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Sea Wolf and Sea Dart: Unbuilt Derivatives and Cancelled Applications

TomS

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Thorvic said:
Possibly they were considering the MM40 Exocet on a trainable mount to replace the rather bulky fixed MM-39 canisters as those atke up rather alot of space for just four missiles.
Trainable mounts would make no sense for MM40 -- one of its main selling points was the ability to turn though 90 degrees once it left the launcher, sharply reducing the need to point the ship or launcher at the target.

IMO, this is probably just an artist's best guess at what the MM40 launcher would look like done a year or two before it was finalized. The rather tall pedestal base and low angle installation are really not that different from the typical RN installation for MM38; it's very reminiscent of the mount in the Exocet Leander, for instance (see attached). In reality, the MM40 launcher turned out to be less extensive, but still at a lower angle than the Harpoon Mk141 launcher.
 

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pf matthews

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Here's an old photo I took of H.M.S. Penelope which gives a slightly different angle on the R.N.Leander Exocet mount.
 

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Zootycoon

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Raymond Lygos's autobiography contains an interesting insight into the lightweight Sea Wolf development and it demise. From memory there were two competing radars systems, one by Signaal (Dutch) and the other was GEC.
BAE favoured the Signaal radar for a number of reasons, foremost of which was designed specifically to allow low cost retrofit into a ship previously equipped with Sea Cat. MOD favoured the GEC for more political reasons. However Lygo considered that being it required far more extensive ship installation work, and so its high retrofit cost would restrict the wider scale LW Sea Wolf market. Ultimately no middle ground could be found and the project sank. I know BAE and GEC were sworn enemies at this time.

I'm not sure if it was the same book but I also remember a comment that the early Sea Dart and Sea Wolf system design work by both BAE (HSD) and RAE had questioned the reliability/availability of load/point/shoot type launchers. This lead to a Sea Wolf vertical launch/TVC demonstration in the very early part of the program (as early as 1969?). However the RN insisted on load/point/shoot launchers launchers for little more reason than that was what the USN had! But the experience in the Falklands (HMS Glasgow) really showed the the original concerns to be correct. Quite a lot of study work was done into vertical launch Sea Dart, but I don't believe anything flew. Does anyone have any information?

I'm told the RN had a particular interest in difficult requirements;- Did you know the Sea Dart is only loaded with kerosene after the launch commit has been given.
 

TomS

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Zootycoon said:
I'm told the RN had a particular interest in difficult requirements;- Did you know the Sea Dart is only loaded with kerosene after the launch commit has been given.
Can anyone else verify that? The existence of a couple of different containerized versions of Sea Dart (LW Sea Dart and the land-based Guardian) make me skeptical.
 

Brickmuppet

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I don't know jack about the storage protocols for this weapon but the existence of the box launched version would not necessarily mean that the handling protocols would need to be the same.

Indeed the firing drill for a lightweight Seadart (IIRC it was a certified round) would likely be very different on a F.A.C. than a destroyer. Keeping the missiles unfueled while in an enclosed magazine would seem prudent. A box launcher on deck would be almost as dangerous as a bank of torpedoes but would not have the 'fire in a confined space issue' that the Sheffields would have had. Also a FAC is by definition less survivable so the risk might seem acceptable. Recall too that LW Seadart was mainly intended for export where visible characteristics and not unsexy things like damage control drills and missile maintenance were the going concern.

Its also not inconceivable that even LW SeaDart was also to be filled with kerosene just prior to firing. Pumping kerosene is, after all, not a difficult or demanding operation if the proper fittings are in place.


Was there any luck on digging up that PDF from the opening post?
 

Graeme65

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I would be amazed if the SeaDart missile was not treated as a round of amunition. There is no advantage to fueling it on the rail and lots of hazzards, including the potential unreliability of such an arrangement. The missile has a SRB that is fueled in the magazine so there is little in the way of fire reduction risk for the magazine. Also the missile is attached to the rail by a flanged metal fitting between the SRB and the base of the missile without any visible piping.

Also one of the design aims of SeaDart over Seaslug was to get away from an elaborate loading sequence. The Seaslug having an assembly room where fins and the like were fitted before it was loaded to the laucher.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Brickmuppet said:
Keeping the missiles unfueled while in an enclosed magazine would seem prudent.
Ahh why? When you park your car do you drain the fuel tank?

The Sea Dart's motor may be liquid powered but its only kerosene. Because it’s a ramjet not a rocket motor it doesn't need an oxidizer so its fuel can be relatively benign.

