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Convair NX2 CAMAL Nuclear Bomber

firstfleet

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During research on my book about the C-133, I learned that GE proposed to use a C-133 for in-flight testing of the engine that was to power the NX-2. It would not have used nuclear power to generate the heat for the turbines, but JP-4. Only one side of the twin-turbine engine would have been operated, producing as much as 27,000 pounds of thrust out the hole in the rear where the aft cargo doors normally resided. That would have been quite a ride in that airframe, I suspect. This information appears in the modifications chapter of Remembering an Unsung Giant: The Douglas C-133 Cargomaster and Its People. The book will soon be available in England from Midland Counties Publishing and Air Britain.

Cal Taylor
 

firstfleet

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Here's a book that gives very complete information about the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion project and the GE X211/J87 nuclear powered jet engine. It is NX-2, by David M. Carpenter, ISBN 0-9633387-9-X, published by Jet Pioneers of America, 2003.
 

Orionblamblam

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Ugh. That's *horrible.* FOr two reasons:
1: The drawings aren't that accurate
2) The dimensions are pure guresswork. My *own* guesswork, and my own handwriting. I scanned those drawings in... probably 1993 or so.

All wrong....

Anyway, here (maybe, if I do this right) is a better three-view:

 

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C-133 nuclear testbed picture from book NX-2 by David M. Carpenter is also available here: http://www.angelfire.com/wa2/c133bcargomaster/c133bgallery.html
 

GTX

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Matej,

Any chance of getting a copy of the article?

Regards,

Greg
 

Matej

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Technically not problem, but it is written in slovak language so I expect that you will understand nothing except my name :)

But it was based mainly of what I have on web, so you can see:
http://www.hitechweb.genezis.eu/pohon.htm
 

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1/30 scale NX-2 model stuff found at NTRS

TECHNICAL MEMORANDUM X-669
LONGITUDINAL AERODYNAMIC CHARACTERISTICS OF A 1/30-SCALE
SUBSONIC CANARD-AIRPLANE MODEL HAVING A WING WITH
AN ASPECT RATIO OF 3.6 AT MACH NUMBERS FROM 0.30 TO 0.98
By William B. Igoe, Richard J. Re, and Francis J. Capone
Langley Research Center
Langley Station, Hampton, Va.
 

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Skybolt

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Great, Gregory, but remember the NASA Rule of Overscan: please cite the report number! ;D
 

hesham

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Hi,

Early concept for the Convair NX-2.


http://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1960/1960%20-%200996.pdf
 

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Orionblamblam

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hesham said:
Hi,

Early concept for the Convair NX-2.
No, it's not. It's a "Flight Magazine" artists impression of what the NX-2 looked like, based on a text description, not drawings.

And those engines (specifically, their inlets) are located in just about the worst possible place.
 

sferrin

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Some high res images from an old article

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2006/05/24/details-on-the-nx2-%E2%80%94-our-atomic-plane/?Qwd=./ScienceAndMechanics/1-1961/atomic_plane&Qif=atomic_plane_0.jpg&Qiv=thumbs&Qis=XL#qdig

Be sure to click on each of the 5 images for the high rez copies.
 

foiling

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Matej,
Hi. I am relatively new to this sight, but I have very occasionally seen your artwork elsewhere, too.
Just wanted to say that I was thrilled with your illustrations in connection with the Convair NX-2. Exciting aircraft designs superbly portrayed by you. Congratulations.
It is thanks to you, Jemiba & Gatial that aircraft artwork is very much alive, accurate & impressive.
I am not sure if he does his own artwork but thanks also to Orionblamblam for such a huge collection of fascinating designs.
And to all of you for an amazing wealth of knowledge.
 

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circle-5

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Convair NX-2 aircraft carrier compatibility studies included this spotting model diorama. Note NX-2 multi-segment wing folding arrangement and trolley for convenient, on-deck powerplant exchanges. Interestingly, the aircraft carrier itself (USS Ranger, CV-61) is not nuclear powered.
 

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Triton

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"The Atomic Bomber" from the documentary series Planes That Never Flew shown on the Discovery Channel UK. Classified as Weapon System (WS) 125. The documentary speculates that if the plane had entered service with the United States Air Force it might have been designated B-72.





 

Jos Heyman

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As a young lad I remember the B-72 designation being mentioned in contemporary journals as the designation for the Convair NX-2. Reference was also made to the Lockheed NX-1. It was one of these little things that, as a budding US designations freak, I made note of and happily copied in subsequent data collections. Of course I forgot to make a note of where I picked up that wisdom.....
 

Stargazer2006

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In all logic, if Convair had been allocated the B-72 number for the NX-2, it can only mean that Lockheed's project was a B-71 at some point, even though it probably was different from the final Blackbird, which never was a bomber. Does this mean that the Lockheed NX-1 would have been an early designation for what became the SR-71? Interesting to speculate about it, though we may never know the truth about it...
 

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Stargazer2006 said:
In all logic, if Convair had been allocated the B-72 number for the NX-2, it can only mean that Lockheed's project was a B-71 at some point, even though it probably was different from the final Blackbird, which never was a bomber. Does this mean that the Lockheed NX-1 would have been an early designation for what became the SR-71? Interesting to speculate about it, though we may never know the truth about it...
No, the NX-1 was an earlier version of the Convair NX-2. Not a whole lot different.
 

