The Bristol Bloodhound SAM system
Bristol Bloodhound origins
The Bristol Bloodhound was a long range SAM (Surface to Air) missile developed during the 1950’s by the Bristol Aircraft Company, with a Ferranti guidance system. It was the RAF’s only long range SAM system, and served from 1958 to 1991
The development of the Bloodhound started with Project 1220 in 1949. Project 1220 was a Bristol project to develop a Surface to Air Guided Weapon (SAGW) intended to protect the "V" bomber fleet ( Vickers Valiant , Avro Vulcan , and Handley Page Victor ) from Soviet attack. Project 1220 was assigned the codename "Red Duster" by the British Ministry of supply.
In order to acheive a good range for the missile, Bristol decided to employ a ramjet engine design, rather then the rocket power commonly used at the time. Development of the ramjet progressed, with Bristol working with both Boeing Aircraft and the RAE (Royal Aircraft Establishment).
Inital Service trials of the new missile did not go well, as the range was restricted by the ramjet combustor design. This used a flare to maintain combustion, which meant that the ramjet could only operate for the length of the flare burning time. As a result, the RAF cancelled it’s order for the "Red Duster" and opted for the English Electric "Red Shoes" project (later called Thunderbird 1) instead.
The ramjet problem was fixed by changing the combustor design to one used by the National Gas Turbine Establishment (NGTE). This design used a seperate pilot combustor to keep the main combustor lit. With this design it entered RAF service as the "Bloodhound 1" in 1958
The Bloodhound Mk 1
The Bloodhound Mk 1 entered RAF service in 1958, being deployed with units of fifteen Air Defence Missile Squadrons of RAF Fighter Command to protect the "V" bomber and Thor bases. However, the Ferranti designed Type 83 pulsed radar was susceptable to jamming, and could be confused by ground clutter limiting it’s low-level capability.
The BAC Bloodhound Mk 2
In 1960, the Bristol Aeroplane Company under Government pressure, had merged with English Electric and Vickers-Armstrong to form BAC, the British Aircraft Corporation. Work continued on a revised Bloodhound, the Bloodhound Mk 2 to tackle some of the deficiences of the original design.
The Mk 1's pulsed Ferranti Type 83 radar was replaced with a continuous wave Type 86 or Type 87 radar, which were less vulnerable to jamming, and improved operation at low level. The Thor engine was made more powerful through ramjet design improvements and the result was a missile which had improved performance both at high and low altitudes.
The Bloodhound Mk 2 replaced the Mk 1 in RAF service, and was deployed both at home and to Malaysia in 1964. The Bloodhound went onto serve the RAF in various locations until it finally left RAF service in 1991.
Bristol Bloodhound Mk2 specifications
|Bristol Bloodhound Mk2|
|Numbers Built||(Incl. Mark one) 783|
|Type||Surface to Air Missile|
|Wing Span||2.83 meters||9.28 feet|
|Length||8.46 meters||27.76 feet|
|Diameter||54.60 cm||21.50 inches|
|Weight||2,270 kilograms||5,000 pounds|
|Range||185 kilometers||114.95 miles|
|Propulsion||Two Thor ramjet engines & 4 booster rockets|