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Sea Dart

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Sea Dart

Postby Rob on Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:46 pm

Sea Dart
Sea Dart began as Hawker Siddeley project CF.299, a weapon to replace the Royal Navy's first-generation long-range surface-to-air missile, Sea Slug. It entered service in 1973 on the sole Type 82 destroyer HMS Bristol before widespread deployment on the Type 42 destroyer commencing with HMS Sheffield (D90) in 1976. The missile system was also fitted to Invincible class aircraft carrier but was removed during refits in the 1998-2000 period to increase the area of the flight deck and below-decks stowage associated with the operation of Royal Air Force Harrier GR9 aircraft.

Sea Dart was used during the Falklands War (1982) and is credited with seven confirmed kills (plus one British Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopter downed by friendly fire). One kill was against a high-flying Learjet reconnaissance aircraft beyond the missile's stated technical envelope. In another engagement, a high-flying Argentine Canberra bomber was shot down. Other kills were made against low-flying attack aircraft. The net effect of Sea Dart was to deny the higher altitudes to enemy aircraft. This was important because Argentine aircraft such as the Mirage had better straight line performance than the Sea Harriers, which were unlikely to successfully intercept them.
The first Sea Dart kill was an Aérospatiale Puma, on the May 9, 1982 near Stanley by HMS Coventry, with the loss of the 3 men aboard.
On the 25th of May an A-4C Skyhawk (C-244) of Grupo 5 was shot down north of Pebble Island again by Coventry. The Pilot, Capitán Hugo Angel del Valle Palaver was killed. Later, she shot down another Skyhawk (C-304) of Grupo 4 de Caza while it was returning from a mission to San Carlos Water. Capitán Jorge Osvaldo García successfully ejected but was not recovered. The next Argentine action that day saw the sinking of Coventry, as no Sea Dart was able to engage the A-4s, although one was launched without guidance in an effort to disrupt the attack but missed and the destroyer was struck by two iron bombs and sunk.
The same day a Super Etendard strike fighter sought to attack the British carrier group with Exocet missiles, but instead struck the cargo ship MV Atlantic Conveyor. HMS Invincible fired six Sea Darts in less than two minutes, but all missed.
On May 30, during the last Exocet air attacks against the British fleet, the most successful engagements with Sea Dart occurred and Exeter was credited with two A-4s (out of four attackers) downed, despite them flying only 10–15 metres above the sea (theoretically below Sea Dart's minimum engagement altitude of 30 metres (98 ft)). One of the two was engaged by a Type 21 frigate with her 4.5 inch gun On June 6 Exeter downed a Learjet 35A (destroying its tail) that was being used as reconnaissance aircraft, at 12,000 metres (39,000 ft) altitude, but missed a second one. Finally, on 13 June, a Canberra Mk.62 was flying at 12,000 metres (39,000 ft). While it was en route to bomb British troops at Port Harriet it was destroyed by a Sea Dart fired from HMS Cardiff.

In total at least eighteen missiles were launched by Type 42 destroyers, six by Invincible, and two by H.M.S. Bristol. Out of five missiles fired against helicopters or high flying aircraft, four were successful, but only two of nineteen fired at low level aircraft hit: just eleven percent; however a number of missiles were fired without guidance to deter low level attacks. Exeter's success can be partially attributed to being equipped with the Type 1022 radar, which was designed for the system and provided greater capability than the old Type 965 fitted to the earlier Type 42s.[3][4] The Type 965 was unable to cope with low level targets as it suffered multiple path crossings and targets became lost in radar clutter from the surface of the South Atlantic, this resulted in Sea Dart being unable to lock onto targets at distance obscured by land, or fast-moving low-level targets obscured in ground clutter or sea-returns.

In February 1991 during the Gulf War the battleship USS Missouri, escorted by HMS Gloucester (carrying Sea Dart) and the USS Jarrett (equipped with Phalanx CIWS), was engaged by an Iraqi Silkworm missile (also known as a Seersucker). The Silkworm missile was intercepted and destroyed by a Sea Dart fired from Gloucester. During the same engagement, the Jarrett's Phalanx 20 mm CIWS was placed in autoengagement mode and targeted chaff launched by the Missouri rather than the incoming missile. This engagement was the first validated, successful engagement of a missile by a missile during combat at sea, though the engagement was tail-end after the Silkworm had flown past the Gloucester.
Rob
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Re: Sea Dart

Postby Rob on Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:12 pm

I think the last paragraph is interesting, sea dart beating phalanx
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Re: Sea Dart

Postby snowwolflair on Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:49 pm

The point about how the chaff affected the Phalanx is the major problem of combining different systems on modern warships. The guy firing the chaff would probably not be the guy firing the Phalanx.

the loss of the Sheffield was as a result of a similar interference.
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