.

The CTV series culminated in CTV.5 which itself took various forms. The CTV.5 Series I was designed for aerodynamic measurements on a coasting dart at high incidences and therefore high altitude. CTV.5 Series 2 was designed for kinetic heating investigations while CTV.5 Series 3 was an upper atmosphere sounding rocket, later known as Skylark and still providing a valuable service.

RTV.2 was designed for further work on liquid fuel propulsion and semi-active radar guidance research and was developed further to become the better known GPV. An interesting method of recovery from the sea was developed for this vehicle. With the requirement for ballistic missiles and satellite launchers a whole new field of work on missile structures, stability, control and guidance was opened up. This called for the development of the latest and very successful test vehicle, Black Knight.
 

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CTV.1 has early Folland Red Dean's wings but has that funny tandem tailfin arrangement; GPV's rear end is more clearly developed in the direction of the AAM profile we all know.

Looks like they went with a shape they were familiar with from the test vehicle work and then went about fitting all the stuff inside as best they could. There's your evolution pathway! Thanks for this!

(Do you have a PDF of the whole article or know where I can get one?)
 

pathology_doc

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I have obtained and read the article in full and it is a goldmine. I suspect the journal would be as well, if I could find a way to subscribe to it and thus be permitted to freely browse its content.

A search at Cambridge Core revealed two books by John Clemow, who worked at Vickers around about the time Red Dean was washing up on the shores of Cancellation City. Both of them deal with guided weapon development and one of them appears to deal specifically with what happens when things go pear-shaped. Abebooks were very obliging in regard to obtaining them. Both should prove interesting reading, especially if they are well referenced.

The story of early guided missiles development IS the test-vehicles story, in subtle and indirect ways. The details in the article about how they would send their test vehicles screaming into their targets after 5000 yard ground-skimming run-ins at Mach 2.1 are enlightening - I suspect they were closer to an actual weapon than they thought.

The exact nature of the technical problems they were solving was even more educational, and it is written in a style which is just technical enough to elevate it above the level of light reading but not so much that an educated, intelligent person cannot follow. Outstanding. I will be looking for more of this.
 

Kadija_Man

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Have you read John Forbat's, The Secret World of Vickers Guided Weapons ?

Interesting read about how they tested Red Beard, Blue Boar, Red Dean, Vigilant at Vickers.
 

CJGibson

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You might also want to look at:

Problems of Guided Weapons Development by Lord Caldecote

In the RAeSJ March 1965

Chris
 

pathology_doc

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Kadija_Man said:
Have you read John Forbat's, The Secret World of Vickers Guided Weapons ?

Interesting read about how they tested Red Beard, Blue Boar, Red Dean, Vigilant at Vickers.
I have, yes; that as much as BSP4 whetted my appetite to find out what exactly went on at Folland's before they handed it to Vickers. This picture is becoming a lot clearer now; I'm beginning to think they didn't do all that much! (To clarify - not much beyond the basic test vehicle.)
 

pathology_doc

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CJGibson said:
You might also want to look at:

Problems of Guided Weapons Development by Lord Caldecote

In the RAeSJ March 1965

Chris
High on my list of articles to obtain. :)
 

CJGibson

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I'll see what I can do when I get back onshore.

Chris
 

pathology_doc

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CJGibson said:
I'll see what I can do when I get back onshore.

Chris
That would be excellent. Many thanks.

In the meantime, I shall await the arrival of Clemow's tomes and hope they are not too far ahead of my mathematical curve that I can't at least pick some of the words from between the music, as it were.
 

Kadija_Man

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pathology_doc said:
Kadija_Man said:
Have you read John Forbat's, The Secret World of Vickers Guided Weapons ?

