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RAF Valley & Missile Practice Camps

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RAF Valley & Missile Practice Camps

Old 16th Jan 2021, 20:53
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by EXFIN View Post
Fantastic, we are also looking for the early firins in the 50's too. Cans are there for opening!!! Best wishes, Taff
CFE Air 64 files at Kew will most likely cover all of that stuff. unfortunately its all on paper so it can't be got at until the Lockdowns are gone. Its a real pity that AHB stopped storing all the Squadron ORB's on microfilm at the start of 1961. Kew have scanned all of microfilms and you can download them for free it you have an account with them.

Fireflash files are here.

https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ment+fireflash

Firestreak files are here

https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...&_q=Firestreak

CTTO and STCAAME Missile firing reports are here (a few dates of Squadron MPC's in the 1970's and 80's are on the file descriptions).

https://discovery.nationalarchives.g..._hb=tna&_srt=4
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 01:33
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A few more MPC dates from overlapped Aberporth's Bloodhound Firing windows from 1976 - 1982.

4-5 October 1976 - 56 Sqn MPC - 2 Sidewinder flashheads and a Sparrow Telemetry round fired. MPC cut short due to target non availability.
19 October 1976 - 5 Sqn - Red Top ORA firing from Wattisham.
19 October 1976 - RAF Germany QRA Firestreak firing.
8 November 1976 - 111 Sqn QRA Sparrow (Warhead) missile fired (Failure of Guidance).

2-7 September 1977 - 56 Sqn MPC - 4 Sparrows (Telemetry round) fired. No other details
13-14 September 1977 - 92 Sqn MPC - 2 Sparrow (Telemetry) and 2 Sidewinders fired. No other details
15 September 1977 - 43 Sqn QRA - Sidewinder with Warhead fired. Missile homed succesfully.
20-22 September 1977 - 5 and 11 Sqn Lightings fired missiles during Ex Omaga Minor - no other details.

5 - ? June 1978 - 5 Sqn MPC - 2 successful firings on 6th June (missile type not listed) no other pages of June F540 photographed.

Late April - 2 May 1979 - 11 Sqn MPC - 3 Red Top missiles left to fire at start of month. 2 fired on 1st May, one of which destroyed the flare pack and damaged the Jindivik. Due to Weather, they couldn't fire the last missile on the 2nd so took it back to Binbrook and flew the firing from there on the 5th May. The Rocket motor on the Red Top blew up just after launch right in front both the launching aircraft and the photo chase, fortunately they managed to avoid the shrapnel.

14 - 25 May 1979 - 5 Sqn MPC - The squadron didn't get a Missile off the rail until the morning of 21st May, when a Red Top Telemetry round scored a direct hit on a Jindivik, resulting in its loss, the second missile was fired that afternoon. On the 24th May, another Red Top rocket motor exploded after launch almost exactly like the 11 Sqn missile did at the start of the month, though in this case the launching aircraft did eat debris and required a double engine change when it got back to Valley. After that the last 4 Red Tops fired on 24 and 25 May all worked perfectly.

4 June 1979 - Sparrow firing by 56 Sqn from Wattisham during Ex Priory
5 June 1979 - Red Top firing by 11 Sqn from Binbrook during Ex Priory
8 June 1979 - QRA Sidewinder firing by 56 Sqn from Wattisham
11 - 22 June 1979 - 29 Sqn MPC done from Coningsby due to runway resurface at Valley. They managed to get 2 Sparrow off the Phantoms on Day 1, then got stopped by range failures, weather and a one day strike by the Civil Servants.

24 - 29 October 1979 - 23 Sqn MPC - The first firing was a Sparrow against a Stiletto supersonic target at low level due to Jindiviks not being available. The reason for this was the servicing contract had be taken off Shorts Bothers and given to Airwork. When Airwork turn up to take over they found that the Shorts workers had taken all the servicing schedules off site with them when they left Llanbedr. Once things were sorted they got 2 sidewinders away and attempted another Sparrow shot at a Stiletto on 29 October. The Primary A/C weapon system went U/S and the pilot rushed back to Valley, got into another aircraft and rushed back just in time for the Secondary Firing aircraft to also go U/S allowing the primary shooter to press the fire button after locking on to the Stiletto. The Sparrow however didn't want to play and Misfired!!!.

