Recording the History -
Rockets Rust in Peace-
The Bloodhound SAGW played a crucial role as a component of the UK's air defence during the "Cold War".
This Bloodhound article by Paul Jackson appeared in the Royal Air Force Year Book 1990:
Unfortunately, despite his positive comments, not long after the fall of the Berlin wall the Bloodhound Mk2 system was scrapped. More ominously, nothing better has taken it’s place to this day.
The article pages, which can also be read on the superior radar web site, www.Radar Pages.co.uk, were scanned into a wordprocessor using Omnipro 15 software and expanded and tidied up into a more read-
It reads as follows:
Which RAF interceptor entered service before the now-
The answer is not a manned aircraft -
In the fast-
Deployment of the Bloodhound Mkl began in 1958 at the culmination of a development process begun a decade earlier by the Bristol Aeroplane Co (now part of BAe) and Ferranti Ltd -
Bloodhound was also stationed abroad, and in 1970 (after the Royal Navy had assumed the strategic deterrent role) all systems within the UK were withdrawn and either stored or transferred to RAF Germany, where No 25 Squadron had moved for aerodrome defence. Changing operational requirements later prompted a re-
New deployment plans called for the Bloodhounds to form a barrier, rather than a point defence system. Accordingly, March 1976 saw 'B' Flight form at North Coates, near Grimsby, whilst 'C' Flight was installed at Bawdsey (the historic site of the RAF's first radar station), near lpswich, in July 1979. With the Thames-
D/85 at Barkston, E/85 at Wattisham and F/85 at Wyton.
Bloodhound remains in service simply because it is still an effective system. Once dedicated to high-
Sports car aficionados, to whom '0-
Four seconds later, the four RoF Gosling solid-
Tipping over on its nose, it will dive on the victim, guided by the reflected radar energy still originating from its launch pad scanner. The maneuvering tricks for making pulse-
Detonated by a proximity fuse, the warhead explodes to scatter a shower of metal rods which form, effectively, a 120ft (37m) circular-
The men and women who operate and service 'The Dog' come under the Bloodhound Force Commander (BFC), who is also the station commander at West Raynham. As the top link in the command chain, the BFC works in the Force Operations Room and is in direct contact with the Southern Sector Commander at Neatishead, the underground bunker which co-
A Section controls six to eight launchers and one radar from its Launch Control Post (LCP) caravan. A back-
The Force Commander can therefore see the whole tactical picture as a computer-
LCPs have their own power generators and air conditioning -
The LCP is, from the outside, no more sophisticated than a caravan protected by an earth revetment. This is deceptive, for the caravans are just completing a refurbishment programme which includes a complete re-
In the past, No 85 Squadron had the fixed-
Every year, missiles receive a Minor Overhaul, and every two years undergo a more searching 'Major', this work being carried out at West Raynham's Missile Servicing Flight for all except the North Coates Bloodhounds (which have their own facility). Because the weapon is fuelled and armed when on the launcher, safety dictates that only minimal servicing can be accomplished in situ. If an 'on-
After 25 years of service, the Bloodhounds are now receiving a well-
Nearby, Bloodhound launchers supply the same service to ready-
Weapon, Airframe, Propulsion, Air Radar and Air Defence technicians pass to and from the Bloodhound Force during their service careers, just as if it were an aircraft -
Every minute of the day, every day of the year, there is at least a nucleus of personnel ready for action at each Bloodhound site. The Engagement Controllers maintain proficiency by tracking the plentiful air traffic in eastern England or using the training facility which, with the simple change of a computer programme, turns the LCP caravan into a simulator. Controllers can practice against computer-
At readiness, the Controller will be constantly searching the assigned Missile Engagement Zone (MEZ) for a hostile target. Not only will the definition of a 'hostile' vary according to the tactical situation, but the MEZ itself will also change in area. For example, one sector may be designated a no-
A second combat task will involve the Bloodhound being given instructions to hit a specific target, anywhere within range, by the southern Sector Operations Centre at Neatishead -
Sitting in the dim light of the LCP caravan, the Controller will investigate targets until a hostile subject is found. This is presented on a computer-
When the launch button is pressed, the computer begins to check-
Close examination of the radar on its plinth reveals several antennae. There is the large dish-
A moving target reflects the Type 86's radar energy at a slightly different frequency (the Doppler Effect). Because the receiver in the Bloodhound is also travelling through space, a further apparent shift in frequency is produced. The outcome of this process is predicted by the LCP's computer and the missile instructed to search for a signal of that type. The receiver dish inside its nosecone then turns to lock on to the target, whilst the Bloodhound itself points towards the anticipated point of collision. (In other words, the dish does not point straight ahead except in the rare case of a tail-
If that all sounds very simple. . . it is. That is why the Bloodhound will be around for some years to come, for those who sing the praises of everything new and sophisticated tend to forget it is not only the occasional human who can be described as 'too clever for his own good'. Though straightforward -
Little did Paul know how little time the “Old Dog” had left when he wrote this article.
Now at 2015 with defence cuts biting, we have no Aircraft Carrier finished, no Harriers, fewer fighters, seriously depleted manpower, and no “Old Dog” to keep watch for us as the guardian of our east coast.
Thought for the year: In 1939 they could build a Wellington Bomber in a day ! Mike
The article above reads as follows. Comments in Italics are mine.
They served the RAF for 27 years. Now, that service has ended at the breakers yard for Bloodhound Mark 2 missiles. Their last operator, 85 Squadron was disbanded in July (1991).
Since then, more than 300 of the medium range, anti-
Back in 1957 it was the first Bloodhound which ushered in the anti-
Built by British Aerospace, (actually BAC, the British Aircraft Company),with Ferranti “brains”, the Mark 2 first entered service in 1964. With a maximum range of 124 miles at three times the speed of sound, it was designed to destroy attacking Soviet bombers.
When the Mark 2 was first announced, a full firing battery cost around £4million. Today a Patriot battery, Bloodhounds most likely successor, would cost nearer £50million. (Probably nearer £100million in 2011)
Defence Correspondent. Daily Mail -
The daily Mail article about the end of the Bloodhound era. Rust is not really the correct word. That was a Daily Mail headline. The missile main-
Who knows, after 20 years, atoms of Bloodhound metals could very likely be in some of the products in your house today!