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Author Topic: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)  (Read 22100 times)

Offline Skybolt

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ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« on: September 06, 2006, 08:20:49 am »
It is a couple of months that I wanted to this post, for obvious reasons...  :D
Ok, folks, open your treasure buckets  and show the gems you hide on this fascinating, and ill covered topic: air-llaunched ballistic missilex, or ALBMs. And I mean REAL air-launch, not just throwing a Minuteman out of a C-5... And since I'm in a good mood, let's extend the topic to ultrasonic cruise or cruise-ballistic missiles... Our British members will recognize in this description things like "Pandora".... ;)
« Last Edit: September 07, 2006, 02:14:54 am by overscan »

Offline Sentinel Chicken

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2006, 01:16:48 pm »
Andreas Parsch has a nice summary of three US designs - the Martin "Bold Orion", the Lockheed "High Virgo", and the McDonnell "Alpha Draco". Looks like only the Bold Orion and High Virgo got flight tested from aircraft.

Link: http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/ws-199.html

Offline Skybolt

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2006, 01:30:29 am »
Oh yes, but those are "easy" infos  :D ;)
I'd hope something on things like: WS-138 design competiton proposals other than the winning Douglas one; ALBM intended for B-58 (some info in Miller's B-58), B-70 (idem in Jenkins's Valkyrie) and WS-125A (and CAMAL). On the last there is a hint in the APR article on the nuclear bomber. And besides, similar projects from other countries, Britain, URSS (AFAIK Soviets went for long range cruise, but you never know).

And BTW, I remain conviced that Bold Orion was really an experimental ASAT in ALBM disguise....

Offline sferrin

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2006, 01:52:29 am »
Oh yes, but those are "easy" infos  :D ;)
I'd hope something on things like: WS-138 design competiton proposals other than the winning Douglas one; ALBM intended for B-58 (some info in Miller's B-58), B-70 (idem in Jenkins's Valkyrie) and WS-125A (and CAMAL). On the last there is a hint in the APR article on the nuclear bomber. And besides, similar projects from other countries, Britain, URSS (AFAIK Soviets went for long range cruise, but you never know).

And BTW, I remain conviced that Bold Orion was really an experimental ASAT in ALBM disguise....

Until Andrea's site I don't recall hearing otherwise.  I've heard of Bold Orion numerous times going all the way back to the early 80's and it had always been described as a B-47 launched ASAT vehicle.
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Online PaulMM (Overscan)

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2006, 02:14:32 am »
There were a couple of Tu-144 based ALBM projects, which are described (no pictures) in V. Rigmant's recent Tu-160 articles in Aviatsiya i Kosmonautika.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2006, 02:25:56 am by overscan »
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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2006, 09:50:28 am »
Quote
Tu-144  Projects

Aviation- missile complex - the medium range ballistic solid-propellant missiles. Carrier aircraft had to bear in the fuselage compartment three MBR of long range. The launch of rockets had to be carried out from the carrier aircraft in the limits of the territory OF THE USSR, output to the line of starting at the velocity of 2300-2500 km/h. Specific quantity of the aircraft. the line of firing was determined in 2500 km from the base, the flying range of rockets achieved 7000-9000 km.

These preliminary projects formed the basis for the subsequent projects ARK on the base Tu-144D with the engines RD -36-51. In these projects was considered the use of that modernised Tu-144D with the increased fuel load as carrier for intermediate range rocket with the flying range 3000-5000km, distinguished by their considerably smaller sizes and masses, than in the preceding case.
In these projects basic flight into the zone of starting carrier aircraft had to perform in the subsonic mode. In this case with one rocket the range of system was determined in 9000-11000 km, with the flying range of aircraft itself near 5000 km; with two rockets - 8500-10000km, with the flying range of aircraft of approximately 4500 km, and with three rockets - 8000-9500 km with the flying range of aircraft of approximately 3500 km.

