McNamara set aviation back at least 40 years.

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When McNamara cancled the B-70 supersonic bomber he set aviation back at least 40 years. His logic was if a SAM could shoot down a U-2, they could shoot down a B-70 at 80,000 feet flying at 2000 mph. Of course that was totally wrong. A SAM with small guidence fins could not then and probably still cant stay in a turn with a plane like the B-70. There was simply no comparison between a U-2 flying at 500 mph to a B-70 flying 2000 mph. Also the downing of the U-2 was a lucky shot involving a salvo of many SAMS. In fact on one of my aviation web sites, there is a article on the possible new SR-72. They are claiming that high speed is the "new stealth". They again point out that a mach 5 airplane with large wing area at 90,000 feet is almost impossible to shoot down with a rocket. A rocket simply doesnt have the wing area to stay with a plane that fast at that altitude in a turn. With stealthy design, that plane would be there and gone, before the Sam missle sites could even get off a shot. I contend that if we would have produced the B-70 back when it was developed, it would have had tens of thousands of supersonic flight hours on it. That would have translated into the development of American supersonic airliners. It would be the same as the B-47 and the B-52 translating into the 707 and the DC-8. It is a shame one man did so much to damage American aviation.
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What about SAM sites downrange of the radar? What about multiple SAM sites, as the Soviets did indeed employ? The Soviets fired 3 SAMs actually, not a salvo of many SAMs. It was one of the early variants of the S-75 (SA-2), which had also shot down a Taiwanese Canberra at 20 000m the year before. The Soviets were obviously known to be working on developed variants of the S-75, which did enter service, and also other long ranged high altitude SAMs to complement it in service. Not that I wouldn't have loved to see the B-70 in service. And I agree that it would likely have helped out on other projects.

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His logic was if a SAM could shoot down a U-2, they could shoot down a B-70 at 80,000 feet flying at 2000 mph. Of course that was totally wrong. A SAM with small guidence fins could not then and probably still cant stay in a turn with a plane like the B-70.
For once, McNamara's logic was totally right. The B-70 (and others like it) are not necessarily control surface or lift limited at these speeds and altitudes, but airframe limited. Also, a missile does not perform coordinated turns, so it is a fallacy to assume that similar geometric properties or proportions indicate similar performance. For example, any fighter has much less wing loading than an AIM-9X, but which will make the tighter turns? Given the introduction of RAMjet powered AAMs, fielding rocket boosted RAMjet powered SAMs is straightforward, so relying on speed to increase pursuit curve length and hence the endurance necessary to make an intercept is a losing game. I disagree strongly with Bill Sweetman on this one. The SR-72 is in my belief, the next battleground for the minds of the misinformed in congress (etc), so Lockheed can get yet more money from the US taxpayer. It is not a cost-effective weapons system. [Note, the F-111 was an abomination and a major misstep on McNamara's watch.]

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Wilhelm That still leaves a SAM with small fins trying to stay with the B-70 in a turn at 80,000 feet. The B-70 had nearly 4000 sq feet of wing area to be able to make a turn at that altitude. BTW additional proof of this is that in the 50s, there were few fighters that could stay with a B-47 or B-52 at altitude in a tight turn. They both scared the hell out of the USSR. As they say about car engines "there aint no substitute for cubic inches" and in airplanes that high altitude there aint no substitute for wing area.

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Each SAM site could fire more than one missile. There were more than one SAM site. As can be seen just a little later from the S-75 (SA-2) deployment during the Cuban Missile Crisis, where another U2 was shot down, killing Major R Anderson. There were, as mentioned, developed versions in the pipeline, as well as other long range, high altitude SAMs in development. Which would have been in time for the B-70, which first flew in prototype form toward the end of 1964. Even allowing for the slowdown of that programme, it is doubtful it would have been in service earlier than the late 60's. It is worth noting that the B-70 operational profile, from which its design followed, was from before the time that the USSR fielded SAMs. IMHO, of course.
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I do not see how an atomic bomber could have influenced civil airliners. B-70 would not change noise, runway length, fuel consumption and cost problems for airliners.

