tv Reel America The Air Force Missile Mission - 1959 CSPAN December 26, 2017 11:33pm-12:01am EST
"washington journal" program. follow the tour and join us on january 16th at 9:30 a.m. eastern for our stop in raleigh, north carolina when our "washington journal" guest is north carolina attorney general josh stein. appearing in his beverly hills home library, academy award-winning actor and world war ii bomber pilot james stewart uses models, animation, and archival film to describe how the u.s. air force missile and jet arsenal is used as a deterrent in the cold war. mr. stewart, who also describes his world war ii service in a b-24 liberator, was promoted to brigadier general in the u.s. air force reserve in 1959 and flew a 1966 vietnam bombing mission. ♪
♪ 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 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 we've got to understand 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. now, i'd like to tell you what i wish i'd been able to tell that fellow in london not that long ago. some of you may remember i was a bomber pilot in world war ii. that was back when the air force inventory was a relatively simple one. there were long-range heavy bombers like this one. i flew one of these. an old b-24. as a matter of fact, this is from some of my handiwork as a model airplane builder. the kids make them out of plastic these days. this is out of wood. got a lot of sandpaper on it. this is my tail marking. they called us truck drivers, the fighter pilots did.
well, these were the trucks that delivered the payload back in those days when air force kocht 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, they were sort of like traffic cops who cleared the way for us to berlin, hamburg, esen, cologne, and sometimes it took some clearing. but whether these fighters fought aggressive actions or defensively as interceptors, shooting the other fellow down before he could strike at us, their role was clear. they were fighters. and they fought. there were other airplanes, too. medium bombers like the b-25 carrying lighter loads a shorter distance than we drove our liberators and flying forts. 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 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
deterrence and air defense and sack and nuclear weapons and the ballistic missile versus the man with an expensive bomber. but unless you're a very careful reader and have time to think things through the only clear idea you're liable to get is that you're just confused because there's just too many names. mace, matador, quail, f-100, b-58, sidewinder, f-102, snark, atlas, f-104, f-105, f-106, bow mark, titan, jupiter, air 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 work to deter an attack? well, i'll tell you. that is i'll try to begin to tell you. let's begin with a heavy bomber. this b-52 is essentially what
the long-range heavy bomber was in world war ii only more so. it's faster, goes a lot farther carries a heavier payload too. with more destructive power in one b-52 than all you could haul on the ones we had in 1944. because the times have changed. this b-58 flies higher and faster than any bomber we've ever had. has to. because they've also increased the speed and the range and the altitude capability of the counterweapons that can knock the heavy bomber down. weapons comparable to our own f-104. or any ground to air or air to air intercept missile or rocket the other side might have. in fact, that's what war's 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 counteract 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 high as she flies this bomber or even the later b-58 is conceivably vulnerable to interception. or to ground to air weapons defending its assigned target area. therefore, some of our bombers are armed with weapons that both extend their range and increase their capability of self-defense by enabling them to avoid these heavily defended targets. launched from altitude these supersonic air to surface guided missiles can carry a nuclear warhead many thousands of miles impacting with accuracy. that means hitting the target right on the nose from relative safety several hundred miles away.
and you know what that means to these men on the bomber crews. it means a good percentage of them are going to stand a good chance of getting home. and you want to remember how important these crewmen are to us. consider this, though, intercontinental ballistic missiles are built to do exactly what long-range bombers are made to do. to carry a heavy payload to 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 big advantage over manned aircraft. you can get it up in a matter of minutes and racing towards 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 sat commander can closely direct the flight of every single manned bomber in the, air night and day, around the clock.
sac headquarters knows where every one of its bombers is. each individual aircraft, flights of three or more squadrons, wings, and air force or the whole command can be deployed as any specific enemy threat develops. and once launched, the whole attack can be be diverted or called off. that's what the pilot adds to your defense, that priceless flexibility. and the further capability no missile has of seeking out targets that aren't precisely known or can't be pinpointed on a map. with his added ability to observe and think about what he sees and knows and to make a decision based on all of the evidence he has, the 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 soon to be, and others coming along, projected, planned, designed, incorporating everything we've learned from every missile we've designed and built. here's one we've already got, launched by rocket engines delivering tons of thrust and millions of horsepower within seconds imparting speeds faster than 10,000 miles an hour. this weapon throws a nuclear warhead more than 5,000 miles with accuracy. but this is only an evolutionary step toward the more effective missiles we'll have a few short years from now. and yet even though we have the icbm, we still have the b-47 jet bomber, probably our best-known intermediate range carrier and i think one of the finest airplanes ever built.
