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GAR-9 / AIM-47 Falcon

The YF-12 was developed as a high-altitude Mach 3 interceptor for defense against supersonic bombers. The YF-12 interceptor prototype was equipped with a Hughes AN/ASG-18 pulse-Doppler radar in the nose and tandem weapons bays for three to eight AIM-47 air-to-air missiles.

In 1958, Hughes started to develop the AN/ASG-18 fire-control system (FCS) for the forthcoming North American F-108 Rapier long-range Mach 3+ interceptor. The missile component of the system was to be a large derivative of the AIM-4 Falcon missile family, designated GAR-9, which was to have a range of more than 160 km (100 miles). The large radar of the AN/ASG-18 was to provide target illumination for the semi-active radar mid-course guidance. For terminal homing, the GAR-9 was equipped with an infrared seeker. The GAR-9 was powered by a storable liquid-fuel rocket motor, and for some time, a low-yield nuclear W-42 warhead was envisioned, but eventually a conventional HE warhead was used.

When the F-108 was cancelled in 1959, the USAF looked for a replacement and found the Lockheed A-12 "Blackbird" reconnaissance plane. It was decided to developed an interceptor derivative, designated YF-12A, which would use the AN/ASG-18 FCS and the GAR-9 missile. In 1963 the XGAR-9 prototype missile was redesignated XAIM-47A, and in the same year, flight tests of the YF-12A and the XAIM-47A began. During the test program, several successful long-range intercepts of target drones were performed. In 1966 the planned F-12B production interceptor was cancelled, which also meant the cancellation of the AIM-47A production missile.

Operational F-12Bs would probably have used the AIM-47B, a projected modification of the AIM-47A with folding wings for more compact stowage in the missile bay. About 80 XAIM-47A's had been built, and some of the technology was used by Hughes to develop the AIM-54 Phoenix long-range air-to-air missile for the US Navy.

In a separate program to counter the heavy SAM problem in Viet Nam, Hughes developed the AGM-76A, a derivitive of the AIM-47. The AGM-76A was an air-to-ground missile designed as a quick response to the SAM threat in Viet Nam. Utilizing the AIM-47A airframe, engine and autopilot, it carried a 250 Pound low-drag (series 80) warhead and utilized an S band seeker from the "Shrike" missile.

In 1960 the AIM-54 Phoenix long-range interception missile concept outlined using technology from the AIM-47 Falcon to arm the General Dynamics F-111B, a Navy variant of the F-111 (program cancelled in 1967); contract competition began. Originally known as the AAM-N-11 Phoenix. AIM-54 Phoenix was a product of two US missile programs - the Navy's Bendix AAM-N-10 Eagle and the USAF's Hughes GAR-9.



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