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North American B-70 Valkyrie

RyanCrierie

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Okay guys; here's the information on the planned PRODUCTION model B-70A Valkyrie.

See; there were to be three aircraft built originally for the program, plus production models.

Air Vehicle #1; whi ;Dch became the XB-70A.
Air Vehicle #2; which became the XB-70B.
Air Vehicle #3; which was to be the YB-70, and would carry a sort of early bomb nav system and have a four man crew -- basically to test out the early prototypes of the radar etc and to do bomb drop tests.

However, A/V 3 was cancelled, and errors in the construction of air vehicle #1, caused one of the fuel tanks to be permanently sealed off (it leaked like crazy); and a speed/altitude limit to be imposed (due to it using early production honeycomb skin); meaning it was restricted from sustained Mach 3 flight (it could hit it for short bursts), due to skin problems.

A/V #2, being built later in the program, benefited from the mistakes made in A/V #1's construction, and was significantly better performing due to the problems with the stainless steel honeycomb construction being corrected. It proved that the B-70 as designed could cruise indefinitely at Mach 3 as long as it had fuel by doing a 30 minute flight at Mach 3 (which was when the engineers calculated maximum skin expansion and heating would occur). However, before we could fully explore the envelope of Mach 3 flight, A/V #2 was lost in a mid-air collision.

A/V#1 went on to do some research for NASA before being flown to the USAF Museum.

So. Enough talking. Here's the Statistics for the XB-70A, which you see most commonly quoted (the specs are from Baugher).

Maximum speed 1982 mph at 75,550 feet, 1254 mph at 35,000 feet. Landing speed 184 mph.
Service ceiling 75, 500 feet. Initial climb rate 27,450 feet per minute.
Combat range 3419 miles, maximum range 4290 miles.
Dimensions: Wingspan 105 feet, Length 196 feet 6 inches, Height 30 feet 8 inches, wing area 6297.15 square feet.
Weights: Empty weight 231,215 pounds, 521,056 pounds gross weight, 534,792 pounds maximum.

You can compare them with the B-70A model shown here.

EDIT: By the way, don't be disturbed by the 10,000 lb load for the "Design mission". That's a common "special weapons" load for nuclear armed aircraft; the B-52's "design mission load" is also 10,000 lbs.
 

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JohnR

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Did the Valkyrie have any capacity for conventional weapons, if so, what?

Regards
 

Rosdivan

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Interesting. I wonder what bombs the various classes actually referred to, as well as the ASM they were thinking of. Looking at the performance, it's somewhat surprising that the Valkyrie program lasted as long as it did.
 

RyanCrierie

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JohnR said:
Did the Valkyrie have any capacity for conventional weapons, if so, what?

OH yeah, tons. Could carry 20,000 lb class weapons, plus a ton of smaller ones. If the program had continued, once the B-70A had been in service for a while, the USAF would have officially cleared it for carrying conventional munitions.
 

Rosdivan

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RyanCrierie said:
JohnR said:
Did the Valkyrie have any capacity for conventional weapons, if so, what?

OH yeah, tons. Could carry 20,000 lb class weapons, plus a ton of smaller ones. If the program had continued, once the B-70A had been in service for a while, the USAF would have officially cleared it for carrying conventional munitions.

Only if the bomber was refitted for it. The B-70 SAC you posted only refers to special weapons and it looks like you'd need to do an extensive refit to give it anything like a large payload. You'd also need to design a 20,000 pound weapon (since we didn't have one) and likely a new series of smaller ones specifically for the Valkyrie, Mach 3 and 75,000 feet is liable to be a touch too inaccurate for conventional bombing otherwise (or even with).
 

sferrin

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Rosdivan said:
Only if the bomber was refitted for it. The B-70 SAC you posted only refers to special weapons and it looks like you'd need to do an extensive refit to give it anything like a large payload. You'd also need to design a 20,000 pound weapon (since we didn't have one)

Yeah we did. 17,000lb Mk36. Personally I'd have preferred a pair of 12,000lb 25 MT B41Y1s.

Rosdivan said:
and likely a new series of smaller ones specifically for the Valkyrie, Mach 3 and 75,000 feet is liable to be a touch too inaccurate for conventional bombing otherwise (or even with).

