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Convair NX2 CAMAL Nuclear Bomber

Skybolt

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The target was 48 to 60 hours in the air, without refuelling. Convair wasn't the only one to study it. Northrop at least surely involved, maybe Lockheed Georgia. Envisaged engines were regenerative turboprops.
 

Skybolt

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All turboprops. Type IV is very similar to Northrop's probable candidate, and using BLC like that, although Nortrhop had pusher propellers.
 

shockonlip

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Orionblamblam said:
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.
I have a copy of this study somewhere, let me find it and see what it says.
 

shockonlip

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Sorry for the delay, finally found it!

I include a photo of the cover page, and the 5 photos of the vehicles.

These photos are actually the photos that were posted on the ebay
page back in early 2004 (I think) when this item was up for auction. I just
renamed them to accurately reflect the order that they are placed in the
actual paper publication.

The item was not withdrawn from ebay because I was the purchaser
and did indeed receive the item.

The item looks real to me, but I was somewhat shocked by one of the
concepts because of how recent the idea seems, except of course
it was relying on nuclear power back then in 1961 for its endurance
and today endurance is done other ways.

text page 1

A N P - NEW NAVAL APPLICATIONS

These photographs show three possible applications of nuclear-powered vehicles aboard
ship. In this case a Forrestal-class carrier has been selected since all three system
areas examined by Convair San Diego for the Navy can be shown.

The nuclear-powered aircraft shown is a three-man subsonic aircraft capable of strike
and reconnaissance at great range. It can operate from the carrier without modification
to the present flight deck and makes use of existing or planned catapult and arresting gear
technology. The aircraft can carry 10,000 lbs. internally plus an additional 10,000 lbs.
externally, if required, giving it versatility in both all-out and limited war situations.
Unike its land-based counterparts, it relies on the carrier's mobility rather than con-
tinuous flight to achieve high invulnerability.

The power package is detached while the plane is aboard the carrier. Once seperated it
is placed in a special shield cart which automatically takes it to the "hot shop" by means
of a special elevator which serves only that area. The remainder of the airframe, which
is self-powered, can then be handled like any other aircraft. All takeoff and landing
operations are conducted on chemical power only so that hazards and activation problems


text page 2

are minimized. Initial study shows the probability of one carrier accident every three
years and that no hazard involving the safety of the ship would develop.

The missile rising from the position of the former forward starboard gun sponson is a
nuclear-powered ramjet. This missile has considerable application as eiher an attack
or reconnaissance vehicle able to reach any point on earth at supersonic speeds on the
deck. While primarily an all-out war weapon, it greatly enhances the carrier's deterrent
capability without posing any hazard to the carrier - the reactor coming to power during
flight - and without interfering with normal carrier operations.

An unmanned, tiltable-ducted fin new aircraft is shown hovering above the carrier's stern.
This vehicle has been designed to stay aloft providing early missile and aircraft warning
for days at a time, Its size has been reduced by elimination of the man and, thus, a good
portion of the normally required biological shield. The price for this is a high radiation
field which necessitates special handling. Shielding is still required to a limited degree
for electronic rquipment and activation reasons. This all-weather vehicle would relay all
information to the carrier or any other control decision-making activity.

These photographs describe very briefly work which is covered in more detailed copy in
the Convair San Diego Report ZP-329, "ANP - New Naval Applications", dated March 1961.
 

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flateric

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Larry, thank you sharing
 

Antonio

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Thank you very much for share this treasure. It's an extremely interesting because it's a sort of reedition of the USS United States. It means that Forrestal class would have been dedicated to the attack role instead of carriying a multi-role airwing?
 

Skybolt

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A copy of the full report COULD be in SDAM... I'm intrigued by the nuclear ramjet cruise missile: an evolution of the well-known (ahem...) Big Stick ?
 

Michel Van

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thanks for the fantastic pictures
a 1960's Unmanned NAVY VTOL, that's new to me !

Interesting is that the Bomber can be use Nuclear or Chemical engine (with toxic HEF) ?
on the Nuclear Ramjet can this be a Convair proposal ?
 

circle-5

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Fascinating material -- thank you. I presume the other aircraft (toward the front of the carrier) are Furys and Skywarriors.
 

shockonlip

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My pleasure, glad you guys enjoyed it as well.

I wonder if they just used the Revell model to make this marketing prop.

Anyway, I have tried a little, to find the full report, but given how good
some of you are at fnding stuff like this, I thought another good point of
posting this is, that you guys could help. So if you find it, please add details
here.

I'm also curious if the bomber could fly without the reactor module, Sounds
like it could since it wasn't fired up for takeoff and landings, but it may need
it for weight and balance. Maybe there was a dummy that could be installed
in that case.