The Harpoon’s jet is powered by similar heavy fuel and is sealed in a tank that can basically be ignored for a decade without leaks and be ready to flow when fired.
 

Zootycoon

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Queens regulations for the design of warships c 1960's

"Flammable liquids shall not be stored in a ship magazines that contain explosive materials" . This requirement was universally questioned (and hated) by all that came into contact with it for exactly the same reasons that are being raised here...... Except of course there lordships in the senior service, as with vertical launching they didn't seem to understand modern safety analysis and preferred anecdote based lessons from the past.

Just because another nations missile engineers, approx ten years later did not have to put up with such nonsense does not automatically mean history never happened. Nor does the existence of latter paper projects such as LW Sea Dart, Containerised Sea Dart(*) and Guardian prove anything;- They were different solution to different requirements. This was engineering in the real world.

Note (*)- the "Sea Dart Box Fire" contract of the mid seventies only demonstrated the discharge of a dummy Sea Dart missile from an integrated launcher/container using live Sea Dart booster. It was a one off.
 

Graeme65

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This must have been kept realtively secret as descriptions of the system do not mention it. They do mention rapid fire rates, which on rail fuel injection would have made problematic. Also Bill Gunston's 'Rockets and Missiles' in describing the launch sequence, starts by saying that the missiles are held in the magazine 'stored vertically, ready to fire'.

I have to admit that the shear impracticality of such an arrangement makes me very sceptical that such an arbitrary rule was ever enforced for missle systems.
 

darkside

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Sea Dart is not fuelled prior to firing. It is stored and issued in a ready to fire condition. The quote from QRRN's refers to unauthorized stowage of flammable liquids in a ships magazine ie cans of cleaning solvent, drums of oil etc.
 

Kadija_Man

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The booster is solid fuelled. It is interesting that when HMS NOTTINGHAM struck Wolf Rock off Lord Howe Island in 2002 and significantly damaged her hull, taking on a large quantity of water, which penetrated the magazine, there were fears about the instability of the propellants in her Sea Dart missiles. I'd assume that these were in fact the boosters if, as has been stated here, the Sea Darts themselves are stored unfueled. Before work could be begun repairing NOTTINGHAM, the Sea Darts had to be removed.
 

RP1

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if, as has been stated here, the Sea Darts themselves are stored unfueled
I'd note that I have never seen anything indicating that Sea Dart is stored unfueled, quite the opposite. The concern was probably about the booster or igniters, since the kerosene sustainer fuel would be stored in sealed tanks.

Interestingly, this:

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA405481&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf

Showed that seawater soaked solid propellant was not more sensitive. BUT that could vary depending on the composition.

RP1
 

Abraham Gubler

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rickshaw said:
I'd assume that these were in fact the boosters if, as has been stated here, the Sea Darts themselves are stored unfueled.
It has never been stated here with any authority that Sea Dart is stored un-fueled. In fact the complete opposite. RN regulations against storing fuel and other flammables inside the magazine has been used to ‘deduce’ that the Sea Dart must be fueled before launch. Despite this regulation being for non sealed-munitions related flammables (plenty of nasty burning stuff inside all types of ammunition) like a Jerry can of petrol for the ship’s motorbike and there being no such thing as a Sea Dart fueling rig. The Sea Dart being a ramjet is powered by none other than kerosene: one of the most benign fuels in the history of the Royal Navy apart from wind.
 

Zootycoon

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It has never been stated here with any authority that Sea Dart is stored un-fueled.
In my opinion it has not been stated here with any authority that it's stored complete with liquid fuel.

RN regulations against storing fuel and other flammables inside the magazine has been used to ‘deduce’ that the Sea Dart must be fueled before launch.
No, it was a former engineer who was on the Sea Dart development program from approx 1966-76 who told me this and somebody I spent many years working with. With all due respect its you seem to be the one making the incorrect deductions.

The storage of any flammable liquids on board a warship requires a cofferdam to contain spills together with foam fire suppression systems. The suggestion that jerry cans of petrol could be stored in the mag is amazingly ridiculous.

BTW 1 These very same regulation also adversely impacted the Polaris Chevaline development wrt liquid Hydrazine i.e. millions £/years were spent on high pressure gas system that just did not work........ QNRR were changed and it went into service with stored liquid. And before you talk of deduction I saw the tail end of that one with my own eyes!

