tv Reel America The Air Force Missile Mission - 1959 CSPAN October 9, 2017 2:45pm-3:11pm EDT
appearing in his beverly hills home library, academy award winning actor and world war ii bomb bomber pilot james stewart describes how the u.s. mission and jet arsenal is used as a deterrent in the cold war. he reflects hads on service in a b 24 liberator was promoted to brig dear general in the u.s. air force reserve and flew in 1966 vietnam bombing mission. this is about 24 minutes.
good evening. i hope you'll excuse all this. but i've been taking some time off from my job to look into something important to all of us. that seems to be pretty well confused. what i mean is missiles, high performance airplanes. why do we have so many? why do we need both? where are we going with all of this? a fellow asked me that question in london not very long ago. you know, it's not a simple question. and i couldn't give him a simple answer and that's the reason for all this homework. it seems to me that we've got to understand just what we're building, how each of these missiles and airplanes add to our deterrent strength and why we've developed them and what
they do. i'd like to tell you what i wish i'd been able to tell that fellow in london not very long ago. some of you may remember i was a bomber pilot in world war ii. that was back in the air force inventories was a relatively simple one. there was long range heavy bombers like this one. i flew one of these. old b24. as a matter of fact this is some of my handiwork as a model airplane builder. i know kids make them out of plastic nowadays. this is the old fashioned wood type. this is my group tail markings. black background, horizontal white stripe. they called us truck drivers, the fighter pilots did. well, these were the trucks that delivered the pay load back in those days when air force concept of strategic bombing was first being applied. it worked pretty well. of course, we needed fighter support in order to get through.
these fighters were sort of the like traffic cops who cleared the way for us to berlin, hamburg, and sometimes it took some clearing. but one of these fighters fought aggressive actions or shooting the other fellow down before he could strike at us. the role was clear. they were fighters and they fought. there were other airplanes too. medium bombers like this b25 carrying lighter loads, a shorter distance than we drove our liberators. and there were tactical aircraft used in support of ground operations used as artillery by the infantry. but no matter how many aircraft types and models we had then, it was easy to understand what each was for. how all of them worked together
to knock the enemy out of the air. pound them out of the war. but now it doesn't seem that simple anymore. years have passed. times have changed. they've changed quite a bit as a matter of fact. now we have missiles . and yet we still have airplanes. new aircraft. high performance jets. and you're tempted to think that one or the other might be able to do the job alone. airplanes without missiles or missiles without airplanes. now, hundreds and hundreds of words have been written about deterrents and air defense and s.a.c. and nuclear weapons and the ballistic missile versus the expensive bomber. unless you're a very careful reader and have time to think things through, the only real clear idea you're liable to get is just that you're confused because there are just too many
names. mace, matador, quail, f 100, b pa 58, side winder, f 105, atlas, f f- f- f- f-105, ground to air, ground to ground, why so much? what's it all for? how do all these weapons work together to defend the united states and deter an enemy attack. well, i'll tell you. that is i'll try to tell you. let's begin with the heavy bomber, because i'm a little familiar with these. this b -52 is essentially what the long range bomber was in world war ii, it's faster, goes a lot farther, carries a lot of payload too. y
because times have changed. and the bomber's speed and it's altitude have been greatly increased. this b-58 flies higher and faster than any bomber we have ever had, has to, because we have also increased the speed and the bomber that can knock it down. or any ground to air or air to air intercept missile or rocket the other side might have. in fact, that's what war is all about. it's always the same old story of action and counter action, of a new weapon designed to catch the enemy off guard and a second new weapon to counter act the first. every aircraft and every missile we have today has been developed within this pattern to prepare or to meet some new unexpected weapon. now look at this b-52 again.