I agree the unmanned nuclear powered tilt-rotor was also interesting. That's the
one I thought I was reading a modern unmanned long endurance UAV spec for,
for a moment. Shocked me there for a moment. But it was unmanned to save
weight, but it would have been VERY messy. And this would have all been tried
before microprocessors and modern software techniques used for autonomous
operation which we are working on now, 50 years later, of course.

My thoughts too on the aircraft on the forward part of the model, Sky Warriors,
and probably Fury's.

And the nuclear ramjet for recce. Now that's one I hadn't thought of. Messy messy.
 

Sundog

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It's possible some of this will be in that new book coming out on Convair secret projects, I would think. I'll find out when it's released and it arrives here. ;D
 

Triton

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Ok, I honestly do not know for sure what company made this solid resin model. I do know that even though she is in need of help, this one is R-A-R-E! As the stand states, "NX2 USAF AEC NUCLEAR POWERED AIRPLANE Convair Division of General Dynamics Corporation. Measures roughly 7-3/4" long x 8" wide. Broken, and or missing wing tips, with two engine nacelles, and another bit included. Those of you who collect these desk models must know how scarce this never produced model is. Offered here as is, with NO reserve. Paypal preferred, but not mandatory. COMBINE ITEMS SAVE! OVERSEAS BIDDERS ATTENTION! I cannot guarantee any item paid for, and sent by FIRST CLASS International, as first class items cannot be insured, or tracked.
 

Stargazer2006

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First of the two designs is most certainly the Douglas proposal.
 

circle-5

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A pair of contractor models from Convair, showing GE vs. Pratt & Whitney powerplants. The indirect cycle engines did not have radioactive exhaust, unlike the direct cycle version, which used auxiliary turbojets on wing pylons for take-off & landing phases. Photo by Chad Slattery.
 

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antigravite

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Hi guys,

I'm not sure this has been posted before. C.A.M.A.L. is an acronym.
It stands for: "Continuous Airborne Missile Air Launcher".

Voìla,

A.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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http://blog.modernmechanix.com/details-on-the-nx2-%E2%80%94-our-atomic-plane/
http://sobchak.wordpress.com/tag/convair-nx2/

Details on the NX2 – Our Atomic Plane

When will our “hottest” bomber take to the skies? How will it perform? What about the radiation danger? Here are the answers

By JAMES JOSEPH

OUR long-awaited atomic-powered airplane – Convair’s Model NX2 – is finally on the drawing boards, its components in various stages of construction and testing.

After 14 years’ research and an investment of close to 1 billion dollars, the plane’s reactor is under test and two different engine systems, both slated for early flight testing, are in advanced development.

What will take to the air sometime in 1964 aver sparsely populated western terrain and along 50-mile-wide “radiation corridors” promises some surprises for old-hand plane watchers.

America’s “hottest” bomber, big as a B-52, will have swept back wings and non-orthodox tail control surfaces. Although the NX2′s vital statistics are still shrouded in secrecy, the ship soon to be constructed at Convair’s plant in Fort Worth, Texas, will measure some 180 ft. from nose to tail and have a wingspan of about 150 ft. Its wings will carry no engines except for two conventional jet boosters planned for experimental flights only (Fig. 5). Thus the plane will have thinner and broader wings than the B-52 to balance its tail-heavy reactor and radiation shielding. Control surfaces on the vertical and horizontal stabilizers will be smaller than for jet planes of comparable size. This is because the plane’s center of gravity won’t shift as it does on jet planes as they consume fuel. One pound of fuel probably will carry the NX2 about 14,000 miles and keep it aloft for 24 hours or more.

Reactor Is Heart. A shielded, spherical reactor, heart of the NX2, will contain uranium 235 or plutonium 239, both easily fissionable materials, as fuel. The reactor and there’s a possibility that there may be two of them acts as the source of the heated air that provides thrust.

A single gram (or about 0.035 lbs.) of reactor fuel generates about 1 million watts during a day’s fissioning and boosts the reactor’s temperature well
above 1,200 F.

Capt. Thomas L. Jackson, an Air Force nuclear technologist, has estimated that to power a nuclear bomber at near the speed of sound and to altitudes of 35,000 ft, a reactor must supply “in the neighborhood of 300 mgw.”

While this figures out to about 0.65 lbs. of atomic fuel a day, actually the “fast” reactor under development for NX2 is said to be far more efficient. A dwarf compared to ordinary power reactors, it nevertheless squeezes far greater power from a gram of reactor fuel.

Fast reactors differ from bigger, less volatile reactors in that they usually contain neither control rods nor moderators (see p. 93, Aug.’60S&M).

