This is a discussion on Bloodhound: Cold war walks within the World Military Pictures forums, part of the World Strategic Defence Area category; -Corrections and constructive feedback welcomed- Some web research and Google Earth loitering…. The Bloodhound was a surface to air missile ...
-Corrections and constructive feedback welcomed-
Some web research and Google Earth loitering….
The Bloodhound was a surface to air missile deployed by the British and several other countries from the 1958 through to the 1999. It was, at face value, similar to the more conventional Thunderbird SAM used by the British Army, but mounted two Thor ramjet engines above and below a fuselage. It was unusual for a SAM in having a monoplane configuration (see CIM-10 Bomarc for a similar layout) .
The Bloodhound SAM was loosely equivalent to the Soviet SA-2 and American Nike Hercules, deployed from fixed sites to defend against medium and high altitude targets at medium/long range. In terms of performance it was shorter ranged than its American equivalent, but still almost twice the range of the Soviet counterpart. A basic stats comparison is a good place to start:
1st. Nike Hercules: 140km
2nd. Bloodhound: 80km
3rd. SA-2D Guideline: 50km
1st. Nike Hercules: Mach 3.65
2nd. SA-2D Guideline: Mach 3.5
3rd. Bloodhound: Mach 2.7
Overall length (at launch):
1st. Bloodhound: 8.5m
2nd. SA-2D Guideline: 10.6m
3rd. Nike Hercules: 12.5m
But, behind the stats there are some interesting similarities and differences. At first sight the Bloodhound appears the smallest of the three missiles, but the length is misleading, because unlike the others its launch boosters are mounted beside the fuselage not behind it. In the final ntercept stage all missiles are about the same overall dimensions, although the Nike Hercules is noticeably fatter than the other two:
(top: Bloodhound, middle: Nike Hercules, bottom: SA-2)
And again, in launch configuration:
Of the three systems the SA-2 was most mobile although all three were regarded as static systems throughout the cold war. Whilst the’ rose’ of SA-2 positions is regarded as the classic SAM site, the Bloodhound and Nike Hercules also had distinctive site layouts. The Bloodhound, being an RAF missile, was deployed at air fields, but rather than simply parking the launch turntables on taxiways and aircraft dispersals, the RAF built special purpose circular pans, connected to access roads, in groups of four. Two grounds of four (rarely, six) dispersals would be connected to a single fire control radar which was often mounted on a mast. Missiles at one quad could be rearmed whilst firing was commencing from the other. Each launch position would have a single missile on a turntable.:
There were no blast embankments as per the SA-2, and the system could be deployed on any flat concreted surface. But whilst the trim airfield grass and neat concrete pans might seem luxurious compared to the dirt of many SA-2 sites, it was nothing compared to the incredible complexity of the Nike Hercules which actually required underground bunkers underneath the launching positions:
Consequently, even when redeployed into a warzone, Nike Hercules sites would still take days to become operational, and were particularly vulnerable to low-level attack. The RAF countered this problem by having two radar choices; a large search radar for fixed positions, and a smaller one for mobile positions. When the radar was mounted on a skeleton tower the system was relatively capable even at lower altitudes. And towers became the norm.
Random fact: In RAF service each missile was regarded as an aircraft of a squadron.
Contrary to popular imagination, where the SAM flies directly upwards at the target, systems such as the Bloodhound and Nike Hercules were launched high up above their targets and dived down – this is in part how such long ranges were achieved, but it made the missiles unsuitable for the evolving battlefield where threats were increasingly low altitude high speed maneuvering targets.
Whilst the Nike Hercules was replaced by the Patriot, and the SA-2 superseded by the SA-5 and then the infamously potent SA-10, the Bloodhound was destined to be retired without meaningful replacement. Sob.
Like the SA-2 and Nike Hercules, some Bloodhound sites are still visible from Google Earth.
Other British Bloodhound bases, mostly where launch positions are no longer visible:
RAF North Luffenham: 52°37'50.26"N, 0°35'48.85"W
RAF Newton (training unit): 52°57'33.92"N, 0°59'25.93"W
RAF Woodhall Spa: 53° 8'3.49"N, 0°11'47.24"W
RAF Dunholme Lodge: 53°17'39.99"N, 0°29'37.25"W
RAF Lindholme: 53°32'51.57"N, 0°58'9.87"W
RAF Donna Nook (secondary): 53°27'37.40"N, 0° 8'58.55"E
RAF Carnaby: 54° 3'38.67"N, 0°15'17.91"W
RAF Watton: 52°34'2.14"N, 0°52'20.08"E
RAF Kuching, Malaysia: 1°29'9.19"N, 110°20'49.10"E
RAF Seletar, Singapore: 1°25'5.15"N, 103°52'2.47"E (also location of Singaporean battery?)
RAF Episkopi, Cyprus: 34°41'0.78"N, 32°50'54.06"E
RAF Bruggen, Germany: 51°11'51.04"N, 6° 8'0.78"E
RAF Wildenarth, Germany: 51° 6'58.94"N, 6°13'8.41"E
Bloodhound in other countries (example sites)
Switzerland (note the missiles):
Last edited by planeman; 12-17-2007 at 10:44 PM.