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America's Atomic Bomber (480p Video)
Posted on 06/13/2010 4:56:18 PM PDT by Dallas59
KEYWORDS: aircraft; atomic; military
For your Sunday evening enjoyment.
posted on 06/13/2010 4:56:19 PM PDT
Self ping for later viewing.
posted on 06/13/2010 5:19:41 PM PDT
(Proudly buzzkilling the illusion of confidence in the progress of humanity for 35 years.)
posted on 06/13/2010 5:21:46 PM PDT
(It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
The only US aircraft to carry a nuclear reactor was the NB-36H. The program was canceled in 1958
The Tupolev Tu-119 (Tu-95LAL) test plane was a modified Tupolev Tu-95 Soviet bomber aircraft which flew from 1961 to 1965 to see if the use of a nuclear reactor could power a bomber nuclear aircraft with practically unlimited range.
The reactor was fit in the bomb bay of the aircraft, although it did not fit cleanly and a "bump" was put on top as well. According to some sources, it had two conventional NK-12 outboard turboprop engines and two experimental NK-14 'dirty' direct cycle jet engines powered by a minimally shielded nuclear reactor in the main fuselage. Between May and August 1961, the Tu-119 completed 34 research flights.
Most of these were made with the reactor shut down. The main purpose of the flight phase was examining the effectiveness of the radiation shielding which was one of the main concerns for the engineers.
posted on 06/13/2010 5:44:38 PM PDT
(President Robert Gibbs 2009-2013)
I was involved in the NEPA program in 1956 - 1958, but dealing with navigation and guidance, not propulsion. Nevertheless, I paid a great deal of attention to the propulsion aspects.
One problem quickly became obvious, if you wanted an atomic powered jet engine. You had to transfer heat from the reactor to the turbine. In a conventional jet engine, the coolest part of the engine is the turbine blades and the walls. The gas is hotter than the blades. In an atomic powered jet, the hottest part of the engine is the walls or whatever heat-transfer element you're using. The gas flowing through had to be cooler than the walls and the turbine blades. This automatically meant that the exhaust temperature, the thrust, and the specific impulse, were lower than for a conventional jet of equivalent weight. Lockheed even proposed an "interburner," where jet fuel would be burned, to increase thrust when the aircraft was on a combat mission instead of simply cruising around.
A second problem had to do with the shielding (or lack thereof) of the reactor. Instead of shielding the reactor, the plan was to shield the crew compartment, leaving the reactor unshielded to save weight. This meant that the airframe would be in a continual bath of neutrons. That meant damage to the crystal structure of the metal. We didn't understand as much about metal fatigue back then as we do now, but it was clear that the airframe life would be fairly short because of damage to the crystal structure.
Maintenance would also be a problem, since the reactor was unshielded. The ground crew would have to operate from within some kind of shielded vehicle. That wasn't feasible back then, and I'm not sure it would be feasible now.
There were other problems, but these were the most important. The end result was to kill the program.
posted on 06/13/2010 6:31:28 PM PDT
( New book, RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY. More @ www.book-resistancetotyranny.com)
Still an amazing project.
posted on 06/13/2010 7:35:24 PM PDT
(President Robert Gibbs 2009-2013)
Current U.S. version of atomic powered aircraft, with reverse-engineered antigravity system and plasma thrusters (NASA photo, code-named "space junk"):
posted on 06/13/2010 9:33:41 PM PDT
(When you find a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be damn sure it didn't get there on it's own.)
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