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AIM-26 Falcon

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Title: AIM-26 Falcon  
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Subject: MGM-13 Mace, GAM-87 Skybolt, RIM-8 Talos, AIM-7 Sparrow, CIM-10 Bomarc
Collection: Cold War Air-to-Air Missiles of the United States, Military Equipment 1960–1969, Nuclear Anti-Aircraft Weapons
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AIM-26 Falcon

Artwork on warhead of AIM-26A on display at the National Museum of Naval Aviation.

The AIM-26 Falcon was a larger, more powerful version of the AIM-4 Falcon air-to-air missile built by Hughes. It is the only guided U.S. air-to-air weapon with a nuclear warhead, though the unguided AIR-2 Genie was also nuclear-armed.

Contents

  • Development 1
  • Specifications (GAR-11/AIM-26A) 2
  • Survivors 3
  • See also 4
  • External links 5

Development

Starting in 1956 Hughes Electronics began the development of an enlarged version of the GAR-1D Falcon that would carry a nuclear warhead. It was intended to provide a sure kill in attacks on Soviet heavy bomber aircraft. The original development was for semi-active radar homing and heat-seeking versions based on the conventional GAR-1/GAR-2 weapons, under the designations GAR-5 and GAR-6, respectively. The program was canceled, but was later revived in 1959.

The resultant GAR-11 (later AIM-26A) entered service in 1961, carried by Air Defense Command F-102 Delta Dagger interceptors. It used a radar proximity fuze and semi-active radar homing.

The GAR-11 used a sub-kiloton (250 ton) W54 warhead shared with the 'Davy Crockett' M-388 recoilless rifle projectile, rather than the larger W25 warhead of the AIR-2 Genie nuclear rocket.

Out of concern for the problems inherent in using nuclear weapons over friendly territory, a conventional version of the GAR-11, the GAR-11A, was developed, using a 40 lb (18.1 kg) conventional high-explosive warhead.

After 1963 the weapon was redesignated AIM-26. The nuclear version became AIM-26A, the conventional model AIM-26B. From 1970 to 1972 the nuclear warheads of the AIM-26A weapons were rebuilt for the nuclear version of the AGM-62 Walleye glide bomb.

The AIM-26 saw little widespread use in American service, retiring in 1972. The conventional AIM-26B was exported to Switzerland as the HM-55, where it was used on Swiss Mirage IIIS fighters. The AIM-26B was produced under license in Sweden as the Rb 27 and modified, arming Saab Draken J-35F and 35J fighters. It was retired in 1998. When Finland bought Saab Draken fighters the license-manufactured Swedish Falcons were included.

Specifications (GAR-11/AIM-26A)

  • Length: 84.25 in (2.140 m)
  • Wingspan: 24.4 in (62 cm)
  • Diameter: 11.4 in (29 cm)
  • Weight: 203 lb (92 kg)
  • Speed: Mach 2
  • Range: 6 mi (9.7 km)
  • Guidance: semi-active radar homing
  • Warhead: W54 nuclear, explosive yield 250 t TNT equivalent

Survivors

Below is a list of museums which have an AIM-26 in their collection:

See also

External links


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