Jan 242012

The above gallery reproduces the main body of “Influence of Certain Parameters on Long Range Ram Jet Bombardment Missiles Including the Effect of Highly Swept Wings,” a Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory report dating from March 29, 1949. In the report, Cornell investigated the horizontal, self-powered flight path of a given ram jet missile configuration to determine the influence of several parameters on the maximum range obtainable. The influence of such parameters as swept wings with subsonic airfoils, supersonic wings with circular arc airfoils, combustion chamber pressure, flight Mach number, and supersonic diffuser efficiency were determined in a qualitative manner and from these results certain trends were made evident that held promise for future development work.

The study was based on a missile weight of 50,000 lbs, including a 10,000 lb warhead (which was likely nuclear). The swept-wing configurations were investigated for velocities corresponding to Mach 1.75 and Mach 2, and supersonic winged configurations were investigated for velocities from Mach 2 to Mach 2.8.

The results of this investigation showed that the use of highly swept wings at velocities up to Mach 2, for a given gross weight, were not particularly advantageous, from a range standpoint, over supersonic wings with circular arc airfoils. It was also shown that combustion chamber pressure was an important variable at only the low Mach numbers and that maximum range was dependent on good diffusers at velocities near Mach 2.8.

The report features a pair of plans illustrating the basic configurations studied. Figure 1a shows the missile with a low aspect ratio unswept wing, while Figure 1b shows it with a wing swept sharply at 71°. Both missile configurations featured an annular nose intake with a shock cone and were completely tailless. In addition, both had a simple fuselage of circular cross section with a maximum diameter of 80″ and an impressive overall length of 756″ (63 ft).

To read the report in greater depth, please click through the gallery above. The accompanying drawings are reproduced in high resolution for intrepid modelers wishing to scratchbuild replicas of these huge ram jet powered weapons. However, neither plan features a front view showing the wing thickness, so this would require some guesswork.

All images from NARA Archives II, College Park, MD, RG 18

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