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Blue Silk,Green Satin and Orange Harvest.

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Blue Silk,Green Satin and Orange Harvest.

Old 7th Dec 2013, 17:42
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Blue Silk,Green Satin and Orange Harvest.

Hi lads.
When in the RAF in the 60s I worked in the Electronic Stores Group at RAF Changi S'pore,1964-66. There were some matched sets of Radar gear,three pieces to a set,one was called Blue Silk with two dome shaped items on a deck and the other Green Satin with two pillar shaped pieces on a deck.Both came with two other pieces,one of which was an Altimeter type instrument,but I can't remember what the other piece of the matched sets were. I seem to recall the Blue Silk was for Shackletons and maybe Hastings and the Green Satin for Argosys and Transport Command Comets and Britannias.Did they correct drift - like if the A/C is heading due north with a westerly wind then the compass would still show north but the A/C would be blown to the right and not on course? When I was at RAF Scampton there was another piece of equipment called Orange Harvest,for the Vulcans but nobody would tell me what it was for in 1967. Alongside all this sophisticated equipment in the ESG at Scampton was "Chaff" in bales which they used in WW2.I also remember some equipment at Changi called CCWR - commonly known by the ARSF lads as "cloud and clonk". was this anti-collision radar,like Doppler?
Can anybody shed some light on this equip as it must be redundant now.

Chris.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 18:47
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Just enter Green Satin into Google. All is revealed.
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 07:12
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Green Satin was a doppler radar that provided the Nav with true groundspeed and drift.
Blue Silk was a doppler radar giving the same information as Satin but was designed to operate over water. Hence it's fiitment to the Shackleton

CCWR (Cloud Collision Warning Radar), not a doppler, was a generic term for this type of radar, the RAF used mostly MEL (Echo) versions i.e. E190, 290 etc

Orange Harvest (ESM) was only carried by Shackletons, the most obvious sign was the "spark plug" aerial system on the top of the centre fuselage. This was part of two almost independent systems classified as wide band and narrow band. The origins of this are from a piece of equiment carried by 51 squadron Comets called Breton 1 and 3 qtrs. It was a attempt to provide information on the direction of local radar emitters in one of two bands S and X (old classification).

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Old 8th Dec 2013, 09:02
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Green Satin was fitted to all 3 V Bombers and some marks of Canberra, definitly the PR9 and Britania's.

Blue Silk was the later 'improved' system covered a wider spectrum of ground speed than Green Satin. It was fitted to the Canberra B-15' at Akrotiri circa 1962-4.

I manned the Green Satin bench at Akrotiri for two years, 1962-64.
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 09:07
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Green Satin was fitted on the Victor (and I assume the other two V's)*. The aerial type was known as a "Janus array" after the Roman god, as it was alternately "looking" forward and backward to measure the doppler shift. As I recall it was removed sometime c. 1974 and replaced by a more modern bit of kit whose name I forget, but which was smaller, lighter and more efficient than Green Satin.

*Thanks for the confirmation, Ian, you answered the question before I posted it!
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 14:59
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Thanks for the information everybody. I remember now that Orange Harvest was stored at Changi for the Shackleton Sqns. and I remember the "spark plug" on the top. It must have been some other coded piece of equip that I dealt with at Scampton.

Chris
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 16:10
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Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav:8194689
As I recall it was removed sometime c. 1974 and replaced by a more modern bit of kit whose name I forget, but which was smaller, lighter.........!
Decca Doppler 72M IIRC
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Old 8th Dec 2013, 18:02
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Green Satin was still fitted to the Victor K2s when I had the "pleasure" of working on them in the late '80s!

Great fun lugging the dustbins in and out of the "back hatch".... NOT!
All 3 Green Satin LRUs had to be replaced as a match set.

As far as I know it was not replaced or upgraded.

"Lusty Lindy" seems to still have Green Satin, the indicator is centre left:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
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Old 9th Dec 2013, 09:04
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Thanks for the reminder ZH785

That'd odd Rev 1. I was only ever on K1's, and I'm sure I didnt imagine the doppler update. Strange that the K2s didnt get the same treatment, especially as they were being converted to tankers around that time (mid 70s) and having extensive work done on them.
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Old 9th Dec 2013, 09:59
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See the Green Satin aerial array working in someone's lounge

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Old 10th Dec 2013, 18:05
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What did Yellow Aster 'do' ?
Was it part of,or linked to, the H2S ?
(You'd think I'd know having been on 543 - but it was 50 yrs ago)
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Old 11th Dec 2013, 07:21
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Towards the end some of our Hastings were fitted with Blue Silk. A real pain on airdrop and with a tendency to emit smoke !
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Old 12th Dec 2013, 07:13
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The V force was a very colourful set-up. Not only the above mentioned but also Red Steer, Yellow Sun, Blue Danube......and the list goes on.


Kind of foreshadowed the "rainbow" leanings that the RAF appears to have taken on nowadays
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Old 12th Dec 2013, 13:45
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Was posted to M.E.A.S at Waddo as a newly qualified LAC, L.Mech AC back in 1967 and on my first full day in the hangar was introduced to the Flight Sergeant (initials H.B) who ran the hangar Avionics section.

"Right lad", he said, "on that shelf you will find all of the A.P's relating to the Vulcan's avionics fit; take a couple of days to familiarise yourself with the equipment, it's componenets, and its location on the aircraft. When you think you know where evrything is, come see me and show me." In awe of this F/Sgt who later turned out to be much more than just a father figure, I determined that I would do just that.

The STR18B HF, TR1984/5 VHF and ARC52 UHF radios were located along with their various sub-units, controllers and aerials, likewise the ILS system (anyone remember B.I.L.S?), the old AD7092D Radio Compass, the location of all of the units for the Intercom system, everything I had been taught at Cosford fell victim to my newwly acquired Sherlock Holmes investigations.

