USAF Project 'AERIE' The ultimate stand-off interceptor?

Pioneer

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I found out about this aircraft project a few years ago in a great book called The Pentagon Paradox – The Development of the F-18 Hornet.

One of the Projects that was mentioned in the book in the USAF’s quest to field an effective air defence system was a USAF Project ‘AERIE’ of 1957.
Project ‘AERIE’ was a modified Boeing C-135A acting as a self contained weapons platform, equipped with a powerful air-search radar, its own airborne command centre and armed with no less than Twenty Four AAM-N-10 Eagle Long-range AAM`s.
This aircraft would loiter endlessly patrolling the aerospace of the United States (limited only by its crews endurance and stamina) intercepting any threatening Soviet strategic bomber that approached the continent.

Has anyone else got any other information on this Project, in the way of drawings, specifications etc………..
Or have you heared of similar projects – US or Soviet???

The only thing that I know came close to this was a Lockheed proposal to a US Navy requirement of Land-Based Fleet Air Defence Aircraft. Lockheed’s submission was the CL-520, which was based on modified P-3 Orion. But like Project ‘AERIE’ it had its own AEW like air-search radom, and its own powerful fire-control radar and armed with around 10-12 AAM-N-10 Eagle LRAAM`s (see attached 3-view drawing posted).

Looking forward to your input gents!
 

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elmayerle

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Hmm, this does answer something I've wondered about. Given that fighter radars have been fitted to the nose of the P-3 and that the AEW version of the P-3 uses the same radar as the E-2, I've often wondered about combining the F-14's radar in the nose with the AEW radar, handing targets off would be easy since no datlink would be required, and carrying a bunch of AIM-54's. This concept is earlier, but much the same. As an extension, do it from a P-3J amd use it, also, for target handoffs for the Nike-Phoenix proposal that McDD & Hughes pitched to the Japanese (a major rework of their Nike-Hercules missiles with AIM-54 avionics and new, improved, solid fuel rockets).
 

sferrin

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I'd read they kicked around the idea of arming the B-1 with 24 Phoenix missiles for a similar mission at one point. Also do you have any data on the Nike-Phoenix? Or Sea Phoenix for that matter? (It was intended to use the Phoenix in place of Sparrow on CVNs but was too many $$$ in the end).
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Tupolev had projects for Tu-22M (DP-1) and Tu-144 (DP-2) based interceptors, and a Tu-160 armed with the MiG-31's Zaslon radar and R-33 AAMs.
 

TinWing

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sferrin said:
Or Sea Phoenix for that matter? (It was intended to use the Phoenix in place of Sparrow on CVNs but was too many $$$ in the end).

In a surface lauched role the Phoenix's tremendous range would have been degraded - unless a booster stage was added, but that would have put the missile in the same size and weight class as the Standard.
 

GTX

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Tupolev had projects for Tu-22M (DP-1) and Tu-144 (DP-2) based interceptors, and a Tu-160 armed with the MiG-31's Zaslon radar and R-33 AAMs.

Overscan,

Do you have details of these projects?

Regards,

Greg
 

elmayerle

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sferrin said:
I'd read they kicked around the idea of arming the B-1 with 24 Phoenix missiles for a similar mission at one point. Also do you have any data on the Nike-Phoenix? Or Sea Phoenix for that matter? (It was intended to use the Phoenix in place of Sparrow on CVNs but was too many $$$ in the end).

The only data I have on Nike-Phoenix is what I gave that was reported in the industry media at the time (the proposal was beaten by a deal for the Japanese to license-build the Patriot missile and launcher).
 

Pioneer

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A little more on the Lockheed proposed CL-520, which I found on my system

Regards
Pioneer
 

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AndrewN

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There was a similar project considered by the RAF in the 60's, using a Vulcan B2 as the airframe. The aircraft had a search Radar installed and would carry upto 10 modified Seadart missiles. The details are in "Vulcan's Hammer" by Chris Gibson, I don't want to post a copy of the drawing from Chris' book as Chris is active here and could post it himself.
 

PMN1

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AndrewN said:
There was a similar project considered by the RAF in the 60's, using a Vulcan B2 as the airframe. The aircraft had a search Radar installed and would carry upto 10 modified Seadart missiles. The details are in "Vulcan's Hammer" by Chris Gibson, I don't want to post a copy of the drawing from Chris' book as Chris is active here and could post it himself.

There was also a proposal for a VC10 version.
 

major-1

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The S-25 Berkut (SA-1) system (the 1952 project) included interceptors based on the Tu-4. Each aircraft was to carry 4 missiles. SARH missiles, 1000kg weight, range of 15km. In the air should be 10 aircraft. On the ground there are 20 aircraft.

