AIM-26 Falcon

The AIM-26 Falcon was a larger, more powerful version of the AIM-4 Falcon air-to-air missile built by Hughes. It is the only guided American air-to-air missile with a nuclear warhead to be produced, although the unguided AIR-2 Genie rocket was also nuclear-armed.

Development

Starting in 1956 Hughes Electronics began the development of an enlarged version of the GAR-1D Falcon that would carry a nuclear warhead. It was intended to provide a sure kill in attacks on Soviet heavy bomber aircraft. The original development was for semi-active radar homing and heat-seeking versions based on the conventional GAR-1/GAR-2 weapons, under the designations GAR-5 and GAR-6, respectively. The original program was cancelled.

The program was revived in 1959, now under the name GAR-11. It entered service in 1961, carried by Air Defense Command F-102 Delta Dagger interceptors.[1] It used a radar proximity fuze and semi-active radar homing. The GAR-11 used a sub-kiloton (250 ton) yield W54 warhead shared with the "Davy Crockett" M388 recoilless rifle projectile,[2] rather than the larger W25 warhead of the AIR-2 Genie.[3]

Out of concern for the problems inherent in using nuclear weapons over friendly territory, a conventional version, the GAR-11A, was developed, using a 40 lb (18 kg) high explosive warhead.

Conventional warhead

As part of a wider Army/Navy/Air Force renaming project, in 1963 the weapon was redesignated AIM-26. The nuclear version became the AIM-26A, the conventional model the AIM-26B. From 1970 to 1972 the nuclear warheads of the AIM-26A weapons were rebuilt for the nuclear version of the AGM-62 Walleye TV guided bomb.

The AIM-26 saw little widespread use in American service, retiring in 1972. The conventional AIM-26B was exported to Switzerland as the HM-55, where it was used on Swiss Mirage IIIS fighters. The AIM-26B was produced under license (and modified) in Sweden as the Rb 27, arming Saab Draken J-35F and 35J fighters. It was retired in 1998. When Finland bought Drakens, the license-manufactured Swedish Falcons were included.

Specifications (GAR-11/AIM-26A)

  • Length: 84.25 in (2.140 m)
  • Wingspan: 24.4 in (62 cm)
  • Diameter: 11.4 in (29 cm)
  • Weight: 203 lb (92 kg)
  • Speed: Mach 2
  • Range: 6 mi (9.7 km)
  • Guidance: semi-active radar homing
  • Warhead: W54 nuclear, explosive yield 250 t TNT equivalent

Survivors

Below is a list of museums which have an AIM-26 in their collection:

See also

References

  1. Hansen, US Nuclear Weapons, pp. 146.
  2. Hansen, Chuck (1988). US Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History. Aerofax. pp. 105–107, 146, 178–179, 198. ISBN 0517567407.
  3. Hansen, US Nuclear Weapons, pp. 176–178.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.