The Cold War began shortly after WW2 as the Communist Russian Soviets were trying to take over and oppress the world with their fascist ideals, and intense need to corrupt poor nations. The United States did what it could during the Cold War to fight the Russians indirectly through the help of proxy wars around the globe. Many crazy weapons were produced during this time, and very few of them made it out. Here is a list of the most Bizzare war inventions of the Cold War. Where did they come from? Why did they even exist? Did they even work?
Cold War technology began its heights at the end of WW2. The German Luftwaffe began its innovative air missions before 1945. The German Reich was the most torturous and awful regime in the history of modern man, but their technological imagination in the air revolutionized the way humans see the world of flight. This German plane is called the Blohm & Voss BV 141. The 141 had the cockpit on the wing rather than the over the engine, carries a rear stabilizer on only the left side of the plane.
The United States Air Force was looking for a solution to mass transportation of military assets if conflict brakes out across the globe. The H-4 Hercules 2 “Spruce Goose” was supposed to be able to carry 150,000 pounds of weight inside it. Meaning either 750 troops full capacity, or for example 30-ton Sherman tanks. The 200-ton eight engine super transporter had only one flight in 1947, and the project was scrapped after the plane did not even make it off the ground.
The NASA AD-1 jet looks pretty simple for a concept plane. A plain white skinny body simple looking stabilizer. My first thought looking at that angled wing, is what in the world is this thing meant for? Nasa actually made this plane for one reason, and that’s to check if an aircraft could pivot its wing up to 60 degrees during flight without losing stability.
The Scaled Composites Model 281 Proteus actually has nothing to do with ants even though it looks like one. Its design was actually meant to get it to ultra-high altitudes to test high altitude telecommunication relays in the 90s. This model was able to fly at around 65,000 feet. That’s double the altitude of a passenger jetliner.
Ever wanted to go up in the air and hide away there for weeks on end? Are everyday life struggles too much for you to deal with? Well, you’re in luck! The Lockheed Martin P-791 is still being sold around the world today! This combo aircraft has the speed of an airplane and the buoyancy of an airship, and can stay afloat at 20,000 feet for up to three weeks!
This heliplane looks like something out of the 007 sagas. It was built to combine the speed and propulsive advantages of a helicopter, and have the speed of a jet up in the air. Unfortunately, this thing was not fuel efficient, and did not make it past experimentation there for the project was canceled in 1988.
The V-173 was invented during the end of WW2 and was given the obvious nickname “Flying Pancake.” The Pacific fleet wanted an easy to lift plane that could take off from short runways on aircraft carriers. This concept fighter was actually flown by American aviator Charles Lindberg who said that it was surprisingly easy to handle.
The Scaled Composites White Knight Two humorously looks like two planes that are holding hands. This Virgin Galactic airline plane first flew in 2008 to be able to carry the “Spaceship 2” passenger spacecraft to 70,000 feet where it will then drop the payload of passengers so they can make their way to near space on the edge of the stratosphere.
The McDonnell XF-85 codenamed “Goblin” looks exactly as it is described. It was built soon after WW2 with the mission of functioning as a “parasite fighter.” The idea was that the plane would be carried in the bomb bay of a B-36 bomber and be deployed as close air support if enemy aircraft were approaching. The project did not last long as it became obsolete following the innovation of air refueling.
Asking yourself how this giant came to be? Well, the answer is simple! When a daddy plane and a mommy plane fall in love, the daddy plane gives the mommy plane all of its payloads, and the mommy plane becomes very big and bulky so she could carry baby plane inside. Moreover, that’s how the Aero Spacelines “Pregnant Guppy was born.”
This odd-looking death copter is called the Lackner HZ-1 Aerocycle. It was supposed to be the militaries answer to bringing pilots into enemy territory in the 20th century. The Lackner death copter actually reached an altitude of 5,000 feet. Amongst the many obvious problems with the design of the HZ-1 is the fact that it was meant for ordinary infantrymen to fly into battle who were only given a 20-minute course to learn how to use it. As if a war was not already dangerous!
