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Library > Fact Sheets > Hughes AIM-26B "Falcon" Air-to-air Missile


Posted 10/15/2008 Printable Fact Sheet
Falcon Missile
AIM26-B Falcon Missile made during the cold war.
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The AIM-26A was the only guided nuclear-armed air-to-air missile ever deployed by the US Air Force. Development of a nuclear-armed derivative of the AIM-4 Falcon began in 1959 to give interceptor aircraft a head-on kill capability against enemy bombers, since radar homing technology of the day was too inaccurate for a conventionally armed missile. 

The AIM-26A became operational with F-102 interceptors in 1961. The nuclear warhead and the all-weather capability of the radar guidance made the AIM-26A the most powerful air-to-air missile ever deployed, but the nuclear warhead prevented the missile from being used against low-flying aircraft over friendly territory. Therefore, the conventionally armed AIM-26B variant was developed. About 4,000 AIM-26 missiles were produced.

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