Why no Airliner Missile Launchers?

NV at that time had one of the most advanced air defence network too, but if its lets say smaller and militarily less strong countries its a possibility

Except that airliners are not equipped to air drop things and one would have to be modified for the task, not a simple job.
 
The range of an air launched anti-air missile depends on both the missile itself as well as the speed and altitude it's launched: the faster and higher, the more initial energy and the farthest it can go. On top of that, we have the range at which the launching aircraft can detect the hostile.

So, yes, an airliner can hold several dozens of missiles (maybe even a hundred, easily), as well as a radar capable of detecting foes hundreds of km away. It's also subsonic and built to work in a rather low ceiling. So a modified AWACS is defending a certain area with it's BVR missiles. It's flying at match 0.9 at 10,000 meters. Bandits approach the area - supersonic jet fighters. Now, the AWACS radar is more powerful than the smaller, yet advanced, radar the fighters at carrying. But the AWACS it's also huge and thus, has a high radar signature. The incoming 4.5+ gen fighters aren't stealth, but they still have a small RCS. Let's say it evens out and they detect each other at a range of 150km. Assuming all aircraft are using similar missiles, the fighters making a dash at match 2.2 at 21,000 meters will have a range advantage over the slower, huge target, flying 11,000 meter below them.
And modern fighters can carry a lot of missiles too. So you're better off with four supersonic fighters carrying, in total, the same amount of missiles the huge subsonic missile truck has.
 
That isn't much for missiles of the era. Even a B52 using jamming might well be able to create a situation where a missile would need to make a final high G manoeuvre to hit the target.
 
That isn't much for missiles of the era. Even a B52 using jamming might well be able to create a situation where a missile would need to make a final high G manoeuvre to hit the target.
So can the tu128 missiles hit tactical strike planes too like f105 A7 F111 etc ?
 
Yep and look at the weapon system. The big Phoenix type just don't happen any more despite all the promise.

I am sure I have seen a diagram, in Popular Mechanics or something like it, of a B52 with its rotary bomb racks loaded up with AA missiles.

People clearly have thought about a bomb truck spewing missiles like this for a while. Rules of Engagement and the physical properties of the missiles just seem to work against it.
 
The simple answer is there are other aircraft that can do those jobs much more effectively. For the cost of modifying a 747 you can have a purpose built aircraft that can do a better job. Heavy bombers can carry out strike missions that 747's can't.
 
The range of an air launched anti-air missile depends on both the missile itself as well as the speed and altitude it's launched: the faster and higher, the more initial energy and the farthest it can go. On top of that, we have the range at which the launching aircraft can detect the hostile.

So, yes, an airliner can hold several dozens of missiles (maybe even a hundred, easily), as well as a radar capable of detecting foes hundreds of km away. It's also subsonic and built to work in a rather low ceiling. So a modified AWACS is defending a certain area with it's BVR missiles. It's flying at match 0.9 at 10,000 meters. Bandits approach the area - supersonic jet fighters. Now, the AWACS radar is more powerful than the smaller, yet advanced, radar the fighters at carrying. But the AWACS it's also huge and thus, has a high radar signature. The incoming 4.5+ gen fighters aren't stealth, but they still have a small RCS. Let's say it evens out and they detect each other at a range of 150km. Assuming all aircraft are using similar missiles, the fighters making a dash at match 2.2 at 21,000 meters will have a range advantage over the slower, huge target, flying 11,000 meter below them.
And modern fighters can carry a lot of missiles too. So you're better off with four supersonic fighters carrying, in total, the same amount of missiles the huge subsonic missile truck has.
So what fighter is going to get within 150km of an AWACS, then cut in AB's to reach Mach 2.2, close to normal missile range for a chasing shoot, fire, then make it back to base? The only Russian fighter I can think of with the fuel to have any chance of doing that in the MIG-31, and it has a RCS of 10-15 m2. The AWACS should spot the MIG-31 over 500km away, and escorting fighters would blow it out of the sky, long before it got into firing range.
 
