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XF-108 Rapier

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posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 04:29 PM
I was reading about the A12/SR on wikipedia out of all places, and they said that the A12 was created to replace the cancelled XF-108 Rapier project.

Link to A12 wikipedia page:

Link to XF-108 Rapier wikipedia site:

This is some of the text about the XF108 Rapier:

"A very high performance, long-range interceptor had been proposed by the USAF as early as 1952, but formal development of what became known as the Long-Range Interceptor, Experimental (LRI-X) was not approved until 20 July 1955. The specification was laid down on 6 October, calling for an aircraft that could fly at 60,000 ft (18,292 m) at a speed of Mach 1.7 (1,122 mph/1,795 km/h at that altitude) with a range of 1,150 miles (1,840 km). It was to a have a two-man crew, at least two engines, and a powerful radar. Contracts for preliminary studies were issued to North American Aviation, Lockheed, and Northrop. Of the paper designs, the North American proposal, dubbed NA-236, seemed most promising. Political and budgetary difficulties led to the premature cancellation of the program on 9 May 1956."

I just think Delta wings are so badass looking
and had never even heard of the XF-108 Rapier until today, but it had come and gone before my day so I guess that explains that. As they say you learn something new everyday

I had some questions regarding this picture I found on google of the XF108. It looks like just an artists conception, but I am wondering about the vertical launcher system depicted. Was this how they really intended to launch the aircraft? Like a missile? I suppose it is a quick way to launch it and get to high altitude.

Here is the pic I am referring to:

Here is another pic of the XF108:

I was hoping that others here could share what they know about the XF108.


posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 04:35 PM
Two separate beasts. The A-12 was the intial CIA version of what most people mistake for the USAF SR-71

The F-108 was intended to be an escort for the XB-70 Valkyre Bomber but never made it out of mock up. If it had progressed it would have had competiton with the fighter version of the A-12 the YF-12 which actually was flight tested and fired AA missiles at 70,000+ and at Mach 3 and hit a target.

posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 05:38 PM
I understand the difference between the A12, and the SR and have heard the stories behind them, but thanks for clearing that up

So the F-108 Rapier was designed to be an escort for the XB70? I bet it would be once hell of a menacing site seeing a squadron of Valkyrie's escorted by Rapiers

What about this artist's conception of the F108 on a vertical launcher? Did they intend to launch it vertically like this at one point or something?

[edit on 25-3-2005 by warpboost]

[edit on 25-3-2005 by warpboost]

posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 05:49 PM
The F-108's AN/ASG-18 Radar system was extensively modified and later optimised for the YF-12. The AIM-47 missle was also used on the YF-12 . This missle later became the AIM-54 Phoenix

posted on Mar, 26 2005 @ 12:29 AM
this is an interesting discussion;

what would have happened if the f12 would entered in production???it would have been an effective warbird???, i mean, only 3 aim47 to such monster!!, and all the sr71 maintenance and flight preparation pronlems, i have read an interesting speculation, what would happened if the US would have not involved in the south east asian war? maybe the mach 3 generation planes (f12-f108)would have been developed? i know that the rapier was cancelled in late 50s, but maybe would been reconsidered due to the f12 operational problems?

and what about the cf105 avro arrow, suposely the proyect had M3 capacity?

i really prefer very fast jets than supercruiser jets, i mean is a little stupid disperse the performance in supercruirer (the entire flight), and dont use the maximus performance in some trayectorie danger-warning-zones.

some numbers;

rapier f108

empty weight; 23tons
engine power;2x j93 13 tons each
max speed; M3
missiles;? AIM47 ;true relative speed M3-4, total speed M7-6 -but remember that the launch speed isnt the max-(how many carried???)


empty weight; 27tons
engine power;2xj58 15 tons each
max speed; M3.2
missiles;3-4 AIM47

CF 105 Arrow

empty weight; 22tons
engine power;2xj75-iroquous 12 tons each
max speed; M3
missiles;? AIM47 ?sparrow 2 ?

i think that the worst for air interception would have been the f12, the security record is an disaster, considering the cost of each plane and the real fly-hours that need an trully operative plane, but that is very subjetive, because the other two (108 and 105) never were real aircrafts, but maybe the best is the f108, because it looks simpler and not so problematic like the f12.

i dont see any 3sonic european plane, even proyects, the europeans did not have the capacity to such proyect?

[edit on 26-3-2005 by grunt2]

posted on Mar, 26 2005 @ 05:39 AM
What the Europeans lacked in regards to Mach 3 projects was money, not techniology.

The UK's Bristol 188 was designed to be mach 3 capable but a lack of funding led to delay after delay and finally the cancellation of the project. It did fly, but never actually went supersonic at all before the axe fell. Also the TSR 2 was designed to be mach 3 capable, though it would have entered service with a max speed of M2.5. The UK also had projects for mach 3 strategic bombers (Avro 730, English Electric P-10, Handley Page HP.100) that predate the XB-70 but again a chronic lack of money led to cancellation before the prototypes could be flown. Of the three bombers I mentioned the Avro 730 was the one that was selected for full scale development and was to replace the Vulcan bomber as well as serve as a 'Blackbird style' recce plane before the axe fell in 1957 with the prototype under construction.

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