- A comprehensive review of the British programme to develop an independent nuclear ballistic missile
- A fully detailed description of the proposed underground launchers using recently released information
- An examination of how British missile development compared to that of the US and Soviet Union
- A reappraisal of the political environment that led to the project’s cancellation
- Supplemented by a wealth of diagrams and photographs, some believed to be previously unpublished
In the early 1950s, the United States wished to concentrate its efforts on the development of a 4,000-mile-range intercontinental ballistic missile. As a stop-gap measure, US military chiefs hoped to assist Britain with the development of its own intermediate-range missile.
Despite concerns of limited resources, the Air Ministry proceeded with the missile, called Blue Streak, to fill the role, giving Britain an independent deterrent until the early 1970s. Designed to be based underground, Blue Streak presented a technological challenge and when a more advanced American missile called Skybolt was offered to Britain, Blue Streak was cancelled.
Skybolt would have been carried by the RAF’s V-bombers, but Skybolt itself became the subject of reassessment by the incoming Kennedy administration. A political crisis ensued, which resulted in a tense meeting in the Bahamas between Prime Minister Macmillan and the President.
Skybolt was cancelled and replaced by an offer of the seaborne Polaris missile. Blue Streak: Britain’s Medium Range Ballistic Missile
traces the rise and fall of both missile systems.
||234 x 156 mm
||16 May 2019
||43 black-and-white photographs
John Boyes was born in Edinburgh in 1947. Educated at Rugby School, he qualified as a chartered accountant in 1972 and thereafter pursued a career in the motor industry until his retirement in 2005. He has had a lifelong interest in the history of missiles and published his first book, Project Emily: Thor IRBM and the RAF, in 2008. He is the treasurer of the Royal Air Force Historical Society and financial controller of the Bomber Command Association, responsible for the financial management of its memorial in London. He has given a number of lectures on Thor and regularly contributed to the British Nuclear History meetings at Charterhouse. He is married and lives in West Wickham, Kent.