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SM-73 Bull Goose

The XSM-73 (WS-123A) Bull Goose was an intercontinental range surface- launched decoy missile. Work on the concept started in December 1952, although USAF did not release a request (GOR 16) until March 1953, and did not sign a contract with Fairchild until December 1955.

The Air Force planned to field 10 Bull Goose squadrons and buy 2,328 missiles in addition to 53 for research and development. The first squadron was to be operational in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 1961, the last at the end of Fiscal Year 1963. But problems with funding, the subcontractor's fiberglass-resin bonded wing, the booster, and the engine (J83-3) delayed the program.

The delta-wing XSM-73 weighed 7,700 pounds at launch, including a 500-pound payload. A J83 or J85 engine provided the Bull Goose with 2,450 pounds of thrust after a booster with a 50,000-pound thrust got it aloft. The specifications called for a 4,000-mile range at Mach .85 with an accuracy of plus or minus 100 nm. Sled tests began at Holloman in February 1957, with the first of 15 flights taking place at the Atlantic Missile Range in June 1957. While five tests in 1957 were successful, those in 1958 were less so. Construction of the missile sites began in August 1958, a few months before the first Bull Goose flight with the YJ83 engine in November. USAF considered arming the Goose, but in early December canceled the program because of budgetary pressures and because the Fairchild missile could not simulate a B-52 on enemy radar. The Goose program amassed a total of 28~/2 flying hours at a cost of $70 million.93


Sources and Resources

  • "Evolution of the Cruise Missile" by the USAF

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