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Encyclopedia > Blue Steel missile
Blue Steel
Blue Steel missile
Type Nuclear stand-off missile
Nationality UK
Era Cold War
Launch platform Aircraft
Target
History
Builder Avro
Date of design
Production period
Service duration 1963-1970
Operators UK RAF
Variants One/mod for low-level delivery
Number built 53 operational live rounds
Specifications
Type
Diameter 1.22 m (48 in) minimum
Wing span 4 m (13 ft)
Length 10.7 m (35 ft)
Weight 7,270 kg (16,000 lb)
Propulsion Liquid-fuel Armstrong Siddeley Stentor rocket
Steering Movable flight surfaces
Guidance Inertial
Speed Mach 2.3
Range 240 km (150 miles)
Ceiling 21,500 m (70,500 ft)
Payload
Warhead Red Snow (W-28) thermonuclear (1.1 MT)
Trigger {{{fuze}}}

Blue Steel was a British air-launched, rocket-propelled nuclear stand-off missile, built to arm the V bomber force. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... A weapons platform is generally any structure or system on which a weapon can be mounted. ... Avro 504K. Avro was a British aircraft manufacturer, well known for planes such as the Avro Lancaster which served in World War II. One of the worlds first aircraft builders, A.V.Roe and Company was established at Brownsfield Mills, Manchester, England by Alliot Verdon Roe and his brother... “RAF” redirects here. ... Red Snow was a British thermonuclear weapon. ... At the end of the 20th century, Thermonuclear has came to imply anything which has to do with fusion nuclear reactions which are triggered by particles of thermal energy. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the hypocenter A nuclear weapon derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions of fusion or fission. ... For other uses, see Missile (disambiguation). ... The term V bomber was used for the Royal Air Force aircraft during the 1950s and 1960s that comprised the UKs strategic nuclear strike force. ...

Contents

Development

Avro Blue Steel nuclear missile (front) at the Midland Air Museum[1]
Avro Blue Steel missile (side view) at the Midland Air Museum below the wing of an Avro Vulcan
Avro Blue Steel missile (side view) at the Midland Air Museum below the wing of an Avro Vulcan

Blue Steel was the result of a Ministry of Supply memorandum from 5 November 1954 that predicted that by 1960 Soviet air defences would make it prohibitively dangerous for V bombers to attack with nuclear gravity bombs. The answer was for a rocket-powered, supersonic missile capable of carrying a large nuclear (or projected thermonuclear) warhead with a range of at least 50 miles (90 km). This would keep the bombers out of range of Soviet ground-based defences installed around the target area, allowing the warhead to "dash" in at high speed. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2592 × 1944 pixel, file size: 1. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2592 × 1944 pixel, file size: 1. ... The Sir Frank Whittle Jet Heritage Centre at the MAM The Midland Air Museum (MAM) is situated outside Coventry in Warwickshire, England. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2592 × 1944 pixel, file size: 2. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (2592 × 1944 pixel, file size: 2. ... The Ministry of Supply (MoS) was a department of the UK Government formed in 1939 to co-ordinate the supplying of equipment to the British armed forces. ... is the 309th day of the year (310th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1954: Events January January 10 - a BOAC de Havilland Comet crashes into the Mediterranean Sea near Elba with the loss of all 35 people aboard. ... Year 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... “CCCP” redirects here. ... A U.S. developed B-61 gravity bomb. ... A cold (un-ignited) rocket engine test at NASA A rocket engine is a reaction engine that can be used for spacecraft propulsion as well as terrestrial uses, such as missiles. ... A United States Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in transonic flight. ... At the end of the 20th century, Thermonuclear has came to imply anything which has to do with fusion nuclear reactions which are triggered by particles of thermal energy. ... A B61 nuclear bomb in various stages of assembly; the nuclear warhead is the bullet-shaped silver cannister in the middle-left of the photograph. ...


The weapon (officially termed a Stand-off bomb) was developed primarily by Avro, with guidance electronics by Elliots. Its design period was protracted, with various development problems exacerbated by the fact that designers lacked information on the actual size and weight of the proposed boosted-fission warhead Green Bamboo, or its likely thermonuclear successor derived from the Granite series. The large girth of Blue Steel was determined by the 45 inches implosion sphere diameter of Green Bamboo. Avro 504K. Avro was a British aircraft manufacturer, well known for planes such as the Avro Lancaster which served in World War II. One of the worlds first aircraft builders, A.V.Roe and Company was established at Brownsfield Mills, Manchester, England by Alliot Verdon Roe and his brother... Elliott Brothers (London) Ltd was an early computer company of the 1950s–60s in the United Kingdom. ...