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what turn @2000mph? at such speeds you turn will have at least a 30-mile radius... it's a gentle curve at most... any SAM will match that no matter what you try unless it's already out of speed. Should you fly at a sufficiently close distance of a SAM site, the XB-70 would be in pieces almost every time. the missile won't try, nor need, to stay "with it", it will just come and blow it out of the sky

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SR-71 and MiG-25R proved that flying a zig-zag at M3 and 80k ft and will cause SAMs to run out of energy before they get to you.
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lol exactly, Xb70 would of entered service in the early 70's no earlier and the Mach 3 Mig25P entered service with the Soviet PVO in 1972 and could easily intercept the Xb70 and it was designed to do just that. And the S200 or Sa5 entered service in 1967 and pre 1976 variants of this missile had a 300km range and celling of 25km or 95,000ft. If the Xb70 was not cancelled it would of been good as the titanium mach 3+ Sukhoi T4 which could of been used as a interceptor and bomber would not of been cancelled either. Sukhoi T4 was a sucssesful design and it was cancelled only so the available budget could be used to build more Mig23,so stupid!
what turn @2000mph? at such speeds you turn will have at least a 30-mile radius... it's a gentle curve at most... any SAM will match that no matter what you try unless it's already out of speed. Should you fly at a sufficiently close distance of a SAM site, the XB-70 would be in pieces almost every time. the missile won't try, nor need, to stay "with it", it will just come and blow it out of the sky

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SR-71 and MiG-25R proved that flying a zig-zag at M3 and 80k ft and will cause SAMs to run out of energy before they get to you.
I would expect if bombers depending almost purely on high speed for evasion had gone into widespread service we'd have seen more SAM systems based off the RIM-8 propulsion philosophy.

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If the big nuclear bomber is coming in over the horizon, at a high altitude and high speed, you can expect the SAMs and AAMs fired at it to be nuclear tipped themselves no? Bad luck to experience the 'near' miss of a 15kt warhead.
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what turn @2000mph? at such speeds you turn will have at least a 30-mile radius... it's a gentle curve at most... any SAM will match that no matter what you try unless it's already out of speed. Should you fly at a sufficiently close distance of a SAM site, the XB-70 would be in pieces almost every time. the missile won't try, nor need, to stay "with it", it will just come and blow it out of the sky
That's my take on it too. Such large missile, carry a relative large enough warhead, that in turn will send out those Pellets in a large enough radius to Down jets like XB-70. The missile would not "Need" to hit it physically.

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That's my take on it too. Such large missile, carry a relative large enough warhead, that in turn will send out those Pellets in a large enough radius to Down jets like XB-70. The missile would not "Need" to hit it physically.
I believe the Nike Zeus had a neutron bomb warhead.

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I believe the Nike Zeus had a neutron bomb warhead.
Both the Nike Hercules and Zeus were capable of actually hitting a missile but nuclear warheads used against aircraft were designed to neutralize the bombs carried by the enemy aircraft, so close was good enough. The emp from from the Nike missile was strong enough to cause serious problems forty some years ago, pre-digital, nowadays it would be fatal to some systems and cripple for a long time most others. A B-70 could have kept on flying if the blast was too far away to knock it down but many of todays newest aircraft would fall like mosquitos in a Black-Flag fog.

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The logic for canceling the B-70 was sound in regards to the B-70. But the result was the abandonment of very highspeed as a defining concept for new aircraft. While B-70 was in fact vulnerable to SAM the potential for future planes traveling faster then Mach 3 in the atmosphere were allot less vulnerable because of limited speed that a SAM can travel in atmosphere while still being able be able to target a aircraft. Mach 5 is about as fast as you can go before before you start to get a re-entry effect that shuts down communication and blinds sensors. A faster version of B-70 traveling at mach 5 and able to drop down lower into atmosphere if it was targeted by SAM would have been able create a situation where missiles were ether not able to target it are where it had a speed advantage over them and could simply outrun them if the missiles slowed enough to be able to target. The arguement that B-70 was vulnerable to SAM was correct the inference made that the same applied to all potential future highspeed aircraft as well was false

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I still think a modified B-70 would have made a great launch platform for a practical space-plane (based on the X-15).
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I still think a modified B-70 would have made a great launch platform for a practical space-plane (based on the X-15).
Some conspiracy theorists think the partially completed one was converted to such a role. The B-70 is pleasing to the eye for sure. I'm not so sure the body wouldn't have been better served with shaping up front more like the SR-71 considering the position of the canard placed a lot of stress on the fuselage, putting it at risk of catastrophic failure. The engine pod was always cool in my opinion, but another engineering nightmare during catastrophic engine failure. If the plane had been bought it still wouldn't have remained in service by the 80's. The Sukhoi T-4 project was much more realistic in scale and such a design size was more practical.