The technical isues and who would win an actual engagement are well described above, but there are also tactical considerations that speak against the missile truck concept.

In some ways, anti-air missiles can have their greatest effect when they are not being used. As long as the enemy does not know where the SAMs are, they have to assume they are everywhere when planning operations. This forces the enemy to adapt by e.g. not operating, lose range and payload by flying tactically, exposing themselves by flying high, or expending extra resources to suppress your AA.

A missile carrier like the one described will be a huge target, but it will also be easy to keep track of. Thus the enemy's adaptation is made much easier. They can just choose to attack in a different location.

This said, a missile carrier would be most useful if the enemy was forced to attack in a predictable location and manner. In this way it can be compared to a coastal fortification covering the approaches to a harbour. Movable SAM batteries are more easily concealed, and can pose a threat throughout the area of operations. Continuing the naval analogy, they are more like submarines. Since the enemy has to take them into consideration at all times, they provide a deterrent to air attack everywhere, while the missile truck wuld only provide a deterrent within its actual engagement radius at any one time.
 
There is an older thread on this topic.


I do think that this concept could be interesting, however not for the US or Russia.
Both of them have long range strategic bombers, ships and submarines, which can carry out the task quite well.

However, the UK or France could have considered such a power-projection option. Modified Airbus A330 MRTTs could have served as a potential platform.
Especially the UK went through the troublesome experience during the Falklands campaign on how to project power over large distances.

Missiles with longer range of at least 1000 km would have to be developed however. The currently available Storm Shadow / SCALP (560 km) would subject such a big aircraft at a great risk. For certain scenarios they would suffice (attacks in Syria or Libya), but flying near contested airspace is a no-go for a Nimrod or an Airbus A330 MRTT
 
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Why not cut the middleman and just put a rotary launcher for AIM-54 LR AAM on a revised E-3 AWACS?
No space?
Put all the AWACS stuff on a 747 and use the extra room to fit a large AIM-54 rotary launcher or two.
It's an AEGIS in the sky
 
So what fighter is going to get within 150km of an AWACS, then cut in AB's to reach Mach 2.2, close to normal missile range for a chasing shoot, fire, then make it back to base? The only Russian fighter I can think of with the fuel to have any chance of doing that in the MIG-31, and it has a RCS of 10-15 m2. The AWACS should spot the MIG-31 over 500km away, and escorting fighters would blow it out of the sky, long before it got into firing range.
The Russians in particular have been working on very long range missiles intended to kill AWACS since the 1980's. Building a big missile with enough range is doable, the real killer is having a method of actually hitting the target at the required ranges, they are looking at missiles with ranges of 300+ miles. However these would need to hit a target which is moving in 3 dimensions with heavy ECM support, so far at least no one has acknowledged deploying such weapons,
 
The Russians in particular have been working on very long range missiles intended to kill AWACS since the 1980's. Building a big missile with enough range is doable, the real killer is having a method of actually hitting the target at the required ranges, they are looking at missiles with ranges of 300+ miles. However these would need to hit a target which is moving in 3 dimensions with heavy ECM support, so far at least no one has acknowledged deploying such weapons,
I seem to recall the ASALM (a longer range successor to the SRAM that never entered service) reportedly was intended to have at least some air to air functionality.
 
So what fighter is going to get within 150km of an AWACS, then cut in AB's to reach Mach 2.2, close to normal missile range for a chasing shoot, fire, then make it back to base? The only Russian fighter I can think of with the fuel to have any chance of doing that in the MIG-31, and it has a RCS of 10-15 m2. The AWACS should spot the MIG-31 over 500km away, and escorting fighters would blow it out of the sky, long before it got into firing range.
The operative word is "escorts". OP is about an airliner converted to a missile truck. Which, in essence, it's an AWACS with a missile bay. Remove the escorts and we have AWACS vs Mig-31, and that outcome is clear: The migs will be able to detect the AWACS' radar at twice the range the AWACS can detect them and, given similar missiles, will have a range advantage over the AWACS when it comes to firing them.
 
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