Project Terminated: Famous Military Aircraft Cancellations of the Cold War and What Might Have Been

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Erik Simonsen
Other Publication Information
Hardcover, 224 pgs, 225+ B&W and color photos
Provided by: Specialty Press

This book covers 11 different Cold War aircraft; many of which were built and flown but never went into production. All but one aircraft has its own chapter. The book has a striking cover with a very well done fake photo of a production F-108 Rapier approaching a tanker to refuel. This is only a hint of what is to come!

Chapter one discusses the Northrop B-49A and RB-49A. It begins with the development of the flying wing by Northrop and the predecessor of the B-49, the propeller-powered B-35. This continues through development and testing and the reasons for canceling the B-49. The chapter is filled with many wonderful digital prints of B-49s as they would have looked in service. Three that show B-49Ds in Southeast Asia markings still serving beyond the 1960s and RAF examples give the “what-if” modelers many ideas.

Chapter two covers the Avro CF-105 Arrow, which is again populated with many wonderful prints of RAF, USAF, and Mach 3 variants. Also, the author discusses the rise and demise of the Arrow and the reasons behind it while still giving us a look forward had the Arrow gone into production.

Chapter three discusses the F-108. It was a beautiful design, intended to be the first Mach 3 fighter and a capable escort for the XB-70 (which itself is covered in chapter 7). Again, there are many illustrations of 108s in service, including one escorting a Soviet Bear out of US airspace. Within this chapter, the Republic F-103 is also given the same treatment.

All of the remaining chapters give the same type of information on design, prototyping, and finally the cancellation of many other outstanding designs. The other aircraft discussed in this book are the Boeing X-20, Lockheed F-12B, BAC TSR.2, the aforementioned XB-70, Rockwell B-1A supersonic bomber, the Rockwell XFV-12A, and finally the Northrup F-20. The stories of each of these aircraft are given to us with accompanying high quality photos of what might have been. One of my all-time favorites is on page 156; it depicts the B-70, CF-105, and TSR.2 flying in formation. If it contained the F-108, then it would have been perfect!

All in all, this was a really fun read and I really enjoyed this book! The extensive illustrations really make this book stand out! I can recommend it to the modeler, historian, and aviation buff without reservation. Each will find something to enjoy and inspire within these pages. My thanks to Specialty Press for the review copy and my thanks to IPMS/USA for the review opportunity! The book is available from Specialty Press’s website or toll free number 1-800-895-4585 with a $6.95 shipping and handling fee added.


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