for the last six or seven years the b-47 has been the all-around workhorse for the strategic air xharngsd capable of delivering nuclear weapons from the prermt of our defensive line, from the bases of nato and other allied countries to almost any country re might have to strike. and just as the icbm blends with the long-range manned bomber, there are intermediate-range ballistic missiles supporting the b-47, operational missiles successfully fired 1,500 miles or more. with which we and our allies can pose an additional effective counterthreat along that same perimeter 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 our survival. let's look at that long-range bomber again and see what it takes to get it through to the target now. because it's big enough to carry auxiliary equipment and crew, this bomber has a good chance of survival at any operating altitude. the crew can select the best altitude and tactics for penetrating enemy defenses and put the load exactly where they want it to go. this auxiliary equipment includes diversionary missiles like this one that we can drop or launch from the air to expose, decoy or destroy ground weapon. now, this diversionary, or countermeasures missile, is a strategic weapon. just like the manned bomber of the icbm. they all work together to get the payload through and knock the enemy out of the role. now, that's sac's role in the air force mission today. but that's just part of the story. jet airplanes, icbms have put the united states well within range of almost anybody that
would want to take a crack at us. now, sac's deterrent force, its long-range capability, has so far prevented that. it's air defense command's responsibility to make sure that if the other fella decides to come on over he won't get through. when any unidentified flying object enters our radar net the air defense system is at once alerted. he if it's a hostile intruder, the pilot notifies the defense commander and attacks. other fighter interceptor aircraft are then scrambled out so maximum attrition may be brought to bear on the attacking force before the enemy can get within range to deploy its defense missiles and decoy. 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 an 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 the air launched missiles. this is actually a rocket with an atomic warhead, a highly effective defensive weapon. 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 missile with an effective range up to 200 miles. it will have a 400-mile capability in the near future. now, 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 both fighter interceptors and surface
to air missiles in the same airspace. so 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 firemen of the u.s.-based tactical air forces, deployed to the middle east and far east in support of our national policy. in the lebanese situation, f-100d aircraft flew nonstop from 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 what the trade calls over the shoulder bombing. the tactical fighter also has an air superiority mission, using homing missiles to gain this superiority. and it has a key ground support role in land battles to contain the numerically superior 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 either a conventional or nuclear warhead deep into enemy territory. a number of tactical missile groups armed with this weapon are already deployed in europe and incidentally one on formosa. what's it called?
well, i've deliberately avoided calling any of these weapons by name because there are so many of them. you've heard not only about icbms and irbms but about garr 1 and gam 77 and im-99 and tm-76, sm-75. and then you've heard these same weapons called falcon and hound dog and bowmark and matador and thor, and it's all just helped to add to the confusion. because why so many? why are there sometimes two, maybe even three different kinds of a particular missile type? why atlas and titan and minuteman too? why is there snark and thor and jurmt? aren't they all icbms, irbms? that's right. they are. but they're related. they're not identical triplets or twins. each of these weapons represents a new generation in the
telescope years through which we've lived since 1954. some are good, some better, a few not very good at all anymore because they've been made obsolete. but 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 engineered. and taking all of them together each of these weapons has been and many of them still are important bricks in the defensive wall with which up until now we've 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 weapons 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. although it sounds like a bomber 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 too tough. but this is a model of the but this is a model of the wright brothers' airplane, the one they flew back in kittyhawk in 1903, and ever since then the trend as been up to increasing speed at increasing altitude to flying harder and higher and faster than the other. but right about here in the early days of world war ii when flights above 10,000, 15,000
feet first became commonplace, we encounter something new. because of the thinning out of the air, they first began to take their own ground level atmosphere along with them, but the race for speed and altitude went on. and for quite some time now the military aircraft has been a sealed vehicle traveling at altitudes at which man can't normally survive without wearing special clothes and without bringing oxygen along with him. not slowly but almost by leaps and bounds 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 them. 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 in speeds at excess of mach 1 and altitudes of 60,000 feet is really very much like the experience men will have on their first flights in tomorrow's true spacecraft. and the day of that first true space flight isn't very far away either. 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 weapons system combining the advantages of both, one you can get right off the ground in maximum speed and up to altitude but also one 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 in the missile's air frame and give the pilot the equipment he needs to withstand acceleration and heat and to overcome weightlessness of zero gravity, you lick these problems and a few more like them and you won't have a man and a missile. you'll have an air force pilot in a spacecraft. man will be in space and that may happen a whole lot sooner than we think it will. because space is, for us, what the unknown land once was, the uncharted sea, which in everything he's 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 fella. because war, if it comes, it will not confine itself to air but it will expand into the billions of space miles surrounding us. that's the only way it all makes sense. missiles and airplanes both defending us today and man's spacecraft tomorrow. now, i don't know whether i've 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've 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've got to keep it that way. lights burning, children asleep in peace and security everywhere. ♪ ♪ american history tv on c-span 3. this week in primetime, starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern. wednesday night, black voter suppression in the 1940s. >> during the congressional debate representative louis ludlow of indiana said, "what a
travesty. negros by the multiplied -- we're sending negros by the multiplied thousands to the firing line to die and fight for freedom while telling them they shall have no part or parcel in freedom at home." >> thursday night, president andrew jackson's political struggle to challenge and even cripple the powerful bank of the united states. >> already by 1829, june of 1829, when he'd been president all of three months, jackson was writing friends that the only thing that can prevent our liberties to be crushed by the bank and its influence would be to kill the bank itself. >> and friday night, an interview with senator john mccain on the vietnam war's impact on his life and the country. >> i don't hold a grudge against the north vietnamese. i don't like them. there are some that i would never want to see again. but at the same time i was part of a conflict. okay? and i thought they were some of
the meanest people i'd ever met in my life and i never want to see again. but there were several that were good people and that were kind to me. that's why it was much easier for me to support along with president clinton and others the normalization of relations with our two countries to heal the wounds of war. >> watch american history tv, this week in primetime on c-span 3. congress is out for the week and the rest of the year. next week the second session of the 115th congress begins, with the senate returning wednesday, january 3rd, with two new democratic members. alabama's doug jones and minnesota's tina smith. the house returns monday january 8th and plans to work on government funding with temporary spending expiring on january 19th. also on the calendar, this year's state of the union address on tuesday january 30th.
as always, you can watch the house live on c-span and the senate live on c-span 2. >> c-span. where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 captioning performed by vitac some of you know me. i head up the intge