BTW 2 - The Sea Dart booster is a dual based Nitrocelluslose/Nitroglycerine plus AP/Polybutabiene propellant contained in a Ultra High Tensile Steel (UHTS) casing. The UHTS used is 300M which is notoriously sensitive to rapid corrosion. Best kept in the dry Mag and not exposed to sea water.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Zootycoon said:
In my opinion it has not been stated here with any authority that it's stored complete with liquid fuel.
I would expect that any burden of proof lies in the field of rapid fuelling before launch as it flies in the face of every piece of Sea Dart related public information: rounds stored as ammunition not requiring any intervention by the crew before firing, rapid loading, lightweight launchers, ground launchers, evolved Thor series ramjet (Bristol Odin) from the stored fuel Bloodhound missile, etc. To hold up a regulation that governs the way RN ships are operated by their crews rather than how munitions are built as somehow ‘proving’ that the Sea Dart must be fuelled before launch is an example of the obstinate ludicrousness of Armchair Generalship. Further to compare the highly flammable oxidersier fuels of rocket motors to the benign kerosene of ramjets is further misplacement. Must every RN jet and helicopter be drained of all onboard fuel before being hangared?

So where is the Vickers rapid missile fueling equipment? The missile magazine fuel tank? The Sea Dart fuel cap?

[Insert funny cartoon of a Rating pumping fuel from a petrol station into the Sea Dart while the PWO yells ‘hurry up’ as an Argie Skyhawk approaches…]
 

Kadija_Man

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Zootycoon said:
No, it was a former engineer who was on the Sea Dart development program from approx 1966-76 who told me this and somebody I spent many years working with. With all due respect its you seem to be the one making the incorrect deductions.

The storage of any flammable liquids on board a warship requires a cofferdam to contain spills together with foam fire suppression systems. The suggestion that jerry cans of petrol could be stored in the mag is amazingly ridiculous.
A not unusual position for Humpty.

BTW 1 These very same regulation also adversely impacted the Polaris Chevaline development wrt liquid Hydrazine i.e. millions £/years were spent on high pressure gas system that just did not work........ QNRR were changed and it went into service with stored liquid. And before you talk of deduction I saw the tail end of that one with my own eyes!
Interesting. QNRR is?

BTW 2 - The Sea Dart booster is a dual based Nitrocelluslose/Nitroglycerine plus AP/Polybutabiene propellant contained in a Ultra High Tensile Steel (UHTS) casing. The UHTS used is 300M which is notoriously sensitive to rapid corrosion. Best kept in the dry Mag and not exposed to sea water.
Thank you. That confirms why NOTTINGHAM's appointment with Wolf Rock caused so many problems when its magazine was breached.
 

Abraham Gubler

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This lunacy of the rapid fueling Sea Dart has gone on long enough. While it is dragging out its fair share of forum fools to support it for the greater good it should be put to rest.

As one can see from the following attached pictures the kerosene tanks on the Sea Dart lack any external access. Even if one wanted to the missile designers have stuck over the top the electronics carry through and the forward end of the fins. So unless you either want to stick a pipe up the tail and into the injector or pass fuel through the electrical power socket’s grounding prong you ain’t getting kero into those tanks anywhere outside the assembly depot.

rickshaw said:
A not unusual position
Being right while you are wrong? Natural state really…
 

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Brickmuppet

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I'd completely forgotten about this.
In my defense, I didn't claim to know one way or the other but my position was that it was not inconceivable that it was fueled seperately.

However, given the information Abraham Gubler provided and the fact that the broadly comparable Talos was stored fully fueled ...
http://www.okieboat.com/Ramjet%20history.html

It does now seem unlikely.

Sorry for any confusion I contributed to.
 

JFC Fuller

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I must admit, it would be very strange if Sea Dart was stored without its fuel given the nature of the system and its requirement for rapid reaction times and fast reloading. The use of a fueling process as part of the loading and firing procedure would be an added and hard to justify additional procedure.
 

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Jane's Defence Weekly 1991:

The UK MoD has cancelled a £40 million ($66 million) programme to equip three Invincible class aircraft carriers and four Type 42 Batch 3 destroyers with the BAe Dynamics lightweight four barrel launcher Seawolf
Jane's Weapons Systems 1988:

In February 1988 it was announced the MoD had placed a £40 million order for GWS 26 Mod 2 which will be installed in the Royal Navy's Type 42 Batch 3 destroyers together with the three 'Invincible' class aircraft carriers.
Sea Wolf Launching options: http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1983/1983%20-%200359.html?search=Marconi%20805

Possible Lightweight Sea Wolf early life (Support Defence Missile System) and GWS.27 (Active radar homing Sea Wolf):

British Aerospace Seawolf GWS27 Under separate but associated contracts from the UK MoD, BAe and Marconi are already working on the further improved GWS27, an evolutionary development of the vertically-launched GWS26. This is intended for service through the 1990s. At the 1985 Royal Navy Equipment Exhibition Marconi displayed a compact active-radar seeker which could be used to give Seawolf GWS27 an autonomous fire-and-forget terminal homing phase against all-aspect attacks. The new seeker is designed for use in all weathers, and may be reprogrammed for ECCM purposes. By combining Saclos or inertial guidance with an active-radar terminal-homing seeker, the weapon could be given the ability to carry out several simultaneous engagements. Another goal of GWS27 may be to provide a limited degree of area coverage by increasing maximum range from the current 5km to 10km or more.