Orionblamblam

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circle-5 said:
Convair NX-2 aircraft carrier compatibility studies included this spotting model diorama. Note NX-2 multi-segment wing folding arrangement and trolley for convenient, on-deck powerplant exchanges. Interestingly, the aircraft carrier itself (USS Ranger, CV-61) is not nuclear powered.
Yeah, about that... not a chance in hell. I cobbled together an NX-2 sitting on the deck of the USS Ranger.... the aircraft shown in your photo is a *lot* smaller than the NX-2 (note that the model shows the planes fitting on an elevator, something the NX-2 would be entirely incapable of). Now, it could be that it's a legit photo, just not showing the NX-2. Convair had ideas for a much enlarged vehicle using some design elements from the NX-2, known as the "Dromedary;" it's possible that they also saw merit in a scaled-down vehicle based on NX-2 aerodynamics.

Ranger is 1039 feet long; span of this particular NX-2 design is 133 feet. Feel free to check my work, I might have made a math error.
 

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Abraham Gubler

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circle-5 said:
Convair NX-2 aircraft carrier compatibility studies included this spotting model diorama. Note NX-2 multi-segment wing folding arrangement and trolley for convenient, on-deck powerplant exchanges. Interestingly, the aircraft carrier itself (USS Ranger, CV-61) is not nuclear powered.
Nepa Ball! I love it...

Orionblamblam said:
Yeah, about that... not a chance in hell.
Apart from the sizing question – and the engine alone of a NX2 is going to weigh 100,000-146,141 lbs which is well over the max tolerances of the flight deck – one must ask why? The whole point of WS-125A and the ANP was to produce an aircraft with range limited only by crew and platform endurance, not consumable fuel. So you could have a single base area and operate anywhere in the world. So why would you need a carrier?

USN involvement with the ANP program was focused on an engine for the Martin Seamaster seaplane. Perhaps after this was cancelled and the sea based striking force died its death Convair might have produced the carrier ANP to generate some USN interest?
 

Michel Van

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on question for take of NX-2 from aircraft carrier

so far i know, NX-2 used during takeoff ZIP-Fuel aka High Energy Fuels HEF (HEF-3 ethyldecaborane ?)
for high trust and use the boron rich fuel as absorber of neutrons, in nuclear-powered airplane
But HEF is very toxic and does ugly things with jet-engine

so takeoff and landing with toxic HEF and maintenance of the nuclear engine and jet-engines
make the flight deck of USS Ranger one of dangerous Workplace on earth
 

circle-5

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The carrier deck photo appears to be legitimate (and a lot of work went into building this model). The caption was transcribed, including the NX-2 designation. Aside from that, I agree the whole idea is bizarre, illogical and probably unfeasible.

Even if this is a scaled-down NX-2 airframe, as it appears to be, it is still a nuclear-powered air vehicle. Why lug it around on a boat, when it can go anywhere across the globe, better and faster, under its own power? In addition to the the impact of carrier landings on the deck itself, I also wonder about subjecting a nuclear reactor to the stresses of catapult launches and arrested landings. And finally, an indirect cycle engine uses NaK in the heat exchanger -- which happens to be highly explosive when in contact with water. Another reason to keep this airplane away from the ocean.
 

Michel Van

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circle-5 said:
...Another reason to keep this airplane away from the ocean.
and from every U.S. Airport for same safety reason
from that point of view
the use of aircraft carrier for refuel and maintenance Nuclear bomber make perfect logical sense!

in case some thing goes wrong, it happen on open sea not on U.S. territory
 

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circle-5 said:
The carrier deck photo appears to be legitimate (and a lot of work went into building this model).
Agreed. It well matches other, similar Convair reports from the time in format, use of a photo pasted to the page, and style of models. Either it's legit, or someone went to a stupid-lot of effort for a hoax of no particular value.

The NX-2 was to be equipped with several possible engines, including two sets of GE engines that married one reactor to two turbojets... for a total of two reactors and four jets. It looks like the mini-NX-2's here used a single reactor with two jets, which makes sense for a smaller vehicle. But a nuclear aircraft on an aircraft carrier is pretty damned silly.
 

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Sorry, I had to pull that photo, because it is apparently going in a book. I will re-post 3-4 months after the book comes out. To the 21 users who downloaded this item: please refrain from reposting. Thank you kindly.
 

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Okay circle-5, what book?
 

Abraham Gubler

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Michel Van said:
and from every U.S. Airport for same safety reason
from that point of view
the use of aircraft carrier for refuel and maintenance Nuclear bomber make perfect logical sense!

in case some thing goes wrong, it happen on open sea not on U.S. territory
The USA has lots of places in the desert where they don't mind doing stuff with radioactives. There is a lot less risk to operate a nuclear powered aircraft from a runway in the Middile of Nowhere, Nevada rather than on a flight deck with 5,000 people living underneath it (an aircraft carrier).
 

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AL said:
Okay circle-5, what book?
Sorry AL, no revelations here today: it's still a secret book project (as opposed to a secret projects book). :D
 

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It dawned on me that I've not yet gotten aroudn to making NX-1/NX-2 drawings for my Bomber Project book, so I hauled out all the design drawings I have... and realized that the "neck" of the "NX-2" shown on the USS Ranger is substantially longer, proportionally, than it is for all the other designs. For a smaller ship-based vehicle this makes sense... you're still going to want to be as far as possible from the reactor, and simply scalign the design down puts the crew *closer* to the reactor.
 
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