Late November 1979 saw LTF doing a MPC with 3 Firestreaks fired on 20 and 21 November and their forth and last missile being fired on the 28th

Early December 1979 - 56 Sqn MPC - First sidewinder fired on 11 December after the first week was totally lost to weather. 56 Sqn then did a Night firing that evening against a Stiletto which was successfully engaged with a Sparrow. the 13th December saw three Phantoms line up to each take a pop at flare pack behind a Jindivik with a sidewinder only to the radars on all three aircraft fail and they all had to RTB. 14th December started off with 2 phantoms attempting to each salvo a pair of Sparrows off at a Semi Active Radar Tow (SART) target being towed by a Jindivik. Unfortunately for the second shooter, one of the Sparrows fired by the first aircraft scored a direct hit on the SART and destroyed it, resulting in the second aircraft having to bring his missile back. The afternoon saw an attempt to combine a Bloodhound Firing with a 56 Sqn Sidewinder firing. The Bloodhound would be fired against two Jindiviks in wide formation and dependant on fuel states at the end of that trial, the Phantom would come in from a holding pattern to the north and have a pop at a flare pack towed by one of the Jindiviks. 17 minutes after the Bloodhound was fired, the Phantom got its Sidewinder off successfully. Unfortunately the Bloodhound suffered a boost motor light up failure which resulted in it not going in the right direction and 18 seconds after launch it was destroyed by the Range Safety Officer.

? - 23 April 1980 - LTF MPC 2 Firestreaks fired on 22 and 23 April (Beginning of April 1980 F540 not photographed).
12 - ? May 1980 - 5 Sqn MPC (no details of firings as that part of 540 not photographed)
? - 13 June 1980 - 29 Sqn MPC (No details other than their last Skyflash missile really didn't want to be launched and that they took it home with them).
Late June 1980 - 92 Sqn MPC?. Shot down a Jindivik with a Sparrow instead of the SART it was towing on 24th June.

8th July 1980 - Two 111 Sqn Phantoms deployed to STCAAME to support the unit in its Taceval and each fired a Sidewinder on the range.
14 - 15 July 1980 - 111 Sqn MPC - Squadron had already used their 2 sidewinder firings up on the 8th July so only had 3 missiles to fire ( a Sparrow and 2 Skyflash) which the fired in the 2 day period.

11 - August 1980 - 56 Sqn MPC (rest of the F540 not photographed).

late September 1980 - 11 Sqn MPC - five Red Top missiles fired between 24 - 30 September.

11-22 May 1981 - 11 Sqn MPC - 4 Red Tops were fired on the 11 and 13, but the first two fired came of the same aircraft when only one was suppose to be fired. Switch positions in the Cockpit were correct for a single shot firing according to Aberporth. No details after 13th May.

1 - 5 June 1981 - 23 Sqn MPC. Successful Sparrow firings on 3rd and 5th June, though the missile on the 3rd suffered from spurious fuze firing and had it had a Warhead it would have blown up before reaching the Target. Unsuccessful Sidewinder firings on 1st and 2nd June. large missed distances for reasons unknown. Sky Flash firing on 4th June aborted due to Shipping in the range.

15 June 1981 - Successful Sparrow firing by Phantom from Boscombe Down based at STCAAME
15 - XX June 1981 - 43 Sqn MPC - one Sidewinder fired on 15th, rest of June 81 F540 not photographed as the details of the last Bloodhound fired in 1981 were at the top of the page. LTF were scheduled to also do an MPC that month and two other Boscombe Down Phantom Sparrow firing s were scheduled.

