USA's "Project Cancelled"

Feasibilities aside, what really scares me on stuff like Orion, was getting the nukes up there. Seriously, one single cargo rocket loaded with nukes blows up on take off, or some 1000s of feet above, or the engine just fails mid-climb...
Note that no 'Broken Arrow' resulted with a detonation
 
Note that no 'Broken Arrow' resulted with a detonation
Nor has any nuclear cargo (IE atomic reactor for some satellites) that been sent to orbit had any problem with lunching .



If you don't like the risk of lunching a Orion in pieces into orbit , you can just lunch the whole thing from Earth.
 
It's basically impossible to assemble an Orion in space because of the size of the pusher plates and reaction springs. There is no way to get that kind of stuff into orbit without a launcher as large and powerful as an Orion. All extant concepts for Orion drive ships have included some form of single-launching, usually using a very large booster stage or sets of solid-rocket boosters. These push the Orion ship onto a suborbital trajectory so it can start using its own pulse drive in the upper atmosphere. These are all in-atmosphere detonations so fallout is very low, and the specialized in-atmosphere pulse units have very small explosive yields and therefore negligible electromagnetic interference.
 
Note that no 'Broken Arrow' resulted with a detonation
No nuke was subjected to a rocket blast...
Nor has any nuclear cargo (IE atomic reactor for some satellites) that been sent to orbit had any problem with lunching .



If you don't like the risk of lunching a Orion in pieces into orbit , you can just lunch the whole thing from Earth.

That... would efectively turn a considerable chunk of realestate into a radioactive wasteland... not to mention all the ractioactive dust carried who knows where...
 
No nuke was subjected to a rocket blast...


That... would efectively turn a considerable chunk of realestate into a radioactive wasteland... not to mention all the ractioactive dust carried who knows where...
Bomb grade material really isn't that radioactive.U-235 has a half life of 700 million years. Radon gas in Many people's basement is under 4 days.

Shorter the life, more dangerous it is.
Is more of a problem of being a toxic Heavy Metal.
 
Bomb grade material really isn't that radioactive.U-235 has a half life of 700 million years. Radon gas in Many people's basement is under 4 days.

Shorter the life, more dangerous it is.
Is more of a problem of being a toxic Heavy Metal.
Yeah... but it wouldn't be one bomb, would it?
 
Yeah... but it wouldn't be one bomb, would it?
Many Orion sources use 800 pulse units of varying yield.
These are quite a bit different than your standard atomic bomb, not much for explosive lenses, because they aren't doing standard spherical implosion, and they are using a lot of high tech tricks to get that fvery undersized subcritical mass of fissile material to go off. Lots of reflectors, tritium gas and neutron tubes, I suspect
Some think its only a few kg of HEU, far far less than what standard bombs uses. It's job is to vaporize that tungsten with lots and lots(scientific term) of X-rays into plasma
1605827091426.jpeg

TL: DR;

These are very, very safe, and difficult to set off accidentally
 
The Sargent York
Aside from the issue of low speed on the chassis as I see it its largest single problem was the software controlling the gun laying. Plus just how long could it engage targets in terms of firing time before its dry.
But is there another use for such vehicles? Ditch the automated gun laying system and use them as direct fire infantry support. Workable?
Another idea. Equip BUFFs with an F-14 fire control radar and the capability to carry say 24 to 36 Phoenix AAM. Basically a land based missileer similiar to what the USN looked at.
But in terms of cancled programs it's not just the big ticket items. XM-8 anyone. The biggest problems with procurement Congress and the contractors. Congress likes to have both ends of the issue. Representatives and Senators like to be seen as "saving the taxpayer money". At the same time they love being able to point to jobs in their district or state. The contractors wield too much influence in terms of lobbying
 
For a slightly less radioactive cancelled space project the 'Sea Dragon' has to get a mention, if only as an excuse for this video:

 
Then we have the CGX being cancelled which means the USN is going to retire the first few of the active Ticos without replacement
 
Last edited:
The idea of a "Nuclear Logistics Carrier Aircraft" (if I'm remembering the name right) eventually centered around essentially leasing the SORO Princess flying boat as the test bed but it didn't pan out. The electric props would have been more efficient in cruise but they had/have issues with throttle response and need 'boost' power sources (battery or capacitor banks) to allow for power surges when needed. They are also speed limited, and though that is less an issue for a "missile bus" it is was a problem due to various logistics and operational time-to-patrol area concerns. Really by the time the Air Force dropped the concept they were just getting into long-range air launched missiles and all previous work was either for direct bombing, (gravity bombs) or short range missiles so jet speed to and from the target area were seen as critical. The other killer for a missile carrier was of course subs are way stealthier and harder to detect so the airborne missile carrier never made enough sense to pursue.
Stealth matters only inasmuch as it ensures platform survivability, and the airborne missile carrier has the advantage (in this respect) that it can hide in places where the Soviets can't practically strike at it, like over the Great Plains or central Canada and then fire off long-range missiles at the enemy (say, the Minuteman...) without them being able to do anything about it. At least in theory.

