Blow Pipe -- how effective was it?

Discussion in 'Gunners' started by Softcentre, Dec 19, 2010.

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  1. Had a chat with some one last week who served in the South Atlantic event and suggested that Blow Pipe was a great success with at least one Argentinian 'kill' to its credit. My recollection of the system in 1980 ish (a 10 min demo by my FOO) was that it was cumbersome, dangerous, inaccurate and generally a waste of space. Did it actually hit anything in its career and when did it disappear?.
  2. A Bdr I knew was medically downgraded after firing one in the FI campaign - I THINK he scored a kill but cannot confirm. It was guided to its target by the operator so inaccuracy was an operator problem. Special training dart systems were issued to allow the operator to train keeping on target when the missile left the launcher and the weight and CoG changed.

    Edited to add - the Bdr was a fecking good bloke and should have made RSM and then commissioned.
  3. It required a fair amount of operator training, but was quite a potent weapon for the size. Its bad press is a bit unfair, as it was never really used in its intended role - as a point defence system against oncoming targets. Had the Cold War kicked off, I think it would have done ok - particularly against helis.
  4. Do you mean he was injured in some way by the Blowpipe itself? How?
  5. The Gunners in 83 and 84 were allowed to fire off the ones the Argies left behind.

    We were allowed to play on the stimulator up on BYRON Hights as there was a chance to win a shot with a real one.
    There was a site "draw" and one of the RAF chefs one the chance to go down to fire off one real one.

    he was fiing from a trench and the booster thingy went off early and blew him out the tench and the missile shot off and buried itself in the peat,started a fucin huge fire and the rest of the time was spent trying to put said fire out.

    I did feel sorry for the gunners tho, as it was winter both times they were the air cover and we had 20 hrs of daylight at the time . Stgging on with a blowpipe and a Gimpy must have been geat fun - not.
  6. In 79/80ish, I was putting up 81mm Illum as targets for Blowpipe. They then flew a skeet as a target. Don't know why. If they couldn't get anywhere near a slow-moving, hot, bright object dangling from a parachute, what chance did they stand againt a truly-moving target?

  7. Burst eardrum.
  8. I would say it depended on which poison was used on the tip. Some tribes in the Amazon and Sumatra still use them to great effect.
    A very cheap and effective weapon .
  9. It's deployment with the mujahideen in Afghanistan [circa 1983-4]was unsuccessful.
    Neither the training nor the cumbersome nature of firing the missile and then guiding onto target gained the confidence of the afghans.
    Stinger was subsequently deployed with far greater acceptance and success.
    I understand that Stinger was also deployed to the F.I.
  10. Used by them IIRC. Didn't Andy McNab write something about a load of them going to the States for training on the Stinger. A gobby instructor came in larging it, because he fired a live shot at a drone once a year, where as everyone else was only allowed to use the simulator.

    He was taken down a peg or two by the member of them who had shot down a jet with one in the Falklands :D

    According to the wiki, Blowpipe was designed as a SAM for subs ?!

  11. I remember being shown a video of Blowpipe by an RA recruitment team comprising a Lt , Capt and Major in 1979 .
    The video showed a missile bringing down a Meteor.
    When I asked whether it had brought down anything more modern than the Meteor the Lt referred the question to the Capt who referred it to the Major. He could confirm any other kills .
  12. Note this coment is discussing something lost in the mists of time...

    Not bad for a first generation Anti Aircraft missile though. If I remember correctly it had the advantage over Stinger in that it couldn't be decoyed by flares. I fired it on a simulator but it wasn't very user friendly, from memory the controller worked the opposite way - i.e. you move the botton left and it goes right. They ditched MCLOS for SACLOS pretty quickly.
  13. I've got to be fair in my comments, though. The unit I was supporting had recently re-roled from 25 pdr to Blowpipe. It was their final shoot with the 25 pdr and possibly their first live shoot with Blowpipe.
  14. I suspect all AD systems are better on the range than against a manouvring enemy. Rapier was sold as a "hiittile" with kill probabilities over 50%. Any system relying on operator skill is likely to be downgraded in battle.

    Two bits of trivia to add to this thread...

    1. Two chums were marooned in St Kilda when the Falklands kicked off. They thought it would be a wizard wheeze to send a signal to the world on 1st April 1982 saying that due to flash blindness Blowpip[e operators needed to keep their eyes closed for the 1st three seconds of flight.

    2. A gunner AD officer based at Woolwich commanding a training troop on holiday in Pakistan in 1986 was offered a lot of money to help the mujahadeen to make Blowpipe work.