Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2003 Andreas Parsch

NOTS BOAR (30.5" Rocket MK 1)

In the early 1950s, the U.S. Navy wanted to make all its attack aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons from low altitude, especially against ships. To give low-level attackers a limited stand-off range, the Navy used a so-called "loft bombing" technique. The aircraft would go into a climb, release the bomb at an appropriate point to send it on a high arching trajectory, and complete a half loop for a quick escape. In addition to avoiding flying directly over the target's air defenses, it provided valuable extra time to escape the blast of a nuclear explosion. However, the stand-off range and escape times were still very tight, especially for the slow piston-engined AD Skyraider aircraft. To provide a suitable stand-off weapon, the NOTS (Naval Ordnance Test Station) at China Lake began to develop a simple rocket-boosted nuclear bomb in 1952. This device was called BOAR (Bombardment Aircraft Rocket, sometimes also read as Bureau of Ordnance Atomic Rocket), and officially designated 30.5-Inch Rocket, MK 1 MOD 0. The BOAR was first flight tested in June 1953, was approved for production in 1955 and entered opertional service in 1956.

Photo: U.S. Navy (via Gary Verver collection)
BOAR (30.5" Rocket MK 1 MOD 0)

The BOAR was powered by a solid-propellant rocket motor and armed with a W-7 nuclear fission warhead (20 kT). It was released from the aircraft in a steep climb (to maximize its range), and the motor ignited shortly after. The rocket had a maximum range of about 12 km (7.5 miles).

Photo: U.S. Navy
BOAR (30.5" Rocket MK 1 MOD 0)

The primary delivery platform for the BOAR was the AD Skyraider. BOAR was originally intended as an interim weapon, to be in service for a only few years until more advanced tactical missiles would be ready. However, the Navy never fielded another nuclear-armed air-to-surface standoff missile, and so the BOAR remained in service until 1963, when it was retired because of maintenance problems with the rocket motor. A total of about 225 BOARs were produced.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for 30.5" Rocket MK 1 MOD 0:

Length4.65 m (15 ft 3 in)
Finspan1.37 m (54 in)
Diameter77.5 cm (30.5 in)
Weight900 kg (2000 lb)
Speed770 km/h (480 mph)
Range12 km (7.5 miles)
PropulsionNOTS solid-fueled rocket; 67 kN (15000 lb) for 3 s
WarheadW-7 nuclear fission (20 kT)

Main Sources

[1] Chuck Hansen: "Swords of Armageddon", Chukelea Publications, 1995
[2] James N. Gibson: "Nuclear Weapons of the United States", Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 1996

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 13 June 2003