Air launched ballistic missiles

In 1970s the antonov AN-22was adopted as a test bed for air launched ballistic missiles

was this something that was realistic and operationally possible

any potential advantages over SLBM ALCM and silo based ICBM
thanks
 
Technically, yeah, it's feasible. The USAF conducted successful such tests themselves and while the Skybolt was troublesome the development problems probably could've been worked out.

The problem being that SLBMs were considered the better second-strike weapon. While expensive, submarine patrols allowed far better presence than alert bombers, and while they were expensive, alert bombers weren't cheap either.
 
ALBMs are a decent enough idea if your circumstances allow it. They have the mobility of bombers with the range and unstoppable power of ballistic missiles, but they have the basing vulnerability of bombers with the inaccuracy of mobile ballistic missiles, it just depends what's important to you.
 
In 1970s the antonov AN-22was adopted as a test bed for air launched ballistic missiles

was this something that was realistic and operationally possible

any potential advantages over SLBM ALCM and silo based ICBM
thanks
I presume you are thinking in terms of intercontinental range ALBM's carried by transport style air craft as opposed to shorter ranged weapons carried by bombers ?

As I understand it, on paper at least a force of intercontinental range ALBM's with a portion on permanent air borne alert (or perhaps more plausibly having the ability to keep a portion on air borne alert during a crisis and or perhaps at random times) was seen as having some advantages but as I understand it the costs involved in keeping a useful number of ALBM's on air borne alert made the idea a non starter. I suspect in practice there would likely have been political issues with having aircraft carrying nuclear armed ALBM's on air borne alert in peace time, and I suspect a crisis or war time only air borne alert scheme might have been seen as to vulnerable to a bolt out of the blue surprise attack.

I suspect once SLBM accuracy levels began to approach ICBM accuracy levels and technology made communications with SSBN's easier that any residual perceived advantages of Intercontinental ALBM's were likely seen as simply not worth the bother.

I expect with a bit of work a search of DTIC or other sources would provide you with at least partial copies of various US cold war era studies that outlined the pros and cons of various basing schemes.

Maybe for a smaller rich country that already had SLBM's and Bombers and for what ever reason wanted to have ICBM's but didn't have the land to plausibly base them away from populated areas the idea might have made some sense (perhaps for some nations advanced SSBN technology might be harder to acquire or develop than ALBM technology and they might have concerns about the survivability or effectiveness of their SSBN force.)
 
SLBM have always been the only true survivable leg of the triad. You know where the silos are and where the planes fly from.

Planes are not as survivable as Submarines, but a dispersed bomber force is hard to pin down and destroy fully. The V bomber had 26 dispersal bases as well as the 10 main bases in the 50s and became more and more dispersed to places like Cyprus, Butterworth and Gan. Indeed V bombers could be almost anywhere in a crisis.
 
Not sure this is not a politics thread since ALBMs have started entering service with the Russians and Chinese and the Israelis, Indians and Pakistanis are known to be in the prototype stage.
 
Mobile land based launchers ?
Even the Iraqi TEL were so hard to detect and destroy
however that was in an environment of the Aliied forces operating (nominally )to RoE and not just a case of turning the iraqi desert into glass
 
I recall reading a Dale Brown book (Fatal Terrain?) that had ALBM's being used by the PLAAF as part of an attack against Taiwan. And as folks have said, yes they are fesible, but not really worth the investment.
 
Mobile land based launchers ?
I remember there was a study to put ICBMs into special rail cars, and have them in constantly changing locations. However the concept was dropped, because there were only limited rail lines in areas where civilians would “permit” nuclear missiles to be deployed, and the Soviets would soon figure out the routes.
A joke was made that the missiles should be placed on Amtrak trains and the Soviets given the Amtrak train schedules- the trains would never be located!;)

ric350
 
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In 1970s the antonov AN-22was adopted as a test bed for air launched ballistic missiles

was this something that was realistic and operationally possible

any potential advantages over SLBM ALCM and silo based ICBM
thanks
Will it work? Yes.
Were designs evaluated? Yes.
Why weren't they adopted? Can't get them off the ground on time and submarines are better.
 
The thing is that ALBM are good first strike weapons as they can be launched close to the enemy country without much warning, but that create a very dangerous political climate.
In OTL, the second strike capability was deemed more important as:
1- Neither side wanted to be the first to use nuclear weapons.
2- Deterrence, not threat, was the name of the game. Thus you needed to keep a credible strike capability even if your enemy strike first. ALBM requires more extensive infrastructure that can be targeted.

But I guess that if that road was seriously pursued, an hypersonic scramjet ALBM would be something truly scary to counter. The best bet would be destroying it while still on the ground, so the country owning them would have to resort to have a portion of its bomber permanently in the air.
 
The Mig-31 has been equipped with the ballistic Kinzhal missile.

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Not sure this is not a politics thread since ALBMs have started entering service with the Russians and Chinese and the Israelis, Indians and Pakistanis are known to be in the prototype stage.

I suppose to be pedantic, SRAM was air launched and reportedly had a "ballistic" flight option.
 
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