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XAIM-97 Seekbat

KJ_Lesnick

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Is it true that the F-15's were actually intended to carry the AIM-97 Seekbat to deal with the MiG-25?

How many could it carry?


KJ Lesnick
 

Rosdivan

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Re: F-15 and AIM-97 Seekbat

Speaking of Seekbat, what was the point of developing a brand new missile such as that (admittedly based off the prior existing STARM) when you already had Phoenix?
 

TomS

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Re: F-15 and AIM-97 Seekbat

Seekbat's guidance system was largely based on the Standard ARM passive radar homing system. Modifying the guidance for air-to-air use required a fairly modest tweak to tailor the RF seeker to the MiG-25's radar frequencies and add an IR seeker for terminal homing. Considering that the Standard Missile itself had started life as an anti-air weapon, not too much else would have been required.

Phoenix, OTOH, was tightly coupled to the AWG-9 weapon system and the F-14 itself. Adapting the F-15 to handle Phoenix would have taken a lot of work, as shown in the various F-15N (PHX) versions.
 

RyanCrierie

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Photograph courtesy of the National Archives II.

Link to Andreas' page

General Dynamics AIM-97 Seekbat

In 1972, the USAF initiated a program to develop a high-altitude long-range air-to-air missile to counter the MiG-25 Foxbat interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft. The missile was based on the AGM-78 Standard ARM, and was designated as XAIM-97A Seekbat (sometimes written Seek Bat).

The Seekbat used a larger propulsion unit than the AGM-78, and supplemented the latter's radar seeker with an infrared homing device. The missile had to be locked on the target before launch. The AIM-97 was intended to be effective at altitudes up to 24000 m (80000 ft). Test firings of XAIM-97A prototypes against drones began in late 1972, but the program was short-lived, and was no longer active in early 1976.
 

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Graham1973

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Just stumbled across the unreferenced article on Wikipedia, I wonder what the truth in this claim is:

The Bomarc would prove to be a poor choice for target drone, due in part to the requirement to operate it in a manner outside its intended operational envelope.

In sustained high altitude flight, the Bomarc would roll onto its back and dive when the engines became oxygen starved. This flight characteristic was previously unknown to program officers. When the Bomarc rolled on its back, the wings shielded the engines, causing the Seekbat to unlock from the target during terminal guidance. Instead, the Seekbat test missile IR seeker would chase the sun once the Bomarc went "cold."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AIM-97_Seekbat
 

Graham1973

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Re: F-15 and AIM-97 Seekbat

KJ_Lesnick said:
Is it true that the F-15's were actually intended to carry the AIM-97 Seekbat to deal with the MiG-25?

How many could it carry?


KJ Lesnick

I'd also be interested in an answer to both questions. Obviously the program was terminated once the true capabilities & limitations of the MIG-25 were known, but someone must have explored the mounting lay-outs on the figher aircraft intended to carry it. I think that for the test program they used an F-106, but I would assume that had it, or the Huges Brazo reached service it would have been offered to both F-14s and F-15s.

Can anyone find documentation that would support or disprove these conjectures.
 

Graham1973

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I did some of my own searching online to see if anything more had been posted about it.

Sadly it was a lot of wikipedia mirrors and several odd things that might be worth investigating. Someone on a combat simulator forum had posted a fictional press release about the XAIM-97 being tested as an ASAT weapon in 1974. In the resulting thread (Link the poster stated that he had based it on some information he had 'dug up' about the missile, buit sadly didn't say where they found it. The other was a snippet view of a website that has been deleted and appeared to be claiming that Iran was working on converting Standards into Air-to-Air weapons. The final thing is also the most logical given that the Russians were basing MIG-25s in Egypt, namely that Israel was involved in the program to some extent.

I'd love to confim the ASAT story, but have no idea where to start.
 

danwild6

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I doubt an F-15 could carry more than 3-4 as this missile is heavier than the Aim-54 Phoenix
 

sferrin

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Graham1973 said:
I did some of my own searching online to see if anything more had been posted about it.

Sadly it was a lot of wikipedia mirrors and several odd things that might be worth investigating. Someone on a combat simulator forum had posted a fictional press release about the XAIM-97 being tested as an ASAT weapon in 1974. In the resulting thread (Link the poster stated that he had based it on some information he had 'dug up' about the missile, buit sadly didn't say where they found it. The other was a snippet view of a website that has been deleted and appeared to be claiming that Iran was working on converting Standards into Air-to-Air weapons. The final thing is also the most logical given that the Russians were basing MIG-25s in Egypt, namely that Israel was involved in the program to some extent.

I'd love to confim the ASAT story, but have no idea where to start.

There is this but this picture has been around forever:
 

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SOC

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The ASAT carried by the F-106 was Project SPIKE, it was an AGM-78 (not Seekbat) modded with a KKV. Never fired, but captive carried in 1971.


One source claims the F-4E was the intended carrier of Seekbat, not the F-15, Seekbat being a stop-gap to deal with FOXBAT until the F-15 was available.
 

Grey Havoc

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index.php


The Seekbat was also intended for carriage by the USAF's Strategic Advanced Manned Interceptor (SAMI). The above launch concept was part of Vought's (AI/AMI) design for SAMI. One odd thing though. Seekbat didn't formally get underway until 1972, while the drawing is from early 1971.
 

TomS

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That missile isn't exactly Seekbat -- it lacks the tail control surfaces, for example. It may just be a representative sketch for a generic heavy AAM.
 

Grey Havoc

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I had thought the initial design for Seekbat had lacked the rear control surfaces, but you could be right.
 

TomS

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Grey Havoc said:
I had thought the initial design for Seekbat had lacked the rear control surfaces, but you could be right.

I've never seen any sketches for Seekbat so it's possible, but given its origin as a Standard Missile, I can't see how they could omit the tails. Without them, there's no way to steer the missile. It's a bit early for anyone to to thinking about TVC.
 

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Judging by this mockup of the F-15 http://aviationarchives.blogspot.com/2015/08/f-15-full-scale-mockup-question-aim-82.html I imagine that there were only four hardpoints on the original F-15 - two in the rear taken by Brazo, two in the front that carry twinned AIM-82s.

I think that would mean it would probably carry the Seekbat on one of those four, or possibly take two hardpoints due to its size. But I'm not sure about how this proposal compared chronologically with Seekbat development.
 

TomS

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The F-15 mockup has to be around 1969 or 1970 (AIM-82 was cancelled in late 1970) and the F-15 that flew in 1972 had the wing and centerline hardpoint options.

I'd guess they might have hung a single Seekbat on the centerline pylon, like they did for ASAT later.
 

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