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
The only advantage in ALBM had over an ICBM is second strike capability, but an SLBM is even better for that.
Any chance of these being equipped with conventional warheads esp for anti ship role ?
During the Cold War, the Soviets had plans to use nuclear-armed ballistic missiles against American carrier groups. There was an inherent problem with locating the target prior to launch, but the Soviets had a lot of submarines and figured that even if one was destroyed after getting a message out, it would be worth it. A conventionally armed ballistic missile will have problems with terminal guidance because radar waves can't go through the plasma sheath that forms during reentry. The Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles use maneuverable reentry vehicles to slow down to the hypersonic flight regime so they can use radars, but that also makes them an easier target for surface to air missiles.
I suppose to be pedantic, SRAM was air launched and reportedly had a "ballistic" flight option.
My understanding is that this was similar to the big Soviet anti-ship missiles and to the Phoenix air to air missile. A lot of long range missiles have a flight mode that takes them up to 80k to 100k ft, which allows them to cruise with much lower air resistance. They can't use aerodynamic controls at this altitude, so the trajectory between the stratospheric entry and exit points is ballistic unless the motor is still providing thrust.
 
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.

I recall there was discussion in the later part of the Cold War about US medium range high speed Air launched nuclear or conventional weapons for use by bombers. Possible targets were seen as including AWACS or possibly AABNCP (air borne command post) aircraft. One of colleague of mine commented that such weapons would likely be highly destabilizing.

IMHO some of today's hypersonic missile systems are going down a similar path and deployment of them may invite a rather destabilizing response by potential adversaries. I'll stop now to hopefully stay out of current political issues.
 
The only advantage in ALBM had over an ICBM is second strike capability, but an SLBM is even better for that.

During the Cold War, the Soviets had plans to use nuclear-armed ballistic missiles against American carrier groups. There was an inherent problem with locating the target prior to launch, but the Soviets had a lot of submarines and figured that even if one was destroyed after getting a message out, it would be worth it. A conventionally armed ballistic missile will have problems with terminal guidance because radar waves can't go through the plasma sheath that forms during reentry. The Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles use maneuverable reentry vehicles to slow down to the hypersonic flight regime so they can use radars, but that also makes them an easier target for surface to air missiles.

My understanding is that this was similar to the big Soviet anti-ship missiles and to the Phoenix air to air missile. A lot of long range missiles have a flight mode that takes them up to 80k to 100k ft, which allows them to cruise with much lower air resistance. They can't use aerodynamic controls at this altitude, so the trajectory between the stratospheric entry and exit points is ballistic unless the motor is still providing thrust.

That may be the case. I do recall discussions about the Soviets potentially acquiring advanced missile systems for both Edno and Exo atmospheric intercepts of SRAM (which sort of implied to me at least some SRAM flight options involved fairly high altitudes.)
 

DougM

Donor
The problem is this is the worst of all combinations.

They take as long as a bomber time get airborn,
They need large run ways that are soft targets.
The planes can be as well secured at a silo or a sub,
You have a much more limited time to recall them vs a typi bomber that often can recalled in the USSR or at least until the cross into the USSR, but an ALBM will be launched sooner after takeoff and thus have a shorter recall window.
They are worse at saber rattling…. (See above). And they are more “unpredictable “ in that a bomber 500 miles off give me time to react to it and shoot it down an ALBM bomber at 500 is at point blank range. So not very cool at brandishing.

So for the most part it does nothing a bomber does as well as a bomber, it does nothing a Sup or Silo does as well either.
 
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