What is (or was) Blue Steel? O.K. I know there is/was a rock band with the same name.......
Blue Steel was a major part of Britain's nuclear deterrent from Dec 1962 until the late 1960s. It was an Air to surface missile designed to enable V-Bombers (Avro Vulcan's and Handley Page Victor's) to operate without going into areas where they would be exposed to concentrated guided weapon attack. It was quite large at 35ft long, a wing span of 13ft, and weighed about 7 tons. Here is one which has been preserved at Woomera in Australia where the full scale flight trials took place.
These pages are dedicated to the people who worked on Blue Steel development and deployment, and particularly to those who took part in the full scale flight trials in U.K. and Australia in the early 1960s
Back in the late 1950's & early 60's a group of
about 35 youngish Englishmen travelled to Australia to conduct flight trials (at
Woomera) of the Blue Steel stand-off bomb which was later deployed by the
RAF. Most of us worked for a while at Avro's Woodford plant before travelling
That Vulcan production line was quite a sight. Pity it was so secret at the time - no photos allowed of course. Our group mostly worked for Elliott Brothers (London) Ltd and we were concerned with the development and testing of the missile's Inertial navigation system (One of the first IN systems in the world). Actually - prior to launch it was a mixed inertial and Doppler system that gradually corrected the gyro drifts as we approached the launch point. A bit like launching an ICBM from a moving launch pad!
We spent an average of 2-3 years in Australia on that project and although many stayed in here, at least half of us returned to U.K. and then (in my case - after working on the ill fated TSR-2 project), many of those eventually returned to Australia to settle permanently.
I was lucky enough to be part of the aircrew on many of the trials and flew several hundred hours on all 3 V-Bomber types, I launched 8-10 Blue Steels and managed to "fall out of the sky (40,000 ft inverted supersonic spin)" in a Victor - that's story can be found by clicking link above. So that's a little background info - there is some more on the personal area of my home page if you happen to be interested.
The priority is to establish contact and to let people know what we are up to. So please take a look at the Contact list and see if you can add to it (or correct it).
In the meantime we keep in contact by various means including a mailing list. If you would like to join the list, please visit https://lists.tip.net.au/mailman/listinfo/bluesteel it's generally not at all busy. Please ignore any complaints about our perfectly valid security certificate.
A lot more information on the Australian trials (particularly from an RAF perspective) can be found Bryan Wetton's web site at http://beesoft.soho.on.net/4JSTU/bluesteel.htm These pages are written and maintained in Adelaide and contain a lot more information, including the 2001 reunion and some great photos.
Updated 21 Jul 2011