View Full Version : Infrared Practice Bombing Targets

Peter Kirk
16-11-2009, 00:31
This is one occasion where the target fires back but "firing" and infra red beam at the aircraft on it's bomb run and the track is recorded on film on the bomber.
Has anyone got a more detailed explanation as I can't see how this relates to the release point, which is almost as important as track.
I assume they were portable devices and enabled practice on "live" targets such as towns and cities without the fuss that real bombs cause.
When did they start to come into use?

16-11-2009, 01:25
Do you mean Mobile Radar Bomb Scoring Units - MRBSU? No 705 MRBSU was located at Tatershall Thorpe, near Coningsby, for many years. Latterly used by the RAF Police as the dog pound. Not sure if it is still in use. There was another near Gutersloh in Germany. At first they used some of old WW2 mobile radar equipment. Latterly used more modern equipment mounted on tilt-cab AEC Mammoth Major 6 chassis, the whole lot hoisted onto a plinth to get them out of the ground clutter. Perhaps Ted knows more about these specialist vehicles?

Peter Kirk
16-11-2009, 07:29
Actually I don't think radar is the correct term but I don't know what is, or can't recall it. Maybe it was Infra Red Practice Bombing.
If I could remember where I read it It might help :)

16-11-2009, 08:29
Something like this?


16-11-2009, 10:57
At RAFM Hendon there is a WWII site plan of a village in Cornwall, and is entitled 'XXXX Infra Ray Projector' (XXXX is the village name). Evidently there were a lot of these devices which projected a vertical infra-red beam for bombing practise. Can't remember any thing else at present, except there were no other site plans, but will dig deeper.

From this link (http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/33/a2281033.shtml) (30 OTU, Seighford):
There were 4 hours devoted to 3 sessions on the practice bombing range, though sometimes a cross-country ended with a simulated bombing of the Immingham docks in the Humber estuary. An infra-red source in the docks recorded the result on an on-board camera.


Peter Kirk
16-11-2009, 13:13
Apologies all, the word RADAR was misleading. I have renamed the thread INFRARED now.

The Radar devices mention sound interesting though.

Carnaby has mentioned what I was getting at. When I woke this morning I remembered the source, when I find it I will update.

16-11-2009, 14:24
PNK, this isn't something that relates to Harrier GR.3 and later types using the laser designated bombing system is it?

Carnaby, what is the name of the village in your post, didn't know there were any bombing ranges in Cornwall?!

Peter Kirk
16-11-2009, 17:05
No this is WW2 era.

I have at last found the reference, "Airfields and Landing Grounds of Wales - North" by Ivor Jones.

He mentions Conway Bridge as a practice target for aircraft from Mona. The infrared device was fixed to the bridge and aimed at the correct angle for the proposed bomb run. When the bomb aimer presses the bomb release it opens a camrea shutter to expose infrared sensitve film and once developed shows how accurate the "release" was.
These beams could be placed anywhere so London or Manchester could be "bombed".
This sort of answers some of my own questions but this sounds like an interesting device.

Perhaps the more modern devices desrve their own thread?

Paul Francis
16-11-2009, 17:43
Yes I have heard of this wartime device too, but cannot remember where, AR maybe or the TNA?

16-11-2009, 20:40
At RAFM Hendon there is a WWII site plan of a village in Cornwall, and is entitled 'XXXX Infra Ray Projector' (XXXX is the village name).
Brain working again - The village is Malpas south-east of Truro.

It's in Paul's RAFM site-plan audit as Malpas (Infra Ray) 2801/55

Hmm 1955 !


Peter Kirk
16-11-2009, 23:21
There are a couple of files in TNA I believe but I think they are post war.

Darren J Pitcher
14-03-2010, 21:21

I have a copy of Flypast for June 1984 in which there is an article about Combat Cameras. It includes a list of sites used for Infra Red Projectors which were situated on the ground at sites around the country. I am particularly interested if anyone can tell me where one was situated at which the article states was Henley. What I would like to know is if this was actually Henley-on-Thames. I am sure there must be information somewhere.

Darren J Pitcher

Peter Kirk
14-03-2010, 23:46
I think this is similar to the question I raised (rather badly) a while ago. I understand that the bomb aimer pressed the bomb release and at the same time exposing the infra red sensitive film. The idea was that optimum relesae would be visible on the film. I suspect the projector would be set to allow for the correct trajectory of the bombs.

As to locations, I got the impression these things were portable so could be sited anywhere. British cities were probably used a lot.
I suppose it is possible there were permanent ones set up in some locations.

I too would be interested to fing out more.

15-03-2010, 12:44
We have a thread running on this here (http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/showthread.php?t=3579). May merge the two later.


Peter Kirk
15-03-2010, 14:10
Posts moved as requested

Peter Kirk
23-03-2010, 23:48
Found a reference on the BBC WW2 Peoples War site.

It mentions Infra Red equipment was installed in the following places :-

Hyde Park
Tweed Factory in Aberdeenshire (in a yard)

There is also a fairly good description of how it was used.


24-03-2010, 07:51
The link seems to be 'broken' Peter - Cannot find server

Peter Kirk
24-03-2010, 09:47
Now corrected. Apologies it was typed in from a print.

24-03-2010, 10:06
A fascinating personal account.

I don't think aircrew were happy to carry Photoflashes inside the aircraft. At least, with Flares, if one was activated it produced serious burning in a limited space but a Photoflash burst like a bomb and anyone adjacent would be killed or seriously injured.

Peter Kirk
21-07-2012, 10:42
I though I would add the Tiree details to the Inra-red thread. A look a Google Earth and Streetview reveals a concrete plinth near the building on the map. I don't know what the projector bases looked like but it is possible this could be one. If so it must be unique. It's a shame the documents don't show an actual installation.

The Malpas plan at the RAFM, mentioned in an earlier thread is probably not 1955 as the drawing number suggests. Some of the numbers that look like dates are not always the case. Only four sites were continued into 1946, Tiree was one, but I doubt if they continued much longer after that. There is a location map of Malpas in AIR14/21 and a detail sketch in AIR 14/20!

25-07-2012, 22:43
This may or may not be relevant, but in the 1970s/80s, F-111s out of Heyford used to refer (on HF) to bombing at Lindholme and "Working the Tumby bomb plot". Was there a bombing range at Lindholme? Or were these simulated bombing ranges, and if so, how did they work?

Peter Kirk
26-07-2012, 12:56
I think all simulated bombing was done by photograph so the Lindholme range would have been a specific target to photograph. There may have been a radar target that showed up but that is out of my sphere of knowledge. I have a record of the USAAF medium bombers attacking Okehampton and Princetown during WW2 and this was purely photographic.