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US Post WWII Interceptor Story

Antonio

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This is a brief USAF post-WWII Interceptor story classified by chronological order.

Please send your comments about mistakes or additions. Thanks a lot!

Antonio

March 1945
Project MX-808. Night Fighter/All Weather Interceptor
Curtiss Model 29A and Northrop Model N-24 selected for development
Curtiss XP-87 fell from favor and Norhrop XP-89 went on.


September 1945
Project MX-813
Supersonic Day Fighter Interceptor
Role: save US Cities from enemy bombers dropping nuclear weapons
Convair Model 7 XP-92


December 1945
Project MX-909
Very high speed, very high altitude interceptor
Role: interception of high performance bombers
Republic AP-31 XP-91

May 1946
Model 7 at wind tunnel resulted in disappointing results. A new delta configuration was suggested by Dr. Alexander Lippisch.
Revised design shown promising performance.

November 1946
XF-92A
Model 7-002 new design, delta wing, powerplant: GE33 turbojet.
Mach 1,25 expected but only Mach 1,1 capable in a dive.
Afterburner installed in 1951
Development cancelled.

June 1948
Lockheed YF-94 Starfire ordered as the Interim All Weather Fighter Interceptor to fill the gap while F-89 was in its development stages.

July 1948
XF-89 First Flight

March 1949
North American Model NA-164 all weather fighter interceptor offered to USAAF. Despite several interceptors were in development at that time, the design was ordered as YF-95A (later redesignated as YF-86D.

May 1949
First Flight. Rocket was not available so it was flown with turbojet only.
Redesignated XF-91 Thunderceptor

June 1949
Project 1954 Interceptor, WS201A MX-1554-MX1179
Considered the ultimate interceptor.
Role: save US Cities from enemy bombers dropping nuclear weapons
Contender designs:
Convair model 8 Powerplant: Wright J57 afterburning turbojet
Lockheed TDN L-205 Model 99
Republic AP-57
Convair designated winner Model 8 gets YF-102 designation
Republic AP-57 wins also a contract for development under WS304A and gets XF-103 Thunderwarrior designation

1949
Project GAPA (Ground to Air Pilotless Aircraft). A Boeing study for a point interceptor is developed into a robot interceptor capable of destroy targets at ranges of hundred kilometers.

1950
Advanced YF-89F and YF-89G Scorpion variants cancelled.

November 1951
Long Range Interceptor variant studied for the B-58

1951
GAPA Ordered under designation XF-99 BOMARC.

1952
B-47 Very Long Range Interceptor study (A B-47 armed with dozens of AAM) led to the start of the LRI-X program

1952
McDonnell F-109. F-101A Interceptor version offered to as an interim all weather interceptor (WS-217) due to delays in the F-102 development. It was considered for the LRI role too. Later redesignated F-101B.

1952
XF-91A and B versions Thunderceptor cancelled because F-102 then in development had better performance.

February 1953
Northrop starts series of LRI-X studies starting with Delta Scorpion design (F-89D with delta wing)

May 1953
Northrop N-126 to LRI-X. Three designs: F-89D delta evolution, N-126A and N-126B

January 1953
Air Defense Command Request MRI-X (Medium Range Interceptor Experimental) for F101 and F102 replacement by october 1959. Cancelled

October 1953
Convair 8-80 (YF-102) First Flight

November 1953
Convair B-58 Hustler Interceptor variant to LRI-X

June 1954
Northrop LRI-X studies: Revised N-126 and N-144

June 1955
Convair F-102A delivered as an interim type until the definitive F-102B could be ready.

October 1955
LRI-X formaly issued: GOR 114. Proposals from Lockheed (CL-288 and CL-320) and Convair (B-58 derivative).

February 1956
Northrop LRI-X studies: N-167 and last submission, the N-176.

February 1956
North American wins LRI-X with its NA-236 design but the project is cancelled.

December 1956.
Convair Model 8-24 First Flight. F-102B, the ultimate 1954 Interceptor is redesignated F-106.

March 1957
LRI-X reinstated under WS 202A. Instead asking for new proposals, the NA-236 is reaffirmed. Revised design, NA-257 is ordered as XF-108 Rapier. Operational expected date by 1962.

May 1958
Convair F-106C tested but cancelled.

September 1959
North American XF-108 Rapier cancelled. It seems that USAF was impresed with an AF-12 Blackbird interceptor offer from Lockheed.

January 1959
IM-99B Bomarc offered to RCAF as an F-105 Arrow replacement ordered for USAF.

February 1959
Long Range Interceptor B-58C derivative studied at Convair

August 1959
North American Retaliator (A-5 Vigilante derivative) offered to USAF as an interceptor.

March 1960
Lockheed starts work on AF-12 IMI (Improved Manned Interceptor) for F101, F102 and F106 replacement (Suggested designation YF-112)

March 1960
North American Retaliator offered to IMI

Between 1960 and 1961
Convair studied a B-58D Long Range Interceptor derivative.

March 1962
Lockheed AF-12 is designated YF-12A

May 1965
Lockheed production model F-12B is ordered.

1967
Vought V-504 offered to IMI

February 1968
F-12B Cancelled.

February 1968
Convair F-106X offered as a low cost IMI alternative. Rejected.

