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Lockheed 1979 NuCMCA (Nuclear-powered Cruise Missile Carrier Aircraft)

flateric

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Lockheed 1979 NuCMCA (Nuclear-powered Cruise Missile Carrier Aircraft)
 

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flateric

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More info on cruise missile carrier version (NuCMCA) posted here
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=376.msg2415#msg2415
 

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flateric

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more variants
 

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Sentinel Chicken

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I'm surprised that there was work still being done on nuclear-powered aircraft as late as 1979. I was always under the impression that the NB-36H experience more or less showed the logistical and technical difficulties of such a system.

This Lockheed design looks a lot like a future transport aircraft that I remember seeing in various books in the early 1980s. Were the engines on this proposed nuclear version closed cycle or open cycle?
 

flateric

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Non-recuperated closed Braiton cycle was prefered, but open base Brayton cycle was selected due to more experimental base available. Alternative study was on gas-cooled reactor coupled to a Bi-Braiton energy transport and power conversion system employing dual-mode turbofan engines.
 

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elmayerle

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Much the same energy cycle was considered earlier in the decade for a nuclear-powered dirigible with two turbofans and one huge turboprop (it used helicopter blades as prop blades). I remember seeing this in AIAA magazines or papers of the period and it did appear in at least one techno-thriller from 1976 or so.
 

flateric

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Another NuCMCA drawing from Flug Revue
 

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Triton

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Sorry to necropost, but I find this aircraft concept to be very interesting and I have many questions about it.

Did the SALT II Treaty of June 18, 1979 cause this program to be cancelled? I presume that these aircraft would loiter outside of Soviet airspace and then launch their cruise missiles.

How would the nuclear power plant of this aircraft supposed to work?

Did the SALT II Treaty of June 18, 1979 also kill the idea of modifying commercial airliners as ALCM carriers? Or was the fear that commercial airliners might be shot down accidently because they were believed to be military aircraft?
 

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Don't think the cancellation (better, no further activity) is unrelated to large political decision. In 1977-80 time span there was a flurry of activity in the US on very unconventional flying things: spanloaders, very heavy lift, nuclear, flatbeds, etc.
There is a report on DTIC (plus the usual reports on the AIAA site) on NuMCA.
 

Skybolt

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mmm, report removed from DTIC... strange... The report has never been classified.
 

Triton

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If this aircraft had gone into production, would it have been given a B designation for bomber? Or would ALCM carriers have been given a new designation?
 

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Skybolt said:
mmm, report removed from DTIC... strange...

I've been noticing that a *lot* recently. A lot of reports that I've misplaced on my hard-drive somewhere, so easy solution is to jsut re-download it. And SURPRISE! It's gone.

It's Obama's new era in governmental transparency, I tell ya...
 

Skybolt

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@Triton: who knows. No dedicated ALCM carrier ever reached the designation-assignment phase.
@Scott: maybe he is thinking of resuming work on ANP to reduce CO2 emissions... :p
 

Rosdivan

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Orionblamblam said:
Skybolt said:
mmm, report removed from DTIC... strange...

I've been noticing that a *lot* recently. A lot of reports that I've misplaced on my hard-drive somewhere, so easy solution is to jsut re-download it. And SURPRISE! It's gone.

It's Obama's new era in governmental transparency, I tell ya...

They redid their website recently and a lot of even their internal links for whiles don't work at all. Their search has turned completely useless as well.
 

Skybolt

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Anyway, if someone is absolutely, positively missing and longing for the NuMCA report, PM me...
 

Triton

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Is this the NuMCA report that was missing from the DTIC?

Innovative Aircraft Design Study. Task II. Nuclear Aircraft Concepts by John C Muehlbauer et al, Lockheed-Georgia Co Marietta, April 1977

Abstract:
Parametric analyses and design refinement studies were performed for conventional, canard, and spanloader aircraft configurations to determine the lightest ramp weight configuration with a nuclear propulsion system. Mission requirements for these analyses were: 400,000 and 600,000-lb payloads, 0.75 cruise Mach number, 1000 n.m. emergency chemically-fueled range, and a 9000-ft field length. The canard configuration was between one and ten percent lighter in ramp weight than the other candidates at both payloads. Comparison were made of the reference, (Brayton nuclear propulsion cycle and canard wing configuration) and alternate nuclear aircraft with JP-fueled aircraft to determine that design range value which will result in JP-fueled aircraft with the same ramp weights or life-cycle costs as the nuclear aircraft. The results showed the equal ramp weight cross-over ranges to be 9200 and 7850 n.m. relative to the reference and alternate nuclear aircraft, respectively. For mission ranges exceeding these values, the nuclear aircraft will be lighter in weight. The converse is true for shorter ranges. Similarly, the life-cycle cost ranges were 11,950 and 11,100 n.m., respectively. However, a 300-percent fuel price increase reduced these ranges to 6100 and 4700 n.m., respectively. Thus, as the severity of the energy shortage increases fuel prices, the future prospects for airborne nuclear propulsion will improve.
http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADB017795
 

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Skybolt

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Yes. As usual, reappeared as misteriously as disappeared before.
 

hs1216

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It sounds as if the renewed interest in nuclear powered aircraft in the late 1970's was due to the oil crisis and fear of a future shortage.
 
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