When the Russian air force saw the big planes being built in the U.S. during the 50s, it decided to make a sea monster to scare all of the American people. The Lun (Ekranoplan) or “The Caspian Sea Monster” (much like the Spruce Goose) was only able to fly a mere 10-15 feet. Despite its massive misgivings, the Ekranoplan remained in service for three years before being decommissioned.
The Soviets designed some of the most successful planes of the cold war such as the varied Mig models who fought American pilots in the Korean and Vietnam war. The Yakovlev Yak-28 was not one of them. The Yak 28 looks like it is carrying cannons under its wings, but they are actually jet engines. The plane seemed pretty ferocious, and the Soviet Union actually ordered 1,200 to be delivered. However, the Yak-28’s massive engines made for erroneous amounts of drag during flight, and the plane lasted a concise time in the Soviet Air Force.
Could you imagine the discussion in the room when the blueprint for this joke was brought to the table? “Okay everyone listen, I have an idea. Two words “flying saucer.” What do you guys think?” A silence fell in the room. “Sure, boss whatever you say.” Replied the interns. “Great idea,” said the young engineer. “I’ll agree to anything you say as long as you pay me,” said the pilot. The US Air Force was tapping into their UFO complex when they designed the 1794 VZ-9. This thing could barely get off the ground and only flew a wobbly 35 mph.
The Curtis-Wright VZ-7 is another example of an aircraft that is more dangerous then it is useful. One of the first American helicopters, the VZ was actually dubbed a “flying car.” The new air vehicle did not precisely serve a purpose as it flew very slow and very low.
The Hanford nuclear power plant in Washington State has an odd past. Plutonium from its reactor was used to produce the world’s first atomic bombs during the Manhattan Project. When the project was scrapped, the plant remained operational and served other national security purposes.
During the cold war, the United States and the Soviet Union were competing in a non-conventional nuclear arms race. One of the many innovations explored in this armed race was the ability to deploy a nuclear warhead from under the ocean. The Regulus missile was the first of its kind. A missile that can be assembled on top of a submarine that can disappear before the Soviets even knew what hit them. Later models were even able to be launch from underwater.
This odd submarine looks like it had a been in a fist fight or something. These were actually hatches built into the submarine that could store missiles inside it that could be launched in a time of war. These submarines were the most dangerous weapon of the cold war, as both sides knew that they would have no control in the event of an imminent attack.
As war with Soviets was starting to seem inevitable, the United States needed to come up with an idea to get planes in the air in the even that the communists would attack American airfields in a pre-emptive strike. Their answer was the very ineffective, and hard to land Lockheed XFV-1 “Pogo.” This plane obviously did not make it to the mass production stage.
Another attempt to answer the fear of a Soviet strike was the X-13 Vertijet. The X-13 looks like it was giving a death sentence in this picture as it hangs waiting to be launched. The plane was able to take off from this vertical position much like a space ship does. However, the amount of force needed to lift the plane from the horizontal position meant that it would have very little fuel left to fight once it was in the air.
The SNECMA Coléoptère is quite the joke of plane design. It had to be, it seems to have no functioning components that would keep it in the air, and I cannot think of any pilot in his right mind that would even consider flying one of these barrel roll machines. This is the perfect plane for anyone who wants to enjoy a fun assisted suicide experience.
As the Americans were building their UFO flying tax wastes, the Russians were also exploring their very own sci-fi complex with the 1K17 Szhatie. These lasers you see were meant to disrupt enemy machines from working, and blind enemy combatants on the field. The ending of the cold war prevented the full production, and the project fell apart along with the rest of the communist Soviet Union.
The Corkscrew tank was not actually produced for war but for arctic research. Soviet scientists used it to drudge through the Siberian tundra. The liberal idea for design may have looked cool, but the tank flipped over constantly and was a highly flawed vehicle for any purpose.
This is the “Russian Object 279,” a tank that was introduced into the Soviet Army in 1959. The 279 was the biggest tank in the world of its time. It was very slow and had considerably weak armor. It was meant to deter the enemy from even trying, which is not too great of a concept considering it would have looked small from a mile away anyway to an enemy periscope.
The Leduc 010 project was the first ever jet propulsion project in history. The blueprints for the Leduc 010 were already being drawn out during World War Two, but given that the Germans had invaded France the Leduc did not come to production until after the war. By then its propulsion system was already outdated, and the project was scrapped.