I don't think any of the nuclear stuff is actually that interesting to talk about, though. It's all permutations of stuff that isn't actually going to be used and probably won't matter that much to stuff that will be used. The interesting kind of "Project Cancelled" material for the U.S. military is equipment that might actually have seen combat use, like the AH-56 or some such.

EDIT: In this respect, I think the '60s-era drone projects that the Air Force had are a very interesting possible area of AH. The Ryan Model 147 was a very interesting project that was like a '60s-era Predator/Reaper--they were even developed a version, the BGM-34, that was designed to deploy munitions, including precision-guided munitions (Mavericks, not Hellfires, of course), and had "stealth" versions. Similarly, the QH-50 DASH was a very interesting anti-submarine helicopter drone that worked fairly well in practice, given its design limitations. But in both cases the military dropped them in the late '60s and early to mid-'70s and pretty much forgot about drones for a decade and a half.

Now, these weren't exactly "project cancelled," since both did see service, but there was scope to make them much more broadly used and really the basis of a major integration of drones into the military much earlier than occurred IOTL.
 
Last edited:
Stealth matters only inasmuch as it ensures platform survivability, and the airborne missile carrier has the advantage (in this respect) that it can hide in places where the Soviets can't practically strike at it, like over the Great Plains or central Canada and then fire off long-range missiles at the enemy (say, the Minuteman...) without them being able to do anything about it. At least in theory.

I don't think any of the nuclear stuff is actually that interesting to talk about, though. It's all permutations of stuff that isn't actually going to be used and probably won't matter that much to stuff that will be used. The interesting kind of "Project Cancelled" material for the U.S. military is equipment that might actually have seen combat use, like the AH-56 or some such.

EDIT: In this respect, I think the '60s-era drone projects that the Air Force had are a very interesting possible area of AH. The Ryan Model 147 was a very interesting project that was like a '60s-era Predator/Reaper--they were even developed a version, the BGM-34, that was designed to deploy munitions, including precision-guided munitions (Mavericks, not Hellfires, of course), and had "stealth" versions. Similarly, the QH-50 DASH was a very interesting anti-submarine helicopter drone that worked fairly well in practice, given its design limitations. But in both cases the military dropped them in the late '60s and early to mid-'70s and pretty much forgot about drones for a decade and a half.

Now, these weren't exactly "project cancelled," since both did see service, but there was scope to make them much more broadly used and really the basis of a major integration of drones into the military much earlier than occurred IOTL.

The US drone/ guided weapon program from WW2 are also pretty interesting. The US had like more then two dozen different programs ranging from guided bombs/ torpedos to guided SAMs/ AAMs to cruise missiles ( Like the JB2 loon) to reusable drone aircraft that could be used to deploy other weapons ( basically WW2 equivalents of the modern predator/ reaper).

While some of them failed and or were unworkable a surprising number were actually succesful and saw small scale production/ combat usage or were on the cusp of being ready and workable. The problem is that by the time they were ready almost everything worth using them on was already destroyed or the war was over and the budget cuts slaughtered them.

Arguably the US had at least a decades lead in such weapons over everyone else but ended up pissing it away.
 
The Sargent York
Aside from the issue of low speed on the chassis as I see it its largest single problem was the software controlling the gun laying. Plus just how long could it engage targets in terms of firing time before its dry.
But is there another use for such vehicles? Ditch the automated gun laying system and use them as direct fire infantry support. Workable?
Another idea. Equip BUFFs with an F-14 fire control radar and the capability to carry say 24 to 36 Phoenix AAM. Basically a land based missileer similiar to what the USN looked at.
But in terms of cancled programs it's not just the big ticket items. XM-8 anyone. The biggest problems with procurement Congress and the contractors. Congress likes to have both ends of the issue. Representatives and Senators like to be seen as "saving the taxpayer money". At the same time they love being able to point to jobs in their district or state. The contractors wield too much influence in terms of lobbying

Why did they insist on using the M48 hulls for the York instead of using M60 hulls?
 
The US drone/ guided weapon program from WW2 are also pretty interesting. The US had like more then two dozen different programs ranging from guided bombs/ torpedos to guided SAMs/ AAMs to cruise missiles ( Like the JB2 loon) to reusable drone aircraft that could be used to deploy other weapons ( basically WW2 equivalents of the modern predator/ reaper).

While some of them failed and or were unworkable a surprising number were actually succesful and saw small scale production/ combat usage or were on the cusp of being ready and workable. The problem is that by the time they were ready almost everything worth using them on was already destroyed or the war was over and the budget cuts slaughtered them.
The fate of the post-war ICCMs makes me a bit chary about assuming that they would always work out, but yeah, that's another good one. The political changes needed to keep budgets less...troublesome are difficult, and the advent of nuclear weapons also makes things tricky, but you could potentially see major advances if the right investments were made.
 
Why did they insist on using the M48 hulls for the York instead of using M60 hulls?

Allegedly to save money. Honestly given how the York was supposed to provide support to the M-1 it would have made way more sense to use M-1 hulls so it could keep up
It's because M60 was still needed as a MBT while there were hundreds of M48s lying around unused. That said yes, only using a M1 hull or significantly overhauling the M48 hull would have worked.
I recall that the most serious issues with the M247 (far from any of the Reformers' lies about "can't shoot the broadside of a barn") were with the ammunition resupply and the hydraulics system. That doesn't mean the project wasn't a clusterfuck and it is clear that Ford Aero didn't know what it was doing.

