Can Superfighters Stop the Bombers?
By Herbert Yahraes
Drawings by Ray Pioch
Are the huge new bombers invincible? Have they made fighters obsolete? Or will big, new “fighter-bombers” be the answer to air defense? Popular Science assigned a tough-minded reporter, with 110 previous military experience, connections, or prejudices, to interview the experts—military, civilian, and scientific. Here is his evaluation of the hottest argument in the history of air power.
Count the engines on this corporate-size jetliner.
This is the Lockheed JetStar: Four pure-jet Pratt & Whitney powerplants deliver peace of mind as well as power. And the engines speak softly because they are mounted on the aft fuselage—where their noise is behind you. You cruise at 500-550 mph, up to 45,000 feet high—far above the weather.
Boeing eventually delivered 102 B-52H models to the Air Force by 1962. The H model is the only version of the B-52 still flying in the inventory. The USAF plans on using B-52’s into 2040. In all likelihood the B-1B Lancer will be retired before the B-52.
Capability has many faces at Boeing
FLYING MISSILE LAUNCHER. New Boeing B-52H missile bomber can take off faster, fly farther and strike harder than any previous B-52. It’s shown here carrying models of four hypersonic Skybolt air-launched ballistic missiles, a 1000-mile range weapon now under development. The Strategic Air Command B-52, most versatile long-range weapon system in the U.S. Air Force arsenal, can also carry supersonic Hound Dog missiles for inflight launching toward distant targets, in addition to regular bomb-bay load of gravity bombs.
Can General Old’s “Eyes” Guard America’s Heartland?
By JAMES JOSEPH
Special from Anchorage, Alaska. Tonight the citizens of the American “heartland”—you Chicagoans and New Yorkers, the people of Detroit and Philadelphia—will prepare for bed, blissfully confident in tomorrow. Yet while you sleep, lights are burning late here in Alaska, particularly in the somber, sandbagged headquarters of the Alaskan Command at Elmendorf Field, just outside of Anchorage. This is a building which never sleeps. For here officers of the Alaskan Command are staying up nights worrying about you “heartland” Americans.
For a couple of years after this article was written, the Navy was still ordering subsonic fighter planes to launch off of carriers. This is because the then state of the art jet engine technology required takeoff rolls too long for an aircraft carrier. This is what led the Navy to consider a supersonic seaplane like the Convair Sea Dart.
BY C.B. COLBY
IT KILLS us to admit it but the British have sneaked in with two more aviation firsts—a jet powered flying boat and a seaplane fighter with retractable hull.
From the Saunders-Roe back room comes the single seater SR/A1 jet fighter, one of the most interesting as well as prophetic aircraft of recent times. (See drawing at right.) This amazing little “pint-size clipper” with a nasty sting is the first boat-hulled aircraft to be powered with jet engines.
NEW IN SCIENCE
High Soarer: the Switchette in the right hand of Mrs. Dolores Mohlmann reached an altitude of 250 miles—higher than any other man-made article. It was attached to a two-stage rocket (model in left hand) and was used to discharge a smaller rocket at an altitude of 20 miles. Portion of tail section with this gadget was found at White Sands.
The “fact” that the Northrop XP-79B was intended to ram enemy bombers is an urban legend as reported by serious aviation researchers. Click here.
Northrop always intended to outfit it with .50 caliber machine guns after the prototype stage.
Why Don’t We Build – FLYING RAM FIGHTERS!
If atomic attack comes, our best defense may be rammer planes that give the pilot a chance to survive.
By Martin Caidin
LET’S face it—the complete air defense of the United States is an impossibility.
Even with all-weather jet fighters armed with machine guns, rockets, and guided missiles; with rocket fighters; with unpiloted robot fighters; with supersonic rocket guided missiles; with radar picket ships and picket planes; with ground observers and a far-flung communications system, we can’t prevent a certain number of enemy atomic and hydrogen bombs from hitting our cities.
DUAL-TAIL De Havilland 110 seen from rear at recent air show in Farnborough. England wears its jets like a futuristic double-barreled cannon. Navy will use it.
CLOTHESHORSE wears pants with upturned cuffs tied above hoofs. Equine’s owner added touch of sartorial splendor after beast suffered leg injury. Trousers protect wound from insect bites.
Latest Jet Plane is this new Consolidated Vultee XP-81, the first plane ever to fly with a gas turbine engine designed for propeller drive. Powered by a gas turbine engine in the nose and a jet engine in the tail, the sleek fighter will fly at a speed of more than 500 mph. At the right is a cutaway sketch showing the placement of the turbine and jet engine.
NEW in the AIR
AVRO VULCAN delta-wing bomber is powered by lour Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire let engines, each of which gives 8.300 pounds of thrust, a power equivalent of our World War II Superforts.
MOTHER WAITS while modified F-84 jet fighter returns to bomb bay retrieving mechanism of giant B-36 bomber for in-flight landing during Air Force demonstration of its new air-borne carrier.