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Rick Wilkes
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Convair NB-100A “Obliterater” ——– What If ——-

December 3, 2012 · in Aviation · · 12 · 2.1K

After the cancellation of the XB-70 project in 1957, General LeMay reopened the nuclear powered manned bomber program using the Convair XAB-1 strike/reconnaissance prototype which the CIA had been pursuing with "black funds." Planned as the first of SAC's "Centennial Series" , the NB-100A used as much conventional technology as possible to speed development and to control costs. Using the same engines as the XB-70 with triple after-burning the NB-100 was capable of dash speeds in excess of Mach 2.5 and using conventional fuel had an operational radius in excess of 5000nm with a 100,000 lb payload. As well as jet fuel, the two outboard engines had restartable nuclear reactors which provided sustained supersonic cruise, the flight crew's physical endurance being the only limit on operations. The parasite fighters were modified F-106 aircraft, which took off and landed separately then docked in route. While two fighter's could be towed, peacetime safety concerns required that they rotated on station.

Due to the secrecy of the project all aircraft were built at production facilities located in Area 51, and the aircraft was presented to an astonished nation and furious Congress in early 1961 when all 21 aircraft of the 918th Bomb Wing (Super Heavy) participated in an unannounced flyover during President Kennedy's inauguration ceremony...
Well enough of that, I've obviously given this way to much

This is the old Hawk "BETA - I" Atomic Powered Bomber from 1962. I got a partial kit, missing the leading edge flaps, clear parts and one of the "atomic flames" for the engines. I tried to remain "true" to the kit and built it up as a "desk top" display. I built new leading edges from an F-86 that had been butchered for something else and a friend provided a flame from a Hawk V-1. The markings where made for me by J-Bot and Red Pegasus and are based on the original kit decals, with some embellishment.

So there you have it, from the age when atomic power was going to run everything from toasters to toilets..

Reader reactions:
3  Awesome

3 additional images. Click to enlarge.

12 responses

  1. Now that's cool, Rick - THATS what I'M talkin' about...never seen anything quite like it. Neat display stand as well. Great addition to the "what-if" forum.

  2. I'll give you a 10 for general insanity 🙂

    fun model

  3. Very cool! Won't happen today. The fear instilled by a certian fringe has doomed nuclear power. The cost would never make it through the budget...oops we don't have a budget. Still I think this is a wild and very cool idea. Great job, makes the perfect desk top display.

  4. Straight from an episode of Gerry Anderson's 'Thunderbirds' 🙂 I love it.

  5. I had one (2 actually) of those waaaaaaaay back when (early 1960s ?).
    The first one I built (nowhere near that nicely), the second I sold to a used kit dealer about 15 years ago.
    You did an excellent job on it considering what you had to start with.

  6. I could kick myself for not buying one when I was a youngster when it was cheap, even if my only boast was that it was one of the coolest glue-bombs that I ever built. Kudos to you, Mr. Wilkes. Your model is a fine thing, indeed. Adios, Larry.

  7. I assume the Atomic Toilet is used to dispose of the Atomic waste from a session at El Rodeo? 😉

  8. I remember building this model when I was about 10 years old. Even at that age I wondered what would happen if someone crashed a nuclear powered plane.

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