Jump to content

BL755 use on GR1 Tornadoes?


Recommended Posts

Contemplating loading my Revell 1/32 GR1 with belly BL755 cluster bombs since I can’t find the old JP233 aftermarket dispensers (and not really interested in the RAF 1000-pounders either). 

 

Did the early versions of the Tornado carry the 755’s?  

 

Cheers

Collin

Link to post
Share on other sites

Generally the BL755 was more of a close support weapon against vehicles, dropped from low level (although a higher altitude version was developed later) whereas the Tornado was used for longer range interdiction.  So the BL755 as much more a suitable weapon for Harriers and Jaguars.  Never say never, perhaps, but the cluster bomb isn't a great weapon against bridges, runways and hangars.

 

There's some excellent background in Chris Gibson' s latest book Typhoon To Typhoon.  A wonderful series of books overall.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks folks. I’ve never seen photos myself of a Tornado/BL755 combo, so what you mention above makes sense. I have the old Sea Eagle resin weapons but don’t want to spend the time putting those together. 

 

Cheers

Collin

Edited by Collin
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jackster said:

How about 8 1000lber's on twin store carriers? 

Yes, there's at least one pic of a pair of 9 Sqdn Tonkas both carrying 8x1000lb practice bombs.

 

David

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is one getting some BL-755s:

 

125.JPG

 

just training weapons but the arming vane and markings on the bottom indicate they are BLs. I do believe Saudi Tornadoes used them and it was the Luftwaffe's anti-landing craft weapon of choice. Also the RAF Tornadoes used the RBL-755 during the Balkans War, just an addition of antennas forward of the fins is required to make them RBLs. I don't know about RAF Tornadoes in Germany during the last part of the Cold War but when i was stationed in Germany on the CF-104 and CF-18 the standard alert load was the BL-755, up to 5 on the CF-104 and 8 on the CF-18.

 

Jari

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

I’m sure I read somewhere that in the early stages of desert shield the tornadoes would have had to be used against any armoured columns entering Saudi, so had appropriate weapons in theatre - presumably BL755

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The US Air Force was cleared to use BL755 only as a wartime emergency expedient. Evidently they didn't meet USAF safety criteria (for whatever reason).

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Slater said:

The US Air Force was cleared to use BL755 only as a wartime emergency expedient. Evidently they didn't meet USAF safety criteria (for whatever reason).

Quite the opposite in fact, the BL755 was a very safe weapon. The problem was that US release equipment wasn't capable of activating all the BL 755 safety devices on release, so one of the safety functions had to be fired off before loading to a US aircraft. 

 

Selwyn

 

US weapons of that era were  actually the least safe weapons used! They still lag behind in some areas.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I will say that, regarding the old FMU-56 radar proximity fuze for CBU's and the FMU-81 and -26 fuzes you would be accurate in that any lanyard-activated fuze was prone to have the lanyard accidently pulled by ground personnel, thereby enabling the arming cycle. EOD would have to respond and safe the weapon. Newer fuzes such as the FMU-139 and -143 have to sense certain conditions upon release (airspeed, separation time, etc) before arming is complete.

 

The Paveway IV seems to have no issues in the safety department. The only concern was a rash of duds in the last few years, which was presumably addressed?

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Tornado was cleared to use US CBU87s in Desert Storm as operations progressed, and BL755 couldn't be used at medium level, but i don't think any were dropped in anger

 

mel_4.jpg

Edited by Dave Fleming
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Dave Fleming said:

Tornado was cleared to use US CBU87s in Desert Storm as operations progressed, and BL755 couldn't be used at medium level, but i don't think any were dropped in anger

 

mel_4.jpg

BL755's were never deployed for use on the Tornados during the fist Gulf war. In addition, towards the end of the conflict our aircraft positioned at Muharraq were loaded with CBU-87's but were never used in anger.

