Atomic Awesome

Letting the Genie out out of the bottle

F-106 firing unguided nuclear Genie

There are days when a piece of tech just sits at the back of your brain clawing and eating at you. This piece of technology has done that ever since I heard of it’s existence. Seeing one in person just reaffirmed what I thought about it in the first place. Was this an ends to a means or something that was jotted down on a napkin during a bender in Amsterdam?
Now we are going to take a look at the unguided nuclear air to air rocket known as the Genie. Take a second and reread that sentence and take note of the word  unguided. Let it just wash it’s way through your head. It’s an unguided nuclear rocket.  Just fire and hope it hits some enemy aircraft.  No you didn’t read that wrong; this rockets reason for existence is to be lobbed into a bomber stream and bring the whole damned thing down in one great big mushroom cloud of AMERICAN AWESOMENESS!

It doesn’t matter where it lands since it will be used over Europe and Russia mostly and we are saving them from the godless pinko commies. Plus with a range of only six miles it really wasn’t going to go far before hitting the bombers or missing and heading for the ground.
From the Wikipedia entry  we learn that we were nice enough to give them the Canadians to use against the Russian bombers. Remember Canadians don’t ever say we don’t share our best toys with you. If you want to see these in person head down to the Air Mobility Command Museum at the Dover Air Force Base where an inert Genie sits on display.
  • fodder650

    On the F89 Scorpion it would carry one under each wing. On the F106 it would be used to lift it into the internal missile bay on the F-106. If you look at the top picture you will note that two bomb bay doors are open and thats where the rocket was launched from. To see an even stranger launch contraption
    [youtube HyUcQbsEBrE youtube]
    The F-104 both didn't have the room internally for it plus it needed to be far enough away from the aircraft when you launched it. So they designed this trapeze to fire it. It never went into production like this

  • The Professor

    I've read about these things before, and my reaction was pretty much the same as yours. "Unguided? What if the enemy turns?" was one of the first things that came to mind. It's amazing what the military can consider 'acceptable losses' sometimes.
    They are surprisingly light for a nuke.

    • jeepjeff

      Horseshoes, Handgrenades and Nuclear ¡©☭€∞☢☠ Weapons. That's why it's unguided. By the time the enemy sees it, it should be too late.

  • fodder650

    I've got a 1.5 kiloton warhead that says go ahead and turn. I'll still get you

  • Cool, but I'm more interested by the carriage that supports the rocket. I guess this was used to bring the rocket to the plane raise it up to the underside of the wing, right?
    Are those things self powered? Were they towed by another vehicle or by humans? I don't see any evidence of a hitch. So many questions!

  • skitter

    The pilot might have a better chance of survival trying to ram the other planes.

    • fodder650

      If I remember right the direct blast and radiation damage is a 1.5 mile bubble. The F-89 isn't supersonic but can max out around 600mph so it would be close but should be safe enough. The F-106 can hit Mach 2 in a dash so it should be more then safe. Of course as fighter pilots they will likely want to see if the rocket does it's job and hits the target. In which case they will likely survive but be irradiated.

      Plus if you think this weapon is silly wait until I do a few other posts about the ground based fun we had at the same time.

      • Davy Crockett?
        I could see a whole series on crazy nuclear weapons of the 50s and 60s.

        • fodder650

          It wasn't going to be my next post but it's sitting there ready to go. So why not make it the next one. You are correct I was talking about the Davy Crockett and a much larger field piece.

      • SSurfer321

        We accidentally Nuked Spain during the Cold War.

        During the Cold War the US always had a few bombers with live nukes flying; just in case. Well, one of them crashed after a failed mid-air refueling and landed in Spain. After all of the nuclear testing during the 60's, 70's and 80's at Area 51, this was the first incident where we had to clean up the mess.

  • aastrovan

    What a waste of energy,so to speak..

  • Now if only we had a nuclear powered plane to launch it from…

    • fodder650

      I'll be covering that at a later date as well

      • I visited its engine test stands and locomotive tug last year if you need some photos.

        • fodder650

          Yes please send them to fodder @ . Where was it?

          • They're sitting at the far end of the parking lot at EBR-1 near Arco, Idaho. The air photo at the top of the Wikipedia article:


            shows the two test stands but appears to have been taken before the locomotive was installed next to them. There's a bit more here, too:


            I'll have to dig out the photos.

          • fodder650

            Theres also a good video on Youtube that explains it. It was a from a short lived aviation series. Covered the nuclear aircraft program, the American SST, and the British rocket plane

          • FЯeeMan

            Oh, Oh!!! I've been to ERB-1!

