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Hughes Falcon

SOC

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I'm working on an extensive history of the Hughes Falcon missile family. If anyone has any relevant material, let me know! What I'm currently looking for is information regarding what variants were provided to foreign users, what if any combat use the missile saw in Greek or Turkish service, and what changes the Swedes made to their Falcons in the 1960s. Any information on the AGM-76 variant would be appreciated as well, as well as accurate information regarding dimensions or warhead type and size for the early missiles.
 

sferrin

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Any chance it might contain how the AIM-47 morphed into the AIM-54? :)
 

SOC

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That I can answer, plus I'll talk about the Hughes family lineage, from AIM-4 to AGM-65.
 

Andreas Parsch

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SOC said:
Any information on the AGM-76 variant would be appreciated as well, as well as accurate information regarding dimensions or warhead type and size for the early missiles.
Must be really difficult to find that information, considering that you must have been trying for years now :(. Anyway, in what form (book, magazine article, etc.) and in which timeframe do you intend to publish your work?
 

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Not quite sure about the form yet, I haven't thought it through that far out yet. I'm pretty much dusting off an old project with the aim of finally completing the work I started about 10 years ago! A lot of the research and data-gathering has been done, photos have been taken, etc, so what I'm doing now is tying up the loose ends in the story and looking for anything else that might conclusively agree or disagree with some of my assertions.

The AGM-76 story is convoluted and weird, to say the least. There are two versions, and they appear to be mutually exclusive.

The warhead/dimension info, I think I actually have a pretty good handle on that for once, but I'm looking to see if anyone can provide something that backs up what I've figured already.

I've been "looking" for a lot of this stuff for a while, sure, but for once I'm not going to be up a creek if nothing new surfaces, which is what caused me to put this on hold a while back to begin with.
 

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When I visited the Udvar-Hazy Annex in Virginia two years ago, I saw an AGM-76 in their rocket/missile gallery. There was a small placard with some little information there.
 

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I've seen that, I took a lot of photos of it as well. The funny part is that when you send the NASM a request for information, they have no idea what the hell the thing was used for ;D
 

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Does anyone know how many design iterations there were of the GAR-9? I've got the following so far (not entirely in order):

GAR-X (original concept, chosen for XF-108, folding fins)
GAR-9 (original configuration, solid fuel motor)
GAR-9 (later configuration, Lockheed liquid fuel motor)
GAR-9 (early test configuration, different wings, seen in an image below the B-58 testbed)
GAR-9 (dual-mode IR/SARH version, larger diameter body)
GAR-9 (IR only version, conceptualized early on)
GAR-9/AIM-47 (definitive version tested from YF-12A)
AIM-47B (proposed folding-fin version for F-12B)
AGM-76 (ARM variant)

The one I'm really interested in is the variant seen below the B-58. The wings are clearly different than those found on later AIM-47s. How many wing configurations were actually trialled?
 

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Has the Falcon ever achieved any kills? In all the games/flightsims I've seen, the Falcon appears to take an inordinate amount of time to warm up and to acquire a target. Of course, they might not be accurate but I've read similar comments in various books over the years.
 

sferrin

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SOC said:
Does anyone know how many design iterations there were of the GAR-9? I've got the following so far (not entirely in order):

GAR-X (original concept, chosen for XF-108, folding fins)
GAR-9 (original configuration, solid fuel motor)
GAR-9 (later configuration, Lockheed liquid fuel motor)
GAR-9 (early test configuration, different wings, seen in an image below the B-58 testbed)
GAR-9 (dual-mode IR/SARH version, larger diameter body)
GAR-9 (IR only version, conceptualized early on)
GAR-9/AIM-47 (definitive version tested from YF-12A)
AIM-47B (proposed folding-fin version for F-12B)
AGM-76 (ARM variant)

The one I'm really interested in is the variant seen below the B-58. The wings are clearly different than those found on later AIM-47s. How many wing configurations were actually trialled?

You might see what Orionblamblam knows. He supplied some of the AIM-47 info in Landis's Valkyrie book.
 

sferrin

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rickshaw said:
Has the Falcon ever achieved any kills? In all the games/flightsims I've seen, the Falcon appears to take an inordinate amount of time to warm up and to acquire a target. Of course, they might not be accurate but I've read similar comments in various books over the years.

Which Falcon?
 

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rickshaw said:
Has the Falcon ever achieved any kills? In all the games/flightsims I've seen, the Falcon appears to take an inordinate amount of time to warm up and to acquire a target. Of course, they might not be accurate but I've read similar comments in various books over the years.

