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Guided Weapons

Having been the hub of Barnes Wallis’ secret weapons production during World War 2, weapons development continued at Brooklands during the Cold War era. Engineers at Brooklands developed a range of guided weapons for a variety of purposes during the 1950s and 60s. These included cruise missiles, TV-guided bombs and anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. Vickers also had a team in Australia and conducted trials at Woomera using Canberra and B-29 Washington bomber aircraft. Our Guided Weapons exhibition is housed in the Wellington Hangar (where many of them were designed) with interactive displays normally manned by volunteers of the Guided Weapons Team on Tuesdays and Fridays. The following missiles are on display:

Canberra with two Red Dean Missiles over Wisley Runway (Copyright BAE Systems)

Red Dean
This air-to-air missile was designed at Brooklands and tested with Canberra aircraft from nearby Wisley in the mid 1950s (see picture © BAE Systems) but was cancelled in 1956. Our displays include two full-size test versions of the missile. 

B-29_Washington_WW349_carrying_5000_lb_Blue_Boar_test_vehicle_over_Wisley_airfield

 


Blue Boar
This 5,000lb air to ground TV-guided gliding bomb was designed at Brooklands in the early 1950s with the intention of delivering warheads onto Russian targets.  A full-size mock-up is currently undergoing restoration. The image shows a B-29 Washington WW349 carrying a 5000lb Blue Boar test vehicle over Wisley Airfield.

Red Rapier third scale model carried by B-29 over Woomera

 


Red Rapier
This surface to surface radar-guided missile was designed to be launched from a catapult similar
to the WW2 German V1 flying bomb, although it flew at 50,000ft and Mach 0.83 compared to the V1,
which flew very low and around 400mph.  The project was cancelled in 1954. A one third scale test
model is on display. The image shows a third scale model carried by a B-29 Washington over Woomera.

Vigilant_firing_from_its_Carry_Box_Launcher_as_used_by_the_Infantry


Vigilant
An anti-tank weapon that could be carried by a person, Vigilant missiles were also mounted on Ferret scout cars and Land Rovers.  Designed at Brooklands, over 17,000 of these anti-tank missiles were built at BAC Stevenage and supplied to the British army and also exported until the late 1970s. Several examples are displayed at the Museum including a sectioned missile and the image shows Vigilant being fired from its Carry Box Launcher.

Rapier fired from tracked M548

 


Rapier
This low-level anti-aircraft missile was designed at Brooklands as the Light AA Missile, before being developed further at BAC Stevenage.  A mainstay of the British Army, and successful export product, Rapier was used in the Falklands War.  An example of a Drill Round is on display. 

 

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