In the mid-1950s faced with worrying advances in Soviet missile techlogy, the United States sought to develop an IRBM to act as a stop-gap until the Atlas ICBM became operational. Intense inter-service rivalry followed before the US Air Force gained the upper hand in deploying the missile. The UK, keen to improve the 'special relationship' with the US which had suffered following the Suez Crisis agreed to accept 60 Thor missiles to be operated by RAF crews. Complex negotiations followed and once the twenty sites had been identified a considerable number of American personnel, both civilian and servicemen, crossed the Atlantic to build and commission the bases. The agreement allowed for training the RAF crews leading to some 1,300 personnel traveling to America to learn the complexities of the Thor system leading to a series of twenty-one launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Covering activities on both sides of the Atlantic, the book features a number of previously unpublished photographs and includes plans and diagrams of the missile sites and equipment.
John Boyes, a chartered accountant, has had a lifelong interest in the development of early strategic missiles. His first book on Thor, a little understood aspect of RAF history, attracted wide interest. Following a visit to the US and further contacts made with a number of people involved with the project on both sides of the Atlantic this second book looks in greater depth at the involvement of American personnel in constructing the missile bases in the UK as well as the extensive training programme undertaken by the RAF crews in America.
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52 black and white photographs and 47 line illustrations.