AIM-4D managed five kills during Vietnam. I'm not entirely sure , given how messed up the missile design was, but it did (curious as to the rationale for the complete lack of a proximity fuze).
 

SOC

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The lack of a proximity fuze was a result of the small size of both the airframe and the warhead. The idea was that a five pound warhead might not do much damage if it blew up next to a Tu-16 or Tu-95, but it'd certainly be effective if it blew up INSIDE one of them. The AIM-4D that was used in Vietnam was a remarkably stupid idea. The AIM-4, to that point, was not designed or configured for anti-fighter combat. While the AIM-4H program did a lot to rectify some of the deficiencies the weapon had in that regard, such as adding a proximity fuze, it was cancelled. The end result was that the USAF wanted the AIM-4 instead of the USN's AIM-9, and they ended up finding out that a weapon system designed specifically for use against heavy bombers just wasn't such a great idea over the skies of Vietnam. If you believe Robin Olds and some of the others who tried to use it, the AIM-4 was a piece of crap, but that just wasn't a fair assessment as the weapon was being employed outside of its design role. That'd be like calling the AGM-88 a piece of crap because you didn't manage to hit any tanks with it.
 

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This story may be apocryphal, but I have seen it recounted in a couple of different places. In this instance, the quote was pulled from the Wikipedia article about the F-102 Delta Dagger.

"Interestingly enough, the F-102 became fairly heavily used in the air-to-ground role. The interceptor was equipped with 24 x 2.75-in FFARs in the fuselage bay doors, and these weapons were used to good effect against various types of North Vietnamese targets. Additionally, heat-seeking Falcon missiles used in conjunction with the F-102s nose-mounted IRST (Infrared Search & Track) were employed on night time harassment raids along the Ho Chi Minh trail. This is likely the only time an air-to-air missile has been used for air-to-ground operations.

Operations with both the F-102A and TF-102A two-seater (which was used in a Forward Air Control role because its two seats and 2.75-in. rockets offered good versatility for the mission) in Vietnam until 1968 when all aircraft were sent back to the United States."
 

sferrin

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Jschmus said:
This story may be apocryphal, but I have seen it recounted in a couple of different places. In this instance, the quote was pulled from the Wikipedia article about the F-102 Delta Dagger.

"Interestingly enough, the F-102 became fairly heavily used in the air-to-ground role. The interceptor was equipped with 24 x 2.75-in FFARs in the fuselage bay doors, and these weapons were used to good effect against various types of North Vietnamese targets. Additionally, heat-seeking Falcon missiles used in conjunction with the F-102s nose-mounted IRST (Infrared Search & Track) were employed on night time harassment raids along the Ho Chi Minh trail. This is likely the only time an air-to-air missile has been used for air-to-ground operations.

Operations with both the F-102A and TF-102A two-seater (which was used in a Forward Air Control role because its two seats and 2.75-in. rockets offered good versatility for the mission) in Vietnam until 1968 when all aircraft were sent back to the United States."

I've read that in a book before years ago. Don't recall which. Thought it might have been a Squadron Signals publication but my F-102 book doesn't mention it.
 

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sferrin said:
I've read that in a book before years ago. Don't recall which. Thought it might have been a Squadron Signals publication but my F-102 book doesn't mention it.

One of my college professors was a -102 pilot involved in one of those missions. I actually have his words in a personal interview I did with him somewhere, it'll be up here when I find them. BTW, his name is Col. Robert K Mock (ret.) if you want to do a Google search of your own.
 

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Jschmus said:
Interestingly enough, the F-102 became fairly heavily used in the air-to-ground role. The interceptor was equipped with 24 x 2.75-in FFARs in the fuselage bay doors, and these weapons were used to good effect against various types of North Vietnamese targets. Additionally, heat-seeking Falcon missiles used in conjunction with the F-102s nose-mounted IRST (Infrared Search & Track) were employed on night time harassment raids along the Ho Chi Minh trail. This is likely the only time an air-to-air missile has been used for air-to-ground operations.

I don't know if it was ever "heavily used", but that was Project STOVE PIPE.
 

Pioneer

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Jschmus said:
This story may be apocryphal, but I have seen it recounted in a couple of different places. In this instance, the quote was pulled from the Wikipedia article about the F-102 Delta Dagger.

"Interestingly enough, the F-102 became fairly heavily used in the air-to-ground role. The interceptor was equipped with 24 x 2.75-in FFARs in the fuselage bay doors, and these weapons were used to good effect against various types of North Vietnamese targets. Additionally, heat-seeking Falcon missiles used in conjunction with the F-102s nose-mounted IRST (Infrared Search & Track) were employed on night time harassment raids along the Ho Chi Minh trail. This is likely the only time an air-to-air missile has been used for air-to-ground operations.

