Thursday, September 4, 2014
Once again, there was a posting on Facebook saying that the C=133 was built to carry ICBMs. As the old radio program had it, "T'ain't so, McGee!" I know this is an old topic but part of my intention when writing my book was to address various C-133 myths.
My research has shown that, if anything, the ICBMs were sized to fit into the C-133. The C-133 design was frozen BEFORE final design of any of the ICBMs. The first purchase contract for the C-133 was dated 1 Sep 53. The C-133 Definitive Contract AF33(600)-22452 was dated 17 May 54. Convair got the first Atlas contract on 14 Jan 55, for a missile 10 feet in diameter. Whether this design change was related to the C-133 as a potential ICBM hauler is unknown. This was smaller than the initial Convair design of Atlas in 1953. Atlas D was the first operational Atlas ICBM, making its first flight on 14 Apr 59, three years after the first flight of the C-133. Titan was contracted to Martin in Oct 1955. Minuteman design studies began in 1956 and Saturn grew out of studies in 1957 by the Army Ballistic Missile Agency. Saturn was too big for C-133 transport, though its engines were moved by the Cargomaster. It is clear that the C-133 design was set well before that of any of the ICBMs. The closest sizing of the C-133 to the missiles to be carried was the modification of the aft cargo doors to make a larger opening and easier loading of the ICBMs. This was the C-133B. Interior cargo compartment dimensions remained the same, however, as in the C-133A.