In fact, some of the people working on the project from the Army side say that the whole program was pretty much intended to fail or at the very least was hijacked by corrupt officers and politicians who chose the Ford proposal when the GD one was actually superior. Just producing the Gepard turret in the US would have been enough too as this was found to be compatible with the M48 hull. In any case while using off-the-shelf components isn't bound to be a disaster per se it likely was suboptimal in the case of the Ford design.

Even then, the Sergeant York was flawed from the start because it was about a decade too late (and several years overdue). The M163 VADS interim SPAAG entered service in 1969. Germany was already far along in its SPAAG program, and the Gepard entered service in the mid 1970s. Not only was the US stuck without a truly modern SPAAG for far longer than it should have, but by the time the Sergeant York would have entered service, missiles were already growing to be better than SPAAGs while progress in helicopter ATGMs and aircraft guided munitions meant that gun-based systems were starting to be too short ranged.

A Gepard-like system made sense in the 1970s when missile technology did not quite allow good performance against nap-of-the-earth popping targets. By 1985 there were more durable options. The US was arguably right to cancel M247 and instead invest in a proper SAM system even though the Cold War evolved to make the latter program irrelevant. The mistake was not starting M247 immediately in 1969, but Vietnam and other failed projects were hoarding all the money so can't blame the Army here.
 

CalBear

Moderator
Donor
Monthly Donor
Personally for the "Low End" slice of the LCS goal I kind of like just copying what the French did with their Floreal class frigates. Namely take a modified merchant hull give it a gun (for the US probably a 76mm instead of the 127mm), a couple of ASM, a Phalanx or Sea RAM, some stingers, and decent number of crew operated machine guns and auto cannon. Give it the capacity to carry a platoon or so of light infantry/marines. Provisions to say carry a small landing craft or two and the same for armed speed boats. A helicopter pad and a hangar for a medium sized helicopter.

The idea is to have a very cheap design that has low manning requirements and operating cost for low threat theaters. Things like say anti piracy patrols (such as those off of Somalia. For the most part you don't need very much when at most you're fighting a handful of guys with RPGs and speed boats), flag showings in low threat theaters (Such as the Caribbean and parts of Africa ) where the odds of them facing large well equipped forces and humanitarian operations (perhaps build them with a large area that can be rapidly turned into a small hospital in the event of say a earthquake abroad), assisting in the evacuation of US citizens after natural disasters and civil wars, and perhaps using their small troop carrying complement and helicopter to assist in Spec Ops raids on say terrorist/militant groups in area's where it's unlikely anyone is going to be threatening them with modern cruise missiles or combat aircraft (such as say launching raids on Boko Haram in Nigeria and other countries where their governments are either asking for help or at least looking the other way intentionally). They could also be used for training at sea new officers and enlisted men allowing more capable craft to be focused elsewhere.

The idea being that you build a small number of a very cheap design for low threat theaters allowing much more expensive and much more capable ships (such as the Arleigh Burkes and Ticonderoga's) focus on dealing with more serious threats. Ideally it saves you a good deal of wear and tear on the more expensive vessels and allow them to be better focused where their capabilities are more needed.

For the anti piracy ops I kind of like the idea of the ships being able to modularly swap out the large high end ASM's for a much larger number of much smaller missiles (probably modified ATGM like the Javelin or Hellfire) for taking out large numbers of lightly armed small combatants (such as say pirate speed boats attempting to attack a foreign merchant ship).

Similarly I also like the idea of procuring a small number of dedicated Surface to Surface warfare corvettes/missile boats for area's like the Persian Gulf (against Iranian Swarm attacks) or the South China sea. The idea for these would be for them to operate alongside Aegis equipped destroyers or cruisers (like the Arleigh Burkes or Ticonderoga's) with the Aegis ships focusing on air defense and largely focusing their missile stores on SAMs to protect the corvette from air attack or anti missile work to protect itself and the corvette from missile attacks. I'm thinking for the Surface to Surface Corvette it would have the modular capability of either carrying a smallish number of high end large cruise missiles for dealing with larger opponents or a much much larger number of much smaller missiles (once again probably some variant of ATGM like the Hellfire or Javelin) for use against projected swarm attacks of Iranian smaller attack boats of various types. For the armament probably go with the aforementioned modular either the "High end large ASM missiles" or the Low End (larger numbers of anti boat missiles with say a 57mm or 76mm main gun, a Phalanx or Sea Ram, some Stingers, and a number of auto cannon/heavy machine guns (either remotely operated or directly crew manned). How many converted ATGM (like Hellfires or Javelin or the newer Griffin) could you theoretically fit on a craft the size of the old German Gepard class or Israeli Saar 4 instead of their large cruise missiles.
Here ya' go.

Even built in Mississippi by a long time and current U.S. defense contractor

Want fancy?


Downside is that it is from a German yard.

Or a Legendary class High Endurance Cutter painted Haze Gray.
 
Top