Work Day 15th December 2018

Saturday was the last Cosford working day for 2018; on-site working will recommence on January 6th 2019.  February will be the winter shut down month with no work taking place at Cosford but things will still be happening behind the scenes.

Another step forward for the T86 as the completed decking for the main roof was refitted. These two photos show the end result.

T86 Main Roof Decking Complete 1 wm.jpg

T86 Main Roof Decking Complete 2 wm.jpg

The decking for the pedestal roof has been completed but will not be refitted until repairs have been carried out to the badly corroded sections on this roof section.  Unfortunately the pedestal roof is steel and not alloy!

The Covers for the elevation and bearing synchros have been refurbished, primed, and refitted. The accompanying photo shows the covers on the elevation gear box.

T86 Elevation Gearbox Covers wm.jpg

We still have a fault with the Argus 700 in the LCP. A limited card swap did not resolve the fault so all Argus 700 cards have been removed for checking in the test rig we maintain off site. The damp and cold environment in the hangar is the cause, we run the simulator without many problems in the summer but when the winter weather arrives the Argus goes on strike!

Meanwhile … in Dersingham … Mike S is refining a technique using diode laser engraving for restoring aluminium labels from the T86 console. They were black anodised then mechanically engraved through to the metal but have now corroded.  The new engraving will be on the reverse side. Here is what the labels currently look like.

Lamps Label.jpg

… we are “ON TARGET” and hope to “ACQUIRE” … donations from willing followers which would be most gratefully received as would a good home for this unique and iconic Cold War equipment collection.

Happy Christmas to all our readers and many thanks for following our endeavours over the last year.

Pete H and the BMPG team

Work Day 8th December 2018

The four large sections of RFI rubber sheet below were returned to Cosford after cleaning.

T86 Pedestal Base RFI Sheets wm.jpg

The rubber sheet is cracked in places and requires restoration which will be carried out once the sheets are back on the pedestal. No point in restoring the rubber sheet unless it has the exact profile of the curved base of the pedestal.

Restoration proceeds with the radar drawers with the top one being cleaned and prepared for repainting; inside there is labelling that will not be overpainted. On the sides of the drawer are some etched initials and dates.

T86 Signed Drawer Sides wm.jpg

Our Type 86 was Yellow’s radar at Bawdsey until 1990 (85 Sqn, C Flt) 1990, can anyone identify who the initials belong to?

Here’s another mystery/question. The top drawer from the radar has compartments for EMERs (as per a Thunderbird radar) yet the radar is ex Swedish. Did the drawers come from an AD10? Did Sweden use EMERs?

The simulator developed a fault last week but no major fault finding effort took place to try to resolve the problem. One of the issues we face is understanding the error messages that occur when the Argus 700 boots in a fault condition, see the error message and indicator state below.

LCP Boot Error 8_12_2018 wm.jpg

What is:
FAIL 000104  000002   000000
TASK NO  @00  £000
LOCAL ERROR NO  @44  £104
PARAMETER1  @0002  £0000
.. telling us? Is it a backplane issues? The only thing I have found after a quick look at the System Messages handbook is: Standard Task No 00 = EXEC = Executive Subsystem

With everything switched on and booting, as per the error message, should the LED’s, or some of them, on the digital O/P cards be ‘on’, I can’t remember. The +/- 15V to the Digital box is OK and the GL’s are both OK as I swapped them around with the spare which made no difference to the error message. Is it a memory fault? We had a mysterious and similar fault a couple of months back and suspected a 15V supply but the fault magically cleared on the next switch on.

LCO I-O Rack Fault wm.jpg

We do have some experienced help and the manuals that should allow us to work out what the error message means. Working out where the fault lies will avoid the dreaded ‘board swap’ approach to fault finding.

Pete H

BMPG End of Year Status Report – 2018

The Bloodhound Missile Preservation Group (BMPG) is a team of mainly ex-Royal Air Force technicians who worked with Bloodhound and ex-Ferranti engineers, one of whom commissioned the updated Launch Control Posts (LCP) in 1985 and so brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the team.

LCP Before Recovery
BMPG’s first acquisition. A long story of how we acquired the LCP and best told at a later date but it all started when it was known that I was interested in preserving Bloodhound equipment. I was motivated to try and preserve Bloodhound MKII following a visit to the IWM at Duxford, their Bloodhound kit was in a sorry state and still is. The photograph shows our LCP shortly before it was recovered, it had been abandoned by the RAF Museum in a far corner of the airfield at RAF Cosford. It had been there since it was moved from display when the Cold War building was erected at Cosford.