fast as she is, and as hi gh as she flies, even the later b-58 is extremely vulnerable to interception or to ground to air weapons defending it's target area. some of our targeted bombers are armed with weapons that extend their range to avoid these heavily defended targets. launched from altitude, these surface to air guided weapon can travel many hundreds of miles impacting with accuracy, that means hitting the target right on the nose with relative safety hundreds of miles away. a good percent of them are going to stand a good chance of getting home, and you want to remember how important these crewmen are to us. now consider this, though,
intercontinental ballistic missiles are built to do what long range bombers are built to do, to carry a target hundreds or thousands of miles away. so why use the bomber? why risk any of these men? why not use the missile and let it go at that? a long range or intercontinental ballistic missile has one advantage over a manned aircraft, you can get it up in a matter of minutes and have it race toward the target, as long as you're sure you want it to go where it's going and do what it has to do, but you can't call it back and you can't change its course. now the sac commander can closely affect the flight of every bomber in the air, night and day, around the clock, sac headquarters knows where every one of its bombers is. >> wings and air force and whole command can be deployed or else
aborted or called off. that's what the pilot adds to your defense. the capability that no other missile has of seeking out targets that can't be precisely known or pinpointed on a map. with his added ability to observe and think about what he sees or knows and make a decision based on all of the evidence he has, your pilot is your best guarantee that there won't be any mistakes, but if the chips are down, he and his crew are there to deliver the load. and yet, the missiles are there to back them up. long range strategic missiles already fired down the entire 5,000-mile missile test range, successfully fired, some of them already in the air force inventory, some of them are seen
to be. and others coming along projected plan, design, incorporating everything we have learned from every missile we have designed and built. here's one we have already got, launched by rocket engines developing th developing thrust and million -- this weapon throws a nuclear war head more than 5,000 miles with accuracy. but this is only an every like y a -- evolutionary step from missiles we'll have a few short years from now. we still have the b-47 jet bomber. probably our best known intermediate range carrier, and one of the finest airplanes ever built. for the last six or seven years, the b-47 has been the all around force from the strategic air
command. from the perimeter of our defensive line, from nato or any other -- to any target we might have to strike. and just as the icbm blends with the long range bomber, cooperational missiles successfully fired 1,500 miles or more, with which we our allies canning mount a -- defended by the manned b-47 now. but right here it begins to get more complex. because there are other missiles working with our aircraft too. it's not just a question of having a long range bomber and an intercontinental ballistic missile or having a b-47 and an intermediate range missile too. these weapons alone aren't enough to guarantee survival. let let's look at that long range bomber now. because it's big enough to ca y
carry -- and put the load exactly where they want it to go. this auxiliary equipment including -- expose, decoy or dispose of a ground weapon. this diversionary or counter missiles weapon is a strategic weapon, just like a manned bomber, the icbm, they all work together to get the payload through and get the enemy out of the water. that's sacks rules, but that's just part of the story. jet airplanes, icbms have put the united states well within range of almost everybody that would want to take a crack at us. sac's deterrent force, it's long range capability has so far prevented that. it's air defense command's responsibility to make sure that if the other fellow decides to
come on over, he won't get through. when any unidentified flying object enters our radar net, the system is at once alerted. if it's a hostile intruder, the pilot notifies the defense commander and attacks. other fighter intercepter aircraft are singled out so that they aren't brought to bear before the -- the old machine-gun and the 275 rocket with which interceptors were armed in world war ii are obsolete now. today these aircraft carry missiles like this one, either a beam rider or infrared homing missile. or this one here, another infrared homing or target seeking guided missile. or this one, some consider it the best of all these air launch
missiles. this is actually a rocket with an atomic war head. a highly effective defensive weapon. but if the attacking force still penetrates within range, our surface-to-air missiles then take over the brunt of the attack. this interceptor missile, a key adc weapon is a dependable and accurately guided mock 3 weapon with an effective range up to 200 miles, it will have a 400-mile capability in the near future. in addition to having this range, it's a real good weapon up at those altitudes where fighter aircraft can't operate too well. control provided by sage centers enables employment of fighter air missiles and surface-to-air missiles in the same air space. so you see, this missile and the fighter employed as an interceptor are complementary to each other in defending us against air attack. now that's the air defense command story today.
but there's one other area of air force responsibility. tactical air. while it's very essential in a general war, tactical air is particularly tailored for local or small wars. during 1958, the composite air strike force, the tactical air forces were deployed to the middle east. f-100d aircraft flew nonstop from myrtle beach, south carolina to turkey in a little over 12 hours. the tactical fighter is a multipurpose weapon. it delivers nuclear weapons by dive bombing straight down into the target, by toss bombing and by what the trade calls over the shoulder bombing. the tactical fighter also has an
air superiority mission using homing missiles to gain this stoo superiority. and it has a key ground support role in ground battles to contain the forces of an enemy. there are tactical missiles too that blend with or support tactical aircraft. this one for instance, electronically controlled from the ground, it can travel 500 or 600 miles at an altitude of 35,000 feet to carry a conventional or nuclear war head into enemy territory. a number of tactical groups armed with this weapon are already deployed in europe and incidentally one on fermosa, what's it called? i have deliberately avoided calling these weapons by flame because there are so many of them.
