Hawker-Siddeley Blue Steel

Hawker-Siddeley Blue Steel
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    National Cold War Exhibition

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Started privately by AV Roe in 1954, a contract was eventually placed by the Ministry of Supply in 1956 for a stand-off missile to carry a Thermonuclear device with a 1 mega ton yield.

Blue Steel was powered by two Armstrong Siddeley Motors both of which were ignited on launch to enable the missile to fly at supersonic speed. It was constructed of stainless steel with the control surfaces manufactured of titanium.

Blue Steel first entered service with 617 Squadron (The Dambusters) in 1962 being carried by Vulcan B2 bombers and subsequently served with 27 and 83 Squadrons (both with Vulcans). In 1964 100 and 139 Squadrons equipped with Victors followed. Blue Steel remained in service with No. 617 Squadron (RAF), as Britain’s nuclear deterrent, until 1970. The Royal Navy took over the deterrent QRA on 30 June 1969 when the third Polaris submarine, HMS Renown, went operational.