As it turned out, neither of these warheads were actually fitted, being superseded by Red Snow, an Anglicised variant of the U.S. W-28 thermonuclear warhead of 1.1 Mt yield. Red Snow was smaller and lighter than the earlier warhead proposals. The missile was fitted with a state-of-the-art inertial navigation unit. This system allowed the missile to strike within 100 metres of its designated target. In addition, the pilots of the Avro Vulcan or Handley Page Victor bombers could tie their systems into those of the missile and make use of the guidance system to help plot their own flight plan, since the unit in the missile was more advanced than that in the aircraft. Red Snow was a British thermonuclear weapon. ... B28RE The B28 (originally Mk 28) was a thermonuclear bomb carried by U.S. tactical fighter bombers and bomber aircraft. ... An inertial navigation system measures the position and altitude of a vehicle by measuring the accelerations and rotations applied to the systems inertial frame. ... The Avro Vulcan was a British delta wing subsonic bomber, operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984. ... The Handley Page Victor was a British jet bomber aircraft, one of the V bombers intended to carry Britains nuclear arsenal. ...


Blue Steel emerged as a pilotless, winged aircraft roughly the size of the experimental Saunders-Roe SR.53 interceptor, with clipped delta wings and small canard foreplanes. It was powered by a two-chamber Armstrong Siddeley Stentor Mark 101 rocket engine, burning a combination of hydrogen peroxide and kerosene. This was a considerable operational problem, because fuelling the missile before launch took nearly half an hour, and was quite hazardous. The Saunders-Roe SR.53 was a prototype interceptor aircraft of mixed jet and rocket propulsion developed for the Royal Air Force in the early 1950s. ... The MiG-25 is a Russian interceptor that was the mainstay of the Soviet air defence. ... The delta-wing is a wing planform in the form of a triangle. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The Armstrong-Siddeley automobiles (and later aircraft engines) were an English marque manufactured from 1919 (after the company was formed in 1917 by a merger between two Coventry_based companies, Armstrong-Whitworth and Siddeley-Deasy) to 1960. ... R-phrases , , , , S-phrases , , , ,, , , , Flash point Non-flammable Related Compounds Related compounds Water Ozone Hydrazine Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 Â°C, 100 kPa) Infobox disclaimer and references Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a very pale blue liquid which appears colourless in... Kerosene or kerosine, also called paraffin oil or paraffin in British usage (not to be confused with the waxy solid also called paraffin wax or just paraffin) is a flammable hydrocarbon liquid. ...


On launch the rocket engine's first chamber would power the missile along a predetermined course to the target at around Mach 1.5. Once close to the target, the second chamber of the engine would accelerate the missile to Mach 3. Over the target the engine would cut out and the missile would free-fall before detonating its warhead as an airburst. An F/A-18 Hornet breaking the sound barrier. ... An Air Burst occurs whenever an explosive device such as an anti-personnel artillery shell or a nuclear weapon is detonated in the air instead of on contact with the ground or target or a delayed armor peircing explosion. ...


Blue Steel finally entered service in February 1963, being carried by Vulcans and Victors, although its limitations were already apparent. The short range of the missile meant that the V bombers were still vulnerable to enemy SAMs. A replacement for Blue Steel, the Mark 2, was planned with increased range and a ramjet engine, but was cancelled in 1960 to minimise delays to the Mk.1. The UK sought to acquire the much longer-ranged United States Air Force AGM-48 Skybolt air-launched ballistic missile, and was greatly frustrated when that weapon was cancelled in late 1962. This is a list of aviation-related events from 1963: Events January January 7 - Aeroflot commences direct services between Moscow and Havana February February 14 - the Indian Air Force receives its first batch of Soviet fighters, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21s March March 18 - the Dassault Balzac makes its first transitions... The Avro Vulcan was a British delta wing subsonic bomber, operated by the Royal Air Force from 1953 until 1984. ... The Handley Page Victor was a British jet bomber aircraft, one of the V bombers intended to carry Britains nuclear arsenal. ... Akash Missile Firing French Air Force Crotale battery Bendix Rim-8 Talos surface to air missile of the US Navy A surface-to-air missile (SAM) is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft. ... A ramjet, sometimes referred to as a stovepipe jet, is a type of jet engine. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1960: Events January January 1 - Fiji Airways is reconstituted, becoming equally owned by BOAC, QANTAS, and Tasman Empire Airways. ... “The U.S. Air Force” redirects here. ... The Douglas GAM-87A Skybolt was an air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) developed during the late 1950s. ... This is a list of aviation-related events from 1962: Events January US Army CH-21 Shawnees are dispatched to Vietnam, the first US military aircraft to be deployed there January 10-11 - a B-52 Stratofortress is flown from Okinawa to Madrid, establishing a new distance record of 12...