This part of the defense system was rejected.
 

major-1

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Information in russian.
https://topwar.ru/34821-sverhtyazhelyy-perehvatchik-pvo-tu-4-d-500-kompleks-g-310.html
http://militaryrussia.ru/blog/topic-303.html
 

Michel Van

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There another program that fit description of AERIE

1950s Lockheed CL-292-6 proposal
Powered with four Nuclear Turboprop engines (90 megawatt reactor)
A armed flying Detection and Early Warning Aircraft
four Mark I missiles
fourteen Mark II missiles
It carry four parasite F-104 (CL-307-1) under it's wings.
Each Parasite fighter has around 12 Sidewinder Missile in his nose section

Scott Lowther was speculating about the role of the Lockheed CL-292-6.
special about large amount of Missile the plane carry
Since his information was not specific about what missile it carry.

now under AERIE this begin to make sense as stand-off interceptor
DEW the Enemies bomber and fire there 28 Long-range AAM and start four F-104
i guess that four Mark I missiles have nuclear warheads for bomber fleet

Source:
The Lockheed CL-292-6
US Bomber Project: Preview

The Lockheed CL-307-1
 
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Grey Havoc

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While the FAS.org entry on the Imperial Iranian Navy is something of a mess, it does mention that in September of 1972, during a briefing of the Shah of Iran and members of the Supreme Commander's Staff (said SC being the Shah) by USN and USAF representatives on the F-14 and F-15, the Shah made detailed enquires about the possibility of operating the AWG-9 Radar and Phoenix missile combo from Imperial Iranian Navy P-3s and helicopters (new build IIN CH-53Ds?), including against waterborne surface targets.

I should note here that the IIN hadn't received it's planned P-3s before the revolution, the six P-3Fs that were delivered to Iran having being delivered to the IIAF for some reason.
 
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TomS

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I should note here that the IIN hadn't received it's planned P-3s before the revolution, the six P-3Fs that were delivered to Iran having being delivered to the IIAF for some reason.

Might just have been internal politics. But the P-3Fs didn't have ASW gear, so that might explain why they were not IIN assets.
 
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overscan (PaulMM)

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April 4 AWST 1961

Navy’s Eagle—Missileer air defense system would be canceled completely:
The Douglas Missileer aircraft, which was not funded in the Eisenhower budget, would have carried the long-range Bendix Eagle air-to-air missile. The saving by canceling Eagle would be 857.7 million. Eagle also was considered for use in a Boeing-Bendix air defense concept called Project Aerie. This would have used modified Boeing KC— I35 tankers as flying radar stations carrying search and attack radar and acting as airborne command centers that could fire up to 24 Eagles each. The aircraft would have been ground based, would have had a 5-min. reaction time, and would have been able to operate with the Sage air defense control system or independently, remaining on station for as long as 11 hr. The President said “no alternative use" for Eagle is in prospect now.
 

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Further information from the NORAD/CONAD Historical Summary, January-June 1962
NORAD learned that USAF was planning on directing AFSC to go to industry with a study contract on a comparison of AMI versus IMI and Eagle
Aerie.*

*The Aerie concept was using a large, long range aircraft (such as a modified KC-135) carrying something like 30 high speed missiles (Eagle Mach 3), which could be launched rapidly and directed against different targets. The Aerie could provide its own radar cover or accept and display information from the ground environment, and operate from airfields on a tenant basis with minimum support.

The idea of combining Aeries with F-108/F-12/whatever as an alternative to a Mach 4.5 interceptor (see the Vought SAMI thread) is an interesting one.

 

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Archibald

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Well that's a pretty... radical solution to the APQ-81 / AN/ASG-18; and their respective Eagle and Falcon missiles; being so huge and heavy...

"Put them into a Boeing 707, you idiot."

"Wait, 707 is also the AWACS airframe !"

"Good, so let's combine the two."

Fact is, the AWACS radar is a descendant from the APQ-81, via pulse-doppler and other goodies.
 

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It's really the Missileer logic, but defending a continental landmass instead of an aircraft carrier: we'd like to put a SAM site in the way of the bomber stream, but we don't know where the bombers are coming from and there's no land there anyway. So just stick the whole lot on a large aircraft and be done with it.

In the LAMP LIGHT case, they were explicitly seen as interceptors, to be launched on early warning of an attack.
 

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I've always been curious where those 24-30 Eagles would go on a C-135 airframe. A couple of internal bays and/or underwing I presume? Presumably the cabin space would be needed for the AEW crew and equipment racks?
 

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