Talk:Nuclear-powered aircraft

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References for more research[edit]

I came across the concept of nuclear aircrafts in New Scientist ... and got a bit intrigued by it. I've done some research on it, and will probably try to do a little bit of work on wikipedia about it. Here is the references I've found:

and related articles at:


tobixen 10:10, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

I am amazed you did not locate a copy of "Nuclear Flight, the United States Air Force Programs for Atomic Jets, Missiles, and Rockets." It was an official unclassified account of developments up to when it was published in 1960. I have a copy. Interesting if (predictably) rah-rah accounts. I think merger would be a good idea. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mark Lincoln (talkcontribs) 23:29, 14 July 2007

Soviet nuclear bomber hoax[edit]

Is it known who perpetrated the hoax? Was it Soviet disinformation, or a US ruse to acquire more funding for their own project, or a genuine misunderstanding or just mischief-making by Aviation Week? PhilUK (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 12:01, 20 December 2009 (UTC).

After visiting the Idaho lab last summer and standing next to the two test reactors, I concluded that the whole project was nuts. No-one connected with that work could possibly have believed that nuclear bombers would one day be flying to Moscow. I've uploaded a picture, but it really doesn't convey the depths of futility that you get standing next to these Cold War relics. A billion 1960 dollars could have sent every US kid to university for a year! I really had no idea of the depths of national paranoia caused by the Cold War till I visited a demonstration Minuteman II silo in South Dakota last year, and Arco in 2009. --Wtshymanski (talk) 15:49, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

The section's title needs to be changed. While the controversy over the alleged Soviet nuclear bomber is noteworthy, it's incorrect to call it a hoax because whether or not something is a hoax calls for a conclusion, and the article poses no grounds to draw that conclusion. As PhilUK suggested over a year ago, the story could have originated from sources who had no intentions of deceiving anyone. They could have been mistaken or misinterpreted what they saw. If credible references can be found to indicate that someone gave false information to AviationWeek with an intent to deceive (for whatever hidden agenda they might have had), then the word "hoax" would be appropriate. I'm thinking of a re-write or re-titling of the article section in question, but won't make any changes right now.JeffTracy (talk) 21:24, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

I wholeheartedly agree - with that title, the section would need to very carefully and well-sourced explain how it is a hoax. Volker Siegel (talk) 19:17, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Real Soviet nuclear plane[edit]

A Discovery Channel video on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cnFtYuqXX8&feature=related) claims that the USSR carried out about 40 test flights with a nuclear-powered plane between 1961 and 1969. It was a 'Bear' bomber with conventional turbo-props, but had 2 additional jet engines powered by a direct cycle reactor. This had minimal shielding, therefore irradiating the crew and the surrounding airspace. Of the two aircrews, only 3 men survived. This information conflicts with that in the article and in other web sources I have looked at, which state that both the USA and the USSR discontinued research into nuclear-powered aircraft after 1961. Anyone know more about this? PhilUK (talk) 20:37, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

I believe the aircraft in question is the Tupolev Tu-119. - The Bushranger Return fireFlank speed 02:51, 8 November 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like the Discovery Channel video was bending the facts a little with its talk of minimal shielding and high death rates among the crew? The TU-119 article implies (or at least does not rule out) that a few flights were made with the reactor running and even perhaps powering the jet engines. If so, is this the only aeroplane ever to fly using nuclear power? PhilUK (talk) 21:23, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

Real US nuclear plane[edit]

A single NB-36 was built and flew in the USA between 1955 and 1957. It was a converted Convair B-36 Peacekeeper Bomber -- a truly huge aircraft. They did successfully prove the concept -- a bomber with essentially unlimited operational range in the 1950's!. This is referenced in this wiki article but only touched on and details are not provided. Advances in conventional bombers made the necessity for flying a nuclear reactor unnecessary. Military aircraft do, in fact, crash. Cleaning up crashes that involve crunched nuclear reactors was deemed -- something to be avoided. And so the concept never really "took off" so to speak. SunSw0rd (talk) 02:35, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

It should be noted that the NB-36 (covered further in Convair X-6, I do believe) never was actually powered by the nuclear reactor it carried. Thee were no connections to any of the engines, merely proof of concept tests for an aerial reactor. - The Bushranger Return fireFlank speed 03:52, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

American nuclear UAV[edit]

Is the 2011 project worth a mention here?

http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2012/03/25/no-go-on-a-nuclear-powered-unmanned-aerial-vehicle/

Hcobb (talk) 18:13, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Secret Aircraft[edit]

Logically , the chances that the Soviets, or the US, created secret programs for the development of unmanned , remotely piloted nuclear powered aircraft is quite high as the advantages of such a machine in nuclear war are incredible . The Soviets created unmanned moon exploring craft , and tested manned nuclear craft , so we know they had the technology . Shouldn't Wikipedia always consider the possibility that secret aircraft can exists and avoid statements like 'Neither country created any operational nuclear aircraft.' , in favor of statements like 'Neither country are known to have created any operational nuclear aircraft.' ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.210.130.114 (talk) 20:02, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Any suggestions that nuclear-powered aircraft, manned or unmanned, were actually developed, even as black projects, are fringe theories at best. And what "unmanned moon exploring craft, and...manned nuclear craft" do you refer to? - The Bushranger One ping only 23:19, 12 April 2013 (UTC)