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Royal Navy anti ship options after 1966

uk 75

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One of the less covered aspects of the cancelation of CVA01 in 1966 was the proposal to introduce anti shipping missiles. The best source is the Friedman book on British Postwar Destroyers and Frigates. More may emerge in his new book on Submarines.
A range of weapons was envisaged from
AS11 and 12 missiles on Wasp helos to submarine launched missiles on SSNs.
The impact of this decision was far reaching.
Lynx received Sea Skuas but the planned longer range missile for Seakings did not appear.
Surface ships received Exocet in the 70s but the longer range weapon had to wait for Harpoon.
The same was true of SSNs for which a British weapon based on Martel was developed but Harpoon fitted.
Finally, Martel was fitted to Buccaneers in the anti shipping role (Nimrods again had to wait for Harpoon).
Here is the alternate history bit. Could you have done a better job?
 

EwenS

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Don’t forget the BAe Sea Eagle, in service from the early 1980s on Buccaneer and Sea Harrier and later Tornado GR.1B. There was a helicopter launched version adopted for Indian Navy Sea Kings and a planned shipboard version which lost out to Harpoon.
 

Hood

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I am not sure that there is much that could have been done that would have been better.
AS11 and 12 were little more than stopgaps for engaging FACs until Sea Skua arrived. Sea Skua was aimed at tackling FACs and FFLs, notably the SAM-protected 'Nanuchka' with its long-range SSMs. Lynx and Sea Skua was never intended to tangle with Soviet fleet assets which were bristling with longer-range SAMs.

For that Exocet was the only realistic choice but wasn't available until the mid-1970s. I don't think Martel was a feasible option to get something sooner. Harpoon was later but could have been a viable choice in the late 1970s. Sadly by then most of the main fleet classes had been designed already so retrofitting Exocet was never easy and it wasn't until the MM.40 that the launch cannisters were compact enough to carry a reasonable load. The Type 22 shows well how much space those four missiles hogged, it might have been better at that point to switch to MM.40 or Harpoon to allow quads elsewhere and free the bows for a 4.5in gun. A rebuilt Leander with four Exocets didn't look a good bargain in terms of surface striking power.

Can anyone shed any light on why the MoD never pursued MM.40 and went for Harpoon instead?

Megaton Martel was designed for tackling the big ships, but being nuclear-only it wasn't ideal. Had it been possible to get Sea Eagle earlier it might have made even more impact than it did. Not sure whether duplicating Exocet or Harpoon with a surfaced-launched version would have been worth it, it didn't prove to be for sub-launched versions.

The NATO navies were always outgunned by Soviet SSMs (and ASMs) in terms of range and warheads, airpower was crucial for redressing the balance and NATO missiles of the time were only useful for engaging enemy screens or volleys to cause some damage to let the SSNs get in and do the real killing (though as we know the torpdeo situation was woeful and had WW3 come about it would have been up to WW2 torpedoes to do the killing of bigger ships).
 

Dilandu

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The anti-ship missile as itself wasn't a big problem for British imdustry. The problem was money, as usual. Seaslug and later Sea Dart sufficiently solved a problem of engaging enemy warships within horizon range, and over-the-horizon engagement simply weren't much a priority for RN in 1960s.
 

Dilandu

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If RN really wanted an over-the-horizon anti-ship missile in 1960s, the simplest solution would be to went Swedish way: took a target drone (GAF Jindivik, for example), reduce fuel supply to 150-200 km, put warhead and a seeker system in place.
 

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So the obvious start ought to be Green Cheese, and with some form of surface launch booster(s).

Then there is Blue Slug.

Then we come to Fairey Sea Skimmer.

Then Ship launched Tychon options, and anti-ship Sea Dart.

Then to various musings on a 21" diameter ramjet missile.

And thence onward to Fleetfoot.
Of which the Italians achieved the closest solution to that requirement.

But perhaps we should really start with the ship killing air launched torpedo.

The chief failing is carrying through on Sea Eagle, which ought to have proliferated into surface, submarine and air launched versions.

But a anti-ship Sea Dart has a lot of attractions.
 

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But that's the problem, early anti-ship missiles like the 4K32 KSShch and Green Cheese were bulky with massive magazine and launcher systems and they were were soon obsolescent. For example, a Green Cheese based missile would need a fairly big magazine and would only be suitable for cruiser conversions or maybe a small number on a destroyer/frigate hull instead of 4.5in guns. Such a system could never be combined with a Sea Slug system unless you are thinking of something like the GW96 in size.
Blue Slug at least had the advantage of using the Sea Slug system so was dual-purpose and had a relatively small additional footprint.
The Rb08 became operational in 1966, the first in the West, but still could not be considered a compact system and was basically a guided target drone. The improved Rb 04 Robot of 1978 was abandoned in favour of Harpoon, so far behind had the concept fallen. Until Exocet and Harpoon come along there is nothing else that offers speed, punch and bolt on launch canisters.

