Blue Streak missile

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The Blue Streak missile, originally named Blue Moon, was a British ballistic missile designed in 1955. The ballistic missile programme was cancelled in 1960 but the rocket was used as the first-stage of the European satellite launcher Europa. Tested at Woomera test range, Australia, the Blue Streak project was finally cancelled in 1972.

Contents

Background

Post-war Britain's nuclear weapons armament was initially based on free-fall bombs delivered by the V bomber force. It soon became clear that if Britain wanted to have a credible threat, a ballistic missile was essential. There was a political need for an independent deterrent, so that Britain could remain a major world power. The use of an American missile would have appeared to hand control to the United States.

In April 1954 the Americans proposed a joint development programme for ballistic missiles. The United States would develop an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) of 5,000 nautical mile (9,300 km) range, while the United Kingdom with United States support would develop a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM) of 2,000 nautical mile (3,700 km) range. The proposal was accepted as part of the Wilson-Sandys Agreement of August 1954, which provided for collaboration, exchange of information, and mutual planning of development programmes. The decision to develop was influenced by what could be learnt about missile design and development in the US. Initial requirements for the booster were made by the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough with input on the rocket engine design from the Rocket Propulsion Establishment at Westcott.

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