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Mystery Object No.115

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A quick tracking device!! Rapier equavilent was the Stick Pointing'. The idea was track a target by eye, squeeze trigger to lock and launch. Quicker on low flying fast targets than radar.

 

Very good Tony I could see you were on the scent quite early on. But Rapier appeared in 1966, this was 1957.

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Aiming and firing device for a Vickers Type 891 infantrymans anti tank missile.

 

Cancellation of thin winged Javelin affected the Red Dean missile project.

Edited by Richard Farrant

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Aiming and firing device for a Vickers Type 891 infantrymans anti tank missile.

 

Cancellation of thin winged Javelin affected the Red Dean missile project.

 

And to think I was feeling sorry for everyone & gave a clue! You've been reading my articles Richard :shocked:

 

Yes well done Richard

 

For practical purposes you have got it as right as you can be with available information. Given that the information is not on the internet nor in the archives of any military museum I have ever looked in.

 

I doubt it would even be in the PRO as this was not a MoS project but was a private venture. It was stubbornly ignored by the Army. I have spoken with the man who rejected it twice for the Army, someone on the Vigilant sales team & the man who sold it to Libya. So have seen the arguments from all sides.

 

The thrust of the Vigilant sales pitch was that this was a weapon whereby a mere infantryman could defeat a tank in the same way that at the Battle of Crecy armour was defeated by infantrymen with bows. When it was finally accepted into Army service, the manportable potential was largely ignored & they were stuck on the turrets of Ferrets & just used as an interium weapons system whilst waiting for Swingfire.

 

This particular missile predates the Type 891 & predates the name Vigilant. In fact the missile uncontrolled firing was not until July 1957. This controller is a mock up depicted in January 1957. The final controller looked nothing like this thing here.

 

App1478-1.jpg

 

There is an interesting story as to how I obtained these rare documents.

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And to think I was feeling sorry for everyone & gave a clue! You've been reading my articles Richard :shocked:

 

Yes well done Richard

 

 

For practical purposes you have got it as right as you can be with available information. Given that the information is not on the internet nor in the archives of any military museum I have ever looked in.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Clive,

 

The clue was the thin winged Javelin, a cancelled project. I did not recollect this from your articles, but found an article from 1957 issue of Flight magazine, on line. Photo of experimental launcher as well.

 

A good one, keep 'em coming.

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Thanks Clive,

 

The clue was the thin winged Javelin, a cancelled project. I did not recollect this from your articles, but found an article from 1957 issue of Flight magazine, on line. Photo of experimental launcher as well.

 

A good one, keep 'em coming.

 

Ah Flight magazine on line. Just gone & had a look. At aerojumble dealers I always go through the mags from 1955 -1966, amazing what turns up around the September - Farnborough editions.

 

I'll explain how I got these documents.

 

We all know a fair bit about our vehicles & can easily be touchy about any implied criticism or suggestion that we don't know it all about our vehicle or project. But it does pay to listen & be polite because amongst all the nonsense spoken & asked there can be rich seams of information to be tapped into. Being too conceited about our knowledge can mean we miss out.

 

Over 20 years ago I converted my Shorland to represent a Vigilant conversion. I had plans & photos from Shorts & I had been in contact with a VA Vigilant technical man & with BAC. So I felt I had done a fair bit of research into my project.

 

At a show I met a man who wondered what my missiles were. He said they weren't Vigilants to his mind. He said the launcboxes were not cutaway at the side, the walls of the box should be ribbed & bowed inwards. Also missiles didn't hang from a rail in the launch box, but the launch box was packed with preformed rubberised horse hair. Furthermore the missile tips were not conical there was a long metal spike to detonate the HEAT charge before it hit the tank & besides the aimer's control unit was not like a double butt gun, it was like a pair of binoculors. For another thing they weren't meant to be fitted on a vehicle they were man-portable infantry weapons.

 

I really was surprised, but instead of arguing & getty shirty I questioned him on the basis of his claims. He told me his father ran a small engineering workshop where he often did prototype projects for Vickers Armstrong.

 

He seemed genuine enough & he had seen documents to back his recollections up. I told him I was most grateful, I gave him my address but I was somewhat confused as it was contrary to all the research I had done in contacts with people & research in museums.

 

A few days later a letter arrived, explaining how amongst his fathers old stuff was this technical design project. There it all was just as he had said, it would have been all too easy to dismiss him as a meddling crank criticising my displayed vehicle.

 

It taught me to not only be polite about questions but to be always on the lookout for new & unexpected sources of information. But you never know when it will come or whether it will come. This season, of the couple of dozen people to whom I have given my address on the promise of photos & info, it is sad to say not one person has followed up on their promises, despite the offer of money for postage, copying etc

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I'm suprised at using binoculars though. They would cut down your feild of vision. The Rapier version is very simple.

point stick.jpg

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I'm suprised at using binoculars though. They would cut down your feild of vision. The Rapier version is very simple.

 

As I understand it, it is just a pointing stick that doesn't provide the final guidance to the target. It is just a MAF (Manual Acquisition Facility) for the targetting radar to lock onto if the detection radar is not operational for some reason.

 

You are correct that binoculars provide too narrow a field of vision. That was merely a mock up & they soon discovered it was best to have a monocular whilst the operator's other eye could have an appreciation of 'the bigger picture'.

 

The early monocular was a single eyepiece, the later type incorporated a rubber frame above it to give the operator an approximate field of vision to view the target before glancing down into the optical eyepiece.

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Yes Clive, pointy stick was developed in response to the Falkland's. The radar was blocked by being down below skyline. If a low flying aircraft came in fast the aquistion time was to short. By swinging the stick you can get everything pointing in right direction for the radar to lock on. The other obvious thing is that the stick is not broadcasting, so nothing for the oposition to detect.

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