Santa Monica, California (JFK+50) Fifty-three years ago today, April 20, 1962, the United States Air Force test fired a Douglas GAM-87 Skybolt ballistic missile. While the nuclear missile was launched successfully, the USAF reported that since it had failed to reach its intended target, the test had "mixed results."
Skybolt development began in the 1950s with approval coming in 1960 and the first projected deployment scheduled for 1964. In December 1962, President John F. Kennedy cancelled the missile system upon recommendation of Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara.
Air Force General Curtis LeMay later criticized the decision in his memoirs.
The first five test firings of the Douglas GAM-87, which the Strategic Air Command wanted for the B-52H*, ended in failure. The first successful test came in December 1962 on the same day the program was cancelled by the Kennedy administration.
DOUGLAS GAM-87 SKYBOLT MISSILE
Length: 38 feet
Diameter: 35 inches
Weight: 11,000 pounds
Speed: 9500 mph
Range: 1150 miles
*Two missiles, each armed with a nuclear warhead, were to be mounted under each wing.
"Douglas GAM-87 Skybolt Missile," Strategic Air Command, www.strategic-air-command.com/
Douglas GAM-87 Skybolt
USAF Skybolt Missile
JFK SAYS NEWS ON CUBA "GROWS WORSE"
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-four years ago today, April 20, 1961, after the Cuban government announced that the invasion force of US-trained Cuban exiles which landed at the Bay of Pigs three days earlier had been defeated, President John F. Kennedy addressed the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
JFK did not disclose the role his government had played in the failed invasion.
The President admitted...
"On that unhappy island....the news grows worse instead of better."
A Somber Moment for JFK