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Douglas GAM-87 Skybolt Missile

     The Douglas GAM-87 Skybolt was an air-launched ballistic missile that SAC wanted for its B-52H.  He Stratofortress would have carried two under each wing.  Armed with a W59 nuclear warhead in a Mk. 7 re-entry vehicle, development was initiated in the late 1950s. The decision to proceed with the Skybolt was made in February 1960, with initial deployment projected for 1964. In June of 1960, the British government ordered 100 Skybolts to be carried by the Avro Vulcan. However, in December of 1962, President Kennedy cancelled the Skybolt missile in accordance with the recommendations of Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara.  The cancellation was condemned by General Lemay in his autobiography.
  1958 Studies shown that it was feasible to air-launch ballistic missiles from high-flying strategic bombers, the USAF issued a requirement in 1959 for a long-range ALBM (Air-Launched Ballistic Missile). In May 1959, Douglas was awarded a development contract for the WS (Weapons System) 138A missile, designated GAM-87 Skybolt. Douglas subsequently awarded development subcontracts to Nortronics (guidance system), Aerojet General (propulsion), and General Electric (reentry vehicle). The GAM-87 was intended for use by the B-52H Statofortress and the British Vulcan B.2. Full-scale development was approved in February 1960, and in January 1961, the first drop tests of unpowered Skybolts occurred. Powered and guided flight tests of XGAM-87A prototypes began in April 1962, but the first five tests were all failures.
      The first fully successful Skybolt flight occurred on 19 December 1962, but on that same day the whole program was cancelled and the production of the operational GAM-87A stopped. Although Skybolt certainly had its technical difficulties and was well behind schedule, the cancellation was also very much influenced by economical and political factors.
Length 11.66 m (38 ft 3 in)
Finspan 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)
Diameter 89 cm (35 in)
Weight 5000 kg (11000 lb)
Speed 15300 km/h (9500 mph)
Ceiling 480+ km (300+ miles)
Range 1850 km (1150 miles)
Propulsion Aerojet Genaral two-stage solid-fueled rocket
Warhead W-59 thermonuclear (1.2 MT)