The B-52 Almost Got An Ahead Of Its Time Air-Launched Ballistic Missile Named Skybolt

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Winston, Jan 25, 2020.

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  1. Jan 25, 2020 #1

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

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    The B-52 Almost Got An Ahead Of Its Time Air-Launched Ballistic Missile Named Skybolt
    Air-launched ballistic missiles are back in vogue now, so it's worth remembering that the Air Force was looking to adopt one more than 50 years ago.
    JANUARY 23, 2020

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...-air-launched-ballistic-missile-named-skybolt

    GAM-87 Skybolt

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAM-87_Skybolt

    The Douglas GAM-87 Skybolt (AGM-48 under the 1962 Tri-service system) was an air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) developed by the United States during the late 1950s. The basic concept was to allow US strategic bombers to launch their weapons from well outside the range of Soviet defenses, as much as 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from their targets. To do this in an air-launched form, a lightweight thermonuclear warhead was needed. Initially, the W47 from the Polaris missile was selected, but it was later replaced by the W59 from the Minuteman missile.

    Testing began in 1962 and was initially marked by a string of failures. These failures, along with a lack of mission after the successful development of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), led to its cancellation in December 1962.[1] The UK had decided to base its entire 1960s deterrent force on Skybolt, and its cancellation led to a major disagreement between the UK and US, known today as the "Skybolt Crisis". This was resolved by a series of meetings that led to the Royal Navy gaining the UGM-27 Polaris missile and construction of the Resolution-class submarines to launch them.


    History of the GAM-87 Skybolt Missile (formerly Secret/Noforn report, now declassified)

    https://www.docdroid.net/aVV9wzP/history-of-the-gam-87-skybolt-missile.pdf

    [​IMG]

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  2. Jan 25, 2020 #2

    Mugs914

    Mugs914

    Mugs914

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    I did a BT-20 based 13mm sport scale Skybolt a few years back. Fun little flyer. Really gets outa Dodge on an A-10!

    IMG_20170612_084751.jpg IMG_20170610_103909.jpg IMG_20170610_105427.jpg
     
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  3. Jan 25, 2020 #3

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

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    Nice!
     
  4. Jan 27, 2020 #4

    vcp

    vcp

    vcp

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    Neet. And it looks like the Skybolt had a bunch of interesting developmental precursors (with pretty cool names):

    Bold Orion WS-199B.jpg
    Bold Orion (WS-199B)

    High Virgo WS-199C.jpg
    High Virgo (WS-199C) - The B52 in the first image in this thread appears to be loaded with the High Virgo.

    Alpha Draco WS-199D.jpg
    Alpha Draco (WS-199D) - The Alpha Draco appears to be close to the final configuration of the Skybolt (plus a booster). It appears to be mounted on an Honest John launcher.

    (It doesn't appear that the WS-199A designation had any hardware associated with it.)
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
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  5. Jan 28, 2020 #5

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

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    Oh, that Alpha Draco not only looks cool, it has true-scale potential.
     
  6. Jan 29, 2020 #6

    Winston

    Winston

    Winston

    Lorenzo von Matterhorn

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    "Grey Havoc, your image is the configuration of the wind tunnel model I have, acquired from my father while he was working on the project. I also have the maintenance manual for the system in PDF format for anyone interested. Here are a few photos of the model I have" [image thumbnails at link - W]:

    https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/threads/albm-projects-was-er-skybolt-the-missile.735/#post-268072

    The Skybolt Maintainability Design Review Manual PDF he mentions:

    https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/GAM87SkyboltMaintainabilityDesignReview.pdf

    One of the thumbnails from that thread which shows up full-sized in a Google search:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Jan 30, 2020 #7

    vcp

    vcp

    vcp

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    Oh wow, following those threads leads to a recent new book on Skybolt:
    Skybolt - At Arm's Length.jpeg
    And checkout the pics in the Look Inside preview on Amazon - way cool!

    Just looking at that preview answered something I speculated about above - that nose shape on the Skybolt in the B52 pic and on the Vulcan on the book cover is an early Skybolt re-entry vehicle design. The intro even has a pic of the Blue Water.

    I haven't been buying many books lately (trying to unload a lot) but this one is really tempting (zero chance the local lib would have it "No titles found (0 hits) - ")... Kindle maybe.

    BTW, Vulcan was such a cool airplane. I saw one take off at Offut in the '70's - right overhead at the end of the runway. The quip 'aluminum overcast' applies perfectly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020

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