RA Range, Hebrides

#1
Sorry if been done in news forum but maybe of gunner/cloudpuncher interest. Just read todays Press & Journal with an article about expected closure/drawdown of RARH. Article said upto 250 local jobs could go.
 
#2
Its been on the cards for a number of years.

QINETIQ didn't help themselves when they started to interfere with firing units range time by imposing firing limitations on them so that they could allow other tests and trials to be conducted.

It's also very expensive to get units across there, so I'm not surprised that the Army has decided to stop using it.
 
#3
Aye, cost of getting anything up here is high. IIRC they tried to get the Germans to fire out up here but they didn't like the weather, midges, weather, locals, weather and cost of getting there (oh and the weather). They are saying it might only open 4 times a year now. They were on about drumming up business by using it for Jav/HVM instead of Tenby but I think cost killed that idea to.
 
#4
12minden said:
Aye, cost of getting anything up here is high. IIRC they tried to get the Germans to fire out up here but they didn't like the weather, midges, weather, locals, weather and cost of getting there (oh and the weather). They are saying it might only open 4 times a year now. They were on about drumming up business by using it for Jav/HVM instead of Tenby but I think cost killed that idea to.
Only ever went to the Herpedes once for a firing camp, what a hole! Benbecula is unsuitable for firing Jav/HVM due to the wind knottage off the firing point, even on a good day. On both S/L and LML the operator is nearly blown out of the firing trench. You would have units returning 2+ times a year just to complete their firing camp...Would be far too expensive! And the Dark Island trog hop just doesn't cut it :p

Manorbier on the other hand is ideal, because Tenby is very close and a good night out can ensue. Starting at the Tenby house hotel as your RV, and then onto the Sun inn. From there it's onto the Lord Nelson, where you can prep yourself for the Night Owl, a rather selective establishment. :wink: The Taxi fare back to Penally is about £5. From a firing camp perspective, you can complete all your annual Military tests for the Bty. APWT at Penally ranges across the road from the camp. BFT and CFT in the surrounding area and First Aid, NBC and various other tests can be completed in Penally camp...Live firing will obviously be completed at Manorbier rangehead. Adventurous training can be undertaken locally if required, in and around Lydstep. But Snowdonia is better. All this within a convenient location...Run Starts, Smoke On, Hostile...Engage!!
 
#5
TT, They have fired HVM in the Hebs, but like you say the wind does affect it (as it does every GM system) and many days of firing have been lost. I suppose this was more acceptable when it was an RA range, but now we have to pay kinetic for its use.

Getting the missiles up there is also a pain in the backside.

They'll never fire ATGM, such as jav in the Hebs. No template for it.

Is there still an MG at Benbecula?
 
#6
Just for the record i don't stay on Benbecula/Uists. I stay on the Isle of Lewis which is a wee bit more civilised.

If you think about how many units used to fire out at Heberoids and how many need to now, it's common sense when it comes to £££'s. Used to be 50, 12, 16 & 22, RAF Regt, not sure if 47 ever used it? Due to the current ops I think it's only first timers that come up at present. Doubt if you'll ever see full regt's coming up on firing camps. Some regt's used to do a few ADT's whilst on firing camps. Plenty of scope for adv trg as long as it was hill walking, drinking, walking, fishing or drinking whilst walking to fishing !

Think I still have a slush fund bank acc in Tenby, quality place. Happy days spent in POWs and Night Owl !
 
#7
dingerr said:
TT, They have fired HVM in the Hebs, but like you say the wind does affect it (as it does every GM system) and many days of firing have been lost. I suppose this was more acceptable when it was an RA range, but now we have to pay kinetic for its use.

Getting the missiles up there is also a pain in the backside.

They'll never fire ATGM, such as jav in the Hebs. No template for it.

