Destroyer500 wrote: ↑
02 Jul 2022 00:54
The Russians quickly recognized that the S-25 Berkut was unaffordable and that something with much longer range was necessary to be the next generation SAM, just as the US did with the more affordable Nike Ajax.
For the Russians that system was the V-400 Dal. This missile more than doubled the intercept range of the earlier S-25 (roughly out to about 75 miles). It was dropped in development for the S-200 (Nato SA-5 Gammon) that could range out to about 100 to 200 miles, depending on the variant. That put it on par with Nike Hercules and BOMARC as an air defense system. But it was also a missile of the late 60's.
What was the maximum range for such AA missiles back then and what is it now ?
In the late 1940's into the mid-50's the biggest roadblock to greater range was the quality of radar and speed of the fire control system (computing power). As the USN easily proved in testing in Project Bumblebee (that resulted in the Talos missile in 1958), with a ramjet powered missile you could easily get a SAM that could be fired to 50+ miles range and 60,000 feet or more.
The problem was accurately guiding it to an intercept at those ranges.
Realistically, a SAM from 1945 to 1955 could be accurately guided out to around 30 or so miles and around 50,000 feet. The radars of that period simply lacked better resolution necessary to guide one accurately further. BOMARC got around that by putting the radar on the missile for terminal guidance with huge ground-based radars and a ground-based guidance system for mid-course control.
With Talos, an entirely new system of beam forming and steering was invented to allow for accurate terminal guidance.
Fire controls were on the order of say 4 to 8 bit data. A modern scientific calculator is more powerful as a computing device.
Modern SAM missiles can easily range out to 300 + miles and take things in low orbit down. But that's light years from where the state of the art was in 1945 - 55.
That's a Cobra Test Vehicle, a mid-series ramjet test missile for Bumblebee in say late 1945 to 1946. It could hit about Mach 2 and fly to about 20 miles range and 40,000 feet. The early ones were hitting Mach 1.5 and going out to about 12 - 15 miles and 35,000 feet and that was before Germany surrendered.