Interesting read about how they tested Red Beard, Blue Boar, Red Dean, Vigilant at Vickers.
I have, yes; that as much as BSP4 whetted my appetite to find out what exactly went on at Folland's before they handed it to Vickers. This picture is becoming a lot clearer now; I'm beginning to think they didn't do all that much! (To clarify - not much beyond the basic test vehicle.)
Also have a look at Black Box Canberras: British Test and Trials Canberras 1951-1994 by Dave Foster. He doesn't add much to what is available in Forbat's work but he does have some interesting pictures of the Red Dean Canberra.
 

pathology_doc

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Kadija_Man said:
pathology_doc said:
Kadija_Man said:
Have you read John Forbat's, The Secret World of Vickers Guided Weapons ?

Interesting read about how they tested Red Beard, Blue Boar, Red Dean, Vigilant at Vickers.
I have, yes; that as much as BSP4 whetted my appetite to find out what exactly went on at Folland's before they handed it to Vickers. This picture is becoming a lot clearer now; I'm beginning to think they didn't do all that much! (To clarify - not much beyond the basic test vehicle.)
Also have a look at Black Box Canberras: British Test and Trials Canberras 1951-1994 by Dave Foster. He doesn't add much to what is available in Forbat's work but he does have some interesting pictures of the Red Dean Canberra.
As chance would have it, it arrived yesterday and the Red Dean bit was the first thing I read.

IMO there is very little that could helpfully be added to Forbat's account. I think he takes the story about as far as an account for laypersons can reasonably go, and adding much more would require a seriously focused and technically adept reader.
 

Petrus

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Here you've got some drawings of the GPV test missile. They come from the "Flight" magazine of 14 March 1958.

Piotr
 

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Short-Range Guided Weapons, by John Clemow (Temple Press, 1961) just dropped onto my desk this morning, and a browse over lunch promises it to be a most instructive and entertaining read when tackled in detail and at leisure.

The back-cover blurb indicates that it is one of a series of monographs (titles are given) which in the blurb's own words...

"...have been planned to meet a present need among educated laymen, as well as among the scientifically and technically informed, for inexpensive treatises which, though elementary, are reliable introductions to the theory and practice of controlled missiles."
That's us he's talking about, boys & girls. :D B)

This monograph is 74 pages long, measures 222 x 145 x 11mm, and is perfect for carrying around and reading when one might be spending time in a waiting room of some description. Anyone with a decent grasp of high-school mathematics can give it a go. Perhaps brush up on your differential and integral calculus if you want to follow along in detail rather than simply taking the math for granted. Even then, the mathematics is the essentials and distillation of the extended proofs I have seen in other, larger volumes, and though it might be considered an over-simplification, one is reminded of the quotation above.

Other titles in the series are given as:

Missile Control, by A Whitfield

Missile Guidance, by J Clemow

Aerodynamics by T.R.F. Nonweiler

Solid-fuel Rocket Propulsion, by J.E. Daboo (who gets mentioned quite a bit in Forbat's account).

Ramjet Propulsion, by J.R. Palmer

The publishing date of this introductory monograph is given as 1961, and the bibliography gives references dating as far back as 1947. Clearly these early references are the ones that the Red Dean, Fireflash etc. designers were reading, and their titles (e.g. "Mathematical Theory of Rocket Flight", "Theory of Servo-mechanisms", "Elements of Aerodynamics of Supersonic Flows", "Radar Systems Engineering") suggest that they were competent but compartmentalised treatments of the general sub-branches of knowledge required to build a guided missile.

All of the titles specifically dealing with integration of all the above elements - the ones which boil down to "How to build a guided missile in three thousand not so easy steps", post-date the IOC of any first-generation service AAM in any major nation. They are the fruits of bitter experience and the integration of many sub-disciplines along the way.

I will be seeking out the rest of these monographs in due course.
 

pathology_doc

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Update, over 2 years later.
I succeeded in finding the volume called Missile Guidance by Clemow.
The others escape me. However, I see subsequent posts in the missiles thread which suggest that original papers on the very early British missile projects are starting to surface independently, and this may fill in a great deal of the picture.
 
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