Satisfied that there was nothing he could throw at me to catch me out, I reported back to the F/Sgt.

"Right then," says he... "now show me." He threw a whole load of questions my way regarding the locations and functions of the various boxes and aerials and sure enough I passed, as I thought with flying colours...

"OK... but what about the ECM?"

"E.C. what?" says I..."Sorry Flight Sergeant, but I havent a clue what you are talking about..."

We descended from the flight deck and he put an arm around my shoulders...

"This way, young fella," he said leading me to the bulbous back end of the aircraft...

He opened up the hatches of the bulge to reveal what to me appeard to be a load of black dustbins of various sizes with numerous electical connections and hosepipes attached...

"This, my son, is ECM, the bane of our lives as Air Radio folks... Electronic Counter Measures, Jammers, Spoofers call 'em what you will but this is what you will be spending 95% of your time changing..."

We went back to the section and he made a phone call and a few minutes later we visited the Electronics Service Centre and the high security ECM bay where he introduced me to the Chief Tech (initials D.T.) who in turn introduced me to the guys who worked in there. After what seemed a never ending stream of paperwork and me signing yet another copy of the Official Secrets Act, I was given an introductory lesson on ECM, what it was, what it did, how it did it and the dire consequences of letting this information be known to anyone else...

I spent the next three months in that bay... un-canning (removing and cleaning the covers from the same dustbins I had seen earlier), basic maintenance on Green Palm, Blue Diver, and various other rainbow named equipments, running Magnetrons on the huge test rig (and experiencing first hand the painful shocking results of what happens when the main earth clip fails...), then fiiting and greasing up new seals before re-canning and final testing of the newly serviced equipment. I disliked every moment of my time in that bay; great blokes but a totally sh*t job... the original version of 'its a dirty job son but someones gotta do it..!'

Back in the MEAS hangar the boss was right... hardly a sortie went by without at least one of the dustbins needing to be replaced. I lost count of the number of overalls I got through and the number of showers I had to take as a result of the partial failure of those damn glycol coolant pipes... and don't get me started on the rear crew under the table sub components of the STR18B HF Kit and the rear crew relief bottles stowed on hooks also beneath the table... Nasty!
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Old 12th Dec 2013, 15:21
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The Rainbow Codes

Wiki has a list https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Rainbow_Codes

I know that it is incomplete as it is missing Blue Shadow, the sideways looking, bog roll display, mapping radar that was fitted to 51 Sqdn Canberra's and Comets.
We had a bench for it at Akrotiri.
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Old 12th Dec 2013, 16:04
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Rev 1.5
All 3 Green Satin LRUs had to be replaced as a match set.
This was a change from after my time.

The 'double humped' unit was the Tx/Rx and the 'single hump' was the Tracker Unit. Each could be changed individually.

Before my tour at Akrotiri, I was on 214 Sqdn with Valiants for nearly 4 years and changed many of them. Including once on a night shift I managed to change the Tx/Rx on my own. It was a hell of a struggle, it was over 100lbs, and I think I put my back out

Also while on 214, when we started training Vulcan crews to do In Flight Refuelling, we had a Vulcan visit Marham. Because the Vulcan Sqdn OC was coming to see out OC, Air Traffic sent the a/c to our dispersal.

This of course was quite an event and we all gathered round to look at the strange beast. When the crew got out there was a call for a 'radar guy'. They had a Green Satin snag, from the discussion with the Nav, it seemed to be a Tx/Rx problem, so we asked guy; 'Where in this quarter of an acre of airframe is it?'

It turned out to be in the port wing! There apparantly was a special winch to lower the entire Green Satin, but of course we being a Valiant Sqdn didn't have one!

With 4 guys on a saftey raiser, we got the panel off, unfastened the mounting screws and man handled it out, but we couldn't put it down as this would have damaged the Aerial Array. Somehow we struggeled and got the Tx/Rx off and replace it and managed not to have anyone fall of the raiser.

Happy Daze
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Old 12th Dec 2013, 22:33
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IIRC there was blue trolley rig that we would lower it on to. Had wheels to enable it to be pushed around the hangar, and spigots that took the mounting brackets. Thus holding it semi-securely well off the ground. Remember taking one for a long walk, no Landrover available, from the strip, across and along miles of peri track back to the hangar. RAF Finningley circa 1963.
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Old 15th Dec 2013, 21:28
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Green Satin

As I recall it was removed sometime c. 1974
... and fitted in the 6FTS Varsties. Wasn't really designed to operate at 100kt groundspeeds, so it unlocked all the bloody time ....
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Old 15th Dec 2013, 21:45
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It unlocked on the Britannia whenever over relatively smooth sea. As our regular route, where we really required it, was Bahrain - Gan - Changi, it unlocked a lot!
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Old 16th Dec 2013, 08:10
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Flying over smooth water was the worst condition for Green Satin/Blue Silk.

The design depended upon the signal being reflected back from the earths surface. Because this signal was transmitted forwards and backwards, it needed a 'rough' surface to send a reflection back. Over smooth water the signal simply 'skipped' away from the a/c.

The performance Akrotiri based a/c flying over the Med was far worse than my experience with Marham based a/c. Mind you, my 'main customer' was 13 Sqdn with Can PR9's that I believe flew slightly higher than 214's Valiant's.

In some instances the aircrew declined to tell me at what height the equipment did unlock!

Both the Green Satin and Blue Silk benches recieved many Tx/Rx's that were changed for 'Unlocking', that tested out fine on the bench.

The commonest 'real' problem with a Tx/Rx that was 'unlocking' was the Magnetron was shot.
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