 

CBU-87 on Tornado

 

XVTonker :pilot:

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, the aircraft was cleared with BL755; Air Cdre Al Byford, who was a Tornado GR mate from about 1989/90 wrote something a while ago in which he noted that the BL755 was part of the weapons available for use when he joined the Tornado force. I appreciate that this sentence doesn't answer the question, but also remember that TGR4 delivered a number of RBL755 during op TELIC, a continuation of the TGR force being cleared to deliver them - as suggested earlier, the way in which we planned to use Tornados precluded the regular carriage of the weapon. I have a feeling that, in 2003, some of the GR4s on 'SCUD-hunting' sorties (actually looking for any of the Iraqi surface-surface missiles) carried RBL755 as part of their weapons fit.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Pretty sure that the Tornado GR 1 where cleared to carry BL 755, but was perhaps not the weapon of choice, since the Tornado's main mission where air base attack with JP 223 and 8 X 1000 lbs in toss bombing mode.

There are several way to attack air bases, the Israeli did it alot, but also paid a heavy price, they used a combination of SUU-30 CBU to get the AAA supressed and M-117 to make holes in the runway., the RAF version where more to do stand off toss bombing with 1000 lbs and cutting the runways with JP 223, so in that mission profile the BL 755 makes little sence, as a pre JP 223 run with BL 755 would surely alert the AAA gunners.

BL 755 where made for low level anti armor/vehicle missions, those missions where more the trademark for Harriers and Jaguars,

If you find JP 223 and 1000 lbs bombs boring, how about doing an ALARM GR 1 or en Payway II/Tiald version ?

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/29/2019 at 3:51 AM, Finn said:

Here is one getting some BL-755s:

 

ust training weapons but the arming vane and markings on the bottom indicate they are BLs. I do believe Saudi Tornadoes used them and it was the Luftwaffe's anti-landing craft weapon of choice. Also the RAF Tornadoes used the RBL-755 during the Balkans War, just an addition of antennas forward of the fins is required to make them RBLs. I don't know about RAF Tornadoes in Germany during the last part of the Cold War but when i was stationed in Germany on the CF-104 and CF-18 the standard alert load was the BL-755, up to 5 on the CF-104 and 8 on the CF-18.

 

Jari

Very interresting, how where the F-104 loaded up with BL 755?, Twin caarier on each wing, 4 BL 755 all in all ?

 

Bo

Link to post
Share on other sites

During the Cold War, one of the primary loads for RAF Upper Heyford's F-111E's was the SUU-30 series CBU (CBU-52, -58, -71). The Mk 20 Rockeye antitank CBU was also stocked in large numbers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Bo hermansen said:

Very interresting, how where the F-104 loaded up with BL 755?, Twin caarier on each wing, 4 BL 755 all in all ?

 

Bo

1 on the centreline pylon and two on each TSCs on the wing pylons for a total of 5. For Day Ones - the no notice alerts, the standard load was 3 BL755s, one on each pylon and 1 on the c/l. When loaded on the c/l pylon the tail of of the BL, and Mk-82, was rotated 15 degree from vertical + counter clockwise (looking forward) to clear the main gear doors.

 

01.jpg

 

Jari

Edited by Finn
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/2/2020 at 7:30 PM, Bo hermansen said:

Pretty sure that the Tornado GR 1 where cleared to carry BL 755, but was perhaps not the weapon of choice, since the Tornado's main mission where air base attack with JP 223 and 8 X 1000 lbs in toss bombing mode.

There are several way to attack air bases, the Israeli did it alot, but also paid a heavy price, they used a combination of SUU-30 CBU to get the AAA supressed and M-117 to make holes in the runway., the RAF version where more to do stand off toss bombing with 1000 lbs and cutting the runways with JP 223, so in that mission profile the BL 755 makes little sence, as a pre JP 223 run with BL 755 would surely alert the AAA gunners.

BL 755 where made for low level anti armor/vehicle missions, those missions where more the trademark for Harriers and Jaguars,

If you find JP 223 and 1000 lbs bombs boring, how about doing an ALARM GR 1 or en Payway II/Tiald version ?

 

 

With regards to your description of the airfield attacks, four aircraft with 8x1000lb bombs each suppressed the AAA batteries located either side of the main runway followed by four JP233 Tornado's taking out the hardstandings as the runways were deemed as being too easy to repair.

 

XVTonker

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...