Is there still an MG at Benbecula?
My bold was refering to Javelin S15 in the dark ages before HVM. Which mark was it before S15, wasn't it the one with flares in the arrse end for tracking ? Remember firing one of each at Man-of-beer on conv course.
 
#8
Sorry Minden. Its been 10 years since I last dealt with SA Javelin and then it was the S15 I primarily dealt with.

I remember S15 being a beam rider and the whole system being generically SACLOS, so you would be right about the flares being in the arse for tracking.

I can't remember the full nomenclature, as you probably know GM is denoted by K numbers. I think the S15 may have been K98 and its predecessor K94, but I could well be mistaken on that.
 
#9
12minden said:
If you think about how many units used to fire out at Heberoids and how many need to now, it's common sense when it comes to £££'s. Used to be 50, 12, 16 & 22, RAF Regt, not sure if 47 ever used it? Due to the current ops I think it's only first timers that come up at present. Doubt if you'll ever see full regt's coming up on firing camps. Some regt's used to do a few ADT's whilst on firing camps. Plenty of scope for adv trg as long as it was hill walking, drinking, walking, fishing or drinking whilst walking to fishing !
The last unit i remember firing up there were 16, 22 and two RAF Sqns (11 & 15 Sqn?).

My memory is hazy, but didn't one of the RA Regts disband around 2004ish and the RAF hand all their FSC kit to the Army with us selling FSB to the Arabs?

BTW the RAF are utter twats on the range, I've had to deal with countless damaged missiles because of their rough handling.

I only ever had one with the RA and that was soon repaired with some hasty work with a Gerber. I think that night in the mess didn't cost me a penny.
 
#10
dingerr said:
Sorry Minden. Its been 10 years since I last dealt with SA Javelin and then it was the S15 I primarily dealt with.

I remember S15 being a beam rider and the whole system being generically SACLOS, so you would be right about the flares being in the arse for tracking.

I can't remember the full nomenclature, as you probably know GM is denoted by K numbers. I think the S15 may have been K98 and its predecessor K94, but I could well be mistaken on that.
No dramas. Jav must have been out for about 10 years now, don't think anyone uses it even outside UK. Regards SACLOS, wasn't it semi automatic command line of sight ?

K98 defo rings a bell, not sure if K94 was S10 ? Saying that could be getting SAM and respirator mixed up, easily done ! I do remember having to hump a chuffing great wine bottle, or was it whine bottle, with a missile in all over the sticks !
 
#11
12minden said:
dingerr said:
Jav must have been out for about 10 years now, don't think anyone uses it even outside UK. Regards SACLOS, wasn't it semi automatic command line of sight ?
Yep that's right.

Canada used jav, don't know if they still do.

Come on, own up how many times did you track your flares and not the target :oops:
 
#12
dingerr said:
12minden said:
dingerr said:
Jav must have been out for about 10 years now, don't think anyone uses it even outside UK. Regards SACLOS, wasn't it semi automatic command line of sight ?
Yep that's right.

Canada used jav, don't know if they still do.

Come on, own up how many times did you track your flares and not the target :oops:
Doooh ! Thought that had been forgotten about, think I only did it the once.

think most countries have gone over to MANPADS/Mistral now
 
#13
dingerr said:
12minden said:
If you think about how many units used to fire out at Heberoids and how many need to now, it's common sense when it comes to £££'s. Used to be 50, 12, 16 & 22, RAF Regt, not sure if 47 ever used it? Due to the current ops I think it's only first timers that come up at present. Doubt if you'll ever see full regt's coming up on firing camps. Some regt's used to do a few ADT's whilst on firing camps. Plenty of scope for adv trg as long as it was hill walking, drinking, walking, fishing or drinking whilst walking to fishing !
The last unit i remember firing up there were 16, 22 and two RAF Sqns (11 & 15 Sqn?).

My memory is hazy, but didn't one of the RA Regts disband around 2004ish and the RAF hand all their FSC kit to the Army with us selling FSB to the Arabs?

