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TOPIC: Project E

Project E 14 May 2018 09:31 #1

  • Bloodhound1949
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I believe that nuclear weapons supplied by the U.S. as part of this scheme were initially delivered for use by R.A.F. Canberra squadrons based in the U.K.The main Canberra stations at the time were Coningsby and Upwood-I have heard that they were stored at Black Holt for Coningsby but I cannot find any information about a S.S.A. at Upwood,would their allocated weapons perhaps have been stored at Alconbury?

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Project E 14 May 2018 12:30 #2

  • kebecker
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Wyton maybe
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Project E 14 May 2018 14:26 #3

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I have a feeling that Wyton did not have its own S.S.A. but I may well be wrong ! Thanks.

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Project E 15 May 2018 09:25 #4

  • PETERTHEEATER
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Upwood had a number buildings added to the WW2 bomb store during the post-war period and these were most likely to meet the requirements of Project E.

The agreement was that USAF weapons (for Canberra a version of the Mk 7 bomb) would be delivered in component form to the operational airfield by USAF aircraft . The bpmb casing, tail unit, HE component and nuclear assembly would be stored separately in facilities provided by the RAF on the operational airfield. USAF personnel only would be responsible for the security, maintenance, and storage of the weapons. Bombs would be assembled by USAF to meet operational needs and issued to the RAF who would take responsibility for transporting and loading to their aircraft.

Inert training shapes were to be provided for ground and air crews to practice handling, loading and in-flight control and release of the weapon. Presumably, the practice shapes had simulated fuzing circuits to enable in-flight selection of the options.

The post-war building additions can be seen here: Map courtesy of Old Maps website 2500 scale date 1972

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Project E 15 May 2018 20:36 #5

  • Bloodhound1949
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Many thanks for the information.I have had a look on Google Earth and historical views of the area are shown,dating back to 1945.It looks like the wartime bomb stores were reduced in area post war and new buildings added.

I have just discovered a book called,"The American Bomb in Britain,1946-64",it sounds quite good but it is quite expensive ....(£60-£80), it is probably based on papers in The National Archive but they are not yet online-I am visiting the P.R.O. next month but I have so much on my list already!

I heard a story that the MK7 weapons would in theory fit into the bomb-bay of the Canberra but this turned out not to be the case and eventually several inches were cut off the fins....

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Project E 16 May 2018 08:56 #6

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It's difficult for me to realise that my limited experience of Project E related to Valiant was sixty years agp!

The US Mk 7 weapon had a bewildering number of variants for external and internal carriage. The Canberra and Valiant both required a new bomb carrier. This was manudactured by ML Aviation and was for a single store up to 2000 pounds weight. The suspension and release unit was electric as I recall but had an integral pneumatic ejector supplied with HP air from a storage bottle attached to the carrier frame. Also, there was a motorised BRSL (Bomb Release Safety Lock consisting of a pin which mechanically prevented the release unit from operating until the pin was withdrawn as part of the pre-drop procedure. A real quality product. I don't have any knowledge of the Canberra equipment but it is very likely that the same carrier was used by both aircraft types using bomb-bay adapters. But, the Valiant, initially was to utilise the US Mark 5 weapon, little more than a refined Fat Man bomb.

Valiant had ample bomb
-bay space for most weapon types but Canberra was limited and it is very likely the weapon required some 'trimming' to fit.

Both aircraft types used the 12/24 Way Bombing System but special safety circuits would have been mandated and additional cockpit switches installed.

Canberra used the standard RAF 25 pound Practice Bomb for LABS and loft bombing and I presume that ballistic differences between it and the operational store were adjusted by amending release 'G' and release timing.

I have the Boscombe Down report on Canberra trials with the 25 pound PB so will locate it and see if there is mention of a representative weapon.

Apologies for the spelling and formatting of my remarks but my old tablet displays tiny script and lagging keystrokes!
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