1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites): The National Interest: Watch an XB-70 Valkyrie Mach 3 Bomber Perform an Emergency Landing

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Dario Leone

Security,

What went down. 

The B-70 Valkyrie, with a planned cruise speed of Mach 3 and operating altitude of 70,000 feet, was to be the ultimate high-altitude, high-speed manned strategic bomber. Events, however, would cause it to play a far different role in the history of aviation.

By the early 1960s in fact, new Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) threatened the survivability of high-speed, high-altitude bombers, while less costly, nuclear-armed ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) were also entering service. As a result, in 1961, the expensive B-70 bomber program was canceled before any Valkyries had been completed or flown.

Even so, the USAF bought two XB-70 aircraft to test aerodynamics, propulsion and other characteristics of large supersonic aircraft. The first XB-70A (Air Vehicle 1 or AV 1) flew in September 1964, and it achieved Mach 3 flight in October 1965. The second Valkyrie (AV 2) first flew in July 1965, but in June 1966, it was destroyed following an accidental mid-air collision. The third Valkyrie (AV 3) was not completed.

AV 1 continued to fly and generate valuable test data in the research program until it was brought to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in 1969. As we have already explained on Mar. 7, 1966 the aircraft had to perform an emergency landing on “tip-toe”following hydraulic problems.

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The National Interest

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)


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