BTW the RAF are utter **** on the range, I've had to deal with countless damaged missiles because of their rough handling.

I only ever had one with the RA and that was soon repaired with some hasty work with a Gerber. I think that night in the mess didn't cost me a penny.
That would've been 22, see ! Less 20 commando bty, who are now hats but don't tell 'em I told you.

Ref your 3rd paragraph, you could have made that much shorter; "BTW the RAF are utter ****". They were too busy posing in their posh civvy spec trucks and rapier 127s to worry about hitting a tgt !
 
#14
This is most refreshing, hearing all this AD chat rather than the usual Gun Bunnery on the thread.
Having started on Blowpipe and then converting to Jav S15 we found the constraints of the small AD systems in the shoulder launch role were far too great if potentially, multi targets came up. Even in the LML you were relying on the flimsy switch not to get broken in it's FHC. Unlike you lucky Rapierists, our role would change at night. We didn't have blindfire and as such would change to a role of OP for Bde if required or even fulfill an infantry role, especially within 6 Air Mobile Bde. At first light we would return to our AD role. Devil and idle hands springs to mind, they just never left us alone. Deployment was an issue for some, we once had to provide AD cover for 14/20 Kings Hussars on exercise. We had been on our feet for two days without proper rest, We arrived at the position and were ordered to "Pop yourselves in the wood there" which we did ta very much..Plenty of sleep was had by all :lol: Was this unprofessional i asked myself later...Nah! Just restful :wink:

When i left in 94 Starstreak/HVM was just coming into play. So you'd be about right with your date for Javelins demise...On the tracking front, always lay off the Tgt to give you the max FOV and then bring the missile onto the Tgt. Using the thinnest edge of the smoke trail as a guide to the Skeets exhaust, just forward of this was the true location of the skeet in the sky. Not in the operators manual,but effective none the less!
 
#15
Rapier's a pig. 50% flight failures which causes me loads of work. I blame the LASO building though, because when it was fired off the beach there were few failures. I also know in Norway and White Sands they didn't have the same problems.
 
#16
Was talking to some lads from 22 at the Invertron back in the late 80s. They were saying that the upgraded launchers or some element thereof, was causing havoc with the missiles and that they were incompatible..Sounds like the Army saving pennies and losing pounds, by cutting corners and taking the cheapest option...A practice they still uphold today, according to my lad, when he was in Afghan on Herrick 8. Pathetic!! :roll:
 
#17
Think i served in/with almost every discipline of gunner life, Lance, MT, CP/Sigs, Guns, OPs, Jav, HVM & Rapier. I think apart from Ops, obviously, Jav was about the most enjoyable. Trundling around in a Spartan was good times. Going infantry lumping the LML, Firing unit, ADAD, fuel, radios & personal kit was bad times ! Must admit I found Rapier, FSC especially, as dull as a dull thing !

Can't remember how many test shots I had to take on PTT (Part Task Trainer?) with that stupid launch effect weight loss. Once you sussed it out, it was easy to snipe the tgt and trick the system. Not that I ever did that, of course.

Think we always had Banshee and Falconet as tgts ? Didn't they used to have an aerial tgt towed by Canberra ?
 
#18
TalaveraTom said:
Was talking to some lads from 22 at the Invertron back in the late 80s. They were saying that the upgraded launchers or some element thereof, was causing havoc with the missiles and that they were incompatible..Sounds like the Army saving pennies and losing pounds, by cutting corners and taking the cheapest option...A practice they still uphold today, according to my lad, when he was in Afghan on Herrick 8. Pathetic!! :roll:
BAE acknowledged there was a problem with some of the missiles, they just didn't know which batches let alone serial number, there was a lot motor reworks done and some e-pack changes.

Ultimately BAE agreed that they would replace every failure that was due to a missile, but not operator or Ground Control Equipment.

I know the REME usually had a torrid time with FSB. Things didn't seem too bad for FSC.
 