Support Defence Missile System
British Aerospace was given a £625,000 contract in the summer of 1987 to study a naval missile system suitable for self-defence and local-area defence of less well-armed vessels.
Source: http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1988/1988%20-%202824.html?search=GWS27


As of 1981 it is reported that £20 million of private cash had been spent on Lightweight Sea Wolf: http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1981/1981%20-%202428.html?search=Land%20Dart%20radar

GWS.31 Sea Dart Mk 2 and the Type 1030 STIR were cancelled in 1981. The picture is supposedly the Type 1030 STIR prototype, is it?
 

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Thorvic

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You can actually see the twin Sea Wolf in place of the Sea Dart on the Naval P1216 artworl in Mike Pryces book on the P1216. ;)
 

RP1

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A tiny update:


"Marconi Defence Systems exhibited a model of an active radar seeker that is a candidate for the GWS27 variant of Seawolf, now in early development" - RNEE 1985, source: IDR 11/1985.


I wonder if the new missile would have been slightly longer than its predecessor, as it still needs the proximity fuze but would have this stuck in front.


- RP1
 

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Abraham Gubler

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From the new book "The Age of Invincible" by Nick Childs the following sketch of HMS Invincible fitted with Sea Wolf (four launchers and four FCS) in place of Sea Dart. Apparently this proposal was dated from before the ship was in service.
 

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CJGibson

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I really have to ask. Why is the library indicated on a drawing showing the weapons systems?

Chris
 

Abraham Gubler

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CJGibson said:
I really have to ask. Why is the library indicated on a drawing showing the weapons systems?

Chris
Its probably been moved into the space previously used by the Sea Dart magazine.
 

JohnR

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The upper midship launcher seems to be really awkwardly arranged.
 

CJGibson

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Oddly enough, the only person I know who worked in an Illustrious-class and on its Sea Dart system was a librarian before joining the Grey Funnel Line.

Chris
 

JFC Fuller

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Looked at a file about Landpax yesterday, very interesting but can't add too much to what is in BSP4 aside from diagrams of proposed system components that I have belatedly realised I failed to photograph. Basically the objective was a medium range SAM system for the Army and RAF to sit above ET316/DN181 (to be Rapier) and this was developed as a requirement in the late 1960s under GAST.1210 (the document I looked at is dated 1968).

I was only looking at a Landpax document rather than a the full requirements document but it appears that five solutions were considered; four PX430 variants and a land based version of Sea Dart. Of the PX430 versions the "Landpax 20" version was favoured simply because it got closest to the GAST.1210 requirements (though as far as I can tell was still short of them). The four different versions of the proposed Landpax missile seem to have varied almost entirely in the length of the VL booster (yes, Vertical Launch) they used- longer boosters giving greater range. It was also proposed to use a different booster burn sequence compared to regular PX430.

If anybody has a requirements number or some other hook for SAM.72 or XPX.430 I would love to go looking for that.
 

zen

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Fascinating! Wish I had something to help.
But did you note the range required for landpax?
 

JFC Fuller

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GAST.1210 had a requirement for an impact range of 30km. The Landpax 20 proposal had a 20km range.
 

zen

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Thankyou for the information!

hmmm.....so 16.2nm is the requirement and Landpax made 10.8nm.....while Sea Wolf (PX430) was 0.5 to 3.5nm or just under 1km to 6.5km.
While the Sea Wolf VLS ended up reaching 5.4nm or more (10km)

Can I ask do you have anything on how big these boosters where?
Very interesting to hear they were VL, though it mates with the oringinal VL concept for PX430.

Curious thought.....wasn't SIG-16 having a range of 16nm?

more thoughts.....if impact (implying a 'hittile' system like Rapier) is 16nm, then detection range must be greater, and theoretical range of the missile likely greater too.
Furthermore, the implication of impact is the willingness to trade warhead weight to get the capability.

