The initiators of the nuclear race - the Americans, having covered the USSR with almost the ring of their air bases, were themselves seriously concerned about Soviet successes in the development of strategic aviation. And although heavy M-4, 3M, and Tu-95 bombers were built an order of magnitude smaller than the number that the United States intelligence frightened the White House, the defense program against them of the continental United States received the highest national priority in the second half of the 50s.
The CIA and US military intelligence played up Khrushchev. With his knowledge, in the summer parade in Tushino in the summer of 1955, the same M-4 turbojet bombers flew over the stands - first ten cars, and then out of them two times nine, which made an indelible impression on foreign observers. In the West, they became nervous and decided that the USSR was churning out Myasishchev's “Bison” (Bison) or “The Hammers” (as M-4 and the improved version of 3М were called NATO) already hundreds.
In August of the following year, the American intelligence service gladly launched this duck at special congressional hearings. By that time, the USSR also began mass production of the Tu-95 turboprop heavy bomber. In short, the congressmen were impressed, intelligence was bathed in glory, and the US military-industrial complex was anticipating new orders and, accordingly, profits. Confronting the “Soviet threat” was a profitable business, and the domestic military-industrial complex loved awards, titles and awards (which does not detract from its achievements). In fact, the "Bison" of all stripes was released about 80, and the "Bears" (Tu-95, in NATO Bear) - less than 200. For comparison: only their peers - B-52 “Stratofortress”, Boeing built 521 stuff. By the way, B-52 is alive and even fighting somewhere, and now myaschishevskie machines, except what you see in the museum, only the modernized Tu-95 remained in the ranks of the first post-war generation of domestic bombers.
The Americans believed that the Russian “Buzons” and “Bears”, when refueling in the air, had an intercontinental radius of action and could carry up to four eight megaton thermonuclear bombs each (the actual nuclear weapons of the aircraft were both hydrogen RDS-37 and atomic RDS-3 , RDS-4). In order to ensure the destruction of Soviet bombers, which are breaking through to targets in the United States, it was decided to develop a powerful anti-aircraft missile weapon in nuclear gear. The work was carried out in the directions "air-air" and "ground-air".
"Genies" on stream
The cheapest system was the AIR-2 Genie ("Genie") rocket, an unguided rocket projectile launched from an interceptor fighter. Developed "Genie" firm McDonnell Douglas. This thing, which developed speed three times faster than sound, was equipped with a low-power W-25 nuclear warhead - 1,5 kilotons. The Genie missile, also known under the military designation MB-1 and nicknamed “Ding-dong” (Ding Dong), was designed specifically for the destruction of Soviet bombers over the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. It was allowed to use it at altitudes of at least 1500 meters, the flight range was about 10 kilometers, and the radius of destruction was up to 300 meters, which compensated for the absence of a guidance system.
The subsonic heavy bomber couldn’t escape the Jinna, if the interceptor was able to bring it to him. Since there were no “brains”, that is, a control system, the MB-1 was not envisaged, it was unreal to deceive the rocket with interferences. But even if by some miracle the bomber had survived, the electromagnetic impulse of a nuclear explosion would probably have blinded it, disabling the on-board electronics, not to mention the possible impact on the automation of a nuclear bomb.
But the pilot, who “released the genie”, had to show maximum professionalism so that he himself did not get away from the explosion. Immediately after the launch of the rocket, it was necessary to make a sharp turn and get away at the maximum thrust.
The 19 July 1957-i "Djinn" for the first and last time was tested during the Plumbob operation with the help of an all-weather F-89 Scorpion fighter over a nuclear test site in Nevada. The American industry has "baked" these rockets, like pies, by the thousands. In service, they lasted until the 1986 of the year, becoming the regular weapon for the F-89, F-101 Voodoo, F-102 Delta Dagger and F-106 Delta Dart fighter-interceptors. Interceptors "Voodoo" (under the designation CF-101B) with nuclear "Djinnami" were in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). There, these missiles were decommissioned and returned to the US in 1984. It should be noted that the government of Canada did not comment on the possession of nuclear weapons. "We do not confirm, but we also do not deny." But thence state security - the Royal Canadian Mounted Police led the development of activists of local anti-nuclear movements, who were very interested in this issue.
