BOMARC Summary

The BOMARC program had its impetus in the immediate post-war era as the services sought to define their missions within the new political environment. The newly formed Air Force received responsibility for continental air defense. Using lessons learned from the German air defenses employed during the recently concluded war, defense planners laid out a defense strategy that used fighter interceptors against incoming attack bombers at the frontiers and Army antiaircraft batteries near the target for point defense.

Air Force planners saw a gap between the long-range fighter and point-defense systems that called for an "area-defense weapon." Integrated into the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, BOMARC A and the follow-on B model would serve as the needed area defense weapon. The Air Force phased the BOMARC A system out of operation during 1964 while the BOMARC B system stood guard until 1972. After retirement, many of the missiles saw service as target drones. The last attempted launch of a BOMARC target drone occurred at Eglin AFB, Florida, on August 29, 1985.

Technical Specifications

Length: (A) 45.25 feet; (B) 43.75 feet
Diameter: 35 inches
Wingspan: 18 feet 2 inches
Weight: (A) 15,000 pounds; (B) 16,000 pounds
Booster fuel/oxidizer: (A) JP-4 and Unsymmetrical Dimethyl Hydrazine
(UDH)/Inhibited Red Fuming Nitric Acid (IRFNA)
(B) solid fuel
Missile fuel: (A) 80 octane gasoline; (B) solid propellant
Range: (A) 230 miles
(B) 440 miles
Top speed: Nearly Mach 4 (2,967 mph)
Cruise altitude: 60,000 - 70,000 feet; could climb above 80,000 feet
Propulsion: Booster (A) gimbaled rocket motor
(B) M51 solid booster
Main (A) Two Marquardt RJ43-3 ramjets
(B) Two Marquardt RJ43-7 ramjets
Guidance: Ground radio directed until terminal phase
Terminal phase (A) DPN-34 radar
(B) DPN-53 pulse-doppler radar
Warhead: Conventional: 300-pound high explosive (later expanding rod)
Nuclear: W-40 (yield 7-10 kilotons)
Airframe: Boeing Pilotless Aircraft Division, Seattle, Washington
Propulsion: Booster (A) Aerojet General Corporation
Azusa, California
(B) Thiokol Chemical Corporation
Ogden, Utah
Main (A,B) Marquardt Aircraft Company
Van Nuys, California
Guidance: Westinghouse Electric Corporation
Baltimore, Maryland