The two Bloodhounds fired in 1982 were both fired in May and beside Aberporth and STCAAME supporting strange trials involving sticking missiles and bombs on to strange aircraft because of the Falklands, STCAAME's MPC visitors were 11 Sqn who fired 4 of their 5 Firestreaks on the afternoon of day one (10 May) and their last missile on the morning of day two. The rest of the report was not photographed.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 09:48
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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During my time as a Radar Fitter on 92 at Leconfield I went on a couple of trips to Valley for the missile firing. However I cannot recall any time that the guns were fired either there or elsewhere Does anyone have any tales of firing the guns from the Lightning ?
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 11:37
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by PEI_3721 View Post
Dan Gerous, re 'expanding rod'.
Yes the photograph shows a pattern normally associated with an expanding rod warhead.
Red Top - IR homing on the flare; typically, the dark doughnut explosive ring (to the fore of the bright clover leaf) gives some spin to the ring, thus the effect is like a band saw.
Its a good picture, but begs the question where were did all of the other segments of the ring go … , photo-chase break off now !
Thanks for the reply.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 11:43
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ancientaviator62 View Post
During my time as a Radar Fitter on 92 at Leconfield I went on a couple of trips to Valley for the missile firing. However I cannot recall any time that the guns were fired either there or elsewhere Does anyone have any tales of firing the guns from the Lightning ?
Aberporth range was used by Hunters from Bawdey for air to air cannon firing. never seen any gun work done from Valley listed anywhere.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 12:01
  #106 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by ancientaviator62 View Post
During my time as a Radar Fitter on 92 at Leconfield I went on a couple of trips to Valley for the missile firing. However I cannot recall any time that the guns were fired either there or elsewhere Does anyone have any tales of firing the guns from the Lightning ?
Waaay before my time but didn't Akrotiris' Lightnings fire at towed banners over the Med?
 
Old 17th Jan 2021, 13:34
  #107 (permalink)  
 
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Green Flash ,
you have triggered a very long ago memory of us (92) going on detachment to Akrotiri with the F2A for gun firing. I think there were one or two problems with the Aden Cannon due to the ammo feed.. As I now recall we went out in a Hastings and came home in a Comet ! Then a 32 seat coach from Lyneham to Leconfield. !
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 13:38
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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Unannounced visit to Valley.

In the late sixties I was serving on Hunters at RAF Valley. One foggy afternoon the station had a complete electrical power failure including the stand by systems so all flying was cancelled. On driving around the peri-track two of us found the pilot and nav. of a Canberra walking along. Their aircraft had suffered a bird strike with subsequent total power failure somewhere over Snowdonia and they had managed to reach Valley and do a wheels up landing on the grassed area of the airfield. No body knew that they had arrived including A.T.C. due to the power failure and bad visibility. We gave them a lift back to our hanger, made them a coffee and showed them where the phone was to announce their arrival. does anyone have any further information?
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 14:53
  #109 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by toller View Post
In the late sixties I was serving on Hunters at RAF Valley. One foggy afternoon the station had a complete electrical power failure including the stand by systems so all flying was cancelled. On driving around the peri-track two of us found the pilot and nav. of a Canberra walking along. Their aircraft had suffered a bird strike with subsequent total power failure somewhere over Snowdonia and they had managed to reach Valley and do a wheels up landing on the grassed area of the airfield. No body knew that they had arrived including A.T.C. due to the power failure and bad visibility. We gave them a lift back to our hanger, made them a coffee and showed them where the phone was to announce their arrival. does anyone have any further information?
Thanks for that, I'll chase that one up, Taff
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 14:59
  #110 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MAINJAFAD View Post
Aberporth range was used by Hunters from Bawdey for air to air cannon firing. never seen any gun work done from Valley listed anywhere.
Many thanks for all the info you've posted, of great value. The unit in June 1967 with Red Top & Firestreak firing were probably 74 Sqn as there's an enthusiast log of 6 of their Lightnings present. One last query! We have a photograph of Sea Vixen FAW.1 XJ475 which was attached to HSA Dynamics at Hatfield for Martel Missile trials. The photo taken at Valley with a Martel on one of the port underwing pylons is purportedly taken Mar/Apr 1967. The aircraft was allocated to the Trials from 27.8.65-7.1.70. Would you have any info on that? Many thanks for your time, Taff
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 15:01
  #111 (permalink)  
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CharlieJuliet

