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Weapon System 118P

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posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 02:08 AM
Before the SR-71, there was WS 118P. In 1956, Bell and North American designed supersonic long range recon planes. Information on these designs is hard to come by, but there have been some research successes. Included here:
1) A photo of an unpainted wooden display model of a Bell design. This and numerous other photos were dug out of the Bell archive in Niagara Falls.
2) Poorly reproduced artwork of the "Phase II 1/2" North American design which would cruise at Mach 3.2
3) Poorly reproduced artwork of the "Phase III" North American design which woudl cruise at Mach 4+

The latter come from a newly declasified document via FOIA.

The total story of WS 118P has yet to be told... it remains shrouded in security classification.

posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 08:40 AM

usually when stuff like this is still classified it means that they are still being developed.

posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 10:37 AM
reply to post by Orionblamblam

This is really something. I would be amazed if the XB-70 didn't come out of one of those designs.

But it really says something about where we actually were back than, and where we probably are NOW.

posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 10:52 AM

Originally posted by tomcat ha

usually when stuff like this is still classified it means that they are still being developed.

Naw. For all practical purposes, something that's classified *stays* classified until it is *actively* declassified. And the older that something is, the harder it is to get it through the declassification process... becauses it needs to be reviewed by someone familiar with it. And when you have something old and unusual - here we have a 50-year-old Mach 4 turborocket-powered plane - how do you find anybody who can review it?

posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 10:57 AM

Originally posted by BlackWidow23
I would be amazed if the XB-70 didn't come out of one of those designs.

It appears to be a "missing link" between the early North American WS 110 designs with the extremely-forward delta canard and straight wings, and the later WS 110 designs with the more conventional canard and delta wings with flip-down wingtips.

posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 11:31 AM
The North American NA 236 interceptor of 1955 looks very like a scaled down XB-70 and is probably a good indicator of the design path that led to the Valkyrie, after all nothing is designed in isolation and even programmes that appear to have led nowhere will have an influence on designs further along the path.

posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 12:39 PM

Is NA-236 significantly different from NA-257 (XF-108 Rapier).
In one of my references on the -108 it says that NA-257 was 'basically a half-scale Valkyrie, using only two of the General Electric J93-GE-3 engines....' (although single tailed and no canard) and that it was intended to be an escort for the B-70. However it also describes an intercept mission at 750 miles including a 2 hour loiter at 280 miles from base. This reference also links the aerodynamic designs of XF-108, XB-70, X-10 and XSM-64 Navajo.

Another reference, (specifically about North American Aviation) describes NA-257 / XF-108 as a Long Range Interceptor. It describes NA-236 simply as 'Engineering for USAF Long Range Interceptor'.

Considering that NA- numbers simply refer to contracts (or company releases of money to do particular jobs) rather than different aircraft types, do you know if NA-236 is the same design as NA-257 / XF-108.

The Winged Wombat

[edit on 20/1/08 by The Winged Wombat]

posted on Jan, 20 2008 @ 01:26 PM
The NA 236 led directly into the design that became the XF-108. You know how your source refers to the NA-237 as looking like a half scale Valkyrie with a single fin and without canards? Well the 236 had twin fins ( well, three actually on the design I have seen) and canards, making it resemble Valkyrie even more closely.

posted on Jan, 22 2008 @ 11:56 AM
The article on WS118P has just been published in the latest APR.

posted on Oct, 6 2008 @ 09:53 PM
I research/write cold war aerospace projects specifically, secret boost-glider projects of the 1950s of Bell and other firms. See my articles on secret boost-glider projects, and alternate approaches to the Dyna Soar I specifications in QUEST History of Spaceflight magazine, Vol 13, #2 and 4 2006, and Vol. 15, #1, 2008. My latest Quest write concerns the orbital X-15A & B proposal.

My current book project evolves around the Bell Aircraft/Dr/ Dornberger studies for a "higher, faster, farther" hypersonic vehicle that could reach orbit and perform reconnaissance, and bombardment missions. This includes System 118 Papa.

However, in writing the above cited articles, my acquisition of some Bell Docs for their on-going 1950s glider studies reveals a somewhat unusual twist.

One of Bel MX-2276 Reports indicates that within this renewed contract in 1955, USAF approached Bell about a classified project they or Bell identified as S-118P. Bell accepted it and monies were somehow transferred to them for the 118 Papa study, Without further documentation, it appears that such a contract was split into two parts, or done so for security purposes, just as the Bell YP-59 Airacomet project was covered by their twin-boom navy pusher fighter designated the same number. This was and is a slick trick, and the only Bell file photos concerning any S-118P are a handsome four-engine very high speed reconnaissance vehicle.

The Bell MX-2276 Doc however, describes the USAF's wants as a blending of the most advanced elements of their MX-2276, Brass Bell (a.k.a. HI-Fi Recce), into an advanced hypersonic boost-glider vehicle. This means orbital not simply a high-mach air-breather negotiating super high altitude flight within the atmosphere. The USAF further stipulated that tney should perform an analytical study combining Bell's most advanced boost-glider work to incorporate into 118 Papa.

The above data is found in my article concerning the Martin-Bell alternate Dyna Soar I studies for 1958 in QUEST Vol 13, #4, 2008.

Having held very high security clearances in both aerial reconnaissance work and as a Def. Contractor workking within NORAD Space Surveillance/SPADATS, it is generally acknowledged that when project studies remain classified over 50 years later, one may infer that indeed, such a vehicle may have been built and flight tested. In this case and time frame, Brass Bell, 118 Papa and the early DS I gliders, could easily have been launched aboard a gutted B-36 bombers since no heavy rocket boosters existed during the late 1950s.

All that was necessary was to gut a B-36, build the special underwing mount, or strengthen the fuselage around an enlarged bomb-bay, cluster a series of strap-together solid fuel or perhaps at worst, liquid fuel boosters, connect to the glider, and walla, an air-launched boost-glider capable of sub-orbital reconnaissance flights. My boost-glider Doc and drawing collection includes drawings of a Bell designed hyprid supersonic Mom-ship to carry such gliders, and drawings of a B-36 modified to carry a boost-glider semi-recessed in a hugely extended bomb-bay position like the X-1 was launched back in ancient times.

It appears that perhaps the project was called back then, an above top secret project; today we call it a Black Project, may have existed and the operator would naturally be the Cranium Intrusion Agency. I have documentation indicating they were also quite interested in the Dyna Soar project as well, and accidently stumbled upon their messages indicating interest,

The fact that many of the Bell Aircraft Brass Bell, and S-118 Papa Docs remain classified as of 2008, and are only accessible to specific individuals within the DoD is indicative of the fact that such a glider was built and flight tested.

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