Rapier SAM / Marder MICV Combination Project

Pioneer

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I found this proposal for a British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) Rapier SAM system incorporated into a West German Marder MICV chassis, in a copy of a 1972-73 Jane’s Weapon Systems, which I purchased the other day in a second hand book shop.
This Rapier/Marder project looks a very thorough thought out arrangement, which would have went a long way in protecting its crew (when compared to the later Tracked Rapier system), while its fold-way/under-hull arrangement would greatly help conceal this systems true role as a SP SAM system.

Has anyone got anything more on this British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) project?

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uk 75

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The early 70s and late 60s saw a plethera of projects by BAC
(BAe's predecessor) to sell the Rapier to customers on a variety
of armoured and unarmored platforms.
The Jane's entry is taken from a BAC brochure which I saw years
ago at Farnborough. Its main problem was the lack of a radar, which
had to be mounted on a companion vehicle.
The US already had the M113/Chapparal combination and the French
and Germans were introducing the Roland on their own vehicles. The only
likely customer for the BAC proposal was the Shah of Iran. He eventually did take the SP Rapier, but on an M548 derived chassis. Later these vehicles ended up with the British Army.
The US did get around to ordering a system, the Roland, but then canceled it.
Hope this helps
UK 75
 

Kadija_Man

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I think you mean "lack of an engagement radar" rather than radar itself. The centre tub of the Rapier mounting actually contains a search radar. Rapier uses a SACLOS visual guidance for actual engagement of the target.
 

RP1

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UK75 may be referring to the Blindfire engagement radar, which was mounted on a separate trailer. IIRC one of the later Rapier variants also uses a separate surveillance radar - based on BSP4 the radar on the firing unit itself is mainly there to point it in the correct direction for launch, as opposed to providing warning...

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Abraham Gubler

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RP1 said:
UK75 may be referring to the Blindfire engagement radar, which was mounted on a separate trailer. IIRC one of the later Rapier variants also uses a separate surveillance radar - based on BSP4 the radar on the firing unit itself is mainly there to point it in the correct direction for launch, as opposed to providing warning...
The picture clearly shows the Blindfire tracking radar between the missiles in the same location it is on the towed Rapier systems. Tracked Rapier mounted this radar on a boom above the system to clear line of sight issues with the forward cabin of the armoured M548 (M113 tracked load carrier).

This is a nice little system but making the whole thing underarmour means the search radar and engagement system can't be used when the vehicle is driving. This is quite a loss of capability for a mobile system in my opinion.
 

RP1

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The circular antenna on the front of the launcher is the command uplink:

http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/news_and_events/nr/1997/nov/26nov97_nr/26nov97_fs.html

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Abraham Gubler

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You learn something new everyday... The M548s towed the Blindfire radar so I suppose this system would as well? Compared to the Roland solution on the Marder platform the Rapier has a range of guidance capability shortfalls: complete day, night engagement and air search while mobile.
 

RP1

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Rapier has a range of guidance capability shortfalls
From the information on PT.428 in BSP4 this seems to have been the only way to progress the short range SAM project after the failure of the (over) ambitious PT.428. ET.316 - "Sightline" - started off as a less capable, more achievable system.

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Abraham Gubler

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RP1 said:
From the information on PT.428 in BSP4 this seems to have been the only way to progress the short range SAM project after the failure of the (over) ambitious PT.428. ET.316 - "Sightline" - started off as a less capable, more achievable system.
I didn't mean to criticise the Rapier guidance system. With Blindfire it is as complete as you would want from its era. However the Marder and M548 mounted tracked Rapier system configurations are flawed in their arrangements by not combining all the guidance systems into a single package and enabling at least the search radar to have a clear field of view while the vehicle is mobile - enabling fire from the march.

While the M548 platform lacked the space and weight margins to fit Blindfire the Marder should have. Rather than trying to make the system retractable they could have mounted the Rapier turret forward and the Blindfire turret aft enabling a complete guidance package with search radar field of view. Of course this would make both systems vulnerable to damage?

I guess the retractable enclosed system is a response to Soviet artillery dominance and the high likelihood of splinter damage for any GBAD system in NORTHAG/CENTAG theatres. Since they could receive off board cuing while in West Germany (as opposed to the Middle East) the lack of mobile search is not so bad. Not having night firing unless you set up the trailer Blindfire is a fault but in this operational concept.
 

Abraham Gubler

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RP1 said:
From the information on PT.428 in BSP4
On the topic of PT.428 which I note from BSP4 was a very interesting system. There is a paper on it at the British National Archives.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=3139193&CATLN=6&accessmethod=5

Anyone near Surrey you can pop in and view the file for free...
 

Abraham Gubler

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Bradley Rapier was the 'United Aerospace Defense Systems (United Technologies, BAe and FMC) offer for the FAADS project.
 

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Probably because the original post has "rapier-"
 
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