Translated from Vladimir Rigmant, Tu-160 article, AviatsiyaI Kosmonautika 02/2006
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Offline Archibald

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2006, 11:56:39 pm »
Just a tough...
I know that the Skybolt program was cancelled in 1962...my question is, could this missile have followed the path of air-launched cruise missiles? I mean, get ride off the nuclear warhead for a conventional one, and add high precision guidance system such as GPS...
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Offline Skybolt

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2006, 01:29:04 am »
IMHO, cancellation of Skybolt was the silliest decision done by the dynamic duo (McNamara-Kennedy), not only in retrospect... A niormal strategic/military mind could have it back in 1962.
Skybolt was done in the most hurried-up manner, using existing components and it was working. If the same metrics of failed test-flight used for Skybolt had been used on Corona, the US would renounced spy satellites in 1960... A Skybolt 2, designed from scratch, would have been a most formidable weapon, and a Skybolt 3 could have subistitute most ICBM on the US part. Mayor problem of Skybolt (and ALBMs in general) was the incertitude of the launcher position. With GPS ON THE LAUNCHER (not necessary to wait for small GPS receiver on-board the missile itself) they could reach a real outstanding precision without terminal guidance. And add a radar-image mapping (a là Pershing II) and you'll have a quick strike, intercontinental, surgical weapon, by 1982.... I think cancellation on the Skybolt represented a real turning point (for the worse) in the western strategic posture.

Offline Archibald

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2006, 11:31:01 am »
What do you think of the use of a modern Skybolt as bunker buster? No concrete nor buried bunker can resist a mach 6 impact no? particularly if our Skybolt is crossed with a GBU-28 warhead... now the Kinetic energy / forged warhead / explosive device combo would be something!
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Offline Skybolt

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2006, 11:41:08 am »
Now they call it "CAV", Common Aero Vehicle. Could have been there in 1965...
With a longer range ALBM (like the projected Soviet ones), the launcher could have stayed within the limits of the Omega/Loran network (no need of the Navstar/GPS satellites) and with terminal guidance you could allow a less than perfect pinponting of the launcher coordinates. Again, the US posture for land based nuclear weapons was completely wrong after the McNamara/Kennedy decisions. There was a grave disconnect between asserted counter-force and flexible (later limited) nuclear war and no wepons to pursue it: they decided on favour of the Minuteman but that was a missile conceived for massive retaliation strategy (poor precision), and only with the utmost effort (done under Nixon and successors), the low -payload Minuteman could reach an acceptable CEP for fleixlble strike and counterforce. The ALBM could have been an early  cunterforce weapon. Problem was that influence of LeMay was dwindling politically and McNamara's main politocal goal was to put reins on the bomber-lobby.

Offline sferrin

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2006, 08:43:57 pm »
What do you think of the use of a modern Skybolt as bunker buster? No concrete nor buried bunker can resist a mach 6 impact no? particularly if our Skybolt is crossed with a GBU-28 warhead... now the Kinetic energy / forged warhead / explosive device combo would be something!

A Skybolt with a GBU-28 on the front end wouldn't get very far  :o    Now on the front of a Pegasus XL say, it might get a useful distance but I don't know if it would even fly very well with all that weight WAY up front. 
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Offline Skybolt

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2006, 02:26:06 am »
Really, if you build up a sufficient speed, having a bomb is not so necessary. A rod of ametal (tungsten, depleted uranium) could well do the job. And you could build the missile around it. There is a concept called "rod from god"....
Besides, using long range ballistic missile with conventional warhead has always been controversial during the Cold War , since it would have probably sparked a nuclear confrontation if used in a major (East-West)  war. I remember that during the '80s the best weapon concept for the proposed FOFA (Follow-on Forces Attack) strategy  was a land based version of the Trident with a multiple self-forging fragment warhead. Problem was that the Soviet would have taken it as a nuclear attack.
Best role for ALBM would have as a subistitute for the majority of ICBM. Back in late '50s, if someone asked what the weapons would have been by late 80s I'd have said: "nuclear propulsion aircraft with very long range ALBMs".

Offline sferrin

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2006, 05:41:50 pm »
Back in late '50s, if someone asked what the weapons would have been by late 80s I'd have said: "nuclear propulsion aircraft with very long range ALBMs".

And probably would have cried when they said "nope, B-52s".  :o ;)
« Last Edit: September 27, 2006, 07:53:47 pm by sferrin »
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Offline Skybolt

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2006, 08:22:06 am »
 :'( :'( :'( :'(
Well, it could have come out worse... B-747s with ALCMs  ;D

Offline Skybolt

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Re: ALBM Projects (was: Er, Skybolt, the missile...)
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2006, 02:03:47 pm »
The 50s were the royal years for air-launched ballistic missiles. The Navy studied the Seamster as a launcher for a two-stages missile using the boost-glide tecnique to reach a range of 1000 miles. Year 1958, before the WS-109 program and WS-138 competition. The missile would stay in the bomb bay.