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NORTH AMERICAN B-64

Posted 7/8/2009 Printable Fact Sheet

The North American B-64 Navaho was designed as an interim strategic weapon to be used while the first-generation Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles were being perfected. The basic concept of the Navaho Program called for the weapon to be lofted to high altitude using a conventional strap-on rocket booster. Since the XB-64 (later redesignated XSM-64) was powered by ramjets, the engines were started after launch when sufficient speed required for ramjet operation was reached at approximately 50,000 feet.

While the ramjet powered XSM-64 was in development, North American built a conventionally powered vehicle to test the flight characteristics of the Navaho. This test vehicle was designated X-10.

The X-10 was a supersonic research test vehicle designed to obtain advanced aerodynamic design data to be used in the development of the North American SM-64 Navaho ground-to-ground missile system. Since it carried no pilot, the X-10 was radio controlled by a ground operator during its takeoff, flight and landing phases. The first flight of an X-10 was made on Oct. 13, 1953. Although numerous additional flights were successfully conducted, the X-10 research program halted when the Navaho program was canceled in 1957.

The Navaho program was plagued by a number of lengthy delays and flight schedules slipped by years while one problem after another was solved. The USAF ordered the Northrop SM-62 Snark as the interim intercontinental weapon while awaiting the initial first generation ICBM: the Convair SM-65 Atlas missile.


Type Number built/
converted
Remarks
B-64 12 Became SM-64


Note: 11 Navahos were launched during the test program between 1956 and 1958. The last missile is on display at the USAF Space and Missile Museum at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.

TECHNICAL NOTES (XSM-64/G-26 Navaho):
Armament: Nuclear warhead
Engines: Two XRJ47-W-5 Ramjets of 15,000 lbs. thrust each
Maximum speed: Approx. Mach 3
Maximum range: 3,500 miles
Maximum altitude: 77,000 ft.
Span: 28 ft. 7 in.
Length: 67 ft. 11 in.
Weight: 64,850 lbs. maximum at launch
Serial numbers: 52-10989 and 52-10990; 53-8270 to 53-8272; 54-3095 to 54-3099; 55-4222 and 55-4223

TECHNICAL NOTES (Booster):
Length: 76 ft. 3 in.
Engines: Two XLR83-NA-1 rocket engines of approx. 200,000 lbs. thrust each

TECHNICAL NOTES (Booster and Navaho together):
Length: 82 ft. 5 in.
Lift off thrust: Approx. 405,000 lbs.

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