WEAPONS OF WAR: Blue Steel Nuclear Missile

Avro’s Blue Steel nuclear standoff missile was intended to provide the RAF’s V bombers with a viable, long-serving weapons option but was instead quickly superseded. Michael E Haskew profiles the tortuous development of Britain’s early 1960s nuclear deterrent. Michael E Haskew profiles the tortuous development of Britain’s early 1960s nuclear deterrent

ENGINEERS SERVICE THE STENTOR ENGINE OF A BLUE STEEL MISSILE AT RAF SCAMPTON, IN AUGUST 1963
(KEY COLLECTION)

As superpower relations deteriorated during the early Cold War, nuclear deterrence became the order of the day. Initially, it was a capability that, while expensive, was relatively simple to deploy. A capable bomber force and unguided gravity bombs were all that was required. However, as relations slipped further into deep freeze, the technology, especially within the foremost military powers, marched on.

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