|First flight||April 26, 1951|
|Primary user||United States Air Force|
|Developed into||AQM-60 Kingfisher|
The Lockheed X-7 (dubbed the "Flying Stove Pipe") was an American unmanned test bed of the 1950s for ramjet engines and missile guidance technology. It was the basis for the later Lockheed AQM-60 Kingfisher, a system used to test American air defenses against nuclear missile attack.
Design and development
The X-7 was carried aloft by a B-29 or B-50 Superfortress carrier aircraft. A booster ignited after launch and propelled the vehicle to a speed of 1,000 mph (1,625 km/h). The booster was then jettisoned, and the underslung ramjet took over from that point. The X-7 eventually returned to Earth, its descent slowed by parachute. A maximum speed of 2,881 mph (4640 km/h / Mach 4.31) was attained, setting a record for fastest air-breathing aircraft at the time. A total of 130 X-7 flights were conducted from April 1951 to July 1960.
The X-7 was unique in that it was constructed of steel, as opposed to the titanium used on later ramjets such as the more well known SR-71, and its predecessors, the A-12 and YF-12. The X-2 test aircraft preceded the X-7 by having Stainless steel wings, but its fuselage was composed of Nickel alloy. Steel was not widely used in aircraft until the later Mig-25 Foxbat.
- Crew: None
- Length: 32 ft 9 in (9.98 m)
- Wingspan: 12 ft (3.66 m)
- Height: 7 ft (2.1 m)
- Loaded weight: 8,000 lb (3,600 kg)
- 1 × Alleghany Ballistics Laboratories X202-C3 solid-fuel rocket, 105,000 lbf (467 kN)
- 1 × various Marquardt MA20 ramjets under test, ()
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Facing the Heat Barrier: A History of Hypersonics, T. A. Heppenheimer, P.65
- "A-11 General VI-1" (PDF). CIA. January 1968.
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- "Ramjet test missile takes off on supersonic flight." Popular Science, pp. 142–143.
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