Talk:AIM-26 Falcon

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T.E. Bell 17:41, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

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What purpose, exactly, would an air-to-air nuclear weapon serve? Surely no aircraft has ever been built that was so large and well-armored that it would a nuke would be required to take it down? --Jfruh (talk) 02:36, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

AFAIK, to break up bomber formations. - BilCat (talk) 02:53, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

BilCat is correct. These weapons were not accurate enough to target individual aircraft, and were designed to explode in the midst of a formation of bombers flying at high altitude, with the fireball and overpressure destroying or damaging a number of aircraft at once. That was even true of the radar-guided AIM-26 in its nuclear version. Of course, all this assumed that the enemy would oblige by approaching in a tight formation at high altitude. US nuclear strike aircraft crews were trained to approach their targets at low-level and singly, or in twos at most. Not in large formations. I leave it to someone else to determine whether this is relevant to the entry for the AIM-26. [1] Mel SharkskinT.E. Bell 17:41, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

Uh, nuclear bombers don't generally fly in formations - what would be the point? It's one bomb, one target. You might send several bombers to take out an important asset to make sure at least one gets through, but again you wouldn't need to send them en masse and, indeed, sending them in singularly with different ingress routes, altitudes, TOT's, etc. would make the most sense. The most reasonable explanation for a nuclear armed air-to-air missile (and specifically the AIM-26 to boot) comes from a former F-102 pilot who explained that the AIM-26 was not used to destroy the bomber but to mess with the innards of the nuclear weapon(s) it was carrying as apparently a healthy dose of radiation was effective in taking out the nuke(s) with the bomber's destruction just being "collateral damage." Don't believe me? Well, here's the reference: Enjoy! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:45, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
p.s. the comment that the AIM-26 was "not accurate enough to target individual aircraft" seems absurd as its guidance system was based on that of the AIM-4 which was designed as a hit-to-kill weapon (of course, we can now start the debate about how useless the AIM-4 was in Vietnam when - suprise, surprise - it didn't work well against small, maneuvering fighters when it was designed to take out large, slow moving bombers. of course, the missile's small warhead wasn't so hot, but the AIM-26 took care of that rather elegantly by turning the enemy bomber's own weapon against itself). The AIM-26B was identical presumably but with a HE warhead, and we'd have to assume it was completely ineffective if it was similarly "not accurate enough." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:02, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
p.p.s. Our intrepid F-102 pilot's story too anecdotal for the rigorous (ha) standards of wiki-land? Here is a more academic reference (which has some other interesting tidbits to share):
    • ^ Nuclear Weapons of the United States" Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 1996