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Thor missile photos 1963.

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Thor missile photos 1963.

Old 18th Jun 2010, 22:24
  #21 (permalink)  
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The nearest I can get to that part number is AF/M42A-1A which was a Hydraulic Pumping Unit for the Thor Launcher/Erector.Douglas Aircraft Santa Monica CA were the main contractor for the Thor missile.
I got this info out of John Boyes excellent book "Project Emily,Thor IRBM and the RAF".
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Old 18th Jun 2010, 23:24
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Thanks Manxterberg,
At least that points towards it being a part of the Thor Launch group unit. It's more than I've previously managed to find either by searching for the part numbers or a response from the Boeing archive who didn't even respond to my e-mail, not even an automated reply to say they were too busy to reply!
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 11:49
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Thor missiles

The pictures are very relevant to the thread and is extremely interesting. This is a Thor Trailer-Mounted Launching Coutdown Group, part of the control system on the launch pad, serial etc. is entirely correct. Is it still there? if so please do not destroy it!

I have the complete Thor manual and will post a diagram from it showing the trailer. The part number is a revised 1962 code. My book lists the earlier version, AN/MSA-21.
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 12:25
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Hello John,
The Photo's were taken on my phone yesterday and it's as you see it there, and just a bit sorry for it self. We have no plans to get rid of it as there'd be nowhere for us to keep our bob's n bits.
It would be nice to know it's history before it arrived at the Lab IIRC it was used on the Nimrod accelerator before it ended up with us.

Last edited by Windy Militant; 20th Jun 2010 at 00:08.
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 14:08
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Not particularly relevant but I remember always looking forward to looking out of the bus windows at the Thor outside RAF Driffield as we went on our annual day trip to Bridlington.
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Old 19th Jun 2010, 19:30
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Thor Trailer

Here are two pages from the Douglas Technical Manual showing a cutaway of the trailer and also where it was situated on the launch pad.

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[/IMG]

Last edited by Johnboyes; 20th Jun 2010 at 16:30.
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 21:26
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That's the bunny, but unfortunately the only things left inside are the light fittings, and they no longer work so we've had to fit a strip light of our own.
I seem to recall there was another trailer which was scrapped around the time we acquired this one. I'll have to check on that though as the memory isn't what it used to be.
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 22:14
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I left RAF Feltwell in Jan 1964 and years later,in the late 60s onwards when in civvie street as an HGV driver I saw ex Thor site trailers in a yard belonging to Leavesleys at the side of the A38 between Burton and Lichfield.They were there for donkey's years.
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Old 21st Jun 2010, 11:45
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John

This thread made me get your book. My! You did some historical research for that - well done you. Fascinating.

JF
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Old 21st Jun 2010, 15:50
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Thor

John

Many thanks for your kind comments. As I result of writing the book I was invited to the 50th Project Emily Reunion of Douglas employees involved with the project. As a result of this I got a large amount of new data for my follow-up book on Thor - and of course there is also the unexpected items such as the Countdown Trailer. So, still more to come I am sure!

John
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Old 23rd Jun 2010, 00:37
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Thor at 150 Sqn, RAF Carnaby

My father was stationed at RAF Carnaby, and was a launcher/navigator on Thor. He and his crew went to USAF vandenberg (on a luxury liner, SS Sylvania - those were the days!) for a test firing, and I remember that quite well - or at least I remember some of the goodies he returned with.
He was also on duty during the Cuban missile crisis, with his finger on the button. I also remember an open day (possibly at Driffield) where I was able to talk to Dad from a phone on one side of the launch cradle (were they bright red, I seem to remember?), while he was round the other side. He said the phones were there so that he could hear the countdown and knew when to push the button, although I suspect that may not be entirely true!

Dad passed away last week, and as part of a tribute to be shown at his funeral, I would like to show footage of a Thor (preferably in RAF livery) lifting off and into the sky - perhaps about 60 seconds-worth.

I have found some British Pathe footage, but this is rather short and disjointed, but I wondered if there is anybody who might be able to supply something suitabe for this one-off use?