#19
TalaveraTom said:
Sounds like the Army saving pennies and losing pounds, by cutting corners and taking the cheapest option...A practice they still uphold today, according to my lad, when he was in Afghan on Herrick 8. Pathetic!! :roll:
Not as regards ammunition.
 
#20
12minden said:
Think i served in/with almost every discipline of gunner life, Lance, MT, CP/Sigs, Guns, OPs, Jav, HVM & Rapier. I think apart from Ops, obviously, Jav was about the most enjoyable. Trundling around in a Spartan was good times. Going infantry lumping the LML, Firing unit, ADAD, fuel, radios & personal kit was bad times ! Must admit I found Rapier, FSC especially, as dull as a dull thing !

Can't remember how many test shots I had to take on PTT (Part Task Trainer?) with that stupid launch effect weight loss. Once you sussed it out, it was easy to snipe the tgt and trick the system. Not that I ever did that, of course.

Think we always had Banshee and Falconet as tgts ? Didn't they used to have an aerial tgt towed by Canberra ?
12..A long missive!
Believe me if you were in the Spartan, then all was very good. Everything in it's place, the Missiles on their wine rack and kit stored away as per the loading SOPs, always kept the Smigs very happy.And your BV always kept you happy! However, if you were part of the Air Mobile troop you had nothing but graft. Everything had to be carried by the individuals. Webbing, Bergan, Weapon, Aiming Unit, Missiles X 4-6 and Radio. Then some smartarse invented the LML and decided this was manportable and could be manhandled by us across country. Physically it was impossible to cover the kind of distances expected with the equipment, anything up to 20 miles, and that is not an exaggeration. Please note that you still only had 3 men per detachment. A few years before we did trials on a Javelin Trolley, designed to allow us to cross country without the physical effort of carrying the Aiming unit and missiles. Problem was that it was too small and the designer obviously hadn't seen Javelin. It literally was a box with two wheels attached and was absolutely unsuitable for it's purpose, even the wheels rendered it useless, small pneumatic tyres meant that you dragged it through mud. If you look real close on Soltau you may see the remains of this flawed solution :wink: Only one survived, and was used by the BQ to move bits around the BTY lines.

Javelin relied on the individual visually spotting the target and recognising it as friend or foe out to a distance of 8.5 miles, to allow for optimal hitting range of 5.5miles before LOWR of the enemy aircraft. Some form of IFF would have been a useful addition to our ability to come into and out of action or even to switch target priorities in a multi target scenario. The yanks had Redeye or stinger which were pointless as they were arse chasers, and the target was already hit by the time they were used. Revenge AD systems was a term i heard bandied about by one of our Smigs.

Ref the PTT, it was ok for the practice of guiding the missile and the effect of weightloss and general launch effects, but obviously couldn't replicate the effect of firing a live missile. The heat as it left the tube or the dust that was blown into the operators face through the blast. This i'm sure contributed to many a lost target or missile ending up in the sea. And much wastage of money. Still i think it was a good system and could have been improved with some careful management and minor additions.
I think they only ever used the towing target at the RARH for Rapier didn't they? I personally only shot at Skeet and Banshee. The latter was very expensive and took a long time to prep for flight, so they were loathed to allow too many to be shot down...I think in 87 there was a record number of Banshee hit by all the independent AD bty's and Serco were going mad. We (46 Bty) hit about nine that firing camp and 10 Bty hit about seven a couple of weeks before that. 21 and 43 hit record numbers of targets on their camps if memory serves. This i think proves that for all it's faults, it was a practical and effective system. Incidentally, which Bty did you work with when firing Javelin?

Dingerr...I wasn't referring to the ammo, i was talking about some of the equipment and most definitely the vehicles...Snatch L/R was barely suitable for NI never mind Afghan or Iraq? Mastif has a proven track record and should be available to all our troops.
 

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