Air Force’s Crazy 747 Aircraft Carrier Concept
In the year 1968 Boeing released the first 747. It was the worlds first jumbo jet, 2.5x bigger than any jet before it. It transformed the way air travel was viewed and the way we fly today. The plane was truly a big leap in aviation milestones. Juan Trippe, the president of the airline Pan American Airways said just after putting in the order for the first 747-100’s, the 747 would be “a great weapon for peace, competing with intercontinental missiles for mankind’s destiny.” But the US Air Force had other ideas for the 747, focusing on the “a great weapon” part of Juan’s comment…
The Aircraft Carrier Concept
America already had a Navy Sea Carrier Force, enabling them to move airpower across oceans and to the coasts of quite a few different countries. But the 747 Air Carrier would be able to carry fighter jets to deep inland countries, in just a few hours.
After a few years of dropping the concept, and trying different things that seemed a bit easier than this massive project, such as carrying very small fighter jets with large bombers (which didn’t work), the Air Force had another crack at the 747 Carrier idea. They planned that idea to look something like this…
The 747 would be able to carry 10 jets called micro fighters, each being on an overhead conveyer system. This meant they could be moved around the 747 easily. The 747 was also to have 2 launch bays, in each launch bay there would be a set of arms. After depressurising the bay, the arms would lower the fighter jet into open air and let it go. To refuel the each jet, the 747 was to be fitted with 2 refuelling beams at each bay, and if the jet needed to be rearmed or repaired, the arms would simply pull it back up into the bay. Along with the 10 fighter jets, a crew of 44 personnel could also fit on in, that being 12 carrier crew, 14 fighter pilots and 18 mission socialists. The crew were to be provided with a sleeping quarters and lounge.
The Micro fighters Fighters
The 747 was going to be able to accomplish all of this, but the real problem of this idea was the Micro Fighters. They would have to be 1/3 of the weight of a normal fighter, with a wing span of 5 meters. The plan was to also arm them with a pair of 20mm canons and fit them with either air to air missiles, torpedoes or bombs.
The Concept was Dropped
There were a number of reasons why the USA Air Force dropped the idea. One of them being (and this was the main reason) the fact that the idea would eventually prove to be a dead end. This being because of how fast regular fighter jets were evolving, becoming better at long range missions.
Even though the Air Force didn’t go the while way though with this concept of the 747 being an air carrier, they still had similar ideas in the back of their head for the future. Years after the project ended the Department of Defence would reveal a new system, only this one was not as big as the 747. Unmanned drones…
I’d like to say thank you for reading this topic I made, it took me a while XD. A few days ago I found a video on this subject that inspired me to make this thread. The video was made by one of my favourite YouTubers, Musterd. Underneath you will find the link to the youtube video, it is where I got most of the information you have just read.
This thread was also approved by @Levet, as there was already another thread on this certain topic, but was closed a while back by system. Here is the link to that thread. Feel free to chat on here with your fellow community friends about this crazy idea of the USA Air Force!
Thank you again for reading this thread, hope you all have a good day!