Could Britain have produced something like Exocet? Well it nearly did in Active Martel/ Ship Martel. But Marconi chose a simple one-axis seeker that they claimed would be cheaper than the Adac in the Exocet or RE576 in the AS.34 Kormoran and Otomat. Trying to save pennies meant losing out to Exocet.

The need for more range led to P5T Sea Eagle SL, but it didn't begin development until 1981. Harpoon wasn't chosen until 1984 but it was rather late in the day given the Harpoon by 1981 in widespread service. Sea Eagle never got a dual-band seeker as it was deemed too expensive.

One interesting what-if would be a tri-national Otomat (IT/FR/UK) due to its longer range and big warhead with maybe Milas coming a little sooner as an Ikara/Malafon replacement?

If RN really wanted an over-the-horizon anti-ship missile in 1960s, the simplest solution would be to went Swedish way: took a target drone (GAF Jindivik, for example), reduce fuel supply to 150-200 km, put warhead and a seeker system in place.
Agreed, a missile based on Ikara or even the Turana drone variant would have been potent I think in terms of hitting power and could have multiplied the firepower of the Ikara-armed ships. I guess Ikara itself could be used against ships with the right torpedo settings, though might have been vulnerable to SAMs post-boost.

Stand-off torpedo carriers were considered in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but primarily for ASW (Ikara was brought instead).
 

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Stand-off torpedo carriers were considered in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but primarily for ASW (Ikara was brought instead).

Well, not only for ASW...

1607956740783.png 1607956756923.png
This is "Zonal" - circa 1946-1947 "flying torpedo" design for Royal Navy. Was supposed to be launched from 30-inch torpedo tube, flip out the wings, and fly toward the target, using methanol/oxygen piston engine of 900 h.p., rotating the propeller/screw through the complicated gearbox. After entering water in pre-set point, "Zonal" was supposed to retract the wings, switch gearbox from "air" to "underwater" regime, and switch on the active acoustic seeker. Was supposed to be used against enemy ships, and launched from surface ships, planes, and presumably submarines.

Rather bizarre design, that went essentially nowhere; neither of its components existed even in blueprints, and the calculated level of engine noise was supposed to almost completely deafen the seeker.
 

Thorvic

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The Type 387 (Type 19) was pencilled in to get the Norwegian Penguin missile.

The trouble was with the cancellation of CVA-01 and the withdrawal of the Carrier Fleet the mission profile changed from Global gunboat diplomacy to the Northern Flank ASW operations so the threat was seen to be Soviet submarine rather than warships, The soviet surface fleet at this time was mostly is own anti-ship hunters like the Kynda or ASW escorts to protect their own SSBN bastions. The money and development was focused on Submarines and Anti-submarine warfare

The appearance of a new fleet with VTOL hybrid missile cruisers, Battlecruiser and new deep water Destroyers gave them a new deep water surface fleet threat to worry about which gave us Harpoon and of Course Sea Harrier armed with Sea Eagle.
 

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What were the dimensions, weights etc for the Fairey Sea Skimmer?
 

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From elsewhere on this site (thanks to CJ Gibson)...Actually under a thread called Fairey Sea-Skimmer in the Secret Missile, bomb and gun projects section....

Dear All,
I have long maintained that no information on projects is completely lost.
Yesterday I turned up something I have been looking for since 1997 – Fairey’s Project 7 – the Sea Skimmer.

Rolls-Royce Soar engine
Warhead - 1900lb
Launch weight - 3500lb
Range - 15 nautical miles (by fitting a 1700lb warhead and increasing fuel by 200lb, range could be increased to 50nm)
Span – 9ft (3ft 4in folded)
Length – 16ft
Flush, NACA-style intakes on each side.
 

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uk 75

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Otomat is mentioned by Friedman as being an option for a long range SSM. I am not clear why Exocet was chosen instead.
 

SeaslugMk2

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Stand-off torpedo carriers were considered in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but primarily for ASW (Ikara was brought instead).

Well, not only for ASW...