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Some conspiracy theorists think the partially completed one was converted to such a role. The B-70 is pleasing to the eye for sure. I'm not so sure the body wouldn't have been better served with shaping up front more like the SR-71 considering the position of the canard placed a lot of stress on the fuselage, putting it at risk of catastrophic failure. The engine pod was always cool in my opinion, but another engineering nightmare during catastrophic engine failure. If the plane had been bought it still wouldn't have remained in service by the 80's. The Sukhoi T-4 project was much more realistic in scale and such a design size was more practical.
A video tape I have on the testing of the B-70 said at low altitudes, ground hugging, the aircraft handled very well. It might have made a good low altitude strike aircraft that could boogie at extreme speeds for egress purposes.

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OP's premise is manned-flight-centric. SecDef's job was credibly to threaten sufficient targets as to deter Sovs. from adventures...while not spending US to death. He inherited not only a triad, but multiple hardware and projects for each leg. He bought/initiated: ICBM, SLBM, (to be Tomahawk) air and ground-launched cruise missiles, stealth, satellites, Bombs - 30,000 of them. Enough, already!

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I just plain disagree with all the anti B-70 posts. Look logically at a couple of facts. The SR-71 was NEVER shot down by missles, even tho fired at several thousand times. SAMs are short range, and the B-70 would run them out of fuel before they could get to the B-70. Also we are still flying the B-52 as a viable weapon system. So tell me if the AF thinks a B-52 flying at 45,000 feet and 600 mph, why wouldnt a B-70 flying at 80,000 feet and mach 3 be more surviable? Remember these days a B-52 does not fly directly over the target, they stand off and fire weapons at the target hundreds of miles away. A B-70 would do the same thing except higher and faster and closer, and still be able to get away. I contend that an enemy would have to fill their country with SAM sites every 10 miles all over the country to be able to shoot down a B-70. So many sites that a country would go broke doing so. Lastly a MIG-25 was mentioned, as the USSR response to the B-70. When one was handed over to us in Japan, it was found out that it was so poor quality there was a placard on the panel that said "dont exceed mach 2.8". Also its maneuverablity was in question. So how was a plane that was much slower and less maneuverable going to shoot down the B-70? It remains that IMO NcNamara and his "whiz kids" that gave us the Edsel were idiots!!!!!!

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I just plain disagree with all the anti B-70 posts. Look logically at a couple of facts. The SR-71 was NEVER shot down by missles, even tho fired at several thousand times.
But examining the SR-71 "facts" closer might not help your argument so much. I do agree that high and fast penetration, like ther SR-71 or B-70, makes for much harder interception, but let's examine the SR-71 facts a little bit. Yes the SR-71 had a very impressive survivabilty rate, but what was fired at it? I would imagine that the vast majority (all?) of the missiles fired at it were of the SA-2 class operated by Soviet client states. The SR-71 proved it was capable of surviving against mostly 3rd world client states, but did it ever go "downtown" deep into Russia? Did it go up against the latest improved radars, SAMs' and interceptors in the USSR? Reaching "downtown" Hanoi, Havana and Damascus are not the same as reaching "downtown" Moscow. Would some SR-71's or B-70's reached deep into Russia in an all out shooting war?, likely yes. Would some have been shot down? likely yes. Soviet and Sweedish pilots got within firing range of SR-71's more than once. Would post SA-2 SAM's been much harder for SR-71's and B-70's to avoid? Undoubtedly. Would the USSR have increased and improved their SAM and interceptor fleet if the B-70 had entered service? Undoubtedly. While I agree that the B-70 was most impressive, especially asthetically, I think it was vulnerable, extreemly expensive and would have likely been a hangar queen. I think the post B-70 progams, that eventually resulted in the B-1, had it correct given the time: that high speed, high altitude penetration was looking increasing vulnerable, and that low level penetration was more likely to be survivable.