Rapier (missile)

Rapier is a surface-to-air missile developed for the British Army to replace their towed Bofors 40/L70 anti-aircraft guns. The system is unusual as it uses a manual optical guidance system, sending guidance commands to the missile in flight over a radio link; this results in a high level of accuracy, therefore a large warhead is not required. Entering service in 1972, it replaced all other anti-aircraft weapons in Army service; as the expected air threat moved from medium-altitude strategic missions to low-altitude strikes, the fast reaction time and high maneuverability of the Rapier made it more effective than either of these weapons, replacing most of them by 1977. Rapier was selected by the RAF Regiment to replace their Bofors guns and Tigercat missiles, it saw international sales. It remains one of the UK's primary air-defence weapons, its deployment is expected to continue until 2020; the introduction of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, or surface-to-air guided weapons as they are known in the UK, had made flying at medium or high altitudes anywhere near the front line near suicidal.

In response, air forces began introducing aircraft and weapons meant to be used at low altitudes, in nap-of-the-earth flying that used landforms to block the view of the aircraft from the radar systems on the missiles. By the late 1950s, the British Army considered this threat considerable as new aircraft like the Sukhoi Su-7 became common and higher performance designs were in the pipeline. Against low-flying aircraft, only anti-aircraft guns were suitable, as they could be swung and fired in seconds. However, the short range of their Bofors 40/L60 guns meant they had only a short period of time in which the aircraft was close enough to fire on. To improve this, the Army began the development of a massively improved weapon known as "Red Queen"; this used a large 42 mm round in a gatling gun arrangement for high rates of fire. In spite of some progress, in 1959, the General Staff concluded that guns were no longer useful against modern aircraft, began a new missile development for a short-range, rapid-reaction weapon, known as the Light Anti-Aircraft system.

The initial design contest was won by British Aircraft Corporation in 1960, given the development name PT.428. This called for a system; the firing unit was a single piece that could be taken off for firing, or fired from the truck in an emergency. The system was deliberately taken apart, into the Fairey Rotodyne; the system was quite advanced, including automated search and track radars, a separate television camera for target identification, eighteen missiles in two nine-round boxes. As budget pressures escalated in the early 1960s, the Army was given the choice of picking either PT.428 or their Blue Water nuclear missile, choosing the latter, a decision Solly Zuckerman found rather questionable. The Army replaced PT.428 with the similar but less advanced MIM-46 Mauler from the United States. Mauler combined a search radar and nine missiles using either radar or infrared guidance on a single M113-derived vehicle; the concept was larger and with fewer missiles. During the development of PT.428, BAC had considered a lightweight version of the system.

Which mounted six of the PT.428 missiles on a trailer that could be towed by a pickup version of the Land Rover. An early warning radar would be mounted on a framework above the roof of the truck, initial tracking would be manual using a pair of binoculars mounted on a gimbal system in the truck bed. A small antenna on the launcher trailer would communicate with the missile to bring it into alignment with the binoculars and follow semi-active radar homing from that point; when PT.428 ended in 1961, BAC began considering less-expensive options based on the same general concept. During this time, Colin Baron and John Twinn at the Royal Aircraft Establishment were developing an optical semi-automatic command to line of sight system. Using this with the PT.428 missile produced the Sightline concept, which would be much less expensive than the original concept. The next year, Mauler was downgraded on its way to being canceled, leaving the Army with no modern short-range anti-aircraft systems; the General Staff and Air Staff responded by issuing the combined GASR.3132 requirement for a clear-weather daytime SAM for both the Army and the RAF Regiment.

Whether GASR.3132 was designed for Sightline, or Sightline for GASR.3132, is not clear in existing references. The new concept was given the name "Defoe". An smaller and cheaper system lacking an early warning radar was considered under GASR.3134. In 1963, Defoe was made official, given the development target ET.316. BAC management gave it the name "Mongoose", but during a board meeting the issue arose that no one knew what more than one mongoose was called; the name "rapier" was made official. As development continued, it became clear that the Rapier was a much more formidable weapon than expected; the optical tracking system was so accurate that the missile always hit the aircraft, so with its small warhead and lack of a proximity fuse it certainly guaranteed a kill. BAC joked that the system was a "hit-ile", as opposed to a "miss-ile", it became clear that the warning radar system would be invaluable in the field, GASR.3134 was dropped. The first test firings of the missile taking place in 1966.

The system was extensively tested at Woomera, with considerable support from the Australian Army, who were early

California Surf

The California Surf was a soccer club based in Anaheim, California who played in the North American Soccer League from 1978 to 1981. Their home field was Anaheim Stadium, they played two seasons of indoor soccer, one each at the Anaheim Convention Center and the Long Beach Arena. They were the St. Louis Stars; the Surf had a strong British influence under the direction of coach John Sewell including future Arsenal manager, George Graham. However, notable Brazilian internationals Carlos Alberto Torres and Paulo Cézar Caju both appeared for the club in 1981. Robert Hermann & Partners – Owners Henry Segerstrom & Partners – Owners Lynne Saunders – Deputy General Manager John Sewell Peter Wall 1981 Laurie Calloway 1981


Villefranche-de-Rouergue is a commune in the Aveyron department in southern France. At the end of the Albigensian Crusade from the northern "barons" against the southern Occitania on a religious pretext, the Count of Toulouse was defeated and concluded the treaty of Paris in 1229. With this, the Count gave the Rouergue county to his daughter, she married brother of Saint Louis, King of France. Alphonse founded Villefranche on the place of an old village called La Peyrade in 1252. In 1348 it was so flourishing. Soon afterwards the town fell into the hands of Edward the Black Prince, but was the first place in Guyenne to rise against the English. New privileges were granted to the town by Charles V, but these were taken away by Louis XI. In 1588 the inhabitants repulsed the forces of the Hanseatic League, afterwards murdered a governor sent by Henry IV; the town was ravaged by plague in 1463, 1558 and 1628, in 1643 a revolt was cruelly repressed. During World War II, while occupied by Nazi Germany, Villefranche received a large 13th Waffen SS Handschar division.

Led by Ferid Džanić, Eduard Matutinović, Božo Jelinek and Nikola Vukelić, one battalion staged a rebellion against the Nazis on 17 September 1943, but were soon suppressed and executed on site. The few that escaped inspired the French resistance in Aveyron. After the war, an avenue in Villefranche was named Avenue des Croates in honour of the uprising. One of the principal thoroughfares passes beneath the porch of Notre-Dame, the principal church of Villefranche. Notre-Dame was built from 1260 to 1581, the massive tower which surmounts its porch being of late Gothic architecture; the woodwork in the choir dates from the 15th century. A Carthusian monastery overlooking the town from the left bank of the Aveyron derives much interest from the completeness and fine preservation of its buildings, which date from the 15th century, they include a chapel, a vestibule, a chapter house, a refectory, an exhibition room and two cloisters, the smaller of, a masterpiece of the late Gothic style. Villefranche-de-Rouergue is twinned with: Sarzana, Italy Pula, Croatia Villefranche XIII Aveyron Émilie de Rodat Armand-François Chateauvieux and playwright born in Villefranche-de-Rouergue Communes of the Aveyron department INSEE Villefranche-de-Rouergue official website Tourist office website Pictures of Villefranche-de-Rouergue in "Paysages d'Aveyron" Walking in the streets of Villefranche Part I/Part II/Part III