Fairey Fireflash


Fairey Fireflash

Infobox Weapon
is_missile=yes
is_UK=yes


caption= Fireflash missile
name=Fireflash
type=air-to-air missile
origin=United Kingdom
era=Cold War
launch_platform=aircraft
target=aircraft
manufacturer= Fairey Aviation
design_date=1949
production_date=?
service=1955 - 1958
used_by= United Kingdom
wars=n/a
spec_type=beam-riding homing missile
diameter=?
wingspan=?
length=2.83 m (9 ft 4 in)
weight= 150 kg (330 lb)
speed=Mach 2 (max)
vehicle_range=1.9 miles (3.1 km)
ceiling=?
filling=?
engine=2 solid fuel booster motors
steering=control surfaces
guidance=beam rider
variants=?
number=c. 300
detonation=?

The Fairey Fireflash was the first British air-to-air missile. Generally unsuccessful, it served only in small numbers.

Development

Produced in response to a Ministry of Supply requirement for a guided air-to-air missile. The project began in 1949 under the name Blue Sky. It was initially developed under the designation Pine Hawk. Blue Sky itself was a derated version of the Red Hawk missile.

About 300 missiles were produced by 1955, but the Royal Air Force (RAF) soon decided it was untenable. The missiles were used for testing purposes by 6 JSTU at RAF Valley and Woomera, South Australia from 1955-1957 using Meteor NF11 trials aircraft and subsequently by the Supermarine Swift fighters of No. 1 Guided Weapons Development Squadron at RAF Valley. The RAF chose to field the later de Havilland Firestreak instead.

Description

Fireflash was a beam-riding missile, relying on radar command guidance from the launch aircraft. It had a very unusual configuration: the missile was propelled by a pair of solid rocket boosters on the forward fuselage, which were jettisoned 1.5 seconds after launch, leaving the missile to coast into its target. This configuration was developed for fear that ionised particles from a rocket motor would interfere with the guidance radar signals, but it inevitably limited both range and flight duration.

Operators

; UK
* Royal Air force

Notes and References

* [http://www.ekco-radar.co.uk/kensims/bluesky01.php Project 'Blue Sky' (Fireflash) and Ekco]

ee also

* Sea Slug missile - a contemporary naval beam-riding missile with wrap-around boosters
*Rainbow Codes


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