“Jinnom” business was not limited. In 1960, the United States Air Force adopted an air-to-air SD with a nuclear warhead — AIM-26A. This is a special modification of the Falcon rocket ("Falcon"), created by Hughes. A special feature of the W-54 charge was its ultra-low power - just 0,5 kilotons. The missile flying the 10 for miles was guided by highlighting the target with a radar of a fighter launching it, which made it possible to hit enemy planes on a collision course, and not just in pursuit of how the then guided missiles with infrared ghosts could do. The nuclear Falcons were deployed from 1961 on the F-101, F-102 and F-106 supersonic interceptors, which patrolled US air borders on duty. The missiles were intended to immediately repel the attack of the enemy's bombers upon their discovery.
By the 70 years, it became clear that the air enemy, if it reaches the US, will break through to the goal rather than at high, but at low altitudes, where it is harder to detect. And the combined US-Canadian air defense system NORAD shifted the emphasis in this direction. However, at such heights, the use of Sokolov in nuclear equipment was excluded because of the threat to its own ground facilities and population. Therefore, in 1971, AIM-26A Falcon missiles were seized from combat units of the US Air Force and stockpiled.
UAV with a fuse
Shy atom on aircraft seemed attractive to American anti-aircraft gunners. The X-NUMX nuclear-powered W-31 kilotons (think Hiroshima!) Equipped the Nike Hercules SAM with Western Electric, and the 20-kiloton W-10 with BOMARC unmanned interceptors, developed by Boeing and the Michigan aviation research center of the non-core CAM of the non-core CAM, developed by Boeing Company and Challenge Center of the United States and the United States and 5 . These were, by today's standards, very long-range systems that entered service with the Pentagon at the end of the 40s.
By June 1958, the first Nike-Hercules, capable of hitting targets at a distance of 140 – 160 kilometers and at an altitude of 30 – 45 kilometers, took protection of the skies over Washington, New York and Chicago - with missiles in normal equipment . Nuclear combat units appeared on them (MIM-14B SAM) at the start of the 60-s. "Nike-Hercules" in the nuclear version tested 4 November 1962-th. A total of 73 anti-aircraft missile divisions were deployed on the continental US, equipped with this system (each with a control battery and four starter batches) instead of the previous Nike Ajax complexes with the conventional medium-range MIM-3A.
BOMARC anti-aircraft drone was created under the nuclear filling initially. With a takeoff weight of more than seven tons and a fighter-like appearance, BOMARC developed the 2,8 Mach speed and, in an improved modification, could hit enemy bombers at a distance of 600 – 650 kilometers and 30 kilometers altitude. Nuclear charge W-40 guaranteed the destruction of air targets at a distance of a kilometer from the point of the explosion. At the same time at high altitudes, the crews of the bombers could have been hit by penetrating radiation outside this radius. In order for BOMARC not to inflict damage on its own territory, the nuclear charge was supplied with a fuse, precluding its undermining at altitudes below three thousand meters.
In principle, the BOMARC firing range was enough to destroy the Soviet strategic bombers Tu-95K and Tu-95KD (with in-flight refueling system) when the aircraft reached the launch line of the X-20 and X-20М Kangaroo). Yes, and these missiles themselves, which were also essentially supersonic unmanned aircraft, could become a victim of BOMARC. At the beginning of the 3-ies, the Tu-60K / CD was the “longest arm” of the USSR Air Force, capable of reaching the enemy at a distance of more than seven or eight thousand kilometers from its airfield. The launch range from the Tu-95K X-95M rocket, which had a three megaton thermonuclear charge, was 20 – 600 kilometers, but it was inferior to BOMARC in speed.