Operations with both the F-102A and TF-102A two-seater (which was used in a Forward Air Control role because its two seats and 2.75-in. rockets offered good versatility for the mission) in Vietnam until 1968 when all aircraft were sent back to the United States."



Well done

Interesting find!

I had not known of this of the F-102 in Vietnam!

Regards
Pioneer
 

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SOC said:
The AGM-76 story is convoluted and weird, to say the least. There are two versions, and they appear to be mutually exclusive.
And the winner is ....



... the anti-radiation missile. At least that's what the USAF's nomenclature record for AGM-76A says 8) :

http://www.designation-systems.net/temp/agm-76a-1.pdf (form)
http://www.designation-systems.net/temp/agm-76a-2.pdf (request for allocation)
http://www.designation-systems.net/temp/agm-76a-3.pdf (approval of MDS)
 

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Cool, that solves one outstanding mystery.
 

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I don't know wheter you already know this, but Swiss Mirage IIIS also used the AIM-26B Falcon (AKA Hughes HM-55S).

I found a nice pic showing the Mirage IIIC testbed for separation tests. It didn't have the Hughes TARAN 18 radar of the later Mirage IIIS yet.

http://www.mc-one.ch/Documents/right%20stuff/dokuments/IIIC/IIIC-1.htm
 

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SOC

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Yup, already know about the Mirage-IIIS, but I don't think I'd seen that photo before, thanks! On a related note, does anyone have any ideas about the differences between the USAF Falcons and the export HM-55/58 and the Swedish produced Rb.27/28?
 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYKbPPRFE6o

XAIM-47 Falcon missile launch from a YF-12 interceptor
 

SOC

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Thought I'd share a little bit of my research from this ongoing effort.

-The Rb.28 was a license-built AIM-4C, but Sweden modified its weapons with the AIM-4G seeker during the late 1960's, making them de-facto AIM-4Ds. Further improvements were also made, but details are not known. Believed to include proximity fuzing.

-274 of the AIM-4Ds sent to SEA had modified extended cooling units for the cooled seeker head.

-The F-106 used the AIM-4F and AIR-2 in a trials program to intercept inbound ballistic missiles, simulated by BOMARCs.

-AIM-4F/G missiles were modified at some point to allow for 35% more control surface deflection, making the missile more maneuverable. A proximity fuze would have made the AIM-4G a serious WVR threat, given that it had the only cooled seeker until later AIM-9s came along.

-The AIM-26 was trialled on the F-106 but not actually operationally employed. The same pylon was used for the AIM-97 Seekbat.

Things I'm still looking for:

-Any information regarding foreign Falcon users and the variants they possessed

-Anything relating to the AIM-4H program

-Any info on very early Falcon configurations

-Any clue as to when the three Falcon door was dropped from the F-101
 

SOC

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I thought of another one...looking at the very similar dimensions, did the XGAR-5 and XGAR-6 have anything to do with the GAR-X? As in, was the XGAR-5/6 configuration used to start GAR-X, maybe? GAR-X became GAR-9/AIM-47.
 

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I don't suppose you have any good shots of the F-102/AIM-26 configuration as well as the F-106 Genie/Falcon configuration? I've got the Convair Deltas book and it doesn't really show much. Lots of side shots but nothing with a good shot of the bays. It says the F-102 could carry either six AIM-4s or two AIM-4s and two AIM-26s but then shows two AIM-4s in one side bay and an AIM-26 and AIM-4 in the central bay and I couldn't tell what was in the far bay. ???
 

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The F-102 had three bays, left, center, and right. The center bay was modded to take the AIM-26. It could fit two of them one behind the other, or one of them in the forward slot and an AIM-4 in the rear (or vice versa I suppose, but I've only ever seen it the two ways I mention). The AIM-26 mod was basically a widening of the bay by removing the FFAR tubes from the center bay doors, compensating for the wider wingspan of the AIM-26. Amusingly, the F-102A in the USAF Museum, fitted with an AIM-26 in the center bay, does not have the modded doors! With an AIM-26 or two in the center bay, each side bay could still carry two AIM-4s. A total of 6 Falcons was always possible, regardless of the mix of variants fitted. "Two AIM-4s and two AIM-26s" is clearly wrong, as four AIM-4s could still be carried. Vietnam F-102s used to carry one AIM-26B, two AIM-4As, and three AIM-4Ds. A picture of that configuration can be seen in the Squadron/Signal F-102 in action book. I've attached some (resized and cropped) photos of the F-102's weapons bay at the USAF Museum. Can't take any like this anymore, as the jet is now roped off! These were the result of a 2003 trip when the Cold War hangar was being populated, and as a result was about half empty with no irritating ropes. Quality is not awesome, as this was before I got my EOS 30D.