I thought the idea of a Skybolt under each wing was interesting. Might have a problem with heat soak though.
 

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sferrin said:
Rosdivan said:
Only if the bomber was refitted for it. The B-70 SAC you posted only refers to special weapons and it looks like you'd need to do an extensive refit to give it anything like a large payload. You'd also need to design a 20,000 pound weapon (since we didn't have one)

Yeah we did. 17,000lb Mk36. Personally I'd have preferred a pair of 12,000lb 25 MT B41Y1s.

Right, but I was referring to a conventional 20,000 pounder, unless you want to just produce the bomb case and fill in the fissile areas with HE instead. I suspect that'd have stability and efficiency issues.

Rosdivan said:
and likely a new series of smaller ones specifically for the Valkyrie, Mach 3 and 75,000 feet is liable to be a touch too inaccurate for conventional bombing otherwise (or even with).

I thought the idea of a Skybolt under each wing was interesting. Might have a problem with heat soak though.

What about the compression lift? Would storing external weapons mess with that?
 

RyanCrierie

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Only if the bomber was refitted for it. The B-70 SAC you posted only refers to special weapons and it looks like you'd need to do an extensive refit to give it anything like a large payload.

The two bomb bays on the B-70 could hold 13 foot long weapons, that's a lot of room to play with, and compared to the electronic interfaces required for a nuke (arming, etc), a iron bomb is simple.

As for large payload; no refit is required. The wings have two hardpoints that are stressed to hold 10,930 lb missiles (Skybolts); and with two Skybolts, you have a maximum internal payload of four Class D bombs, each of which weighs 8,000 lbs. That's 32,000 lbs internal, and 21,860 lbs external, for a total bombload of 53,000~ lbs.

Of course, most likely the external hardpoints would have been used for streamlined pods which would contain conventional bombs inside the pod, like the various proposed B-58 conventional weapons pods; so actual bombload would be much less; probably more like 40,000 lbs.

Mach 3 and 75,000 feet is liable to be a touch too inaccurate for conventional bombing otherwise (or even with).

Actually, Mach 3 and 85,100 feet is the combat speed and altitude of the B-70. She cruises 10 knots slower than her combat speed at 77,000 feet.

As for accuracy....

Well, it may come as a surprise; but accuracy was always a key parameter of the B-70's bomb/nav system; because even with a nuke, if you're off by a couple hundred feet; a heavily hardened target can survive, and this was a major selling point of the B-70 in the Missile/Bomber fight; a B-70 could strike targets much more accurately than the ICBMs then in service.

And if you REALLY need accuracy. There's always subsonic sea-level penetration (look at Range Mission IV on the SAC).

BTW, as an aside; the AN/ASQ-28 bomb/nav system that was to be used on the production B-70As was to be designed with growth capability for operation out to Mach 3.5 and 110,000 feet; and it later formed the basis for the early proposals for the B-1A's bomb/nav systems.
 

RyanCrierie

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sferrin said:
I thought the idea of a Skybolt under each wing was interesting. Might have a problem with heat soak though.

That's what the X-planes of the 1950s and early 1960s was about; investigating aerodyanamic heating loads at high mach numbers, there were a few flights with scale models of various bombs and weapons hung off the wings and instrumented to see how much heat load they could take.

Also, they flew the paint that was to be used on the B-70 on an X-15 flight up to mach 4.43 by painting the vertical stabilizer of the X-15 in that coating.
 

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RyanCrierie said:
sferrin said:
I thought the idea of a Skybolt under each wing was interesting. Might have a problem with heat soak though.

That's what the X-planes of the 1950s and early 1960s was about; investigating aerodyanamic heating loads at high mach numbers, there were a few flights with scale models of various bombs and weapons hung off the wings and instrumented to see how much heat load they could take.

Also, they flew the paint that was to be used on the B-70 on an X-15 flight up to mach 4.43 by painting the vertical stabilizer of the X-15 in that coating.

How would any of the X-planes been able to deliver useful heat soak data? They only flew for minutes at a time. That's why the need for the 30 minute Valkyrie flight.
 

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Don't know if anyone is interested in Flight Simulators but someone is building an excellant sim for X-plane of this aircraft. Check the photos at

http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?showtopic=31491
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Have any illustrations of the XB-70 Recoverable Booster Space System (RBSS) concept ever seen the light of day. Not the familiar X-15/XB-70 combo. But the space launncher combo with a DynaSoar-type orbiter?
 

