Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 1: Early Missiles and Drones
Copyright © 2007 Andreas Parsch

Northrop SSM-A-5 Boojum

In October 1945 the U.S. Army Air Force began an ambitious long-term program to study and develop a large family of guided missiles, and in January 1946, Northrop submitted designs for turbojet-powered long-range cruise missiles. In March 1946, the USAAF awarded Northrop a development contract for project MX-775, covering the subsonic SSM-A-3 Snark (MX-775A) and the supersonic Boojum (MX-775B). In late 1947, the missile designator SSM-A-5 was assigned to the Boojum project. It appears that many different layouts for the XSSM-A-5 missile were studied, and the drawing below shows a proposed configuration from about November 1947.

Drawing: National Archives, via George Cully
XSSM-A-5 (early concept)

The final XSSM-A-5 design was of a much different layout, featuring highly-swept delta-wings with turbojet engines near the wingtips. The studies envisioned a horizontal launch of the Boojum from a rocket-propelled sled, although air-launching from a B-36 was apparently also considered as a secondary option. After a subsonic climb to high altitude, the missile was to accelerate to supersonic speed and reach a final altitude of 21000 m (70000 ft). A celestial navigation system as developed for the SSM-A-3/SM-62 Snark was to guide the Boojum to the target at a maximum range of 8040 km (4340 nm).

Drawing: U.S. Air Force
XSSM-A-5 (final design)

It seems that no additional work on Boojum was done after the completion of the initial studies, and the program was probably cancelled in 1951. No full-scale XSSM-A-5 vehicles were built.


Data for XSSM-A-5 (final design):

Length26.0 m (85 ft 4 in)
Wingspan15.5 m (50 ft 10 in)
Height4.5 m (14 ft 9 in)
Weight50000 kg (112000 lb)
SpeedMach 1.8
Range8040 km (4340 nm)
Propulsion2x turbojet (J47 or J53)

Main Sources

[1] Jacob Neufeld: "Ballistic Missiles in the United States Air Force, 1945-1960", Office of Air Force Histoy, 1990
[2] USAF: "Semi-Annual Progress Report of the Guided Missiles Program", 31 December 1950

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 1

Last Updated: 24 May 2007