Flying aircraft carriers

June 2003
Airman;Jun2003, Vol. 47 Issue 6, p34
This article reports that in 1953, the U.S. Air Force had transformed its B-36 Peacemaker bomber into a flying aircraft carrier, which is capable of launching and recovering F-84 Thunderjet fighters while in flight. Apparently, someone didn't get the memo, as the idea of a bomber carrying its own fighter escort in its belly died out. But the idea wasn't new. In the 1930s, designers noodled over plans to somehow carry fighter aircraft onboard bombers. In 1944, the Army Air Forces asked for design concepts resurrecting this parasite fighter concept. Only one company, McDonnell Aircraft Corp., submitted a design. The plan called for a new fighter, a tiny, egg-shaped hot rod of a jet called the XP-85 Goblin, carried under the belly of the aircraft.


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