Apologies, Paddy didn't mention 12 the photograph almost certainly taken from a spare shows a diamond 9 of F-4's plus a singleton so there may well have been 12 in total. Many thanks for your help, Taff
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 15:53
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Originally Posted by EXFIN View Post
Many thanks for all the info you've posted, of great value. The unit in June 1967 with Red Top & Firestreak firing were probably 74 Sqn as there's an enthusiast log of 6 of their Lightnings present. One last query! We have a photograph of Sea Vixen FAW.1 XJ475 which was attached to HSA Dynamics at Hatfield for Martel Missile trials. The photo taken at Valley with a Martel on one of the port underwing pylons is purportedly taken Mar/Apr 1967. The aircraft was allocated to the Trials from 27.8.65-7.1.70. Would you have any info on that? Many thanks for your time, Taff
The RAF unit at Aberporth's role was to support the RAF firings, the weapons listed in the F540 during the 1960's are Firestreak, Red Top, Bloodhound Mk 1 and Mk 2, Tigercat and Blue Steel. Martel does not get a mention until Service firing Trials started in around 1974/75. The only non production missile that I noted getting fired was a prototype Bloodhound Mk 2 (XTV1717) which was fired from the RAF equipment to proof the missile telemetry systems on 18th February 1965.

Most of the research and development firings would have been supervised by the RAE range staff and would be in their range logs, if such a document still exists. I would kill to get my hands on such a document as they would fill in a lot of holes in the development of a lot of Guided Weapons..The trials results may be in the MOS / MOA development files at Kew, but if they are anything like Bloodhound, there will be gaps all over the place.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 17:28
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Originally Posted by PEI_3721 View Post
Dan Gerous, re 'expanding rod'.
Yes the photograph shows a pattern normally associated with an expanding rod warhead.
Red Top - IR homing on the flare; typically, the dark doughnut explosive ring (to the fore of the bright clover leaf) gives some spin to the ring, thus the effect is like a band saw.
Its a good picture, but begs the question where were did all of the other segments of the ring go … , photo-chase break off now !
Expanding rod warheads morphed into continuous expanding rods with the one in the -9G raising a concern or two with its tiny rod structure and sub-3kg of bang. The US had lots of 'trust me' effectiveness data but in the very end of its career the continuous rod made a very nice slice through 2 x Adour engines and associated fuselage that was particularly reassuring (well, probably not the pilot concerned). The -9L saw the introduction of an annular blast/frag warhead, with added evilness and a 'sick-puppy' patent for its designer.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 17:50
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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My late Father's logbooks show that he managed to avoid Valley for his first 5 tours (Gutersloh/Wildenrath, Church Fenton, Middleton StGeorge/Worksop, Cottesmore); thereafter:

57 Sqn, Honington

24 Mar 66 Victor B1a XH591 RV Alpha - 2. Practice Pan, TACAN letdown, rollers at Valley. ADF Homing at St Mawgan. 6th Seat - JSSC visitor.
28 Mar 66 Victor B1 XA930 PD with rollers at Valley.
18 May 66 Victor PD Valley

214 Sqn, Marham

15 Feb 67 Victor B(K)1 XA936 Wattisham towline, PD Valley
14 Apr 67 Victor B(K)1 XA936 Snake climb. PD Leuchars. PD Valley.