LCP Before Recovery wm.jpg

LCP Cabin Restored
Now under cover and protected by a dust sheet. Further work is still required in replacing various fittings but the major tasks in restoring the cabin have been completed, it has taken a few years!

LCP Cabin Restored wm.jpg

The Simulator as Recovered
A major update programme from 1985 onwards to the Bloodhound MKII LCP when its Ferranti Argus 200 computer was replaced with the Argus 700. As a result of the update most of the displays were digitised and the Argus 700 was powerful enough to incorporate the simulator for Engagement Controller training in to the operational LCP. Our first task was to assess the viability of restoring the simulator and decided it was worth a go! One problem was that the display console was not complete, the top switch panel and the Engagement Controllers keyboard were both missing as can be seen in the photograph.

LCP Simulator as Recovered wm.jpg

The Simulator Running
It took three years of restoration work before the first flicker of life returned to the LCP and its simulator. The simulator restoration is now complete after replacements for the missing items were located. The simulator runs exercises from basic target acquisition through to engaging multiple jamming targets The restoration was only possible through the support of many and kind donations. We also have a close working relationship with the Swiss Bloodhound museum at Menzingen whose support has made our restoration possible.

LCP Simulator Running wm.jpg

LCP Cabin internals
A general view of the LCP with the display console prominent. On the right are the racks to monitor the eight missiles of a Bloodhound section. Perhaps we will look to some restoration of the racks in the future and develop an eight channel missile simulator! Note the shiny handles on the rack draws, all 350 plus chrome fitting in the LCP have been re chromed!
LCP Restored Internals wm.jpg

Type 86 Radar Before Recovery
The Type 86 was acquired a couple of years after the LCP when the RAF Museum decided it was time to dispose of it. As with the LCP the radar had been abandoned, left to the elements and attacked by scrap metal hunters. We acquired the radar after the RAF Museum put it up for disposal and no one else wanted it, probably because it was described as a ‘derelict trailer’.

Type 86 Before Recovery wm.jpg

Type 86 Radar on 29th September 2018
The Type 86 today with restoration well under way. Some significant work has been undertaken including replacing its plywood floor, completely rotten following years in the open with the cabin doors left open. Some electronics restoration has taken place as we needed to get the aerial brake system working but the radar will never transmit again. We are looking at some simulation and hopefully bring life back to the control and signal circuits.

Type 86 Radar on 29_09_2018 wm.jpg

Project Status
The missing items for us are a Bloodhound missile and launcher which would complete the set. Both missiles and a Launcher exist at a couple of accredited Museum locations but are no longer on display; they have been left in the open and are deteriorating fast.

We have made representations to both locations to save this equipment so they can go on public display with our LCP and Type 86 Radar but no positive response has yet been received. We believe that through our work we have demonstrated as much ability and determination to do the job properly as any accredited museum would yet we are still rejected as mere ‘hobbyists’.

This is all very frustrating to see what could be the only display of a complete Bloodhound Missile System in the UK just rot away. For all we know it could possibly end up being scrapped before we have an opportunity to save this iconic Cold War equipment.

LCP Simulator B&A wm.jpg

Work Day 1st December 2018

The construction and painting of the new T86 roof decking is nearing completion, as it is on most Saturdays! The photo below shows several main sections of the decking; one is complete with a coat of anti-slip paint on its top surfaces. The paint was chosen as it is sold for providing an anti-slip surface to such things as boat decks.

T86 Decking with Anti-Slip 2 wm.jpg

T86 Anti-Slip Paint wm.jpg

Work continues with preparing the drawers in the T86 for refurbishing. The front surfaces of the drawers has taken a hammering during its service life so will need a repaint, the colour being Dark Admiralty Grey. A navy colour in an RAF radar, what next.

T86 Cleaning Drawers wm.jpg

The photo below shows the bottom drawer.

T86 Drawer Labelling wm.jpg The partition sections had been removed during, or before, its RAF service as Yellow’s T86 at Bawdsey. It would have contained such things as the LCP Simulator and Oscilloscope Portable CT436. This ‘scope’ was made by Solartron from 1962; at least we know where there is a CT436 manual! All items were missing when the radar was acquired by us. But the top drawer did contain items from the radar’s service life …. they were including several Old Holborn tobacco tins of various fuses!

Off-site work on the T86 involved the stripping and priming of the elevation and bearing synchro covers; all are now ready for a top coat.

T86 Syncho Covers Primed wm.jpg

The bearing covers are from within the pedestal which looks to have been painted with red lead. Unfortunately this paint does not adhere to alloys so it wasn’t hard to remove more a case of it ‘just dropped off’. Red Lead is no longer available all due to the lead therein! Repainting will be carried out using correct metal primers with a top coat of red oxide paint.

Pete H

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