North American

XF-108 Rapier
high speed interceptor and escort fighter

    The North American F-108 was designed as a very high speed (mach 3) interceptor and escort fighter for the XB-70 «Valkyrie» bomber under development at the same time. F-108 Mock-up The delta wing Rapier, in its pre-mockup phase, was to have a canard (forward-mounted pitch-control surface), and three vertical stabilizers: one on the fuselage centerline a a pair at the halfway point on the wing trailing edge for high speed stabilization at speeds above mach 2.
    The aircraft design was changed during the mockup phase. The canard was removed and the upper portions of the wing-mounted vertical stabilizers were removed. The wing was changed from a standard delta to a double-delta; the winglet incorporated a droop and 45 degree sweep (the main wing had about a 65 degree sweep).
Engines: Two General Electric J93-GE-3 turbojets of 30,000 lbs. thrust each with afterburner.
Armament: Four 20mm cannons, 108 2.75 in. rockets and up to 4,000 lbs. of bombs. 3 Hughes GAR-9 «Super Falcon».
    The F-108 program was canceled on 23 September, 1959 never getting past the mockup phase.
    Armament control system Hughes AN/ASG-18 and rockets GAR-9 (after their designation it was replaced on AIM-47A), developed for XF-108, were used on Lockheed YF-12.

Design North American
Type XF-108
NATO code name Rapier
Function interceptor and escort fighter
Crew 2
Dimensions & Weight
Length (not including nose boom), m 27,2
Overall height, m 6,74
Wingspan, m 17,5
Wing area, sq.m. 173,5
Aspect ratio 1,68
Weight, kg maximum take-off 46270 (46510)
standard 34530
empty 23090
Engines turbojet J95-GE-5(3)
Thrust with afterburner, kgf (kN) 2x 13620 (133,5)
Performance (project)
Max. speed, km/h (M=) 3,186 (3)
Rate of climb, m/min 5486
Practical ceiling, m 20 400
Range, km (miles) operating 1641 (1020/1150)
maximum 4000 (2485)
Cannons 4 х 20 mm
Bombs, kg up to 1800
Rockets 108 х 70 mm
AA missiles 3х GAR-9 «Super Falcon»

3-view drawing - Pre-mockup configuration    3-view drawing - mockup configuration
Side view component drawing - Pre-mockup configuration Side view component drawing - mockup configuration
XF-108AМодель F-108
XF-108Рисунок F-108

References and Credits:

  1. North American F-108A / USAF Museum /
  2. Black bird of Clarens Jones / M.Nikolskiy. Aviatsia i Kosmonavtika 11/2000 /
  3. North American XF-108 Rapier / /
  4. «Vojenska letadla» / Vaclav Nemecek, Praha, 1982 /
  5. «Bombers» / V.Ilyin, M.Levin, 1997 /