you have heard about rcbms and icbmst and ir 99 and tm-76, sx-75. and you have heard these same weapons called matador and thor and it all adds to the confusion. why are there so many? why are there two or even three different kinds of a particular missile type? why is there smart and thor and jupiter? aren't they all icbms? or rcbms? each of these weapons represents a new generation in the telescope years through which we have lived since 1954. some are good, some better, a few not very good at all anymore because they have been made obsolete. but each one of them, each one of them was the best weapon we
could develop for a specific purpose at the time each of these missiles was designed and engineers, and taking all of them together each of these weapons has been and many of them still have important bricks in the defensive wall with which up until now we have managed to keep the peace. but if this is the answer today, missiles and aircraft blending together, complementing each other, where do we go from here? what weapons systems will we be using five, ten years from now? over what ranges and at what speeds and altitudes will we have to defend ourselves then? is it possible that a low flying, slow moving atomic powered manned airplane might set aside all these high flying fast moving missiles and planes we're building now? maybe. maybe, although it sounds like a former pilot's dream. maybe a plane like that would only plug one more gap in the free world's defensive wall.
because maybe the trend five years from now will still be up. that's the way it's always been. ever since this. i didn't build this one, it's tee tough. but this is a model of a wright brothers airplane, the one they flew back in kitty hawk in 1903, and ever since then the trend has been up to increasing speed, increasing altitude, to fly higher and farther and faster than the other guy. right about here in the early days of world war ii, when flights above 10,000, 15,000 feet first became common place, we encountered something new, because of the thinning out of the air, pilots and crewmen first began to take their own ground level atmosphere along with them. but the race for speed and a t altitude went on. and for some time now, the
military aircraft has been a sealed vehicle that travels at an altitude that man can't survive without bringing oxygen with them. this aircraft has been evolving toward a true spacecraft. because what is space? or what's the difference between air and space? where does air in which the air force has always worked come to an end and where does space begin? maybe there isn't any difference between it. maybe except for the thinning out of the earth's atmosphere, air and space are the same thing. maybe as far as flight is concerned, air force crews have been making space or space equivalent flights ever since they first left their natural habitat back in 1942-43. now if that's true, today's high performance jet aircraft is more than ever a spacecraft.
this morning's flight of an air force bomber crew, at speeds in excess of mach-1 and altitudes of 56,000 feet, will be like what many will have on the day of their first space flight. for as we go racing into the future, the airplane and the ballistic missile come closer and closer together. each one evolving toward the ideal long range weapon system combining the advantages of both, one you can get right off the ground at maximum speed and up to altitude, but also one that you can divert or else recall. you give this experimental airplane the speed and altitude the missile has, or put this cockpit or control panel detached in its block house now,
put that back into the missile's airframe and then give the pilot the equipment he needs to with stand elevation and heat, and weightlessness and zero gravity, you'll have a manned spacecraft. man will be in space, and that may happen sooner than we think it will. because space is for us what the unknown land once was, the uncharted sea. a place under which all of man's history, all that he is and all that he's ever been and done compels him to move, he has no choice. and like the explorers of the past, he may have to fight up there and that's why the air force has to do what it's always had to do, get up higher and go faster than the other fellow. because war if it comes, it will
not confine itself to the air, but to expand into the billions of space miles around it. that's the only way it all makes sense, missiles and airplanes both defending us today and manned spacecraft tomorrow. now i don't know whether i have answered all the questions we started out with, why so many weapons, what are they for? what are we doing with this big force? i think we're buying more than the aircraft and the missiles we have been talking about. i think we're buying peace. i think we're investing in the future by deterring war. we have to because, well, look here. the lights are on in my house tonight, my wife and children are asleep upstairs. and we have got to keep it that way. lights burning, children asleep in peace and security everywhere.
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is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. about 40 years ago, two voyager spacecraft were launched to explore our solar system. and up next on american history tv, a panel of scientists who worked on the voyager mission talked about the project's genesis and provided an update on this ongoing space journey. the smithsonian national air and space museum presented this. >> the galaxy that -- into earth orbit and beyond. folks we're going to hear from today have never left the earth, but they have left the solar system and have been out in space with the other