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XB-70A number two...
 

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Triton

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I don't understand the connection XB-70 Guy. By the way, if you are referring to Han Solo's starship it is spelled Millennium Falcon.
 

Steve Pace

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It's just a joke because of the unique angle that it was photographed at and excuse my bad spelling.
 

Just call me Ray

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You know what, I'm going to reply to this with the most useful, appropriate thing I can think of:



what is this i dont even
 

Justo Miranda

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1966 beauty- post-1
 

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Justo Miranda

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Justo Miranda

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Justo Miranda

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mz

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Notice how completely old and outdated the whole surrounding world looks in that rear photo...
 

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Was the last photo taken at Wright Pat? It's interesting to see an Argosy in the background.
 

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Wright-Patterson after its last flight to there from Edwards in Feb 1969.
 

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How did the escape capsule work - in particular how did it avoid dismembering the crew member? How similar was the ejection capsule on the F111?

I have always been haunted by the story in the early to mid eighties of the RAF Lighting pilot being when the guillotine on his ejection seat misfired and instead of cutting his seat straps took his head off.

Regards.
 

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JohnR said:
How did the escape capsule work - in particular how did it avoid dismembering the crew member? How similar was the ejection capsule on the F111?

I have always been haunted by the story in the early to mid eighties of the RAF Lighting pilot being when the guillotine on his ejection seat misfired and instead of cutting his seat straps took his head off.

Regards.

Regarding the the Lightning pilot, yikes!

As for the XB-70's escape capsule, in the one case where it was used (in the collision of XB-70 #2 and an F-104), pilot Al White got his one arm caught in the closing capsule shell and dislocated it when he tried to pull himself free.
 

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Correction: White successfully encapsulated himself but made a very hard landing because only two of three 'chutes deployed and the ablative bladder wasn't as advertised. His resulting back injury was severe enough to end his flying career (couldn't pass a physical). He said, as far as he knew, co-pilot Cross didn't do anything to save himself - didn't begin the first step to encapsulate. -Steve Pace (two B-70 books, two B-70 articles)
 

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JohnR said:
How did the escape capsule work - in particular how did it avoid dismembering the crew member? How similar was the ejection capsule on the F111?


Regards.

Note also that on the XB-70, the enclosure just encapsulated the crewmember and seat, whereas in the F-111 the entire crew compartment was ejected intact. It's worthy of note that the B-1A was originally designed with a crew compartment that separated intact similar to the F-111. This was abandoned early on when it was determined that conventional ejection seats actually gave a better chance of survivable than ejecting the whole compartment. The first three B-`As were too far along to make the change, but the fourth -1A, and all the Bs used regular ejection seats.
 

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XB-70 Guy said:
Correction: White successfully encapsulated himself but made a very hard landing because only two of three 'chutes deployed and the ablative bladder wasn't as advertised. His resulting back injury was severe enough to end his flying career (couldn't pass a physical). He said, as far as he knew, co-pilot Cross didn't do anything to save himself - didn't begin the first step to encapsulate. -Steve Pace (two B-70 books, two B-70 articles)

You know, what I had always heard was that when the seat moved into the capsule his elbow was too far out and got trapped when the hood closed. The ejection sequence was not completely automatic and he had to pull the handles after being inside the capsule, which meant he had to free his elbow or he could lose his arm in the ejection. He did, and then successfully ejected. The airbag for landing, I thought, had to be triggered manually (seems like an oversight in design there?) and with all the drama, confusion and disorientation Al White didn't perform that step. That, plus the failure of one of the 'chutes meant he landed so hard his rear formed an impression in the seat, resulting in the injuries described above.

Later analysis showed that for whatever reason, Major Cross waited too long to initiate escape. The spin had built up g-forces to the extent that they exceeded the ability of the retraction mechanism to pull the seat into his capsule, tragically resulting in his being trapped in the aircraft and lost.

Come to think of it, these accounts aren't inconsistent.
 

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A piece of XB-70A number two that I found at the crash site in the summer of 1990.
 

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Stargazer2006

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Great find. Was the honeycomb used all over the airplane, or only in specific areas?
 

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