I was at an airshow in South Africa, and they had this trailer sitting about. No one knew what it is.

enter image description here

Those little red plates all say "warning, high voltage". Those buckets are open at the bottom, and made of aluminium.

enter image description here

These finned pointy things are hollow, not sure what they are made of. Were not solid plastic, but didn't look like fiberglass either.

A couple of specific questions:

  1. What is it?
  2. If the hollow things are covers, why are they so oddly shaped? And if they are covers, why do they share features with liquid tanks?
  3. Why are there half a dozen "High voltage" stickers attached?
  4. What are those bins and chains?
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ it's an AA system and the hollow things are covers that protect the missiles underneath. I'm not completely sure this is on topic, but I'll leave the decision to the others. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    May 7, 2017 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico Quite difficult to say if it is on topic or not. If this is a AA system, it is closely related to militarty aviation and could be accepted here. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    May 16, 2017 at 8:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Or you could say that it is off topic because it is “anti” aviation?! ;) $\endgroup$ Feb 3, 2022 at 16:05

3 Answers 3


It's a British Tigercat short range surface to air missiles launcher system. The cones are protective weather covers for the missiles which are removed prior to launch.

As to the 'buckets and chains' I'd venture a guess that they are a device to deflect and dissipate the rocket blast during launch but I am not totally sure. But they can be seen on YouTube (at 0:07 and 0:39).

enter image description here
From YouTube, on the right the blast being deflected up/down.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ You can see the "buckets" deflecting the rocket blasts in a few frames around 0:07 of youtube.com/watch?v=qLwXYNF2VdM, and again for a bit longer at 0:39. $\endgroup$
    – Jason C
    May 8, 2017 at 3:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JasonC I hope the pilots has already bailed out of those aircraft... $\endgroup$
    – Notts90
    May 8, 2017 at 7:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I guess the wire mesh, which is tightened by springs, is to protect from anything not gas in the exhaust. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    May 8, 2017 at 12:37
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I am amazed by how short those missiles are. I think that is why everyone disregarded it as a SAM $\endgroup$
    – Roman
    May 8, 2017 at 12:40

In Britain it's a Tiger Cat and in the South African defense force it was called a Hilda missile system. I operated one when I did national service there.

The missiles are connected to a firing console via a thick cable. In the console you have a missile controller and computer operator. The missile controller controls the missile with a little teet (joy stick) and binoculars (laugh), an old war weapon.

Best effect of the missile was head on with the plane. If it was fired from behind it would never catch the plane as the missile was too slow.

We had an upgrade called a Cactus missile system.


Further to previous answers, the "chains and buckets" are to catch an umbilical cord which otherwise would coming flying backwards at launch. The missiles are indeed outdated, large and slow but that means the pilot can see it coming and it is enough to put him/her off their aim!!


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .