An early 1970’s photo of a “mockup” of the Rockwell B-1 bomber. Rather than building an expensive plywood mockup that accurately recreated the complex curves of the B-1, this one was vastly simpler… a “side view” diagram of the B-1 with a few interior details, with a “shadow” on the floor. If you look carefully, it looks like this photo has been censored… the bays fore and aft of the main landing gear have been blacked out. Presumably these showed the payload of SRAMs and/or cruise missiles. One engine and the wing pivot system are included as actual 3-D items, probably mockups. Note that this is not the final B-1 design as built… the nose contours are a bit off.
A Kremlin-owned TV network broadcast footage of a meeting with Putin, with the camera looking over someone’s shoulder and getting a clear image of a page in a report detailing a design of a submarine-deployed “dirty bomb” designed to reduce American coastal cities to radioactive wastelands. Supposedly the Russian government had a conniption and censored the image from later airings.
The question is:
1) Is this what it presents itself as, with the Russians developing such a weapons system and somehow mistakenly letting it slip onto the air?
2) is it disinformation, intentionally aired in order to… what? Make people in coastal cities freak out for some reason?
The page in question:
Apparently this is a translation:
“Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6” and “Developer—Rubin Design Bureau.” And, below that, some explanatory text and illustrations.
“Purpose—the defeat of the important economic facilities in the area of the enemy coast,” the text reads, “and causing unacceptable damage to… the country through the establishment of extensive zones of radioactive contamination, unsuitable for implementation in these areas of military, economic, business or other activity for a long time.”
The design appears to be a large torpedo with a large nuke in the nose. It appears that it’d be slung underneath the carrying sub rather than carried within it.
Whether or not this is a real project or just the usual Putinesque disinformation, it does point out an important difference between the US and Russia: the US has a *lot* of it’s industry, economy and population in coastal cities, Russia does not. This means that America is more vulnerable to attack from the sea; a cargo ship with a nuke in the hold, or a nuclear “mine” lurking offshore big enough to make a good tsunami, can trash a city… but only a coastal city.
Project Blue Book was the US Air Force project to study UFO reports and try to make sense of them and determine if there was any sort of threat to the security of the US. In 1969 the project wrapped up with a “nope” and a shrug, but nevertheless kept a whole bunch of stuff classified. A lot of researchers have been driven to distraction by the classified status of the documentation and have spent years making FOIA requests. The National Archives has made a whole lot of these documents available on microfilm, but one feller went ahead and scanned them and has made them available as 130,000 pages of searchable PDFs.
The files are supposedly available on the website “The Black Vault,” but right now all I’m getting is a “this page cannot be loaded” message. I’d bet good money that the site simply got swamped with an exceedingly large number of people who want to download the docs. Or, you know, reptillian overlords. Whichever.
The first five issues of US Bomber Projects are now available as ebooks at Amazon. The links below not only take you to the Amazon listings, if you then buy something (*anything*, so fee free to splurge on laptops and cars and jewelry and such), I get a small commission.
I would appreciate feedback… everything from constructive criticism to reviews posted over at Amazon.
UPDATE: It seems at least some people can’t see the Amazon link-box thingies posted below. So… two alternatives.
1) Type “US Bomber Projects” in the Amazon search box you should see at the upper right, just above the “Tip Jar.”
2) TRY THIS
If you dowloaded an early version of USBO01, it seems that you *can* download the latest version without re-buying it.
At last: Aerospace Projects Review issue V3N4 is available. This issue has 128 pages. The main article focuses on the Boeing Model 844-2050E, the final, almost-built version of the X-20 Dyna Soar spaceplane. Included are not only detailed diagrams showing the design and construction of the spaceplane, but also drawings and information on proposed operational versions, including passenger ferries, satellite inspectors/interceptors, even nuclear bomber versions.
Also included are a large number of all-new diagrams that finally show the Dyna Soar atop the Titan IIIC accurately and in detail, along with proposed variants, variant launch systems and suggested space stations.
An article by Bill Slayton on the Lockheed CL-295 design series. This was a series of tailsitter VTOL fighters including designs derived from the F-104 as well as wholly new designs.
The third article is on the McDonnell F-4(FVS),a mid-1960’s concept to replace the low-mounted fixed wing of the F-4 Phantom II with an all-new variable geometry “swing wing.” The story goes from the F-4(FVS) in its numerous incarnations through the Model 225, McDonnell-Douglas’ entry into the 1968 US Navy VFX contest which resulted in the F-14.
Also, Aerospace History Nuggets on the US Navy SCAT VTOL and the Republic Aircraft RAC-730 SSTO aerospaceplane.
23 megabyte PDF file
Here’s the complete issue V3N4 layout:
It is available in three formats. Firstly, it can be downloaded directly from me for the low, low price of $10.00. Second, it can be purchased as a professionally printed volume through Magcloud; third, it can be procured in both formats. To get the download, simply pay for it here through paypal.
To get the printed version (or print + PDF version), visit my MagCloud page:
Also available: the V3N4 Addendum. This contains 49 pages formatted for 11X17. Includes larger and improved versions of all the CAD diagrams produced for V3N4, as well as larger versions of some of the illustrations from the X-20 and F-4(FVS) articles (as well as a number of illustrations that did not appear in the X-20 article):
The V3N4 Addendum can be downloaded for only $4.00!
And really soon, too… next week. No point in waiting, I suppose.
As previously mentioned, I’m putting together a book titled something like “A Guide to American Nuclear Explosive Devices.” It will include accurate diagrams of American nuclear bombs, RVs and warheads, along with pertinent information for each design. I’ve made a pretty good dent in the basic layout drawings, but there is more research to be done.
In order to get this done, there are a few places I need to visit. One of them is the National Museum of Nuclear Science & Industry in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It’s about an 11 hour drive from here, so it’d be the better part of a work week to get down there, photograph *everything* (with scale references) and then get back. With gas, motels, cat boarding and the like, it’d be a fair chunk of change, but it also seems a pretty invaluable resource.
Sort of along the way is the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos. A smaller museum, but it looks pretty good as far as nukes. I am also interested in any suggestions for things to see – nuclear, military, aerospace, geological – between Thatcher, Utah, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
So, in order to pull this off, I’m looking for funding. In the grand tradition of Kickstarter and the like, I’m using three funding levels: $10 “Warm Glow”: You get a thank you email and a warm sense of accomplishment. $50 “Going Ballistic”: I send you a DVD (or 2, or 3, or everything transferred via Dropbox or some such) with every single nuke-relevant photo I take on the trip. $100 “BLAMMO”: You get the DVD & a prototype edition version of the book, which won’t be otherwise available (I’m looking at 11X17 with old-school pressboard covers, like the BoMi, Dyna Soar & BWB booklets I recently made briefly available). The final book, whether self-published by me or – who knows – by an actual publisher, will almost certainly be formatted much smaller. So if you want a whole bunch of photos of nuclear weapons and a book of large-format detailed and accurate drawings of American nuclear weapons, or if you just want to help out… now’s your chance. This opportunity will be open for the next week or so.
Here is a somewhat older image, showing a number of the nuclear weapons I’ve drawn up (more since then):
And here are some images showing roughly what you’ll see in the 11X17 prototype of the book: multiple views of each device in large scale, with a crude mockup of what the data page will look like for each device. It will have unique charts showing the physical effects – overpressure, thermal radiation, cratering, etc. – for each device.
A General Dynamics/Astronautics film from 1962 describing the ORCA Weapon System. This was a seafloor deployment concept for solid-rocket ICBMs similar to the Polaris; the missile would be installed within a sealed watertight canister and lowered to the seafloor. There is would sit until called for by a sonar device. Upon receipt of a proper coded audio signal, ballast tanks would be filled with air and the canister would shoot to the surface. Upon breaching, the “nose” of the canister would jettison and the missile would launch out and, presumably, fly to the target.
While the idea had some merit, including low cost compared to a Minuteman or a ballistic missile sub, it also had some pretty unfortunate problems. Not least of which is that the US Navy would basically just be dropping nuclear missiles on the seafloor. The canisters would probably have been fairly easily detectable via active sonar, so they would have to have been watched in some fashion to make sure nobody came along and simply strolled off with one. And the security would help to point out where they were. The Soviets and SPECTRE would be forever tripping over each other searching for these things (though that raises the notion of the US Navy making a show of lowering hundreds of these capsules… each of which turns out to actually be a miniature sub that wanders back to base. The Soviets would tear their hair out looking for missiles that don’t exist)
So, obviously, these were never fielded. But as the film shows, the concept was built and apparently successfully tested. In contrast to today where such a concept would get years worth of Powerpoints, here… they just went ahead and built a 1/4 scale functional model of the thing including a sizable “model rocket” that successfully launches from the canister upon breaching.
Shown here is a diagram of a 47,000 pound missile in a 108-foot-long capsule. There is considerable resemblance between this idea and the concept, almost 20 years prior, of V-2 rockets in capsules towed behind U-Boats for use against the US.
The rather artsy style of having three guys in business suits posing on the seashore seems a bit odd.
… on the BoMi and BWB drawing booklets:
Quite good video quality.
At last: issue V3N3 of APR is now available. The first article covers the proposed use of bombers, specifically the B-52 and B-70, as launch platforms for the Dyna Soar manned military spaceplane.
The second article is on the Martin Astrorocket, a series of early-sixties design studies of reusable low-cost manned launch systems for the USAF.
The next article covers the development of the Douglas XC-132 turboprop transport/tanker plane throughout much of the 1950’s. This would have been by far the biggest turboprop plane the us would have built… had it been built. Article contains a number of good photos of the full-scale mockup.
Next is an article on the A-12 Avenger II stealthy strike plane for the US Navy. This article includes info and drawings on the Northrop competitor, as well as a number of rarely seen and all-new detailed diagrams of the A-12.
A brief article on a trio of Grumman designs from the 1989-1993 time period, VTOL lift-fan combat aircraft, including the Future Attack Air Vehicle (FAAV).
Last but not least, an article describing a trio of seemingly unrelated – yet possibly related – designs: a “landing boat” for Project Orion, a lifting body design for the Apollo program, and a fighter jet designed to be launched via booster rockets. Included is information on the logistics Landing Vehicle, General Dynamics’ equivalent of the Douglas ICARUS/Ithacus troop transport rocket.
And two “Aerospace History Nuggets,” a Ryan concept for a VTOL jetliner and a concept from Bell for linking two helicopters together to forma single heavy lifter.
Here’s the complete issue V3N3 layout:
It is available in three formats. Firstly, it can be downloaded directly from me for the low, low price of $8.50. Second, it can be purchased as a professionally printed volume through Magcloud; third, it can be procured in both formats. To get the download, simply pay for it here through paypal.
To get the printed version (or print + PDF version), visit my MagCloud page:
Also available: the V3N3 Addendum. This contains 30 pages formatted for 11X17. Includes larger and improved versions of all the CAD diagrams produced for V3N3, including:
- 1/72 versions of the A-12 diagrams
- Scans of the original A-12 diagrams
- 1/144 versions of the XC-132 diagrams
- 1/288 versions of the XC-132 antecedents
- 1/250 versions of the Dyna Soar/bomber launchers
- 1/72 versions of the Landing Boat, “Space fighter” and Apollo lifting body
- 1/200 version of the Nova/LLV
The V3N3 Addendum can be downloaded for only $3.00!