BAC Swingfire anti-tank missile

Evolved from work by Fairey on an anti-tank guided weapon called Orange William. This had a radio command link and was too heavy for infantry use, extremely complex and its development proved technically demanding. Orange William was cancelled in 1958.

After the cancellation, Fairey was awarded a research contract by RARDE (Royal Armaments Research and Development Establishment) to develop a test vehicle to investigate low speed launch and thrust vector control. Fairey began development of Project 12, which was powered by a Basset rocket motor and was used to investigate low speed launch and thrust vector control for Swingfire.

Swingfire replaced Vigilant and was a very powerful wire-guided, anti-tank missile capable of destroying the heaviest tanks in the Warsaw Pact armoury. Its Pointer boost/sustainer rocket motor could be vectored to allow control at lower speeds than would aerodynamic control. The name describes how the missile can be maneuvered almost as soon as it is launched.

Usually mounted on an armoured vehicle, such as the FV.438 or the Scorpion-based Striker, Swingfire has been developed in a variety of guises:

Beeswing - on a Land Rover

Hawkswing - on a Lynx helicopter

Golfswing - on a small trolley or Argocat vehicle

Improvements to Swingfire include NP.169, which involved the provision of equipment to develop SACLOS (semi-automatic command to line of sight) system for Swingfire. This was not proceeded with and cancelled circa 1967.


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