Blue Steel

Particularly the flight trials

Back in the late 50's & early 60's a group of about 35 youngish Englishmen travelled to Australia to conduct flight trials (at Woomera) of the Blue Steel stand-off bomb which was later deployed by the RAF. Most of us worked for a while at Avro's Woodford plant before travelling down-under.
That Vulcan production line was quite a sight. Pity it was so secret at the time - no photos allowed of course. Our group mostly worked for Elliott Brothers (London) Ltd and we were concerned with the development and testing of the missile's Inertial navigation system (One of the first IN systems in the world). Actually - prior to launch it was a mixed inertial and Doppler system that gradually corrected the gyro drifts as we approached the launch point. A bit like launching an ICBM from a moving launch pad!

We spent an average of 2-3 years in Australia on that project and although many stayed in here, at least half of us returned to U.K. and then (in my case - after working on the ill fated TSR-2 project), many of those eventually returned to Australia to settle permanently.

I was lucky enough to be part of the aircrew on many of the trials and flew several hundred hours on all 3 V-Bomber types, I launched 8-10 Blue Steels and managed to "fall out of the sky (40,000 ft inverted supersonic spin)" in a Victor - that's story can be found by clicking link above. So that's a little background info - there is some more on the personal area of my home page if you happen to be interested.

If you have read as far as this - I know this message is a long shot, but if you know of any leads, We'd love to hear from you.