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texl1649
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XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:41 pm

Supersonic tanking is...quite a novel idea. Paging KC135TopBoom...

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... per-bomber

Image

The document covers a number of non-bomber variants, as well. Some of these make good sense, at least in principle, such as a tanker version, which would have been able to top up other fuel-hungry B-70s during missions. Robert Hopkins, an Air Force veteran, author, and contributor to the War Zone, with flying time on numerous C-135 variants, including KC-135 tankers, tweeted out "Not sure, however, if I'd want to try A/R [aerial refueling] at M=3.0 [Mach 3]" after seeing this new Air Force history. "Remember Pitch X Mach = VVI [Vertical Velocity Indicator], so a sneezing while refueling would be catastrophic!"


Frankly, the one variant that still makes some sense to me (in some sort of modern platform) is launching 200K pounds at mach 3 or so from 70K feet. But I don't think even stratolaunch is doing real well.
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:37 pm

These ideas make far more sense when you remember that LSD was coming into vogue at that time.

Low levels in an XB-70? A jet that regularly had large pieces fall off at Mach 3. A draggy refueling boom in supersonic slipstream? Good luck controlling the boom or the tanker, let alone the receiver! For what, 90K of give? Those guys must’ve bought the good stuff!
"I've sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map!"
 
bhill
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:45 pm

There is no stealth at Mach 3....either the heat signature from the exhaust or the glowing of the leading edges would give you away, or the sonic boom would....
Carpe Pices
 
texl1649
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Tue Nov 24, 2020 8:01 pm

No argument to above two posts. Frankly, it's crazy they even sketched the tanker out if it was to be considered at supersonic speeds.
 
TangoandCash
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:02 pm

If it was just a sketch, I'd say it's something from a slow Friday afternoon 'what if' session at the office. That's probably what bored engineers did before A.net was around. But the existence of photos from wind tunnel tests shows that somebody took this (or LSD) seriously.
 
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bikerthai
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Wed Nov 25, 2020 10:37 pm

That my friends, was more than an afternoon musing. Remember that this was before CAD design. So a sketch like that would have been put together by the graphics art department down the hall.

bt
Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
 
LTEN11
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Thu Nov 26, 2020 1:18 am

bikerthai wrote:
That my friends, was more than an afternoon musing. Remember that this was before CAD design. So a sketch like that would have been put together by the graphics art department down the hall.

bt


Still doesn't preclude it from a Friday afternoon sesh :lol:

Would've been exciting to witness it if it had actually happened though :eyepopping:
 
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Stitch
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:39 am

I looked through the PDF today and man, some of those concepts were pretty wild.
 
GSOtoIND
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Thu Nov 26, 2020 6:20 am

My hypothesis is that this was an idea floated in order to find out who was selling out to the Soviets. If Tupolev suddenly started working on an idea this absurd, then we'd be able to narrow the search!
 
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Stitch
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:11 pm

I think that is was more an attempt by North American Aviation to save the XB-70 program once Soviet high-altitude SAMs negated the primary mission of the airframe (high-altitude, high-speed penetrator) by trying to give it a new, unique mission profile.
 
DigitalSea
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Thu Nov 26, 2020 7:12 pm

You have to understand the thinking at the time, engineers were being pushed to accomplish the impossible. Big risks were made, they truly dared to dream. And that's why these proposals seem ridiculous to us today.
 
CRJockey
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Thu Nov 26, 2020 7:50 pm

GSOtoIND wrote:
My hypothesis is that this was an idea floated in order to find out who was selling out to the Soviets. If Tupolev suddenly started working on an idea this absurd, then we'd be able to narrow the search!


That would imply that the soviets have blindly copied or translated intel into counter measures. I don’t think they were that stupid.
 
FGITD
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:13 pm

Stitch wrote:
I think that is was more an attempt by North American Aviation to save the XB-70 program once Soviet high-altitude SAMs negated the primary mission of the airframe (high-altitude, high-speed penetrator) by trying to give it a new, unique mission profile.


This sounds like all the makings of the sales department.

High speed, high altitude bomber rendered obsolete? Well...have you tried using it as a low altitude, high speed bomber? No? Ok to hell with it, let’s refuel with it

It does speak volumes of the era though. Come up with an idea, build the frame, then figure out what else it can do.
 
