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XB-70 Cancellation and the reasons behind it

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posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 11:10 AM
Ok, so i have been pondering this for quite a bit.

I have read much material about the XB-70 program, its development and later cancellation. One of the reasons it was said was, it was vulnerable to Soviet AA missile interception. Now, I have read the stats for the XB-70 and in all I have read gave its high speed at Mach 3 and an altitude of 70,000ft.

Now, I also read the SR-71 Blackird stats. They too are similar at Mach 3.3 and altitude of 85,000ft.

So my question is, how can they say the XB-70 was more vulnerable than the SR-71?

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 11:17 AM
It may not have been cost effective. It may also have not have been as capable as was originally thought to be. The money spent on these prototypes is very large, lots are tested that never go into production. The cost is inevitably somehow absorbed by the taxpayer, these companies do not lose money.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 11:28 AM
The SR-71 never made any confirmed overflights of Soviet Russia. Also, if we view the envelope of a SAM as a rough dome, that extra 15,000' of altitude really cuts into the effective radius of a SAM site. And that extra bit of speed which doesn't seem like much (.3 Mach) means the SR-71 is passing through the effective radius that much more quickly.
The real reason, I suspect, had to do with the cost of the program. Much the same as the B-58 was retired rather quickly, despite having relatively unique abilities.
Count me among the crowd that would have liked to see them at least complete the third prototype and loan it to NASA.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 11:29 AM
reply to post by rickymouse

Its always about the cost-effectivness in the end, but as we see now with the failure of the F-35 and the slow F-22 process, it seems that is all that ever happens.

But I am still surprised at how they say it was more vulnerable to the SAM missiles. Im pretty sure it could have outrun them like the SR-71.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 11:32 AM
reply to post by GenRadek

They make up things a lot to sidestep our focus. I don't know if this is just an example of covering up a flop while still saving face with the expenditures.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 11:42 AM
reply to post by _Del_

That is an interesting take on it. After all, we really dont know the true stats of the SR-71, now do we?
It really seemed that the XB-70 looked real good for its job. We may never know now. Can you imagine if the original B-1A bomber program continued, rather than being cancelled first then reborn with slightly less performance?

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 11:49 AM
reply to post by rickymouse

I wouldnt be surprised. Just saddens me how much potential we had there and to have it all go flop like that.

That is why I am upset with the F-22 program and woefully inadequate amounts purchased and the serious issues with the F-35 program. Although I knew from the start the F-35 is not suppose to be the be-all end-all plane to take on the roles of every fighter previous. They should not have put their eggs in one basket with this one.

As for the XB-70, I did get to see it at Dayton's AF Museum. Beautiful machine. I just wish I could have seen it fly.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 11:59 AM
Do not forget competion and corruption at the high level due to the big names in the military industry. SR-71 is Lockheed's baby and XB-70 is North American Aviation later Rockwell International. I'm not suggesting but just a thought.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 12:00 PM
I think its a case that they could see the writing on the wall for high and fast penetration as a means to deliver a nuclear payload. It would have been an expensive way to do something that could be done better in other ways (ICBMs, flying below the radar of the missile systems).

The Russians could introduce higher and faster missiles at a greater rate than they would have been able to improve the airframes performance leaving the USAF with an expensive fleet of lame ducks.

It was a very cool aircraft but came along at the wrong time. Right call on behalf of DoD.

I worry that the F-35 is an example of facing a similar decision and getting it wrong.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 12:05 PM
The XB-70 was an awesome plane. When I was in grade school and my dad worked at Edwards, I got to see one up close and in person. I also got to actually fly the lifting body simulator. Great fun for a kid!

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 12:10 PM

Originally posted by GenRadek Can you imagine if the original B-1A bomber program continued, rather than being cancelled first then reborn with slightly less performance?

Losing the ramps on the inlets (effectively reducing max speed) also lowered the radar cross-section considerably (there is a reason why the early B-1B's quickly stopped using fighter escorts in their Red Flag missions).

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 01:29 PM
Hi "nice jets" fans !

That speedster was sooooooo beautiful, and had a fantastic name !!
XB-70 == Valkyrie == !!

Putting the "vulnerable" aspect asside, one thing that maybe was against
the choice of using many of them, is:

Six (6) General Electric YJ93-GE-3 turbojet engines. Each engine capable of producing
up to 31,000 lb (14,060 kg) thrust (with afterburner).

It is more easy to care about 2 engines than 6, right ??

Blue skies.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 02:34 PM
The XB-70 WAS more vulnerable. It had no weapons that could be released at Mach 3 at the time. So while the SR-71 (if it had overflown the USSR) could keep running at full speed and not slow down until they were clear, the XB-70 would have to slow down to release its weapons. At that point, it's just as vulnerable as anything else. Soviet airspace was and still is some of the most heavily defended airspace on the planet. Sure they would be pretty safe during ingress and egress, but at some point, they had to slow down, and at that point, they're in trouble.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 02:59 PM
What was Boeing's entry for the competition?
I have searched, but couldn't find anything.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 03:00 PM
This is the point where it becomes nefarious and secretive. Everybody is cut off. They recruit new people. They acquire a black budget. Then they disappear into history.

It all starts with these classic words "It doesn't work."
edit on 1-3-2013 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 03:09 PM
reply to post by butcherguy

Something like that, except I've heard the Boeing entry had three engines in pods and the SST had four I think. Boeing and North American both took the B-70 entries, and converted them into SST designs. So we almost got to fly as passengers on a B-70.
edit on 3/1/2013 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 03:15 PM
reply to post by Zaphod58

I was familiar with the Boeing SST. I thought maybe some concept drawings of their XB70 entry may have been released once.
On the upside, in my search, I did find some other designs that never reached production that I hadn't heard of before.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 03:20 PM
reply to post by butcherguy

It was basically the same design. North American proposed putting 36 seats (I think it was) in the "neck" of the XB-70 in a 2x2 configuration. They could stretch it to make it 48 or 72 seats in the same area. Other than that, it was an XB-70. Boeing's design used podded engines under the wings, similar to the B-1, except that each was separate from the others. They used basically the same design for the SST program, except theirs would seat 200 people or so.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 04:01 PM
reply to post by Zaphod58

It was my understanding that the "Missile Mafia" had something to do with the cancellation of the XB-70. They were afraid that funding would be cut for missile programs if the plane was built. At that time the Navy was getting it's Polaris missile subs fully operational and some people were asking why the Air Force needed fixed missile sites that could be targeted, while the Navy could hide it's subs.

posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 05:47 PM
reply to post by JIMC5499

That was the other reason. The fear was that they would lose a bunch of them if there was an attack, and the missile mafia came along and pointed that out, as well as how an ICBM could do the job easier, and more safely than a manned bomber could. Faster too.

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