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Rebel21

E.E Lightning F2.a Wpns loadout

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I do recall hearing that Red Top early on had structural problems and was prone to break up shortly after launch, especially if attempting to manoeuvre.  Supposedly it worked better on pursuit course launches, but that wasn't the point! 

 

John B

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There was a photo doing the rounds at Binbrook taken from the G90 (located under the Radar Bullet) of a Redtop in pieces about 15-20 feet in front of the jet, so they did breakup. the Redtop had a limited head on capability over the "Firestick" as it was know. 

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On 5/23/2020 at 7:45 PM, Scimitar F1 said:

Not so sure about that. The all aspect element of the AIM-9L was broadly similar. Very different to the scanned arrays of later models.

The MoD's opinion on the matter seem to differ...

In 1965 the Red Top was considered for adoption on the FAA Phantom and a document on this evaluation stated how without a complete integration of the missile within the weapon control system of the aircraft the Red Top did not offer any advantage from this point of view over the Sidewinder. And we're talking Sidewinders of 1965...

Where the Red Top had a clear advantage was in range and most importantly warhead lethality. Of course this came with a massive increment in weight over the Sidewinder. The fact that cost of the Red Top was much higher was the final nail in the coffin for the idea.

The same document included diagrams for the Red Top all aspect capability against several types of targets. At low level it could track frontally a Buccaneer at M 1 at very short distance and in certain conditions.

The AIM-9L on the other hand has proven to be able to destroy targets of different kind in different situations, from the South Atlantic to the Middle East.

 

This does not mean that the Red Top was a bad missile, simply was a "son" of its age and its technology. From what I heard suffered several reliability problems in its early days and the info here about structural problems seem to confirm this.

 

On 5/24/2020 at 9:59 PM, 71chally said:

 

Noting the missile info earlier, and knowing little about them, I always thought that FIrestreak/Red Top was a different sort of weapon to Sidewinder, it being more of a large bomber attack missile more akin to Sparrow?

 

 

Yes, they were missiles designed as main armament for an interceptor so they had to be able to shoot down strategic bombers, hence the relatively large size of missile and warhead and also the complete integration of the missile in the aircraft fire control system.

From this point of view they are closer in concept to the Soviet missiles of the same era than to something like the Sidewinder. Or to the Sparrow, even with the different choice of guidance system.

 

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15 minutes ago, Giorgio N said:

The MoD's opinion on the matter seem to differ...

In 1965 the Red Top was considered for adoption on the FAA Phantom and a document on this evaluation stated how without a complete integration of the missile within the weapon control system of the aircraft the Red Top did not offer any advantage from this point of view over the Sidewinder. And we're talking Sidewinders of 1965...

Where the Red Top had a clear advantage was in range and most importantly warhead lethality. Of course this came with a massive increment in weight over the Sidewinder. The fact that cost of the Red Top was much higher was the final nail in the coffin for the idea.

The same document included diagrams for the Red Top all aspect capability against several types of targets. At low level it could track frontally a Buccaneer at M 1 at very short distance and in certain conditions.

The AIM-9L on the other hand has proven to be able to destroy targets of different kind in different situations, from the South Atlantic to the Middle East.

If you're talking about the report that's usually pulled up when Red Top comes up, we have slightly different interpretations of the information in there! (The report contains a number of sections by different departments, who generally seem to be working at cross purposes to one another, which admittedly does make it quite confusing, but carefully going through it can pull out the truth.)

 

The one I've seen did contain an observation that the Red Top when unslaved to radar was roughly comparable in perfomance to AIM-9D - but Red Top was, as far as I know, always slaved to the radar of the launch aircraft, so it's somewhat besides the point! A later section notes that when slaved to radar, as was the intention, Red Top was slightly superior to Sparrow III - not bad for an IR missile!

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2 hours ago, tweeky said:

There was a photo doing the rounds at Binbrook taken from the G90 (located under the Radar Bullet) of a Redtop in pieces about 15-20 feet in front of the jet, so they did breakup.

This pic, or one very similar, is on p. 145 of the Osprey Lightning book. 

 

It looks quite scary indeed, due to the ingested debris both engines had to be changed.

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

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2 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

The MoD's opinion on the matter seem to differ...

In 1965 the Red Top was considered for adoption on the FAA Phantom and a document on this evaluation stated how without a complete integration of the missile within the weapon control system of the aircraft the Red Top did not offer any advantage from this point of view over the Sidewinder. And we're talking Sidewinders of 1965...

Where the Red Top had a clear advantage was in range and most importantly warhead lethality. Of course this came with a massive increment in weight over the Sidewinder. The fact that cost of the Red Top was much higher was the final nail in the coffin for the idea.

The same document included diagrams for the Red Top all aspect capability against several types of targets. At low level it could track frontally a Buccaneer at M 1 at very short distance and in certain conditions.

The AIM-9L on the other hand has proven to be able to destroy targets of different kind in different situations, from the South Atlantic to the Middle East.

 

This does not mean that the Red Top was a bad missile, simply was a "son" of its age and its technology. From what I heard suffered several reliability problems in its early days and the info here about structural problems seem to confirm this.

 

 

Yes, they were missiles designed as main armament for an interceptor so they had to be able to shoot down strategic bombers, hence the relatively large size of missile and warhead and also the complete integration of the missile in the aircraft fire control system.

From this point of view they are closer in concept to the Soviet missiles of the same era than to something like the Sidewinder. Or to the Sparrow, even with the different choice of guidance system.

This has a Civil Service ring to it after committing the UK to re-engine the J I cannot imaging they would have been very happy with the additional integration costs!

2 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

 

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5 hours ago, Hook said:

This pic, or one very similar, is on p. 145 of the Osprey Lightning book. 

 

It looks quite scary indeed, due to the ingested debris both engines had to be changed.

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

All away from base too reheat run without the fixed chocks or tether.  Double Eng change your looking at a weeks work.... that was the case with the Lightning once the engines. before the engines sent back in the relevant trades had to do bay inspections due to the fires the plagued the jet, fix what was found then put the Donks in quickly.

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Regarding Firestreak, these seem to have transitioned from a white painted missile in the 50's/60's etc to a dull green/grey paint scheme in the mid 70's.

Is this simply because the Lightning fleet was being camouflaged at the same time?

I ask because, IIRC, the original white scheme was at least partly to help with temperature control of the missile airframe. Was this found to be unnecessary?

Also, were the missiles ever rebuilt, upgraded or modernised in their, what, 30 years of service? Replacing valve era components with more reliable transistor or later even solid state ones for example?

Finally I recall seeing a data board at the RAF Museum, Hendon back in 1990 that claimed the seeker coolant for the (green painted) Firestreak on display was liquid nitrogen. Did this at some point replace the anhydrous ammonia originally used as coolant or was the display board wrong?

I guess I'm wondering if there was any other significance (new electronics, new coolant) to these green 1970s Firestreaks other than for camouflage purposes.

 

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Firestreak did have an ammonia bottle in the rear of the Launcher. Bur also there was a "Stanag" air bottle that was charged up prior to flight.

Not to be confused with the "Pure Air"  bottle that was in the Redtop weapons pack.

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