BAeD Sea Eagle: The RAF's Fist at Sea

[Would you like to see this in-game?]
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Introduction: The BAeD Sea Eagle is an anti-ship missile that was used by the RAF from the 1980’s to the 2000’s, being the primary anti-shipping armament for the RAF and RN’s fast jets.

image.png.c3431db5c3a4bce6a8853a753e83d1

History: Throughout the late Sixties and Seventies, Hawker Siddeley Dynamics had designed and produced numerous variants of the AJ.168 Martel missile. Despite all this, none entered service, and only a few ever reached the prototype stage. However, one variant stands out, this one is the P.3T, better known as Sea Eagle. Though aerodynamically similar to Martel, the two share very little in common.

Description: Sea Eagle was a long-range weapon, designed for launch against surface vessels from fast jets. The missile used a Microturbo TRI-60 jet engine, which gave the missile 112km (70 miles) of range, thus over-the-horizon capability. The missile was truly fire-and-forget, unlike its predecessor, the Martel, which required a data link pod, and constant guidance from an operator. The missile was navigated by an Inertial Navigation System (INS) during its flight phase, with the terminal guidance being done by active radar, which can detect a target of 100m2 from up to 30km away. It’s range, in conjunction with the ability to carry out various attack profiles, allows the launching aircraft to remain out of harms way. This system made it hard to jam, but it posed a problem when a specific target was meant to be attacked, which was made difficult since the missile attacked the first target detected by the radar.

image

The missile uses an RDX-TNT warhead, which is capable of penetrating the skin of a ship, before detonating. This is supposed to produce an explosive force large enough to break the bulkheads in a ship. The explosion is made larger through the ignition of unused fuel in the missile.

image

Before launch, the launching aircraft receives (or calculates) the target’s range, speed and heading. The missile is then launched, and drops in altitude to just a few metres above the surface. Attacks on targets from long distances require a short “pop-up” manoeuvre to correct the INS, before returning to its previous altitude. The missile’s altitude is controlled by radio altimeter, using advanced signal methods to conceal the missile’s position. The Sea Eagle can also perform vertical and horizontal manoeuvres to improve survivability.

image

The missile was used by the RAF on its Buccaneer S.2B aircraft, which were eventually replaced by the Tornado GR.1B. The missile was also tested on a BAE Hawk and Sea Harrier FRS.1. The Sea Eagle was an export success, being sold to India, Saudi Arabia and Chile.

Carried by:

Spoiler

Panavia Tornado GR.1B

Panavia Tornado GR.4 (supposedly integrated, but likely never carried in service)

Blackburn Buccaneer S.2B

BAE Hawk 200

BAE Sea Harrier FRS.1/FA.2

SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1 XX979

Performance:

Spoiler

General

Origin

United Kingdom

Type

Air launched anti-ship missile

Dimensions

Length

4.14 m

Diameter

0.4 m

Wingspan

1.2 m

Weight

580 kg

Guidance

Terminal

Active radar homing, J-band radar

Inertial navigation

Autopilot with twin gyro system

Altimeter

C-band radar altimeter

Maneuvering

Pre-programmable mid course maneuvers

Warhead

Type

Semi-armor piercing

Weight

230 kg PBX

Engagement envelope

Propulsion

Microturbo TRI 60 turbojet

Speed

Mach 0.85

Range

Over 110 km, depends on launch speed and altitude

Flight time

400 seconds

Flight altitude

Sea skimming missile

Conclusion: I believe that this would be an interesting addition to the British tree and would be a valuable addition as ships get more modern and maps get larger.

Sources:

Spoiler

“British Secret Projects: Hypersonics, Ramjets and Missiles” by Chris Gibson and Tony Buttler

GBR - Sea Eagle : Anti-Ship Missiles (ASM)

Sea Eagle anti-ship missile | Missilery.info

HMS DEVONSHIRE AFTER SEA EAGLE MISSILE STRIKE [Allocated Title] | Imperial War Museums

Sea Eagle | Weaponsystems.net

A Compendium of Armaments and Military Hardware (Routledge Revivals) - Christopher Chant - Google Books

The British Carrier Strike Fleet after 1945 - David Hobbs - Google Books

Air Force Magazine - Google Books

.British Aerospace Sea Harrier Hobbymaster,Herpa Announcements

Sea Eagle - Pics? - Aviation Discussion & Research - Large Scale Planes

SeaEagle and Kormaron | Secret Projects Forum

4 Likes

+1

1 Like

I don’t see this being useful, but it’s pretty interesting

The intentional use of unburned fuel in the missile adding to the explosion is fascinating. I wonder how that would be modeled in WT? +1

1 Like

I’d love these, would be so much fun in ASB

Mostly of use in Air Sim where there are naval targets already, but I also hope they would return naval targets in ARB, perhaps alongside more carriers.

2 Likes

I also think that it is inevitable that naval will eventually receive more modern vessels, which will come equipped with missiles. So it will only be natural to include anti-ship missiles by then.

2 Likes