- Oct 9, 2009
- Reaction score
Has anyone come across any info on this project? This is what I have from the Missile Scrapbook over in designation-systems.net:
AMC MX-767 Banshee
Between 1946 and 1950, the U.S. Air Force's Air Material Command tried to develop an unmanned variant of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress as a long-range nuclear-armed guided missile. The project was officially designated MX-767 and code-named Banshee. Flight tests of some guidance equipment in manned B-29s were conducted, but otherwise almost no information on the project is readily available. It is unclear if the B-29 drone was to be expendable (i.e. dropped as a whole on the target), or if the atom bomb was to be released and the aircraft return home. Project Banshee was run with relatively low priority, and most likely did not result in any unmanned B-29 flights. The basic concept was briefly revived in project MX-1457 Brass Ring.
The only lasting result of Project Banshee was unrelated to aeronautical or weapons technology. When a B-29 crashed on a Banshee-related test flight in 1948, killing 9 crew out of 13, the widows of three killed civilian engineers sued the government because of (suspected) negligence. However, Project Banshee and therefore the accident report were highly classified at that time. It was ruled that the USAF did not have to disclose the report to laywers, thereby denying the plaintiffs the most important means to prove their case. This was apparently the first time that the military used "national security" requirements to effectively prevent legal action against itself, and has set a precedence for similar cases thereafter.