UK infantry ATGM project OL 535

Kiltonge

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In the mid-1970s the British Army evaluated TOW 'for the infantry role' ( presumable M220 complex? ) but found it too unwieldy. Dragon's range of 1,000 metres was insufficient to 'cover' standard British mine fields.

Project OL 535 was initiated to develop an infantry ATGM to succeed the little-used Vigilant, but was abandoned in 1975 in favour of Milan as OL 535 was felt to be at least seven years in the future and both Wombat and Charlie-G were already inadequate for the anti-tank role.

Source:

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1976/1976%20-%200466.html

I haven't found any further details, I have the feeling that it was abandoned in the very early stages ( no line-item mention of it in this Hansard response of canceled projects: http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/written_answers/1979/mar/22/equipment-cancellations )
 

CJGibson

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It and SAVig were binned in favour of that POS Milan, that was foisted upon the British Army in the interests of European co-operation in a move that the Chairman of BAC described as "a kick in teeth for British industry", except I doubt he said teeth. I really must write up the British ATGW story, but nobody would buy it.

Chris
 

Kiltonge

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CJGibson said:
It and SAVig were binned in favour of that POS Milan, that was foisted upon the British Army in the interests of European co-operation in a move that the Chairman of BAC described as "a kick in teeth for British industry", except I doubt he said teeth. I really must write up the British ATGW story, but nobody would buy it.

Other than the exposed firing position and problems with firing over water and power lines, was Milan really that bad?

I'm not sure that British industry had distinguished itself by then by insisting that manual guidance was sufficient, when everyone else had already gone over to SACLOS.

Any info appreciated!
 

JFC Fuller

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CJGibson said:
I really must write up the British ATGW story, but nobody would buy it.

Chris

I would!

And, perhaps a stupid question but what was SAVig?
 

CJGibson

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I think OL.535 may have been the Min of Av designation for SAVig, but I haven't dug that far.

The attached is an extract from the lost chapter of BSP4.

Chris
 

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  • SAVigSemi.pdf
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Kiltonge

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CJGibson said:
I think OL.535 may have been the Min of Av designation for SAVig, but I haven't dug that far.

The attached is an extract from the lost chapter of BSP4.

Thanks Chris, that was good reading. Looks like I was 180 degrees out on my criticism of British industry; they were advocating SACLOS but the MoD wasn't listening until they panicked and bough something off the shelf ( Milan ).

One quick comment about ET.316 and 'night capability'; all the French developments after SS.11 did have a nuit / jour selector prior to launch, which controlled the number of tracking flares illuminated. So they did have a night capability, assuming the operator could lay them onto target.

Interesting concept of using TV tracking instead of IR goniometer, though.

Bit of a 'go' at Milan in that document, though; not the missile's fault that it didn't have an opportunity to be deployed by the UK in the 1980s. Seemed to do well in French-trained Chadian service, decimating Libyan forces. South Africans though reasonably of it, too, and chose to upgrade rather than adopting a rival Israeli system. Edit: though the SADF did find that Milan needed a fairly open plain, I'd contest that was the case for any infantry-guided ATGM.
 

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