Blue Steel was developed as a rocket powered stand-off missile for the V-force to meet OR.1132. Inertially guided, Blue Steel allowed the V-force to attack targets with less chance of interception. Blue Steel had a range of 100 miles (160km). Blue Steel was carried by Vulcan B2 and Victor B2 aircraft and entered service in 1961. It was retired in 1969 whenPolaris took over as the UK deterrent.
Powered by an Armstrong SiddeleyStentor sustainer motor, a two-chamber rocket motor fueled with HTP and Kerosene. The main chamber provided the initial boost after launch and accelerated Blue Steel to Mach 3. Once cruise speed and altitude were achieved, the main chamber was shut down and the smaller chamber took over as a sustainer, thereby extending the range to 100miles. The smaller chamber went on to achieve fame as the Gamma rocket motor fitted to Black Knight and Black Arrow.
Development rounds of Blue Steel were powered by a Jackdaw solid rocket motor. The Jackdaw was unusual in that it had two extended exhausts from the motor combustion chamber.
Further developments included:
Blue Steel Low Level - long-range Blue Steel powered by aViper turbojet for low-level launch.
Blue Steel Mk1*D - a longer ranged Blue Steel powered by improved Stentor and two solid rocket boosters.
Blue steel was to be armed with a 1Mt warhead called Red Snow. This was based on US Mk.28 physics package.
A further development to OR.1159 was Blue Steel Mk2, faster and longer ranged, the 18"BRJ.824 ramjet powered Avro W.114 was selected for development. The Mk2 carried four ramjets mounted on the wings and was boosted by a pair of solid rocket motors. This was cancelled on the grounds that Avro had enough on their hands perfecting the Mk1. Projected range for Blue Steel Mk2 was 300 miles (483Km).