British Aircraft Corporation Thunderbird

British Aircraft Corporation Thunderbird
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    National Cold War Exhibition

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During World War II, a British SAM programme was established with the system known as Brankemine. Although the missile programme was inadequately funded, the first test firing took place in September 1944. The programme continued until 1947, proving to be a promising system. However, work ceased on the programme and most of the expertise was dispersed. In 1949 English Electric started a SAM programme known as Red Shoes, later to enter service as Thunderbird I. The Royal Artillery became operational with Thunderbird I in 1959. Between 1956-59 Thunderbird II was developed and entered service in 1963. 

The new missile was of superior performance, and by using the same mobile radar as Bloodhound II, (the Ferranti Firelight) overall system performance was also enhanced. Thunderbird II served with 36 Heavy Regiment RA until 1976.