XGAM-71 Buck Duck

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XGAM-71 Buck Duck
XGAM-71 Buck Duck decoy missile on B-29 mothership launch pylon.jpg
A XGAM-71 on the underwing of its mothership.
Role Decoy missile
Manufacturer Convair
First flight 14 February 1955
Status Cancelled January 1956
Primary user United States Air Force

The Convair XGAM-71 Buck Duck was a decoy missile that was developed by Convair in the late 1950s. It was intended to have the same radar signature as the Strategic Air Command's B-36 bomber, thereby allowing it to disrupt the enemy's air defenses and dilute their effort to shoot down an incoming bomber fleet.

Convair built the first prototype using their own funds, but received an official development contract from the United States Air Force on 16 August 1954. The project designation was MX-2224. When the Air Force decided to put the project into production, it received the designation GAM-71.[1]

As initially envisioned by the Air Force, one B-36 in the typical three-plane attack formation would be filled entirely with GAM-71s, carrying a total of seven. A total of two decoys could be carried in each bomb bay (except three), and a mixed load was also possible although the Air Force did not specify that it intended to use mixed loads.

To fit in the bomb bay of a B-36, the GAM-71 was relatively small; its wings were folded when it was stowed in the bay. To mimic the radar cross-section of the B-36, it carried radar reflectors.

In February 1955, glide tests of XGAM-71 prototypes began using a modified B-29 Superfortress as the mothership. However, the program was delayed due to funding issues. Convair also had higher priorities. A total of seven flights were conducted before the program was cancelled in January 1956, an event that Jenkins attributes to the imminent B-36 phase-out.[2]

Specifications[edit]

Data from Magnesium Overcast;[3] The Evolution of the Cruise Missile[4] Parsch 2007[5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: None
  • Length: 13 ft (4.0 m)
  • Wingspan: 14 ft (4.3 m)
  • Height: 4 ft 3 in (1.3 m)
  • Gross weight: 1,550 lb (703 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Aerojet XLR-85-AJ-1 liquid fuel rocket, 90 lbf (0.40 kN) thrust

Performance

  • Maximum speed: Mach 0.55
  • Range: 230 mi (200 nmi; 370 km)
  • Service ceiling: 40,000 ft (12,192 m)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Convair Development Department Annual Report 1953" (1954-05-27), page 7, and "Convair Development Department Fourth Annual Report" (1955-09-08), page 23.
    Cited by Jenkins. Both may be found at the Aerospace Education Center, Little Rock, Arkansas.
  2. ^ Werrell, Kenneth P. (September 1985). The Evolution of the Cruise Missile. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Air University Press. pp. 123–124. 
  3. ^ Jenkins, Dennis R. (September 2002). Magnesium Overcast. North Branch, Minnesota: Specialty Press. p. 142. ISBN 1-58007-042-6. 
  4. ^ Armstrong, Ferrest E., "From New Technology Development to Operational Usefulness – B-36, B-58, F-111/FB/111", cited by Werrell;
  5. ^ Parsch, Andreas (2007). "Convair GAM-71 Buck Duck". Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles. Retrieved 2014-05-20.