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Bristol Bloodhound missile and launcher

Initially code-named Red Duster, development of the Bloodhound surface-to-air missile began in 1949 as a joint project between Bristol Aircraft and Ferranti Electronics. In 1952, the design was accepted by the Combined United Kingdom/Australia Committee for trials. After initial firings in Wales in the United Kingdom, the first launches at the Woomera range in South Australia began in mid-1953, with firings against Jindivik target aircraft from 1956. The Mk 1 entered British service in 1958, and was selected for the RAAF in November of that year.

The Bloodhound was intended to form a defensive shield around the United Kingdom to protect against strategic bombers, and as such was a long-range high-speed weapon capable of intercepting enemy aircraft at high altitude. The missile fuselage was constructed with magnesium frames and aluminium alloy skin, and the wings are wooden with a light alloy skin. The forward wings could pivot either in unison or independently, to provide both pitch and roll control. The rear surfaces acted as stabilisers. Guidance was provided by ground-based radar situated with the missile launchers.

No 30 Squadron was equipped with the Bloodhound in January 1961, and was stationed at RAAF Base Williamtown, with a detachment forming in Darwin in 1965. By 1968, the Bloodhound Mk 1 missiles were obsolete, and both elements of the squadron had been disbanded by the end of November that year.

The Bloodhound missile and launcher displayed outside at the RAAF Museum illustrates the launch arrangement of this weapon system, and the missile is fitted with its solid fuel booster rockets alongside the main section of the missile body. After completion of restoration of the Bloodhound reload trolley by our Volunteers, it is intended that this missile and its launcher will be restored and eventually placed on display indoors.

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Restoration of Bloodhound missile