In the absence of control rods, fission is regulated by moving the fuel elements or reflector segments in the reactor’s core to increase or decrease the number of neutrons and thus the rate of fission. One nuclear technician suggests that NX2′s fast reactor may be controlled by a rotatable drum, coated on one side with boron, an element that captures neutrons. Controlled from the cabin, the drum’s boron side can be rotated to absorb neutrons and thus slow or stop the fission process.

Two Possible Power Systems. While NX2′s reactor is under test at the AEC National Reactor Test Station, Arco, Idaho, two jet engine systems are in advanced development. General Electric’s direct cycle power plant sucks air directly through the reactor’s radioactive core (Fig. 4). Piped to the jet engines, the superheated and compressed air expands violently. Blasting from exhaust ducts, it drives the ship forward.

Pratt & Whitney’s indirect cycle system taps reactor heat indirectly through a closed loop that circulates liquid metal from the reactor’s core to heat exchangers where compressed air is heated and turned into thrust.

Direct cycle advocates claim the system is the simplest, most reliable and easiest to maintain.

Other nuclear engineers are not so convinced.

“The direct system’s inherent limitations rule it out as a really high-performance supersonic power plant,” says one engineer. These limitations stem from the fact that air, being a poor conductor of heat, can seldom tap a reactor’s full potential. If it can, the reactor must be big enough to present a large heat transfer area to the airstream. Jet engine air also runs the risk of nuclear contamination through contact with reactor fuels. The indirect cycle system has several advantages. Liquid metal, the most efficient heat conductor known, can remove essentially all the heat from even the smallest, most compact reactor. Unlike a direct cycle system, the reactor and its fuel elements can be isolated against oxidation. Jetstream contamination is virtually impossible.

But there are some disadvantages. The indirect system involves a complex of piping and plumbing, including liquid-metal circulating pumps operated by engine air, that sap some of the turbojet’s thrust. Piping is prone to leaks, and a reactor left uncooled can explode. Remote plumbing requires shielding not necessary in the direct cycle system.

However, both systems pose one of the thorniest problems to confront designers of advanced aircraft reactors (the only type that can generate enough power to propel planes at supersonic speeds): where to find materials that can withstand the tremendous reactor temperatures in the 3,000 F° range.

A mixture of heat-resisting ceramics and reactor metals called cermets may help solve the problem, say some engineers. Among the refractory cermets now being developed for aircraft fast reactors are beryllium oxide, beryllium carbide and graphite compounds.

Shielding Problems. The joint AEC-Air Force Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion (ANP) program has both civilian and military research teams studying the problems involved in flying a “hot” plane.

These ANP researchers, deployed at a dozen strategic nuclear test centers coast to coast, are currently at work on these problems:

  • How to devise relatively lightweight shields that effectively stop gamma rays, the deadliest of radiation rays. One solution lies in using alternate layers of neutron and gamma shielding. A layer of lead stops gamma rays and a liquid layer of borate solution blocks neutrons.
  • How, in the face of radiation damage, to prevent NX2′s reactor from melting and adjacent aircraft parts from falling to pieces. Under “slow neutron” bombardment, many common metals completely change their form. Aluminum becomes silicon; copper turns to nickel and zinc. Shielding the components near the reactor with such radiation-thwarting metals as beryllium may offer one solution.
  • How to lengthen the life span of other common aircraft materials. When irradiated, high-strength metals become brittle and weak, rubber loses its elasticity, lubricants become gaseous and gummy. Hundreds of radiation-stable materials are now being developed.

There also are problems in shielding the crew. Although they must work, sleep and eat together for a period up to five days, every cubic foot of cabin space means anywhere from 50 to 500 lbs. of shielding. Lop off a cubic foot and shielding and weight are reduced. Designers have no choice but to miniaturize.

“Of course, an atomic plane’s reactor could be completely shielded against the least radiation leak,” says Andrew Kalitinsky, head of Convair’s nuclear department.

“But to shield a reactor completely,” he continues, “you would end up with a much heavier shield, and a much heavier airplane, for the same engine power and thrust. The performance of such an airplane would obviously not be as good.”

So designers have compromised by using divided shielding (Fig. 8). Some shielding rings the cabin, and some is distributed throughout the ship to protect such components as electric conduits, lube lines and vulnerable instruments. The cabin will have complete protection.

It’s when the A-plane lands that the difference between this aerial giant and non-atomic planes will become most apparent. Seconds after landing, the big plane will wheel to a radiation vault. There, either by remote manipulators or shielded vehicles, its reactor will be lifted out and remotely disassembled. Radioactive components will then be immersed in a water-filled “reactor well” to both cool the reactor and block the escape of deadly gamma and beta rays.