The Leduc project had still not given up, and different models hit the drawing boards all the way until the Leduc 022. The cockpit in the 022 looks like the most terrifying cockpit in the history of aviation. Putting the pilot right in front of the engine itself effectively making him part of the engine. No thank you! This obvious death trap was scrapped in favor of the ultra-successful, and battle-tested Mirage III fighter jet.
The British Meteor fighter has probably one of the ugliest fighter jet designs of the cold war era, and it was not a highly effective model too. The fighter had a lot of drag in the air, and since the co-pilot’s cockpit was for some reason a prone cockpit, it meant that the co-pilot could not look behind the plane during a dog fight. It’s great for taking a nap though.
The American government knew that the only way they could beat the Soviets is by making them laugh so hard that they can’t pick up their weapons and fight back. That’s when the Pentagon tasked the Chrysler with making such a weapon. This gave birth to the Chrysler TV8 Tank. The perfect tank for getting a laugh.
The Russian Object 760 Hover Tank 500-8 has a long name that compensates for a very ineffective communist contraption. The tank 500 is a very useless concept of having a hover tank that can hover over land at high speeds, the problem is once you start firing off rounds, the tank will just glide around uncontrollably. Not to mention the gas-guzzling fan engines, and the laughable Russian armor.
The Communist army of Soviet Russia was full of bad ideas, so many of the weapons used by the Soviets in during the ’50s was flawed with exceptions on the Mig fighter jets, and this contraption, the Progvev-T Gasdynamic Trawler. The Trawler is actually meant for clearing landmines. It holds a Mig-15 engine inside of it that blasts heat into a 4 square mile radius, a great way to “safely” clear mines.
In the early 50s, the US Army was still contemplating the idea of a helicopter being used for battle. Many prototypes for air jeeps such as this Piasecki VZ-8 were put on the drawing board, but eventually, all prototypes for the air jeep concept were scrapped once the UH-1 Huey was introduced into the battlefield.
After World War Two the West needed a solution to keep the land mines in front of west Germany warm so they could still be effective during the winter. The solution? Place chickens on top of the mines to keep them warm throughout the cold months of the year. PETA would never let that fly today!
This is the Davy Corckett Jeep Mounted Gun. The missile it is holding can carry a nuclear warhead, but here is the catch. The missile only has a range of two miles. So, the team who fires it would need to book as fast as they could in the event they needed to use it. They might as well just call these guys the martyr’s brigade.
Welcome to the battlefield the M65 Atomic Connon code-named “Atomic Annie.” Annie was an artillery cannon specifically designed to launch a nuclear warhead into the sky. Quite a way to get the job done if you ask me!
The P6M SeaMaster is a cool looking plane if you ask me. The P6M looks like a great white shark, and packs the power of one too! It was designed to be able to carry a nuclear bomb without the plane ever having to land on an aircraft carrier.
The Bartini Beriev VVA-14’s cockpit looks like it was copied from the millennium falcon from the Star Wars saga. Alternatively, was it the other way around? The multi-window cockpit was meant for the plane to be able to fly low and hunt for enemy submarines.
Here we can see the Goblin in use with the help of a B-52, but during the Cold War, the Goblin would’ve been as useless as garlic gum to freshen your breath. The project was scrapped in 1949 and the “parasite fighter” idea never really took off. The name was great though, maybe if they painted it green and changed the name a bit, it would have stayed in service.
His aircraft that looks like half a zeppelin unsurprisingly was the result of German engineering. The Lippisch Aerodyne was an early version of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), as it didn’t have a pilot and was flown via remote control to conduct aerial reconnaissance missions. I don’t know how this thing flew through, and there does not seem to be many records of it either, probably because it didn’t work.
In the early 70s, the US government was in the early processes of prototyping a laser mounted satellite that could shoot down ballistic missiles from outside earth’s atmosphere. May have not been too relevant for the technology of the time, but this idea is definitely being implemented into the Donald’s Space Force of 2019.
Meanwhile, as the Americans were producing missile fighting satellites, the Soviets were producing satellite hunting satellites. The scientist must have been having a lot of fun trying to figure this stuff out! All of this was more of a playground for the worlds leading minds, as the technology did not exist to support the ideas.