UK Only FAMS/PAAMS and MSAM

JFC Fuller

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This is an idea i have been running through my head and I thought I would put it to the floor for further consideration.

Following the abandonment of the GWS31 Sea Dart Mk2 and the associated Type 42 Batch IV, Type 43 and Type 44 ship designs the RN began the painful path to what became the Type 45. Starting with the NFR90 the requirement, which was only ever for 12 ships (the balance of the "about 50" escort target being met by Type 22s and Type 23s). As a weapons system partner for the NFR90 the UK was briefly part of both NAAWS and FAMS from 1988, it dropped out of the former in 1989 and the latter became what we today call ASTER 15/30.

Simultaneously the RAF was starting to scheme a replacement for Bloodhound, this was eventually retired without replacement but a replacement programme was run in 1991/2 (target in service date of 1995 onwards) with three consortia offering bids:

1) Hughes / Siemens Plessey / NFT with the AdSAM; which eventually became NASAMS
2) Raytheon / BAe with Patriot (partnered with Rapier 2000)
3) GEC -Marconi / Eurosam with SAMP/T (ASTER)

The requirement was for the system to be transportable and for sufficient numbers to equip up to 8 sites in East Anglia and Lincolnshire. As this is AH, a Thunderbird successor to regenerate the heavy AA regiment that operated it in Germany prior to 1977 could be added.

In the late 1980s two interesting Seawolf variations were studied:

1) GWS27: A Seawolf with an active radar seeker and an extended range (10km) which was cancelled in either 1987 or 88
2) Wolverine: This is unclear but it seems to have been a lengthened GWS27 equipped with a flechette warhead to act as a last ditch ATBM system (sub-patriot); A consortium consisting of BAe, Thorn-EMI, Marconi and Hunting Engineering offered this system for US SDI trials in the late 80s

So, my scenario is this, in the late 1980s (say 1985-7) somebody at a high level in MoD realises that both the RN and the RAF have a requirement, with similar timelines, for a medium range SAM. A decision is taken to undertake a joint service programme with the chosen platform start-point being the GWS27/Wolverine. The missile is lengthened to provide it with greater range and the GWS26 booster is replaced with a longer and much wider first stage booster to provide much longer range (in a similar fashion to ASTER).

Does anybody see any obvious technical issues with this, or any suggestions for alternatives?
 
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zen

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Hmmmm.....this very thought occured to me about a decade ago or more and certainly we know about 'Land Dart', which I think is probably a missed opportunity.


Thing is Sea Wolf is guided from the ship if memory serves, so the development of a SARH or ARH variant is needed. GWS27 seems to be a flirtation with just that sort of thing. However it is rather small and short ranged for a replacement for Bloodhound or Sea Dart.


Scaling up the missile form to keep the aerodynamics 'known' and filling it with larger motor and warhead seems plausible. In fact it seems to be part of the SAM.72 study.


There certainly is the argument that what drives advanced low level attack aircraft and missiles is the perceived risk of facing SAMs that can cut down medium and high flying aircraft. Lack the 'deterrent' SAM system and the enemy will fly beyond the reach of weapons like SeaWolf or Rapier.


Really for ARH you need as great a diameter of seeker as possible, and its one of the criticisms of ASTER.
 

uk 75

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Main problem here is that Patriot was already widely used and cheapish.. However in the land of what-if I think a Landdart derivative should have been ordered much earlier, say in the mid 80s. Of course Bloodhound was so good that it tended to kill off reoplacements
 

uk 75

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I got cut off again. In General Hackett's World War III book mention is made of a Eurosam being in service by 1985.

ASTER started life I think as part of a multinational Hawk replacement programme (France remained a Hawk user).

Landart and Seadart development however were very different (British Secret Projects Vol 4).

The missile itself should have been developed more, as it was the equal of the US Standard family.

I remember reading somewhere that despite its age Bloodhound was not that much worse than Patriot.

Of course 1989 meant that all bets were off.
 

Hobbes

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It'd be difficult to create a Sea Dart with more range, iirc it was limited by the not-so-sensitive radar receiver (4 aerials instead of the usual dish), which in turn was dictated by having the ramjet intake in the nose of the missile.

If you wanted more range, you'd probably have to go to an active homing system, which would mean you need a new director as well.
 

zen

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This is rather why I think the 'scaled up Sea Wolf' of the SAM.72 era is likely the 'answer' insofar as there can be one.


Problem is, this is bang on the periode of Sea Dart vessels being built (1970s).
 

zen

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Well yes, its possible, say after the realisation that Sea Dart II wasn't upto the task, that a new missile would help. However that is more about the realisation of the need for a new SAM System, rather than just the missile. Especially the radar side of things and hence MESAR, leading to Sampson.


But....its not beyond the bounds of possibility to see that forthcoming.


Hmmmm.....a while back I was asked to conjour up such weapon, for someones fictional work 'The Last War'. Result was called Garfish, which left the low level close range matter to SeaWolf.
 

uk 75

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What this thread seems to need is a British alternative to ASTER, which in the real world became the focus of British Aerospace interest. Logically given the technology that went into Seadart and Seawolf this should have been feasible.

It would be interesting to know what glimmers in the eye there were in the BAe sketchpads?
 
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