Dec 312010
 

 Posted by at 1:08 am
  • kbob42

    I just read the wikipedia article on Regulus. Why does a submarine launched cruise missile need landing gear?

  • Michael Holt

    The landing gear was installed because it’s less expensive to recover the test articles. The Regulus II had landing gear, too.

  • Pat Flannery

    The landing gear equipped ones later got used as training missiles and target drones:
    http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-6.html

  • admin

    To clarify: note that the illustration calls this a “fleet training missile.” As in “we need to test launch these things since we’ve so little experience at launched jet-fighter-sized unmanned vehicles from submarines.” Landing gear allowed them to be recovered for re-use. The Regulus was a *guided* missile, which meant some schmoe had to actually control the thing from launch to landing; a rather horrible system for a strategic weapon, since that limited how far it could penetrate into enemy territory, and could be easily jammed.

  • kbob42

    Okay, Got the need for recovery, but would a parachute not be simpler? Using landing gear would be more … interesting I suppose.

  • admin

    > would a parachute not be simpler?

    Haw many jet fighters do you know that would be easier and safer to recover with chutes than with landing gear? Remember, the Regulus was Not Small.

  • Pat Flannery

    I know, let’s land it on the water!:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3D2yT9FbbI

  • kbob42

    >I know, let’s land it on the water!<

    Well, it is a naval missile…

  • Michael Holt

    Thanks for that link, Pat. That led me to a NASA link for videos (http://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/historic/720) in which I found a film clip of tests of “hydro-skis high-speed airplanes” using the D-558-2 as the fuselage. One wonders who was thinking what, when this one was assembled.

  • admin

    Most likely someone was thinking “we need a generic fighter-shaped model for some hydro-ski test. Oh, hey, here’s one they’re not using anymore…”

  • Pat Flannery

    There’s a clip over there of them trying landings and take-offs with a hydro-ski equipped model F-86, which seems pretty bizarre also. The skis are attached to the bottom of the extended landing gear, and apparently its supposed to run down some sort of ramp into the water then accelerate to take-off speed. I assume you are supposed to jettison the skis once airborne then retract the landing gear… but they also show it coming up onto the ramp with the skis attached.
    They have film of the Space shuttle ditching test, but not another one I’ve seen a still photo of, that being a Dyna-soar model ditching test.
    In his book “Spy Sub” about the former Regulus-carrying nuclear sub USS Halibut’s classified missions (this was the sub that found the sunken Soviet Golf class sub the CIA tried to raise) former Halibut crewman Roger C. Dunham mentions that the cook found a two-hour film reel on board of Regulus missiles attempting to land on their gear by remote control from an escort aircraft (a T2V SeaStar with the missile operator in the front seat and the pilot in the back seat) who tried to control the Regulus like a radio-controlled airplane as it glided towards the runway. Only about five or six of all the missile landings shown on the film got down in one piece.
    One thing I couldn’t find a image of on the web was the fake bubble canopy they made that they could stick on crashed Regulus test missiles to make them look like some sort of miniature manned aircraft rather than a missile. There’s a photo of that in David K. Stumpf’s book “Regulus – The Forgotten Weapon”.

  • Pat Flannery

    Oh wait, they do have the Dyna-Soar, they just don’t call it that:
    http://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/mw/images/7/7d/L-742.mpg
    And it’s doing skid landing tests, not ditching tests.