Ballistic missile airborne XAGM-48A Skybolt




    management system:

    management software




    Strategy, air-to-ground




    1850 km.

    year development:


    ballistic missile airborne xagm-48a skybolt The story of BR Skybolt is closely linked with the debate, which was conducted in the late 1950s in the United States. The subject of discussion was the problem of increasing the probability of a retaliatory strike strategic nuclear forces of the United States in connection with the appearance of Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile range. The basis of the U.S. strategic nuclear forces at that time were strategic bombers, most of which were committed by the B-52 Stratofortress different modifications. However, it became clear that the increase in height and speed manned carrier of nuclear weapons in the future will not be able to ensure its survival due to the intensive development of anti-aircraft missiles.

    One of the simplest output was seen equipping aircraft heavy missiles with thermonuclear warheads with which it was possible to destroy the most important goals without going at it in range air defense systems. First ICBM (Atlas and Titan I), despite the lack of funds while intercepting ICBMs, had a number of serious shortcomings oxidizer (liquid oxygen) are not allowed to provide the constant presence of ICBMs on alert and caused problems with the safe storage and quick use of missiles , a few missile sites occupied a large area and were vulnerable to a sudden attack of the enemy, and most importantly, the number of first-generation American ICBM was, according to analysts, negligible for reliable maintenance of strategic balance. Bombers also equipped with missiles long range, although it may be vulnerable on the ground, military experts seemed at the time almost invulnerable in the air, acting with numerous U.S. bases around the world, with fighter cover and secured tanker aircraft for refueling in the air. The number of bombers in the Strategic Air Command United States grew from year to year - to 1959, only the latest strategic bombers B-52 Stratofortress of all modifications was 380 units. By 1960 the number had increased to 488 pieces and continued to grow, reaching a maximum of 639 units by the end of 1962. Furthermore, according to the supporters strategic aircraft, it is compared with other delivery vehicles, have sufficient flexibility in the selection and correction (including already in flight) for the application tasks. ICBM first generation did not have such an opportunity, and not very accurate, range of their fire is not allowed to hit all targets on the territory of the USSR.

    Based on consideration of all the above factors, January 22, 1959 U.S. Air Force General Headquarters issued a general operational requirement 177 (General Operational Requirement - GOR 177) on the development of strategic ballistic missiles, air-to-ground missiles for the new carrier was supposed to be a strategic bomber B-52. Later rocket called Skybolt. May 26 the same year, General Headquarters U.S. Air Force signed a contract with Douglas Aircraft Company as a prime contractor on a deep study of the project launch Skybolt. Also received contracts Corporation: Northrop to develop a management system, Aerojet to develop propulsion, General Electric to develop a warhead. Immediate work began in July 1959 as part of a "weapon system» WS-138A. To apply the new rocket corporation Boeing was to create a modification strategic bomber B-52G Stratofortress - B-52H, differed significantly improved propulsion, electronics, etc. According to the higher ranks of the Air Force, this weapon system was to significantly improve the efficiency and viability of strategic bomber fleet . Air Force Chief of Staff Thomas D. White said that this missile will provide strategic bombers high degree of flexibility and a lot to beat promising SLBM Polaris. October 13, 1959 on the Atlantic missile range (Atlantic Missile Range) was produced from the last 12-and ballistic missile launches experimental airborne Bold Orion. Missile launched from a board range bomber B-47 flew about 1,600 kilometers and confirmed the technical feasibility of missile development program promising Skybolt, which in the same year received the designation XGAM-87A.

    ballistic missile airborne xagm-48a skybolt By April 1962 rocket started flight tests. The tests were conducted over the territory of the Atlantic missile range (Atlantic Missile Range) on board a specially converted bomber B-52G. Here creators missiles was greatly disappointed - the first five test launches conducted from April to November 1962, all five have failed. By this time, the forces of the Air Force successfully implemented projects for the deployment of more advanced compared to the predecessors of the second generation of ICBMs - Titan II and, above all, Minuteman IA / B. Adopt fleet began arriving SLBM Polaris A-1, successfully worked on the more sophisticated SLBMs and SSBNs. Due to the above reasons the U.S. Defense Department noticeably cooled on Skybolt. November 21, 1962 Minister of Defense McNamara recommended that U.S. President John F. Kennedy to close the program as Skybolt program, "in which there is no need." The program was finally closed in December of that year, which caused a lot of tension between the U.S. and the UK (the so-called. "Crisis because Skybolt»).


