What happened to our old Polaris misiles: Historical Question

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Yokel, Sep 9, 2011.

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  1. For years now I have wondered (yes, I should get a life) what happened to our Polaris SLBMs after the system was phased out of service and replaced with Trident. Presumably the missiles went back to the US, but what then?

    Where they simply dismantled, or could they (or parts of them) be reused, possibly for satellite launch vehicles?
  2. The body of one of them (minus any actual bits that go bang or whoosh) is in the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.
  3. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    Sold to a Mr. M. Quaddafi, 3, The Scours, Tripoli, as scrap. The warheads were not included, though, as we're not stupid.
  4. There's one in the museum at Cosford as well.
  5. Yes, motors exploded to dispose of them and the vehicle recycled into coke cans.
  6. How many do you want?
  7. The last of the gas generators (part of the launch system) were given the good news at Shoeburyness in 1995..

    I think the last of the motors went the previous year...
  8. Am I right in thinking that compared to other ballistic missiles, Polaris was relatively small with a fairly small throw weight, and as a result, it would not have been feasible to use converted missiles as a launch vehicle (by adding more stages)?

    I remember wondering about this in 93/94, as Trident was talking over.
  9. Yup...

    Reentry bus was about the size of a wheelie bin. Warheads are about the size of a large Fire Extinguisher.

    On show at the submarine museum in Gosport if you are interested...

    The propellent in the motor was reaching it's sell by date and would have/was disposed of anyway. By the end of it's life, UK Polaris had been updated to the Chevaline warheads, which were recycled into the UK Trident missile warhead.
  10. Yeah, I do have some understanding of the technical issues, but didn't realise how Polaris compared with other ballistic misiles. Thanks.
  11. A large part of the vehicle was made of spruce plywood, so probably not up to launching satellites.

    Re the Cosford exhibit, it had been on public display for a couple of years when some septic rocket engineering bod who happened to visit whilst here on holiday spotted some piece of kit on it that was still highly classified. Cue shutdown of the hangar whilst the missile was shunted off to who knows where, only to reappear several weeks later sans some hardware that was mooted to have been some type of gyro thingy.