UK naval missiles instead of Exocet in the late 60s

uk 75

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27 September 2006
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When the UK aircraft carrier CVA 01 was cancelled in 1966 one of
the ways of replacing its capabilities was to be the development of
long range surface to surface missiles for both anti-ship and shore
bombardment roles. Indeed even before the cancellation of CVA 01
a study had been done on a missile equipped navy as an alternative to
carriers, but the cost of developing the necessary long range missile
was deemed to be excessive.
Eventually in 1970 the RN ordered the French Exocet as a straightforward
anti-ship missile. Does anyone know if any work was actually done on a
long range British missile after (or even before) 1966?

UK 75
There was of course Green Cheese and Blue Slug in the late 50s. There are references to AShM versions of the Martel and then surface launched versions of Sea Eagle. However despite the extensive research into ramjet systems by people like Bristol this never seems to have translated in to a large long range anti-ship weapon. The reason is probably the relative lack of a Soviet surface threat after about 1960.
They certainly did develope designs for launch from land or air, against other landbased targets.

Considering some of these use the TSR.2s TFR set for low level flight it does'nt seem that insane to ponder the concept of turning such weapons to the anti-ship role.

Perhaps thats part of the problem with the documents on this topic, something taken as read but never stated?

Curious thought is they seem to examine the possibily of a 21.5 ft diameter anti-ship missile for 250nm range, some 35ft long, weighing 20,000lb and carrying a 2,000lb warhead.

Guidance of such weapons to where they can detect the target themselves is probably what puts them off.
I think the answer to this is simple, there was no need for a heavy AShM and by the time there was the RN/RAF had nothing left to carry / launch it. Soviet heavy units stop appearing after 1956 (in fact they start vanishing for a period) and dont start reappearing until the mid-late 70s and only then in small numbers until the late eighties. In the 50s the UK pursues heavy AShM's for both aircraft and surface ships then the threat vanishes so there is none then it does not reappear until there is nothing left to support such a missile and there is still only a questionable requirement.
Well according to BSP4, there was a proposal for a rocket-boosted Bristol Tychon to be launched from trucks or Sea Slug launchers.
PMN1 said:
Well according to BSP4, there was a proposal for a rocket-boosted Bristol Tychon to be launched from trucks or Sea Slug launchers.

Yes, and in a moment of clarity for that publication it states that it was proposed 'as ever' as part of wide range variants of Tychon and that it 'didn't really appeal to the Air Staff or Admiralty'. Thus it is not really a viable player in this game.
As ever, many thanks for the details above.

In Desmond Wettern's Decline of British Seapower there are
tantalising and vague references to a sort of multi-purpose
long range surface to surface missile (both anti-ship and
shore bombardment) being looked at to replace the aircraft
carriers. I can only assume these were Government and MOD
attempts to soooth anger at the loss of carrier aviation.

The hunter-killer submarines were supposed to get anti-ship
missiles (see separate thread on sub-martel) but I think there
was a bigger weapon envisaged rather like the Soviet Shaddock
I suppose.

The other strand led to the helicopter missiles from As 12 to
Sea Skua as well as Exocet. But it is the issue of the big missile
that fascinates. I must get hold of the study that was done
in about 1964 or so on alternatives to carrier air power. I think
the reference is in Friedman or Grove (or maybe Wettern).

UK 75
Be careful with this. The carriers were not culled in isolation, both they and TSR-2 dies because they are unaffordable, thus making East of Suez unaffordable and in turn making CVA-01 and TSR-2 unnecessary. They therefore did not need to be replaced by any new technological concept. Instead the fleet was completely reorientated to fight the Soviets in the Med and around the GIUK.

Clearly a heavy AShM was never taken seriously or it would have appeared at a technical level rather than at a purely notional one.
OT: large diameter UK naval missiles ...

21.5 ft diameter ... ??
My first thought was it could be re-purposed for a heavy-lift space-program...
Does anyone know what the hoped for range and warhead size of of Green Cheese and Sea Skimmer were?
Thoughts via BSP4, Vulcans Hammer and my own efforts to look into this subject.

Sea Skimmer was clearly more ambitious but in reality there was not a viable means of providing it with long range guidance. See the problems with Orange William.

Green Cheese was 3,800lb in weight, given that it was a glide bomb with an as yet to be identified rocket motor bolted on the back and a radar seeker at the front the warhead was probably half that at best. As for range, again based on its lineage, purpose and the problems that would be experienced with mid-course guidance- not far. Probably just outside the range of heavy naval AA guns.
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