            Weird kinda place…

        • B72

          I stopped there once while on a cross country road trip. It was closed. That place is pretty spooky when it's just you, some radiation warning signs, and no sound except some loose part on the nuclear aircraft engine going tap-tap-tap in the breeze.

  • Number_Six

    The RCAF F-101 Voodoos sported these demonic darts of desperation and destruction.
    <img src="; />

    • fodder650

      Thanks for including that. I wasn't sure which Canadian aircraft carried the Genie

      • Number_Six

        This must have been exhilarating. I'd like to have been a Cold War pilot:
        <img src=""&gt;

        • highmileage_v1

          I know some 'Doo Doo guys who only speak of nighttime Bear intercepts (well off shore) when they have a full glass of Scotch in their white knuckled paws. Trying to intercept a large, uncooperative, blacked out aircraft, on a moonless night, over water, can be a sphincter clenching exercise.

          • Number_Six

            Still beats riding an office chair into myocardial infarction.

          • highmileage_v1

            Now that I am an inhabitant of a soul-sucking cubicle, I totally agree. Some day I will escape again….

  • BlackIce_GTS

    Moving tangentially from 'weapons of debatable value', I've been looking to get some properly-informed-military-aviation-enthusiasts view on Canada's on-again-maybe-I-think F-35 program. Not 'should we', which is a boring political/budgetary debate, but 'are these the correct planes'? I don't know enough about fighter jets already to do the required amount of research (which is a lot) before my goldfish level attention span runs out, but as far as I can make out the ideal candidate is the Sukhoi PAK FA.
    Are F35s the bestest plane evar and I should stop my ill-informed protestations? Is my alternate proposal the stupidest thing you've ever heard? What is the best aircraft for I-don't-even-know-what? Please discuss.

    • Number_Six

      Hilary Clinton rammed something down our throats and only the Harper gov't knows for sure what exactly we're choking on. Softwood lumber settlement? Eventual Keystone pipeline deal (second term permitting)? I'm being glib but it's nowhere near the aircraft we need and the deal stinks. Why else was there not even a mention of the good-enough Super Hornet or Eurofighter Typhoon or the latest Dassault? When the RCAF bought the CF-18 decades ago, they looked at everything from the Dassault Mirage 2000 to the Tornado to the friggin Saab…I think they'd have looked at the Mig or Sukhoi had they been able. Meanwhile the F-35 is overdue, underperforming, and way into budget overruns.

      /Nyquil-fuelled uninformative rant

      • Deartháir

        I still do not understand why the candidates would not be the logical ones, the same as every other small air force like ours that needs to operate in a wide variety of conditions: the Rafale, the Gripen, the Super Hornet, and possibly the Typhoon.

        Oh wait, could it be that the US government is blackmailing its allies into purchasing the F35, just like they did with Norway when Norway was considering the Gripen?

        I think it could!

        • texlenin

          See: Avro Arrow
          "Buy from US, damnit! We're the Arsenal
          of Democracy!!"
          How about these pretty missiles?

        • Number_Six

          Ironically the US might end up cancelling their orders for the F-35. It just gets stinkier by the minute.

      • highmileage_v1

        Oh man, where to start? I was in the business, so-to-speak, so I'm generally aware of what they are looking for in a fighter aircraft (full disclosure, I never flew the pointy plastic jets, but I did work with them).

        The short answer is, there really isn't anything out there that fulfills our requirements for the next 25-30 years, other than the F-35, whether we like it or not. For Canada to join the Typhoon program would require buying into the R&D costs, which are much larger than you may think (plus believe it or not the Typhoon is starting to show its age). Same goes for the Dassault. The Saab is OK but it is somewhat limited. Keep in mind anything from Europe has a long (and expensive) logistics tail attached to it.

        We could buy the Super Hornet but it is really only viable for another 5-10 years until it becomes old-ish and limited (read expensive to upgrade). The F-22? Hell, the US can't afford the F-22.

        The "stealth" debate is a red herring. A lower RCS is another combat tool like missiles and bombs. As to numbers, if we were really serious about making a meaning contribution to national and collective defence, we would buy ~200 new aircraft.

        Anyway, there is a whole bunch more to the debate than what is in the press so take it in small bites. If you look at past fighter purchases in the light of current year dollars, the F35 may be expensive but it is probably within the goalposts. As to how the F-35 program is being run, well, that is something else….

        Mine zwei pfenning

        • Number_Six

          Your informed point of view with your actual "information" is much appreciated! From the outside looking in it's awfully hard to figure out what the hell goes on. Can I argue that I just hate the way the F-35 looks?

          However, a friend with a US strategic think-tank does support the strong-arm sale point of view…I expect that on a project of this scale someone is going to walk away with less than a bargain.