View attachment 646524View attachment 646525
This is "Zonal" - circa 1946-1947 "flying torpedo" design for Royal Navy. Was supposed to be launched from 30-inch torpedo tube, flip out the wings, and fly toward the target, using methanol/oxygen piston engine of 900 h.p., rotating the propeller/screw through the complicated gearbox. After entering water in pre-set point, "Zonal" was supposed to retract the wings, switch gearbox from "air" to "underwater" regime, and switch on the active acoustic seeker. Was supposed to be used against enemy ships, and launched from surface ships, planes, and presumably submarines.

Rather bizarre design, that went essentially nowhere; neither of its components existed even in blueprints, and the calculated level of engine noise was supposed to almost completely deafen the seeker.
There used to be a model and a little information held by what is now Explosion! in Gosport. I just couldnt see how the propeller would work in the air as well as in the water!

SRJ.
 

Dilandu

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There used to be a model and a little information held by what is now Explosion! in Gosport. I just couldnt see how the propeller would work in the air as well as in the water!

Probably the Z-team hoped, that they would solve this problem when they get to the point. But the problem was clearly complex. Their next brainchild - the air-launched unmanned underwater torpedo carrier "Zannet" - carried two propellers instead (one for air, one for water):

1608002043971.png
 

PMN1

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From elsewhere on this site (thanks to CJ Gibson)...Actually under a thread called Fairey Sea-Skimmer in the Secret Missile, bomb and gun projects section....

Dear All,
I have long maintained that no information on projects is completely lost.
Yesterday I turned up something I have been looking for since 1997 – Fairey’s Project 7 – the Sea Skimmer.

Rolls-Royce Soar engine
Warhead - 1900lb
Launch weight - 3500lb
Range - 15 nautical miles (by fitting a 1700lb warhead and increasing fuel by 200lb, range could be increased to 50nm)
Span – 9ft (3ft 4in folded)
Length – 16ft
Flush, NACA-style intakes on each side.

Big warhead, wonder if a more compact system with a smaller warhead was looked at?
 
Last edited:

Pirate Pete

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Dear All,
I have long maintained that no information on projects is completely lost.
Yesterday I turned up something I have been looking for since 1997 – Fairey’s Project 7 – the Sea Skimmer.
Very interesting! But what was supposed to be the guidance system?
According the BSP Hypersonics, Ramjets and Missiles....(Chris Gibson and Tony Buttler)..
Sea Skimmer had an X-band seeker which was intended to be locked onto the target before launch and it would fly just above wave-top height, with the final approach being a bunt onto the deck of the ship.
 

Dilandu

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According the BSP Hypersonics, Ramjets and Missiles....(Chris Gibson and Tony Buttler)..
Sea Skimmer had an X-band seeker which was intended to be locked onto the target before launch and it would fly just above wave-top height, with the final approach being a bunt onto the deck of the ship.

Thank you!
 

zen

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From elsewhere on this site (thanks to CJ Gibson)...Actually under a thread called Fairey Sea-Skimmer in the Secret Missile, bomb and gun projects section....

Dear All,
I have long maintained that no information on projects is completely lost.
Yesterday I turned up something I have been looking for since 1997 – Fairey’s Project 7 – the Sea Skimmer.

Rolls-Royce Soar engine
Warhead - 1900lb
Launch weight - 3500lb
Range - 15 nautical miles (by fitting a 1700lb warhead and increasing fuel by 200lb, range could be increased to 50nm)
Span – 9ft (3ft 4in folded)
Length – 16ft
Flush, NACA-style intakes on each side.

Big warhead, wonder if a more compact system with a smaller warhead was looked at?
A Red Angel warhead was 88lb....
Even assuming a Sea Slug like 200lb warhead that would either cut weight by 1,700lb or leave room for more fuel than any hoped for lock on range.
 

Pirate Pete

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I believe Red Angel was a ‘development’ of the 3-inch rocket used against shipping during the war, where it had been found that when the rockets entered the water their trajectory levelled-off which would result in a more damaging underwater strike. The Fairey Seaskimmer seems to have been more along the lines of a ‘bomb’ - hence the much larger warhead for deck penetration...
 

Pioneer

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The Rb08 became operational in 1966, the first in the West, but still could not be considered a compact system and was basically a guided target drone.
The Rb08 was the immediate anti-ship missile that came to my mind Hood - both ship and aircraft launched!!
The fact that the Sweds were able and willing to design, build and field such an effective anti-ship missile begs the question why Britain didn't/couldn't really makes me shack my head.
Imagine RAF & RN Buccaneer's carrying two Rb08!

Regards
Pioneer
 
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