IFlyVeryLittle
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:19 pm

Im surprised no one in the sales department didn't slap four Pan Am logos on the vertical stabilizers and add a tag line "Home by dinner from Tokyo!"
 
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Stitch
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:38 pm

IFlyVeryLittle wrote:
Im surprised no one in the sales department didn't slap four Pan Am logos on the vertical stabilizers and add a tag line "Home by dinner from Tokyo!"


Well there were some SST proposals in there. :airplane:
 
texl1649
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Wed Dec 02, 2020 9:30 pm

FGITD wrote:
Stitch wrote:
I think that is was more an attempt by North American Aviation to save the XB-70 program once Soviet high-altitude SAMs negated the primary mission of the airframe (high-altitude, high-speed penetrator) by trying to give it a new, unique mission profile.


This sounds like all the makings of the sales department.

High speed, high altitude bomber rendered obsolete? Well...have you tried using it as a low altitude, high speed bomber? No? Ok to hell with it, let’s refuel with it

It does speak volumes of the era though. Come up with an idea, build the frame, then figure out what else it can do.


I’ve been told there are a lot of similarities between the cockpit (not structural, but layout etc.) in the XB-70, B-1, and the space shuttle. North American certainly believed in recycling/using what they thought worked over and over.
 
meecrob
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Wed Dec 02, 2020 10:22 pm

...just like every other company. Why would you design a new cockpit if your previous design works? Like "everyone is used to QWERTY keyboard...lets change it to mess with people." is not a design goal. Every company does this. I do have to laugh at the kite offered as a STOL kit. As if they would be launching b-70's from unimproved airstrips. I would love to see the video of one take off from a grass strip. How would they capture the kite and re-deploy for landing? I know its ridiculous, but the image in the first post specifically says short take off and landing.
 
nycbjr
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Fri Dec 04, 2020 8:54 pm

wow some crazy proposals for sure! I remember Discovery channels "Wings" (anyone remember this show?), had a great one on this plane. Too bad it never made it to production but the world changed and it wasn't needed.
 
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kc135topboom
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:54 am

texl1649 wrote:
Supersonic tanking is...quite a novel idea. Paging KC135TopBoom...

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3 ... per-bomber

Image

The document covers a number of non-bomber variants, as well. Some of these make good sense, at least in principle, such as a tanker version, which would have been able to top up other fuel-hungry B-70s during missions. Robert Hopkins, an Air Force veteran, author, and contributor to the War Zone, with flying time on numerous C-135 variants, including KC-135 tankers, tweeted out "Not sure, however, if I'd want to try A/R [aerial refueling] at M=3.0 [Mach 3]" after seeing this new Air Force history. "Remember Pitch X Mach = VVI [Vertical Velocity Indicator], so a sneezing while refueling would be catastrophic!"


Frankly, the one variant that still makes some sense to me (in some sort of modern platform) is launching 200K pounds at mach 3 or so from 70K feet. But I don't think even stratolaunch is doing real well.


I don't know how much boom control you would have a FL-700. I would think the shock-wave once the boom is lowered would submit both the boom and the receiver to stresses they could not design for. I don't think this concept is completely thought out. I doubt it is very practical.

A KB-70 would burn a lot of fuel itself, reducing the offload capability. Then we are also talking about a Boom Operator refueling while wearing a spacesuit. How cumbersome would that be?

Remember all the preparation and time it took the SR-71 and U-2 crews just to get ready for a flight? Missions like these would need to be planned for days in advance, there is no sitting in a SAC Alert Force for these type missions. This would be more like a "look what we can do" mission the Russians would be laughing at us for.
 
HaveBlue
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Re: XB-70 variant proposals; including a tanker

Sat Dec 05, 2020 10:55 pm

nycbjr wrote:
wow some crazy proposals for sure! I remember Discovery channels "Wings" (anyone remember this show?), had a great one on this plane. Too bad it never made it to production but the world changed and it wasn't needed.


I have many of the Discovery Wings episodes taped on VHS, labeled and stored. Every time I clean out the garage I can't decide whether to throw them away or have them converted to digital.

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