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From: (Henry Spencer)
Newsgroups: alt.war.nuclear,,sci.physics
Subject: Re: Anti Matter Triggered Fusion?
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 17:51:26 GMT

In article <7lrtnp$307$>,
Jim Carr <> wrote:
>> .... The final B-52 version had a 12,000-mile range,
>>plus it was fitted for flight refueling.  (And if you re-engined...
> I've never understood why the relevant engineering to build a
> B-52A (or whatever model number would be needed) with high-
> bypass turbofan engines was not done once it was clear it would
> (or could) be used for a long time as a cruise missile platform
> rather than a bomber that had to penetrate enemy airspace.

It would have been a B-52J -- the final actual version, with early
low-bypass turbofans, was the B-52H, and they usually skip "I" to avoid
confusion with "1".  (Not all that many aircraft go through so many
versions, mind you...)

As for why it wasn't done...  By the time even the B-52H appeared, ICBMs
were rolling off production lines, the B-70 Mach 3 bomber had been killed
as superfluous, and a further version of a 1950s subsonic bomber didn't
look interesting.

Even the B-52H was in fact built primarily as a carrier for standoff
weapons, specifically the Skybolt ALBM (which ended up being cancelled).
The B-52G would probably have been the end of the line had Skybolt not
come along.  In fact, the B-52H *did* end up being converted as a cruise
missile carrier later on, but long-range cruise missiles weren't really in
the picture (in the US) at the time when a production decision would have
been needed.

> Or why some model 747 was not adapted for that use.
> Too economical?

There were serious proposals for it.  But the USAF was resisting the idea
of cruise missiles in general -- what they really wanted was the B-1 and
the MX, and cruise missiles were just a consolation prize -- and adapting
commercial transports to carry them was the last thing they wanted to do,
however much sense it would have made.
The good old days                   |  Henry Spencer
weren't.                            |      (aka

From: (Henry Spencer)
Newsgroups: alt.war.nuclear,,sci.physics
Subject: Re: Anti Matter Triggered Fusion?
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 22:58:08 GMT

In article <7mljid$au$>,
Jim Carr <> wrote:
> ...For implosion, the initial concern was
> if it would go off, not the reverse, whereas for the gun method I
> would imagine that weapon safety was always a tricky business.
> I don't recall right now what they did to "safe" Little Boy, if anything.

Easy:  the propellant charge for the gun was inserted after takeoff.
There was no straightforward equivalent for an implosion bomb, and
Fat Man was fully assembled at takeoff, except for arming plugs in
the electrical system.

> The non-radiologic impact was that the US stopped refueling over Spain,
> which was probably a good idea anyway (falling airplanes are bad, too).

It went farther than that:  it started serious discussion about whether
the added security of flying live nuclear weapons was worth the risks.
Then a B-52 on approach to Thule crashed, and there was briefly a definite
possibility that one bomb was again unaccounted for, and that scare
speeded up the decision:  live-weapon patrol flights were permanently
The good old days                   |  Henry Spencer
weren't.                            |      (aka

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