Battle Flight: RAF Air Defence Projects and Weapons Since 1945

Battle Flight: RAF Air Defence Projects and Weapons Since 1945

Book rating: 05 Hardback

By (author) Chris Gibson


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  • Publisher: Hikoki Publications
  • Format: Hardback | 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 214mm x 298mm x 22mm | 1,120g
  • Publication date: 15 December 2012
  • Publication City/Country: Ottringham
  • ISBN 10: 1902109260
  • ISBN 13: 9781902109268
  • Illustrations note: Over 200 b&w photos and illustrations
  • Sales rank: 264,212

Product description

From the origins of net centric warfare in the 1940s, the Stage Plans of the 1950s, and the change of threat from aircraft to the ballistic missile, Battle Flight examines the steps taken to protect the British populace from nuclear Armageddon.Following WWII, Britain's air defences comprised a mix of interceptors and anti-aircraft guns that were tailored to counter mass bomber raids by piston-engine aircraft. These defences were rendered obsolete by the jet engine and the atomic bomb and the search for a cost-effective anti-aircraft system began. Interceptors were the obvious first line of defence and would remain so to this day, but unguided rockets and new surface-to-air guided-weapons (SAGW) were also examined. Wartime advances in guided weapons had ended, the teams dispersed, and the work forgotten, but such weapons were soon prioritized.Defensive weapons required control systems and plans were drawn up to integrate radar, command, control, and interception. These plans (Nucleus, Igloo, Rotor, Ahead, and Linesman) changed radically over a 20-year period, reflecting the rapid advance of technology in the post-war period. The 1960s saw stabilization with the interceptors as the main defence and SAMs to protect the V-bomber bases. All thoughts of ABMs were discarded, as the ballistic missile became the primary deterrent on both sides. By the 1980s the advent of long-range interceptors such as Tornado saw a change in the protection of north Atlantic convoys from Soviet attacks. As the 21st century dawned the spectre of terrorism and airborne threat changed to include the possibility of shooting down hijacked airliners, Britain's air defences diminished to 5 squadrons of Typhoons and the Aster SAMs of the Royal Navy, and Russian Air Force's Blackjacks and Bears still make forays into Britain's air defence zone. "Battle Flight" provides an in-depth examination of the history of Britain's air defence offering an insight into evolution up to the present day.

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Customer reviews

By Brian Burnell 06 Nov 2012 5

A fascinating book that answers many questions about why UK air defences developed as they did. Well-written in Chris' usual engaging style with a wealth of drawings and photographs and graphics.

This excellent book by Chris Gibson will doubtless be a prized reference source for years to come and deserves to be widely read.

Brian Burnell.