Skybolt: At Arm’s Length is the untold story of secret projects, which led to the development of inertial navigation in the UK and the missiles that were designed for the RAF: the result was Blue Steel. These were cruise-type missiles and in 1959, the RAF decided to participate in the American Skybolt air-launched ballistic missile. However, Skybolt was cancelled by the American Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, which brought about a crisis in Anglo-American relations, only resolved when the UK obtained Polaris on acceptable terms. The cancellation brought about another crisis: Polaris would not be available until 1969 and short-term stopgaps were needed. Many projects are examined in this beautifully illustrated book. But what if the UK had not been able to obtain Polaris? The final chapters examine what options would have been open to Britain: ground-based or air-launched missiles? What part could the TSR 2 have played?
Skybolt: At Arm’s Length is the result of considerable archival research, and there are extensive quotes from contemporary documents to illustrate the thinking of the time.