Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2009/11/13

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Subject: [Leica] IMG: Airplanes - relatives of the Vulcan
From: lrzeitlin at (Lawrence Zeitlin)
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 14:43:02 -0500

* Peter Dzwig's pictures of the Vulcan flyby bring back many long suppressed

* Before I entered the ivy covered halls of academia, I spent 15 years in
the military/industrial complex working on futuristic aircraft that,
thankfully, were never used in combat. In fact all were cancelled before
they became operational. Some never even flew. I didn't take any of the
pictures. While not quite Area 51 stuff, all the projects were so secret
that I couldn't come within a mile of the base with a camera.*

* The CF 105 Arrow was a Mach 2 fighter built by Avro of Canada. It was
intended to patrol the desolate frozen wastes of the Canada tundra and shoot
down Russian bombers coming across the North Pole. The plane was built and
five prototypes flown and deemed a great success. Aviation experts declared
the CF 105 to be the most advanced aircraft flying. Then in the late '50s,
the Canadian government changed, the plane was felt to be too expensive, and
all prototypes, tooling, and engineering drawings were scrapped to prevent
reestablishing the program. The USA received sites for the Dew Line radar
stations in return for agreeing to defend the Canadian homeland. By a
curious quirk of fate when we bought our home in upstate NY, my next door
neighbor had been the project director of the Avro CF-105 in Canada, while I
was a Senior Scientist at the RCA Airborne Systems Lab in charge of much of
the electronics for the plane.*

* The XB 70 Valkyrie was a Mach 3 bomber intended for high altitude
penetration raids of the Soviet Union. It embodied all the latest airframe,
engine, and electronic technology of the late '50s. Two prototypes were
actually built. One crashed on a photo shoot when a chase plane collided
with the bomber. The other lived a long and fruitful life as a high altitude
research aircraft after the cancellation of the program. ICBMs could do the
penetration job cheaper and quicker. It now resides at the USAF Museum near
Dayton, OH. I was in charge of the electronic countermeasures on this
bomber. It wasn't a stealth airplane by any means but had all sorts of means
of fooling and spoofing radar.*

* The XF 108 Rapier fighter was intended to accompany the XB 70 on its
missions, an unnecessary task since the bomber was faster and had a longer
range. The XF 108 program was cancelled after several years because no one
could find a military justification for such an expensive fighter. The plane
never was built. The effort was not entirely useless since the research
ended up enhancing the design of several aircraft which became operational.*

* The X 20 Dynasoar was a space glider, to be boosted into orbit by an ICBM
type rocket. It should have been capable of gliding around the earth, making
observations, and possibly releasing atomic weapons as it went. The Dynasoar
had the ability to alter its course in flight and could choose its target
area and landing site. The original concept of a space glider came from
German rocket scientists during WW2. The glider, boosted into orbit by a
rocket would skip across the atmosphere like a stone across the water,
gliding from Germany to drop bombs on New York. The Germans made no
provision the return flight or for re-entry. The Dynasoar was never built,
for a variety of reasons, but became the inspiration for the Space Shuttle.*


*Larry Z*

Replies: Reply from frank.dernie at (FRANK DERNIE) ([Leica] IMG: Airplanes - relatives of the Vulcan)
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