In the F-106, the AIR-2 was fitted between the rear pair of AIM-4s, which actually were placed further outboard from the forward two because of some avionics being in the way. The best photo looking up into a fully loaded Six bay I've seen is in the Detail & Scale volume on the F-106, it shows a full load of four AIM-4s and an AIR-2.

Here's another question-did the F-102 ever actually use the AIM-4E? I can' find any actual evidence that the weapon was employed.
 

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sferrin

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Thanks! Two guided nukes. Sheesh. Anybody know if anybody else actually deployed AAMs with nukes?
 

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Not that I know of. The only missile I can think of that might have considered one was the Fakel V-148/155, which was never built.
 

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Figured out that Greece and Turkey used the AIM-4A and AIM-4D. Still trying to figure out why so many sources claim that Taiwan was a Falcon user?
 

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And here it is, the history of the Falcon missile:

http://www.mediafire.com/?mlc909j6bg01429

Thanks to everyone who provided assistance in the form of data, images, or reviewing the text!
 

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Impressive work which seems to be the best reference so far on the subject. Well done!!!
 

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SOC said:
And here it is, the history of the Falcon missile:

http://www.mediafire.com/?mlc909j6bg01429

Thanks to everyone who provided assistance in the form of data, images, or reviewing the text!

What the hell!!! Great job!!! Thank you!

1Saludo
 

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I thoroughly enjoyed this and found the story of the F-4 and the Falcon particularly interesting.

What's next? Genie?

Thanks

Chris
 

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SOC,

A genuinely outstanding article that I thoroughly enjoyed, the depth was brilliant. Thank you sincerely for your efforts and for posting it.

Kind regards,

sealordlawrence
 

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SOC, many thanks. I should have noticed this earlier.
 

SOC

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Kelly Bushings said:
What's next? Genie?

There are unanswered questions, and more material I'm looking for to include, so a revised edition is certainly the plan in the future. I mention this because I've considered adding a section on the Genie, given that it was basically linked to the Falcon missile as a USAF/ADC interceptor weapon. The Genie alone isn't going to require anywhere near as much space so a separate "book" would be really pushing it.
 

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A revised version is online here (I haven't changed the downloadable file yet):

http://www.ausairpower.net/Falcon-Evolution.html#mozTocId859220

Major alterations include the addition of some data regarding the GAR-11's nuclear warhead, and the mention of another GAR-9 derivative I managed to miss. There's also an annex at the end with some info from a former F-102 pilot, which is where the GAR-11 info came from.

He's got some other good stuff that'll be worked in there eventually, along with some more data I've got. And regarding the Genie, I've decided to include it in the next revision as a separate annex or chapter, not sure which one yet. Probably a separate chapter between The Ultimate Falcon and Employing the Falcon, which will then allow me to incorporate Genie firing information into the employment chapter. That'll probably necessitate a title revision as well, but whatever.
 

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This is brilliant. Thank you so very much. :D

I have one piece of feedback for you - I haven't read the revised version yet, so maybe it's superfluous, but when you refer to USAF fighter pilots being "disenfranchised" with AIM-4D's performance, I think what you mean is "disenchanted".

Although that having been said, Robin Olds was probably well justified in feeling "disenfranchised" from the Jet Ace community as a result of the missile's (lack of) performance! I read somewhere that AIM-4D's failure to do its job as advertised was what cost him a fifth kill in Vietnam, and that this was what prompted his disgust with the missile (no ref, sorry).
 

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Amusingly, Olds fired AIM-4Ds in combat twice. The first time, he missed with two of them. The second time, he missed with one and the second aborted on the rail. What is interesting is that in the second engagement on 5 June 1967, he followed the Falcons with four AIM-7s, which also missed. Up until October of 1967 when the AIM-4D managed to hit something, twenty-five AIM-4D launches were attempted with seven rail aborts and eighteen misses. But, in contrast, six AIM-9s and fifteen AIM-7s were also fired during those engagements, with only one kill each. Yes, the Falcon had a lot of problems, but one of my arguments is that so did everything else.

If Olds wanted to be irate at something for costing him his fifth jet kill, it should've been those four AIM-7s he missed with!

Disenchanted vs. disenfranchised...very good call, thanks. Disenfranchised is in the text, I'll change it.
 

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