    after closing the program the U.S. planned to convey all the technical groundwork for BR Skybolt UK for the price of 100 million dollars, but the British decided to take advantage of the situation - British Defense Minister P. Thorneycroft suggested Prime Minister G. McMillan insist on the inclusion of the UK deployment plan American SLBM Polaris. December 21, 1962, U.S. President John F. Kennedy and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan issued a joint statement (the so-called. "Pact Nassau"), that the Skybolt program will not be realized. As a replacement for the United States agreed to provide for the use of prospective UK SLBMs Polaris-A3 (SSBN, infrastructure and warhead were to be developed by the British). In the same period to get into service by the Royal Navy Polaris SLBM RAF had to find the so-called. «Stop-gap weapon», ie "temporary" weapon, which was to extend the chances of a breakthrough bombers to target and destroy it. Such weapons became ALCM Blue Steel and thermonuclear bomb WE.177B (0.45 Mt power, suitable for precise application of low altitude-delay detonation).

    Ironically December 22 of the same year over the Atlantic missile range was held sixth and final test launch of a prototype rocket Skybolt on board a strategic bomber B-52G, which proved successful. For a variety of data such as the failure of the project Skybolt has become one of the most important reasons for the resignation of the Cabinet of Harold Macmillan. According to published reports, on the Skybolt program at the time of its termination has been spent about $ 440 million in 1962 prices on a limited scale remaining missiles were used for various tests, including to provide data necessary for the development of missiles SRAM (in June 1963 . rocket designation was changed to XAGM-48A Skybolt).


    ballistic missile airborne xagm-48a skybolt Launch XAGM-48A had the body oval. Inside the case are: thermonuclear warhead in the discharge of the combat unit, control system instruments, wiring and cables, auxiliary systems, solid fuel engines I and II sustainer stages etc.. External surface of the body was covered with a special rubber-like composition of the ablative heat shield type, which solved the problem of the disposal of heat fluxes.

    Solid propellant sustainer stage I and was developed by Aerojet, had one central nozzle still partially recessed. When hanging the missiles on external suspension components on the carrier aircraft tail section was mounted rocket special extension, reduce aerodynamic drag at high-speed missile flight suspension on an external site. After resetting the rocket nozzles filmed using explosive bolts, during which time the rocket free "sags" approximately 120 m above the reset level. On the case of the first stage were four triangular-shaped stabilizer and four all-moving vehicles, rejects the relevant control system signals. After the end of stage solid propellant I spent stages are discarded, and the rocket was some time in free flight.

    After testing all the systems on board with special units control system is to start solid propellant stage II, which also was developed by Aerojet. This engine was equipped with one deflected central nozzle. Level II worked to achieve missile altitude of 60 km, after which the fuel tank ran dry, spent stages with power management system and further separated on a ballistic trajectory flight lasted only a combat unit with thermonuclear warheads.

    Warhead missiles for the U.S. - W-59, with a capacity of 1.2 Mt, was developed by the Commission for Atomic Energy (Atomic Energy Commission). Warhead missiles for British - RE.179, capacity of 1.2 Mt, developed research centers at Aldermaston nuclear weapons (Atomic Weapons Establishment - AWE).
    Management System NAS-14 missiles - astroinertial developed Corporation Northrop. There are indications that experience used when working on this system was used to create astroinertial management system NAS-21 high-altitude spy plane Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird.

    ballistic missile airborne xagm-48a skybolt As a carrier in the United States planned to use strategic bombers Boeing B-52H Stratofortress, specially designed for this purpose. Each plane was supposed to carry on the external sling 4 BR, 2 under each wing on a special - shaped pylon. In the bomb bay could be placed rocket traps Quail or thermonuclear bombs svobodnopadayuschie.

    Britain planned to deploy missiles Skybolt onboard the most advanced of its long-range bombers Avro Vulcan B.2 (in anticipation of the supply of missiles was previously modified 28 aircraft). Each plane was supposed to carry the external load 2 BR, one under each wing on a special "British" pylon. In the bomb bay could be accommodated svobodnopadayuschie thermonuclear bombs.


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