With no effective long-range weapon the original Blue Steel served on after a crash programme of minor modifications to permit a low-level launch at 1,000 ft, even though its usefulness in a hot war was likely limited. A stop-gap weapon (WE.177B) was quickly produced to extend the life of the V-bomber force in the strategic role until the Polaris missile was deployed. This WE.177 laydown weapon supplemented the remaining modified Blue Steel missiles using a low-level penetration followed by a pop-up manoeuvre to release the weapon at 1,000 ft. Forty-eight live operational rounds were deployed on 48 Vulcan and Victor bombers plus a further five live rounds as operational spares. An additional four non-nuclear rounds were produced for various RAF requirements, and there were 16 other unspecified training rounds. An inert bomb originally used for training, shown here on its trolley in a museum WE.177 was the last British air-launched nuclear bomb. ...


Blue Steel officially retired on 31 December 1970, with the United Kingdom's strategic nuclear capacity passing to the submarine fleet. For other uses, see Submarine (disambiguation). ...


Specifications

  • Length: 10.7 m (35 ft)
  • Wingspan: 4 m (13 ft)
  • Diameter: 1.22 m (48 in min))
  • Launch Weight: 7,270 kg (16,000 lb)
  • Speed: Mach 2.3
  • Ceiling: 21,500 m (70,500 ft)
  • Maximum Range: 240 km (150 miles)
  • Guidance: inertial
  • CEP: N/A
  • Warhead: Red Snow thermonuclear (1.1 MT)

In the military science of ballistics, Circular Error Probability or circular error probable (CEP) is a simple measure of a weapon systems precision. ... Red Snow was a British thermonuclear weapon. ... At the end of the 20th century, Thermonuclear has came to imply anything which has to do with fusion nuclear reactions which are triggered by particles of thermal energy. ...

Related content

Similar Weapons AGM-28 Hound Dog - Raduga KS-1 Komet The North American AGM-28 Hound Dog was the first air-launched nuclear stand-off missile developed by the United States. ... The Raduga KS-1 Komet (Russian: , NATO reporting name: Kennel), also referred to as AS-1 and KS-1 (крылатый снаряд - winged missile) was a short range air-to-surface missile (primarily used for anti-shipping missions) developed by the Soviet Union, and carried exclusively on the Tupolev Tu-16 Badger. Development...


References

  1. ^ Midland Air Museum. Retrieved on 16 March 2007.

See also

The Rainbow Codes were a series of code names used to disguise the nature of various British military research projects from after the Second World War until 1958 when they were replaced by an alphanumeric code system. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Blue Steel missile - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (568 words)
Blue Steel was a United Kingdom air-launched, rocket-propelled nuclear stand-off missile, built to arm the V bomber force.
Blue Steel was the result of a Ministry of Supply memorandum from 5 November 1954 that predicted that by 1960 Soviet air defenses would make it prohibitively dangerous for V bombers to attack with nuclear gravity bombs.
Blue Steel emerged as a pilotless, winged aircraft roughly the size of the experimental Saunders-Roe SR.53 interceptor, with clipped delta wings and small canard foreplanes.
Blue Steel missile - definition of Blue Steel missile in Encyclopedia (409 words)
Blue Steel was a British air-launched, rocket-propelled nuclear stand-off missile, built to arm the V bomber force.
Blue Steel emerged as a pilotless, winged aircraft roughly the size of the experimental Saunders-Roe SR-53 interceptor, with clipped delta wings and small canard foreplanes.
Blue Steel officially retired 21 December 1969, with Britain's chief nuclear capacity passing to the submarine fleet.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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