September 1968
Convair F-106E/F offered as a low cost IMI alternative (less ambitious than F-106X). Rejected.

August 1971
North American NR-349 (an A-5 evolution), Grumman F-111X-7 (Interceptor variant), Grumman F-14 (USAF IMI variant) and McDonnell F-15 (IMI variant) were the latest contenders.

1973
Program IMI cancelled.

The last dedicated USAF interceptor was F106 until it was replaced by F-15A beginning during the early-1980s.


Sources:

Books
X-Fighters. Steve Pace. Motorbooks International. 1991. ISBN 0-87938-540-5.
Lockheed Skunk Works. Jay Miller. Aerofax. 1993. ISBN 0-942548-56-6
McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. Dennis R. Jenkins. Aerofax. 1990. ISBN 0-942548-44-2
Magazines
F-108 Rapier. D. Jenkins and T. Landis. Airpower September 2004
Playing the proposal game. Joe Mizrahi with collaboration from Dr Ira Chart. Wings 1989.
 

Andreas Parsch

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Thank you for the interceptor rundown! Just a few nitpicks ...

pometablava said:
1949
Project GAPA (Ground to Air Pilotless Aircraft). A Boeing study for a point interceptor is developed into a robot interceptor capable of destroy targets at ranges of hundred kilometers.

GAPA (MX-606) ran from 1946 to 1949. The long-range "robot interceptor" you mention is actually Bomarc (MX-1599). And while GAPA certainly tested many components of a surface-to-air guided missile, and therefore contributed a lot to Bomarc development, saying that it was "developed into" Bomarc is probably stretching it a bit.

1951
GAPA Ordered under designation XF-99 BOMARC.

The Bomarc program already began in 1949. (The F-99 nomenclature was indeed assigned in 1951, but that wasn't a starting or turning point for Bomarc itself.)

1952
McDonnell F-109. F-101A Interceptor version offered to as an interim all weather interceptor (WS-217) due to delays in the F-102 development. It was considered for the LRI role too. Later redesignated F-101B.

I can't resist that one ;) ...
There was no "McDonnell F-109" in 1952 (or later, for that matter). The F-101B was designated as such in May 1955, when the F-series had only reached -107. (Actually, the F-109 designator was reserved by the USAF only in January 1958).
 

Stargazer2006

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Andreas Parsch said:
There was no "McDonnell F-109" in 1952 (or later, for that matter). The F-101B was designated as such in May 1955, when the F-series had only reached -107. (Actually, the F-109 designator was reserved by the USAF only in January 1958).

This early "F-109" designation (years before that of the Ryan Vertijet and the Bell D-188A), has been quoted in several sources though. This seems to be very similar to the Republic Thunderscreech receiving the XF-106 designation before changing to XF-84H... Could it be that a temporary reservation of F-106 to F-109 was done in 1952, and that the final allocation only came later on? Just my two cents on the subject.
 

GeorgeA

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While reading through a couple of USAF history documents mentioned in various threads on SPF, I came across a couple of interesting references to obscure interceptor concepts.

In The Search For An Advanced Fighter, A History From The XF-108 To The Advanced Tactical Fighter, the author mentions an MX-1554 follow-on in the context of the "1954 Ultimate Interceptor" discussion, that is essentially a faster YF-12:

The Air Force sought an interceptor to counter the perceived 1960 bomber threats of Mach 2.0 speed at 61,000 feet, and the revised 1963 bomber threats of Mach 2.2 to 2.7 speed at 65,000 feet (118:7,32; 114:Ch 2). Design studies to satisfy these requirements began in 1953 at Air Research and Development Command and in industry with the MX1554 designed to achieve a Mach 4.5, 150,000 pound , gross takeoff weight aircraft, but the aircraft appeared to be beyond the state of the art (118:7,Fi5 24).

The key reference is unfortunately in a USAF document that is partially classified.

In The History of Air Defense Weapons 1945-1962, the author mentions a post-F-108 program called LRAPIS that was, to say the least, highly ambitious:

Following disillusionment with the F-I08, ADC began, in October 1960, to work on the specifications for another advanced long-range manned interceptor (involving what ADC described as a "quantum jump" in interceptor performance) designed to cope with a new family of threats that not even the F-I08 could be expected to handle. These new threats included air-launched ballistic missiles (ALBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), Boost Glide Vehicles and Intercontinental Cruise Missiles (ICCM). This advanced interceptor was initially known as LRAPIS, for Long Range Advanced Piloted Interceptor System. The ADC Plans organization estimated that this aircraft would have to be capable of a speed of Mach 5 and an altitude of 200 miles. Asked for an unofficial opinion on such a vehicle, WADD agreed that development of the LRAPIS was technically feasible, but that the difficulties would be great. In the first place, WADD didn't believe it could be developed by the target date of 1966, but that 1970-72 would be more logical. Furthermore, it would have to be extremely large (about the size of a B-70), which would probably limit its use as a fast-reaction interceptor. Finally, the cost was likely to be astronomical. Despite this somewhat negative response, ADC continued to feel a need for a long-range manned interceptor beyond the F-101B. As of the summer of 1962, the LRAPIS had evolved into the Improved Manned Interceptor (IMI). USAF and DOD had expressed interest in such a vehicle, but approval for development had not yet been received .
 

famvburg

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I keep getting an error message on the first link. :(
 

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