Kind regards, Martyn, son of Leon de Young, RAF D4128566
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Old 29th Oct 2010, 21:30
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UK Thor Missile - What Happened to Them?

Just found this Forum and really appreciate the Thor History. Also have an up date on what happened to two of the "war" Thors.

They were both launched (Sep and Nov 1975) from Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean to the Island of Kwajlein in the Marshall Islands - approx 1400 NM. When launched they were in their orginal war time configuration with their warheads (without the nuclear weapon) and performed all functions well within their mission specifications. Hope this answers the question "Would they have hit their target?" that I suspect many launch crews wondered on their long hours of operational alert.

These flights were part of the Ballistic Missile Defense Test Target Program (BMDTTP) that gathered early data for the US Missile Defense Program. They were launched by the 10th Aerospace Defense Group stationed at Vandenberg AFB in California.

These missiles had previously been part of the now declassified "Program 437" ground launched Anti-Satellite system operational on Johnston from 1964 to 1972.

I would love to make contact with some of the orginal RAF crews and possibly track down just where these two missiles were stationed.

Thanks again for the photos and the history.

Arnold "John" West
Lt Col, USAF (Ret)
BMDTTP Test Director
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Old 2nd Nov 2010, 14:17
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Thor Launch Pad

Heard a similar story when the were demolishing the pads at Mepal a few years ago for new straw burning power station. Contractor did some serious and permanent damage to his JCB thingy with the pneumatic chisel on the end trying to break up said concrete. He won in the end and all that remains of the pads today is a section of concrete with the rails in them for the missile canopys.
However the Missile Control Cuilding still stands in an adjacent field as does some of the wartime WAAF blocks and the post war ROC bunker still exists on the other side of the airfield, now bisected by the A142.
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Old 4th Nov 2010, 19:22
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Thor Gas Trailers

Does the Douglas Technical Manual show any details for the gas cylinder trailers?

Were there any changes to these trailers when used by the Royal Air Force?

thanks

David Molyneux
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Old 6th Nov 2010, 14:06
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Mig15

Ref your comment about the problem missile at Mildenhall. All Thors were taken back to the US by the autumn of 1963 so could not have been a Thor.
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Old 6th Nov 2010, 14:20
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To WELLINGTON115

There is a fairly detailed diagram of the Gaseous Nitrogen Storage Trailer (Compressed Gas Cylinder Semitrailer AF/M32A-17) in the Douglas Manual. If I can remember how to, I shall add this diagram! I do not know if it was altered for RAF use, but I would imagine not as the whole emplacement was essentially the Douglas design. JB
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Old 6th Nov 2010, 15:02
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In the late 1960s I was an Air Cadet and that I learned to fly gliders (T21s and T53s) at RAF Hemswell. The airfield was littered with all manner of concrete bunkers (to be avoided at all costs)... one or two solo pilots got (unintentionally) very close to some of those grey installations during aborted cable launches... happy days!
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Old 12th Nov 2010, 16:47
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Thor Nitrogen Trailer. Diagram from DAC Manual

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Old 4th Dec 2010, 09:03
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As a result of reading this interesting thread I purchased a signed copy from John Boyes of Project Emily. What a well researched book with lots of titbits to fascinate like the Proctor landing at RAF Polebrook in 1960 causing a security scare. Also the daily C-47 ferry flight from Northolt to Lakenheath then Hemswell and Driffield back to Northolt via North Luffenham carrying Douglas technicians and spares back in 1959.
When I was at school in the sixties "nuclear" physics was a taboo subject probably to stop anxiety in us as we had all seen footage of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombs. I wonder how local residents to the Thor bases were affected psycologically as they would have been annihilated in a nuclear strike ?
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Old 4th Dec 2010, 09:58
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The spirit of the time was that we are all in the same boat. We knew that an H-Bomb attack would leave no hiding place. So folk either supported CND, if they believed the Sovs would not waste ordnance on little ole nukeless UK, or relied on deterrence/Alliance. There was no Nimby-ism in those days: it never crossed peoples' minds to suggest that a military site should be shifted to some other place. Maybe we all still remembered how grateful we all were to hear the Combined Bomber Offensive reaping where our enemy had sown.
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