If you were to take the collective nuclear anxiety of the world during the height of the Cold War and somehow transfigure that into cold, hard engineering, you’d probably end up with something like this: the supersonic, low-altitude missile known as ‘The Flying Crowbar.’
Just to give an idea what this beast was like, here’s how Air and Space magazine described it:
…a locomotive-size missile that would travel at near-treetop level at three times the speed of sound, tossing out hydrogen bombs as it roared overhead. Pluto’s designers calculated that its shock wave alone might kill people on the ground. Then there was the problem of fallout. In addition to gamma and neutron radiation from the unshielded reactor, Pluto’s nuclear ramjet would spew fission fragments out in its exhaust as it flew by. (One enterprising weaponeer had a plan to turn an obvious peace-time liability into a wartime asset: he suggested flying the radioactive rocket back and forth over the Soviet Union after it had dropped its bombs.)
This thing was just plain mean.
I’ve written about the Flying Crowbar, also known as ‘Project Pluto’ before, but now we’ve got a fantastic animation team that can free you from the tedious act of optical character recognition we call ‘reading,’ and let you just watch, like you stare at a fire, only with information and entertainment beamed into your brain via your eyeballs. You’ll love it.
So, please enjoy this first product of our animation department; there’ll be more to come.