Skip to comments.Video: A C-5 Galaxy Air Launches an ICBM.
Posted on 02/24/2012 5:14:32 PM PST by U-238
In the 1970s, the Air Force launched a Minuteman ICBM launched from a C-5 Galaxy. Hold on, what!?!?
That was my reaction upon learning that the above sentence is true.
In 1974, the Air Force decided that it could turn C-5 Galaxy airlifters into flying SSBNs. Yup, Air Force planners thought the missile would be tougher for the Soviets to take out with a preemptive strike if it was already aboard a moving target like a C-5 versus sitting in a stationary missile silo.
So, they loaded a Minuteman into a C-5 that parachute-dropped the 60-foot tall missile out of its aft cargo ramp over the Pacific Ocean. After the ICBM fell for a few thousand feet, its rocket motor ignited and the missile flew for ten seconds under its own power. Just to prove it could be done. Wild.
Needless to say, the crazy concept of turning C-5s into flying boomers never made it to the operational stage.
(Excerpt) Read more at defensetech.org ...
But I remember that we were in negotiations with the Russians when we did this. It really strengthened our negotiating position.
Unlike today when our statement department gives away the farm.
Pucker factor for the crew was probably high.
I agree with you
What is to stop Iran/China/Russia from doing the same thing to the US ?
I remember the test. It was the predecessor of all sorts of things: the Pegasus air launched orbital vehicle, the soon to be Stratolaunch vehicle, White Knight One and Two, and probably a lotta stuff we ain't heard about...for good reason.
Seems perfectly normal to me.
I would suppose the demo was done sans nuclear warhead. So they dropped a Minuteman — is that the heaviest thing they had dropped to date?
Iran/China/Russia don’t need to. All of them can reach the US.
Bring the GAM-87 Skybolt back from mouthballs. Just replace the guidance with GPS.
maybe we can get astronauts to the ISS that way? lol
Try a LAPSE. Nobody leaves with dry shorts.
Poland and Hungary should get some of these.
C5s are huge. I walked through one during a base open house and it was enormous. I was maybe ten so I didn’t exactly have an adult’s perspective but nevertheless, it was huge and since it was a SAC base, the B52s were off in the distance guarded by MPs so I didn’t have anything close to compare them with. As an adult, I tried to get into a B52 on static display at Travis, we got in the bomb bay but didn’t relish having the MPs escort us off the base or worse, tell my father. The point though is that the B52 although still enormous, wasn’t as big as I remembered.
If the Minuteman was capable from flying from Vandenberg to the USSR, the C5 could only add to the range and it was mobile!
The range of a Minuteman Missile is 8055 miles or 7000 nautical miles
I think perhaps the bit of trivia that best relates the dimensions of the Galaxy is the fact that the Wright brothers’ first powered flight at Kitty Hawk could have taken place within the cargo area of a C-5.
I've also heard that you could fit 6 Greyhound buses in the cargo area as well.
We have an American hating administration now. A prime example of this is when we gave away the Eastern Europe missile defense, and got nothing in return, just to repudiate the Bush administration. Dang stupid. Could have been useful in negotiations, but presented as a gift. Weak, naive administration.
I miss the Cold War. At least then we knew where the enemy was (Moscow) not (Washington DC).
And then it goes in the book under field expedient contengiencies.
You know, there are some meetings that it would’ve been a lot of fun to be a fly on the wall. This was likely one of them.
Another one would’ve been the meeting where somebody first proposed mounting 105 howitzer in a C-130...
“So let me get this straight... Wait... You wanna... what... Again?”
See post 15 for video.
Sometimes, you could even use the tank.
But not that I ever saw.
With the ready availability of parts and trained crews (both air and ground), I've often wondered why the Air Force never went with this plan.
You apparently don't understand what is going on. First a question: Name ONE THING Obama has done to help America? He destroys businesses, is destroying the economy, he is driving oil prices up by preventing oil drilling and the pipeline.
You can easily name numerous things he has done to help the Muslims:
Egypt- Going to Muslim Brotherhood
Libya- Illegally used the US Military to attack and overthrow the government
Iraq- The withdrawal of US Forces is the green light to start the terrorist attacks to destroy the government
The real question is WHAT country is Obama's primary sponsor? I bet on Iran. You're probably waiting for CNN to tell you Obama is not a Christian.
I wasn't in MAC, so I didn't know the LAPSE acronym.
And yep. Just watching that will leave me puckered for the evening.
Didn't they ball up a C-130 doing one of those?
They suggested putting cruise missiles on rotary launchers inside 747s once, too. The Russian said that would make all 747s targets. The idea, while cool, was dropped.
At least one, I am sure.
Actually, I spelled it wrong - LAPES
I cannot imagine the COG shift, when twenty-some TONS pops off the extreme rear or the ramp - but I bet the pilot pees himself.
C130 LAPES bad day.
Prayers for all involved.
I liked that idea too.
God bless the men that fly and fight. Training kills more pilots than combat.
Didn't the CCCP shoot down KAL 007 from Alaska? Looks like we should have gone ahead, since they were going to shoot down 747s with passengers on board anyway.
It may have been dropped, but I think the whole point of the exercise was to show the other side that we could.
I agree with you.Good point!!
“maybe we can get astronauts to the ISS that way? lol”
See StratoLaunch Systems.
Speaking of crazy but works (or probably would have if the war went another year):
There was also a scheme at the same time called the “Ground Proximity Extraction System” which involved using grappling hooks tossed out the back of the aircraft to engage arresting cables on the ground to pull the cargo out of the aircraft.
That one didn’t go very far either; I believe it also cost several aircraft in the development process.
Thank goodness I still have the Military Channel though
Thanks very much for the links. WOW!
Truth be told, I'm listening to BBC World News on 9.460Mhz on the shortwave in the background.
I'd trust Radio Moscow before I trust ABCCBSNBCCNNetc...
If you have not yet read the book Flight of the Old Dog by Dale Brown I strongly urge you to do so.
Imagine a 767 equipped as a flying battleship.
I think you would enjoy it quite a bit.
Thanks for those links...dangerous; interesting; conscientious objectors (back in the day even they did something productive).
The big benefit was that it was mobile. Silo-based missiles were vulnerable to a surprise first strike. Bombers could be kept aloft, invulnerable to a first strike, but bombers would then have to be able to penetrate enemy air defenses.
A C-5 would have the benefit of a bomber (could be launched on first indication that a strike was imminent, and be called back if it was a false alarm) along with the advantages of an ICBM (hard for an enemy to stop once launched)
If you were an airline executive, or Boeing, would YOU want the Soviets to always be unsure as to whether any given 747 flying near the USSR was really a strategic launch platform?
BBC is pretty dang biased too aren’t they?