RAPIER gallery

The Rapier is a mobile system that is divided into three separate elements for transport and use. It is composed by the launcher, control equipment and missiles. This Rapier system belongs to the IWM Duxford collection and is shown in transport position. It should be noted that in combat the wheels are removed and the launcher is held on the four adjustable legs.
The whole system is transported over three Land Rover light vehicles with their servants, being able to distinguish two types of transport units, the Fire Unit Truck (FUT), like this one on the image, and the Detachment Support Vehicle (DSV). The Royal Artillery batteries consists in 12 missile launchers while the RAF Regiments operated 8 launchers each.
The Rapier is one of the smallest antiaircraft missiles in the world with only 42 kg of weight. Its Troy rocket reactor propels it to Mach 2.5 in just one second and the missile can make 22g turns at maximum speed. Its warhead is 1.4 kg and is one of the smallest installed in a missile of any kind, but enough to shoot down an attack aircraft or helicopter.
Despite the skepticism that aroused among experts the simple guidance system, during the firing tests, Rapier was able to impact on a Rushton towed lure of only 19 cm in diameter, and this occurred in repeated tests which indicated the enormous accuracy  of the missile. The reaction time of the missile is about 6 seconds since the target is detected and the maximum time of flight is about 13 seconds.
Rapier has the Selector Engagement Zone (SEZ) system, which is a device that allows the unit’s commander to enable engagement angles and dead angles for the launcher. In this way it is possible to avoid accidental shooting against trees, mounds and obstacles and also allows to create safe corridors for the own aviation.
The missile entered service in 1974 and was soon acquired by Australia, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Zambia totaling some 400 launchers and some 18,000 missiles. It has also been acquired by 10 other countries such as Turkey (86), Switzerland (50) or Singapore (12) that currently keep them in service.
Rapier missiles were deployed during the Falklands War in the vicinity of Port San Carlos and although initially exaggerated its success for political reasons, it is true that it served to put the combative Argentine aircraft in trouble, with one confirmed shot down and four other probables. The Rapier had not been used in combat before with the British forces, although in the Second Iraqi-Kurdish War, an Iranian Rapier shot down an Iraqi transport aircraft.
In 1974, the RAF put into service several Rapier batteries to protect their bases, mainly in Germany, which until then were protected by Tigercat missiles, derived from the Naval Seacat, and which never met the expectations placed on them, as It was patent in 1982 during the Falklands War.
To increase its effectiveness, the RAF acquired Marconi Blindfire towed radars for its Rapier batteries from 1979 onwards, since these missiles did not have all weather capacity until this time. These Rapier launchers were designated as “Rapier FSA” and “Rapier FSB”, (for “Field Standard A / B”). This improvement was also incorporated by the batteries of the Royal Army Artillery.
In this image, the composition of the Rapier FSB system could be perfectly appreciated. On the left is the Blindfire radar, on its right on a tripod is the optical tracker, and on the right the missile launcher, armed on this occasion with six missiles, which clearly observed the transmitting antenna and the surveillance radar dome.
The Rapier system has been improved over the years, and this one in the image is the most modern version designated as Rapier 2000 or Rapier FSC. It entered service in 1996 and along with the Blindfire radar upgrade, the launcher’s capacity has also doubled, which now carries eight missiles. The Rapier FSC can use both Rapier Mk.1 and Mk.2 missiles.

Entradas relacionadas