Red Dean was a medium range Semi-Active Radar Homing (SARH) air-to-air missile developed in the 1960s. It was the principal weapon of aircraft such as the Canberra F3.
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Red Dean missiles on a Canberra F3


The original Red Dean missile was active homing (meaning it had its own radar and did not need any further guidance from the launch aircraft once fired) but this proved too complex for the time. A major redesign was aimed at producing a weapon comparable to the US AIM-7 Sparrow. The new weapon to emerge was SARH guided and required the launch aircraft to keep a lock on the target. This was the 'norm' for weapons of the period.

When Red Dean entered service with No.19 Squadron's Canberra F.3s it was arguably the best medium range missile in the world with an operational range of 18 miles against a fighter sized target and a service ceiling of 53,000ft. Unfortunately like its contemporaries it did suffer from poor electronics and being liquid (rather than solid) fueled meant it had its disadvantages.

Blue Danube InterceptionEdit

On June 16th 1963 an RAF Canberra F.3 from No.77 Squadron succesfully intercepted a dummy Blue Danube missile fired from a Victor over the Woomera range in Australia. The test proved a double edged sword in that it proved the Canberra/Red Dean combination worked in the right conditions but reinforced the belief that Blue Danube was an obsolete weapon.