TTF, Marham

23 Feb 68 Victor 1A XH593 Ex23 PD Valley

Sim Flt, Marham

24 Sep 71 Victor 1A XH647 Navex PD Valley

100 Sqn, Marham

1 Jun 77 Canberra E15 WH983 Valley AR15 Calibration
2 Jun 77 Canberra E15 WH983 Valley Calibration RTB

RAE Llanbedr

14 Jul 78 Canberra WE121 FCT - PD Valley
20 Aug 79 Devon XA880 Boscombe Down - Llanbedr - Valley - Llanbedr
21 Aug 80 Canberra WK128 Llanbedr - Valley - Llanbedr
28 Aug 80 Canberra WK128 Llanbedr - Valley
29 Aug 80 Canberra WH734 Llanbedr - Valley
19 Sep 80 Canberra WH734 Valley - Llanbedr
7 Jan 81 Devon XA880 Llanbedr - Valley - Farnborough - Hurn - Llanbedr
1 May 81 Meteor T7 WA662 FCT PD Valley
14 Aug 81 Devon XA880 Llanbedr - Valley - Llanbedr
17 Aug 81 Devon XA880 Llanbedr - Valley - Llanbedr
17 Aug 81 Meteor 16 WH453 Valley - Llanbedr
25 Aug 81 Devon XA880 Llanbedr - Aberporth - Valley - Llanbedr
17 Sep 81 Devon XA880 Llanbedr - Aberporth - Valley - Benbecula
23 Sep 81 Devon XA880 IF. PD Valley
29 Oct 81 Devon XA880 FCT Airways - Valley
22 Mar 82 Hawk XX154 Llanbedr - Valley - Llanbedr
21 Apr 82 Devon XA880 Llanbedr - Valley - Aberporth - Farnborough - Boscombe Down - Aberporth - Valley - Llanbedr
20 May 82 Devon XA880 Llanbedr - Valley - Llanbedr x 2

Plus a page of Valley-based Hawk flying during his last tour. I'm sure I have a pic of a Llanbedr-based Canberra operating with Stiletto from STCAAME (23 Sqn first Skyflash MPC?) somewhere. Logbook scans might take a while...

Last edited by Snakecharmer; 17th Jan 2021 at 17:58. Reason: addition of 23 Sqn MPC reference
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 21:50
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A few that I have dug out of the old log-books (I think I may have missed a few but will re-check!).

1/11/63 Canberra PR7 WT518 58 Sqn (Wyton) P. Div.
28/10/65 Chipmunk WP900 UBAS (Shawbury) Nav.
10/4/68 JP4 XP615 Linton P.Div.
25/9/68 JP4 XP666 Linton P. Div.
28/1/71 Vulcan XM598 101 Sqn (Waddo.) P. Div.
26/7/71 Vulcan XL319 230 OCU (Scampton) P. Div.
I also spent some 3 - 4 days at Valley with a Vulcan on STC Exercise - details are proving elusive (or I am losing it !) Will find them and post.

Bill
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Old 18th Jan 2021, 10:46
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Yes, that's the one. I posted both images on PPRuNe ages ago and this is one of them. I also have another image of the same missile leaving the aircraft. I may be wrong, but it could have been the late Neil MacClachlan in the cockpit.

I recall one MPC at Valley when I had to do a torch test on a live Red Top missile...all safeties bypassed, missile ready to go, and there's muggins stood out front with a heat source. Strangely, everyone else had vacated the area, can't think why.
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Old 18th Jan 2021, 11:03
  #117 (permalink)  
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Many thanks Bill, great stuff. Taff
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Old 18th Jan 2021, 11:05
  #118 (permalink)  
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That's great, we may have some photos of your Father's visits if you're interested. Logbook scans are not required and yes 23 Sqn were there with 2 Canberras in Sept '80. Many thanks again, Taff
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Old 18th Jan 2021, 13:45
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Very interested, thanks :-)
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Old 18th Jan 2021, 17:49
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Originally Posted by Snakecharmer View Post
Very interested, thanks :-)
Could you pm me with an email address please, Taff
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