As I think you are suggesting, perhaps this also connects with SAM.72 and XPX430, scaling up the missile to get the desired range/performance and possibly including a proper warhead to increase the pk.
IF..........IF.........IF that is true, it would make this the 'whatif' I've long suspected.

additional thought.....does this bring it closer to the Russian Buk system? As it does I-Hawk...?

More additional thoughts..System C was aimed at giving local area defence to 4km and consequently much longer range for self defence. Could this sort of need to provide 'local area defence' inform GAST.1012?
 

JFC Fuller

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I partially read one document on one suggested solution, based on that it seems that Landpax couldn't fulfil the requirement. There are drawings of each Landpax concept so it is possible to work out the booster sizes but I would have to read the document again to do that. The other proposed solution, on which I have not seen a file, was a land based Sea Dart.

I suspect there is a direct link between GAST.1210 and the later SAM.72 studies at least in terms of requirement. The Army had its two Thunderbird regiments and the RAF had Bloodhound. Thunderbird was withdrawn without true replacement in 1977. Bloodhound, having been briefly withdrawn from use on the British Isles, was deployed to Germany for Airbase Defence with 25 Squadron covering Bruggen, Wildenrath and Laarbruch. Bloodhound was reinstated in the UK in 1975 when 85 Squadron opened sites at West Raynham, North Coates and Bawdsey. In 1983 25 Squadron was disbanded in Germany (its role being taken over by Rapier units) and its equipment was handed to 85 Squadron allowing a further three sites to be established in the UK, Barkston Heath, Wattisham and Wyton. This last deployment seems to have been the basis of the MSAM requirement which ran from at least 1988 through to 1993.

Within that history there is at least one requirement for a new-generation system, GAST.1210, there is another document I can look at when I get a chance related to this but I have to say that I have found nothing related to an effort in the 1970s.

The GAST.1210 requirement contained a desire to understand the feasibility of providing defence against 100km range ballistic missiles which suggests to me that this was to have a role in Germany rather than just the UK.

You may recall that I have my own take on a UK only medium range SAM solution: http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,16509.0.html
 

Kadija_Man

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Are there any drawings of the missiles and launchers of the land based derivatives of these systems? How were they going to mount them? Fixed or mobile?
 

CJGibson

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My view is that (as far as the MoD was concerned) with the Nimrod AEW and Tornado ADV with Skyflash parked over the GIUK gap and North Sea, there was no need for SAMs apart from Rapier.

Where does Wolverine fit in here? Purely ABM defence? May post date the Landpax stuff, but I haven't seen the most recent documents.

Chris
 

JFC Fuller

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Sometime in the early 1970s it seems to have been decided that the "low-level" threat mandated the reintroduction/sustainment of the Bloodhound force in the UK with deployments that look like they were intended to defend USAF and RAF force concentrations in East Anglia and to a lesser extent in Lincolnshire. By the late 1980s this threat perception was such that there was an active replacement effort (MSAM); which based on the proposed solutions looks a lot like GAST.1210 from twenty years earlier (1967-68).

There was an ulterior motive though; NATO would fund hardened aircraft shelter construction under it's Physical Protection Programme if certain requirements were met. The Bloodhounds brought back from Germany helped to meet those requirements.

Wolverine is a curious beast, I have only ever seen it mentioned in old magazines from the late 1980s. I originally assumed it had something to do with MSAM but I am starting to wonder if it was as much private venture as anything else as it was apparently submitted to a US Army Strategic Defense Command Invite-Test-Show programme. Either way Wolverine seems to come about twenty years after Landpax.
 

Jemiba

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Kadija_Man said:
Are there any drawings of the missiles and launchers of the land based derivatives of these systems?
An artists impression of "Land Dart" (land based Sea Dart) was shown in the "Illustrierte Enzyklolädie der Raketen
& Lenkwaffen" (illustrated encyclopedia of rockets and missiles) by Bill Gunston. It's mentioned, that the components
of the sea based variant could be used more or less without modifications, with the twin launcher positioned on a
bunker housing the magazine.
 

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robunos

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@JFC Fuller . . .
Drifting briefly off-topic, in reply #68 you mention 'ET316/DN181 (to be Rapier)'. Now, as we all know, ET316 is Rapier itself, and googling DN181 returns 'Marconi Rapier Blindfire Radar'.
Is DN181 an official 'AB.123' type code, or just Marconi's own designation ?

cheers,
Robin.
 

zen

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Hmmm....

If only we knew more about the three ruled out SAM options from the tripartite group........we know the last two of the five System A and B.
Surely either System C or one of the three may be influencing this MSAM OR GAST1210?
 

CJGibson

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Robunos,

DN.181 is the official designation for the Blindfire radar.

Chris
 
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