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  The Bloodhound Surface-to-air Missile System in the RAF

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Updated: 9 Dec 12

What it was

Bloodhound Mk1 was a point-defence surface-to-air missile system used to protect the V-bomber bases at home and overseas and was usually installed nearby. It had a range of 40 miles (64km), but its pulsed radar could be jammed and was vulnerable to ground 'clutter', thus degrading low-level capability.

Deployment of the Bloodhound Mkl began in 1958 following a ten-year fielding process begun by the Bristol Aeroplane Co and Ferranti Ltd. The short-comings of the Mk1 were quickly tackled, resulting in Bloodhound 2 joining the RAF in 1964.

Why we needed it

During the 1950's the threat to the UK was no longer from low flying aircraft but high flying jet bombers armed with nuclear bombs. In order to counter this threat a new system of defence was developed. Initially the proposal was for a new weapon designed to fit the mountings at the old anti aircraft gun sites but with the need to destroy incoming missiles before they crossed the coast and provide a constant deterrent against surprise attack these plans were quickly changed with a proposal to build a number of large missile sites along the east coast organised in 'fire units', each consisting of sixteen missiles further divided into two flights of eight missiles. This fielding plan was modified to a larger number of sites spread over a wider geographic area with two units at each site. RAF Dunholme Lodge was one of the ten operational sites selected, with an additional trial site at RAF North Coates. Each of these sites was equipped with the Bloodhound Mk 1 missile.

How and when it was fielded

The Bloodhound MkI entered service in December 1958 and the last MkII missile squadron stood down in July 1991.

After the Royal Navy assumed the strategic nuclear deterrent role in 1970 all Bloodhound within the UK were withdrawn and either stored or transferred to RAF Germany, where 25 Sqn had been moved for airfield defence. However, the growing low-level air threat led to a screen rather than point defence being required. 85 Sqn reformed at West Raynham in 1975, followed by a B Flt detachment at North Coates in Mar 1976. 25 Sqn moved from Germany to the UK from 1981 to 1983 to thicken the line following the deployment in Germany of Rapier, with its A Flight deployed to RAF Barkston Heath. When the 25 Sqn numberplate passed to the new F3 air defence squadron on 1 Oct 89 its bases chopped to an enlarged 85 Sqn - Barkston became D Flt of 85 Sqn.

How command and control worked

Bloodhound was part of an overall air defence system. Warning of an incoming raid would be relayed from one of the early warning radars to a tactical control centre. Four TCC's were built at RAF Lindholme, RAF North Coates, RAF North Luffenham and RAF Watton in Norfolk.

Bloodhound Mark One

Lincolnshire was home to the RAF's Bloodhound MkI SAM 'centre of excellence', at RAF North Coates.

148 Wing, North Coates -

112 Sqn, RAF Woodhall Spa :: 1965 - 1967.

141 Squadron, RAF Dunholme Lodge

222 Sqn, RAF Woodhall Spa :: May 1960 – Jul 1964

264 Sqn North Coates :: Jul 1958- ? (site of first BH deployment with 24 launcher pads)

RAF Donna Nook served as a secondary launch location.

Bloodhound Mark Two

The Mk II was operated with two different radar: Type 87 AEI Blue Anchor radar and the Type 86 Ferranti Indigo Corkscrew radar

25 Sqn (see Sqn page for deployments)


Deployments in Lincolnshire

25 Sqn :: RAF North Coates :: Oct 1963 -

25 Sqn (A Flt) :: RAF Barkston Heath :: 1984 - 1989

112 Sqn :: RAF Woodhall Spa :: 1965 - 1967

141 Sqn :: RAF Dunholme Lodge :: 1959 - 1964

222 Sqn ::

264 Sqn ::

85 Sqn :: 25 Sqn A Flt became 85 Sqn D Flt on 1 Oct 89.

 

 

why we got rid of it

where you can find out more

RAF Lincolnshire's Missiles

Lincolnshire Thor Stations:

Lincolnshire Thor Sqns:

Thor IRBM research site

All UK Thor sites co-ordinates

Lincolnshire Bloodhound Stations:

Lincolnshire Bloodhound Squadrons:

About the Bloodhound system

Bloodhound MK2 site

Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire
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