U.S. considered converting 747 jumbo jets to arsenal planes with cruise missiles fired from rotary launchers

Dec. 16, 2021
The last production 747s are set for delivery next year, but the effort could be even lower-cost if the U.S. were to procure used airframes for the job.

WASHINGTON – The Boeing 747 Cruise Missile Carrier Aircraft (CMCA) might have used the AGM-86 air-launched cruise missile, which was developed for long-range standoff attack beyond the reach of enemy anti-aircraft missiles. 1945 reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

16 Dec. 2021 -- Boeing started with a 747-200C convertible airliner with a nose cargo door that could be opened to remove the seats and leave the interior empty, as well as to bring large weapons payloads on board.

While the B-52 could carry 20 of these cruise missiles, the 747 CMCA could carry a whopping 72 in its fuselage on nine rotary launchers, each loaded with eight AGM-86 cruise missiles. The missiles would be fired one at a time from the side door near the rear of the aircraft, with each rotary launcher sliding back into firing position as needed.

These cruise missiles would leverage a satellite data link to receive target information while the 747 was airborne, or target information could be relayed from a command and control team stationed just behind the cockpit of the aircraft in the area usually reserved for first-class passengers.

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John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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