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Convair "Aladdin's Lamp"

Spook

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From CodeOne Magazine:

"Alladin's Lamp(??) was a Convair conceptual design for small jet/balloon combination to be used for reconnaissance missions. Drawing, by Charlie Donovan, dated December 1963."


Any more information about the project, was it part of any competition/requirement?. Although the picture represents it seems that it suppose to fly to a certain altitude and then cut the power release the chute called as "genil" , and then do the clock-wise work after doing the mission ;D , was there anything else that it is not mentioned, perhaps?! ::)


Regards,
~Ak
 

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Rickshaw

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Interesting idea. Is there any effort to direct the balloon or is it merely expected to drift on the winds with the hope they'll be carried over the intended target?
 

cluttonfred

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Very interesting, it looks like a very economical way to create a high-altitude reconnaissance capability. Of course, without "stealth" technology, it's pretty much a sitting duck for any high altitude anti-aircraft missile. But if the opposing force has no way to shoot it down, then it could be very effective.
 

Spook

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Kadija_Man said:
Is there any effort to direct the balloon or is it merely expected to drift on the winds with the hope they'll be carried over the intended target?

Well i believe the chute will be deployed when the plane reaches over the target and by hovering it-self it will give a plane enough time to do its mission. As far as how the plane could reach to the target and hover using the chute for a period of time and not get detected that puzzles me alot. ??? :-\
Either cases there was high probability of plane being detected. I guess we have to wait for someone to come and explain what was this design all about, and how it was suppose to function.

~Ak
 

GeorgeA

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cluttonfred said:
Very interesting, it looks like a very economical way to create a high-altitude reconnaissance capability. Of course, without "stealth" technology, it's pretty much a sitting duck for any high altitude anti-aircraft missile. But if the opposing force has no way to shoot it down, then it could be very effective.


Given the timeframe, I'd guess this was intended for counterinsurgency operations in what we would today call a "permissive environment", similar in concept to the X-26/QT-2 powered reconnaissance sailplanes. Today we'd perform these overflights with a UAV.
 

Jemiba

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George Allegrezza said:
... similar in concept to the X-26/QT-2 powered reconnaissance sailplanes. Today we'd perform these overflights with a UAV.

Would a presure suit really have been necessary for such operations ? In the '30s already about 16,000 m were reached
with a balloon, in 1957/58 29,900 m. The record for balloons is 51,800 m. So maybe it was regarded as a way to outreach
the then current defences by quite a margin.
 

GeorgeA

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You're right. I didn't look at the drawing very closely.
 

Rickshaw

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Jemiba said:
George Allegrezza said:
... similar in concept to the X-26/QT-2 powered reconnaissance sailplanes. Today we'd perform these overflights with a UAV.

Would a presure suit really have been necessary for such operations ? In the '30s already about 16,000 m were reached
with a balloon, in 1957/58 29,900 m. The record for balloons is 51,800 m. So maybe it was regarded as a way to outreach
the then current defences by quite a margin.

I don't think it has a pressure cabin. You'd need a pressure suit if there wasn't one. You'd also need one if you had to bail out.
 

Jemiba

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I just denied the need for pressurisation for missions like those done with X-26/QT-2. For high altitude it is
necessary, of course and a pressure suit probably has a weight advantage over a pressure cabin, quite
important for an "ultra simple, light aircraft". And, as you said, a pressure suit would have been needd either,
for the case of a bail out.
 

asiscan

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The Lockheed-Martin released illustration throws up far more questions than answers. What I have been able to determine is that concept had:

a) no explained means to deploy the balloon from the center payload bay of the "Aladdin" other than the use of an airbag ejection system - no drag chute or attached device is illustrated.
b) no direct means of direction when deployed, suggesting that the concept was highly dependent on high altitude weather conditions.
c) a high possibility of a yawing traverse trajectory over the target area.
d) a speculative operational ceilling above 68,000 ft.
e) recon data had to be physically returned.

In context: the year before the date of the illustration, the Cuban Missile Crisis largely dominated the need for quick, cheap and easy recon over Soviet "friendly" nations at the CONUS doorstep, without requiring the sheer might, complexity and exposure of the A-12.

A unmanned aircraft/balloon combination could achieve the same as the "Aladdin's Lamp" but the technology was not yet matured, including meaniningful recon data transmission.
 

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