In total, since 1959, the Americans have built 46 stationary launch sites BOMARC. In 1963, the system entered into service with the Air Force of Canada. There deployed two squadrons BOMARC. Their missiles were marked with RCAF identification marks - blue rings with a red maple leaf inside, but the nuclear charges remained the property of the US government and were under the full control of the Americans. Canadian BOMARCs could be used only by decision of the Pentagon in accordance with the operational air situation monitored by the radars of the North American continent NORAD air defense system. There was, however, a nuance: to launch a Canadian BOMARC, it required simultaneous unlocking with two keys, one of which was with the duty American officer, the other with the Canadian.
BOMARC projectiles both in the United States and Canada were resigned in 1972 year. Conceptually, this system, quite effective against bombers, was quickly outdated due to the massive equipping of the USSR Armed Forces with intercontinental ballistic missiles. They could not intercept their BOMARC warheads.
A "Nike-Hercules" appeared on the advanced American bases, then the US allies near the borders of the USSR. Of course, the nuclear warheads for them were under American control. In the 1984, with the advent of the Patriot systems, the outdated Nike-Hercules were removed from combat duty and removed from Western Europe, although these systems in conventional equipment remained in service in third countries for a long time. In Turkey, for example, they are still in service, although the American press calls these cumbersome air defense systems dinosaurs with tube electronics.
For some time, the American fleet was armed with missiles with nuclear warheads - TALOS (W-30, 5 kilotons) and Terrier - "Terrier" (W-45, 1 kilotons). Placed on cruisers, they were intended primarily to protect US Navy aircraft carrier formations from the strikes of Tu-16, Tu-22K and Tu-22М. The nuclear defense system Terrier with the RIM-2D anti-aircraft missile system lasted the longest — right up to the collapse of the USSR, when this potential threat, as the Pentagon considered, came to naught.
To the meeting of uninvited guests
Back in 1961, the C-25 "Berkut" (according to the NATO nomenclature of the SA-1 Guild) appeared on 215 anti-aircraft missile system of Moscow. The 10 products appeared - anti-aircraft guided missiles with a nuclear charge of about 215 kilotons. Under the designation of the ZUR-19, such a missile was tested at the Kapustin Yar 1957 January 10-th, hitting two IL-28 bomber unmanned at an altitude of 200 kilometers. The range of the ammunition was 75 meters. In the future, nuclear warheads were equipped with anti-aircraft missile systems of the air defense system of the territory of the country C-2 (SA-200 Guideline), C-5 (SA-300 Gammon) and C-10P (SA-1988 Grumble). According to American experts, listed in the directory of Soviet Nuclear Weapons, by the year 4100, the Soviet Air Defense Forces had approximately 1 YABCh on anti-aircraft missiles (“all SA-2 launchers, one-third SA-10 and SA-5, two-thirds SA -XNUMX ").
At the turn of 50 – 60-s, the project of the Soviet analogue BOMARC, the C-500 C-500 long-range intercept system with the P-500 unmanned projectile, with higher characteristics than the American system, was not completed. The C-214 variant was developed with mobile launchers coupled with a YAZ-XNUMX tractor vehicle.
The Soviet Union did not lag behind the States and on the part of the air-to-air missiles with nuclear filling. In 1965, heavy supersonic Tu-128 interceptor fighters began to arrive in the air defense forces, with their regiments "sitting" on the northern airfields. It was expected that the American B-47, B-52 and B-58 (the latter, supersonic, were considered especially dangerous) would rush into the depths of our country from the Arctic, and they were prepared for a hot meeting on the far frontiers. Each Tu-128 could carry four P-4 air-to-air guided missiles, including in nuclear equipment.
The Tu-128 has been out of business for a long time, but in combat formation there are super-fast heavy interceptors MiG-31 with long-range air-to-air R-33 guided missiles, which can be equipped with both conventional and nuclear warheads. For obvious reasons, some of the details of these systems remain “behind the scenes”.