Only then, with the reactor removed, will a shielded escape vehicle wheel to the A-plane’s cabin, mesh its tubular air-lock with the crew’s escape hatch and provide a shielded runway through which crewmen exit.

Radiation Risks. Although some radiation, and the experts refuse to speculate how much, may leak from the less-than-maximum shielding, people on the ground would experience a negligible exposure while the ship flies overhead at 400 to 600 mph.

Inside the plane, crewmen will wear radiation dosimeters. When a man’s dosimeter indicates a total 30-roentgen radiation dosage, he will be scratched from flying A-planes. Thus, unless every precaution is taken, a crew is no more trained than they are up to their radiation limit and must be pulled from the flight roster and grounded.

Nuclear engineers have computed several possibly critical crash situations and their probable radiation danger.

Two of these situations concern weather conditions. On a sunny, breezy day, fission products will quickly disperse with relatively little danger. But in bad weather, when dispersion is poor, more concentrated contamination would likely occur over a greater area.

Two other possible situations concern reactor crash damage. Meltdown could occur when the reactor’s core melts because of coolant system failure. This may not necessarily be serious as long as the reactor shielding remains intact. Runaway could happen if control failure permits the reactor to speed up until its fiery heat vaporizes the core. This could be serious because vaporizing releases more fission products than melting.

Weighing these variables – reactor damage and weather – the experts have arrived at an appraisal of crash danger:

  • No serious danger beyond 2,000 to 3,000 ft. of the crash.
  • Farther than one mile from crash site: no radiation high enough to cause even temporary sickness.
Yet under the most adverse conditions, such as a reactor runaway during bad weather, persons in a narrow belt as far as 35 miles downwind may receive “maximum permissible exposure,” a non-damaging dosage, but nonetheless an appreciable exposure.

Strategic Design. The NX2′s design speed of a subsonic 500 to 600 mph and its modest ceiling of about 40,000 ft. reveals, far more than does its odd configuration, its strategic mission as a CAMAL bomber (Continuous Airborne Alert Missile Launcher and Low-Level Penetration Airplane).

“Missiles have wrung the premium out of a plane’s speed and altitude,” says one designer.

Thus a new strategic concept: bombers with unlimited range and capable of penetrating radar defenses at extremely low levels.

CAMAL A-planes would maintain a continuous airborne alert. Ordered into action, they would drop to altitudes of 500 to 1,000 ft., but suffer none of the power loss common to low-flying jets.

Atomic-powered bombers will fit the CAMAL concept; they require no vulnerable midair fueling and could stay aloft almost indefinitely.

An atomic-powered plane has a nearly unlimited range. The limiting factor is the crew’s ability to remain aloft for days in cramped quarters (Fig. 7) without suffering mental or physical breakdown.

Reactor-jet engines, fueled by superheated air, not by combustible and oxygen-dependent chemical fuels, are nearly as efficient at low levels as at high.

An A-plane’s range isn’t limited by the size of the payload. Add 1 lb. of payload to a jet plane and you increase gross weight (mostly in added fuel) anywhere from 3 to 10 lbs. The same pound would increase an A-plane’s gross weight only 1.5 to 4 lbs. and this mostly in strengthening its airframe and landing gear, and increasing reactor size slightly.
 

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RAP

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http://www.ebay.com/itm/Convair-NX-2-Nuclear-powered-bomber-concept-model-extremely-rare-model-/181772410924?&_trksid=p2056016.m2518.l4276

Buy It Now price $1500!
 

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Stargazer2006

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archipeppe said:
Steve Pace said:
Love to have a high-res of this! -SP
Me too....
Until something better comes our way, here's my attempt at an enlarged/enhanced/reworked version. Text elements have been rewritten everywhere it could be deciphered. Other blurry bits of text have been left "as is". If I made any mistake or if any of you can make out more text from the scan, please let me know.

EDIT: Image removed as a quality version of the plan has now been shared by Orionblamblam — a big thanks to him!
 

archipeppe

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A Big Italian GRAZIE!!! (Thank you).
Anyway you know how I will exploit such illustration..... ;)



Skyblazer said:
archipeppe said:
Steve Pace said:
Love to have a high-res of this! -SP
Me too....
Until something better comes our way, here's my attempt at an enlarged/enhanced/reworked version. Text elements have been rewritten everywhere it could be deciphered. Other blurry bits of text have been left "as is". If I made any mistake or if any of you can make out more text from the scan, please let me know.
 

hesham

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Nice work my friend Skyblazer.
 

GeorgeA

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"General Electric" pointer aft is probably the XMA-1.
 
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