I have this photo. At first I wasn’t sure if it fits for my regular theme here. It’s not an airplane in a sense but it has a jet engine and there’s a couple jet powered cars in front of it. So I guess it’s a twice okay to post it.
This is SM-62 Snark, a cruise missile of an early era. It is known as one of the most unreliable missiles of its class is ever built. Designed to be an interim nuclear deterrent weapon during a development of a purely ICBMs Snark has become operational in the late 1950s and was removed from service in the beginning of a 1960s.
After Kennedy became a president he ordered to retire all of Snarks from an Air Force inventory, calling them obsolete and with no military value. And there’s no surprise – navigational system which was used in these missiles was designed to hit something in a radius +-30 klicks off of intended target when the manufacturer had claimed that Snarks had an accuracy of 2-3 klicks off the target.
The guidance was provided by a celestial navigational system which is seems was faulty by design. It was thought that when the missile reaches the target the warhead separates and continues on its own while the main compartment is ditched. In case if a warhead will not be separated the missile will return to base and will land and will skid before stop on its belly! With a nuclear warhead! With an error in navigation and targeting of +-30 klicks! Thats the stuff which Northrop Corporation had made. And many people around is continued to ask me why I have such an attitude regarding a Northrop and their aeronautical developments.
Let’s talk about the cars. It’s a two GM Firebirds concept cars – Firebird I and II. A Firebird I was already discussed in a previous post and I want to briefly stop on a second model.
Firebird II has built in 1956 and was of a more conventional design – a four-seats family sedan. Its body was made of titanium. The engine was less powerful than on Firebird I with a better cooling system with a two large front air intakes. The other innovative things in a Firebird II were the four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, a magnetic ignition key, an alternator, electric gear selection and individually-controlled air conditioning.
There’s was also a device which is currently known as an adaptive cruise control and a smart driving assistance. It was a concept of ‘the highway of the future’ (sounds familiar, huh?) guidance system, which is ‘utilized an electric wire embedded into a roadway, to send signals to guide future cars and avoid an accidents’.
Now many of the listed things are pretty common but in a late of a 1950s it was a novelties, almost a prototypes of what we use today.
For more information on a missile and the car visit the following: