Pics from the Nellis Air Show, courtesy of B2. You’ll need to excuse me for a few minutes, I need some “private time” after seeing those.
There, I’m back.
Occasional reader Jason sends us these pics and the back story on what’s being done with the “Great White Hope,” as we Hornet pilots used to call the F-14′s AIM-54 Pheonix missile.
Researchers at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., are investigating the use of surplus demilitarized Navy AIM-54 Phoenix air-launched missiles as possible hypersonic test platforms or testbeds. Hypersonic flight is defined as aerodynamic flight at speeds of Mach 5 or greater, and use of surplus Phoenix missiles is one of the methods being considered to obtain critical flight data in the hypersonic regime.
It was actually a pretty damned good missile, once they’d re-optimized the fuzing for fighter size targets. It just wasn’t anywhere near as good a missile as the Turkey drivers used to insist that it was.
I mean, how could it be? It was attached to a Tomcat, fer pete’s sake.