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Legend for Numeric Designations
CL: Lockheed
D: Douglas
NA: North American [1]
WS (Weapon System)

Weapon System is a United States military term that designated, along with a weapon system number (e.g., WS-110), military experimental (MX)[2] systems prior to official naming (e.g., under a military aircraft designation system. Preceded by the first Skunk Works program (MX-813 (Convair XF-92) in 1946),[1]:76 the earliest[verification needed] "WS" designation was the 1954 WS-117L.[2]:22 Circa February 1950, an Air Research and Development Command" study prepared by Maj Gen Gordon P. Saville ... recommended that a 'systems approach' to new weapons be adopted [whereby] development of a weapon "system" required development of support equipment as well as the actual hardware itself."[1]:166

US weapon programs often were initiated by numbered government specifications such as an Advanced Development Objective (e.g., ADO-40) or a General Operational Requirement (e.g., GOR.80), although some programs were initially identified by contractor numbers (e.g., CL-282).1

The term also made its way into UK use and by 1959 was causing some confusion as to its origins and meaning.[3]

List of numbered programs for US military systems
Number Link to Wikipage
3Project 3[4]:67 TCP for technical intelligence collection systems
Program 101, 102 (GOR-170)[3] Samos (satellite)
WS-104A SM-64 Navaho
WS-107A SM-65 Atlas
WS-110 (GOR.82)
WS-110A
WS-110L supersonic reconnaissance aircraft
Article 121 Lockheed A-12
WS-125A (GOR.81) XB-70 Valkyrie
WS-117L (GOR.80)[4]:80–87 Advanced Reconnaissance System (originally Project 1115);[2]:30 recoverable capsule - Pied Piper/Sentry/SAMOS; television transmission - unfeasible;:87 Subsystem G: MiDAS
WS-119B (USAF 7795)[4]:139 Bold Orion ASAT
WS-119L Project Moby Dick (originally Project Genetrix)[2]:31–32
GOR 148 AGM-28 Hound Dog
WS-199 Anti-satellite weapon
WS-199B Bold Orion
WS-199C High Virgo
WS-199D Alpha Draco
WS-201A 1954 interceptor
NA-211 interceptor design similar to fighter-bomber design that would become North American F-107
NA-212 North American F-107
CL-282[4]:71 Lockheed U-2
WS-306A F-105 Thunderchief
WS315A PGM-17 Thor missile[3]
MX-324 Northrop XP-79
WS-324A General Dynamics F-111
CL-400[4]:149 Lockheed CL-400 Suntan
Program 437 (ADO-40)[2]:120 "nonorbital collision course satellite interceptor" using modified Thor
Program 437 X (AP) Alternate payload (AP) for satellite inspection ("a heritage of SAINT")[2]:125
Program 437 Y[2]:128 second development plan for Program 437 (later renamed Program 922)
Program 505[2]:118 MUDFLAP ASAT
MX-544[5] US copy of V-1 flying bomb (Republic-Ford JB-2 "Loon")
D-558 Douglas Skystreak, Skyraider
Air Force System 609A Blue Scout
Air Force System 621B[6] GPS
DSP-647[4]:99 Defense Support Program
MX-653[4] Bell X-1
MX-770 SM-64 Navaho
MX-774 feasibility designs for subsonic and supersonic surface-to-surface missiles (three WSPG launches July–December 1948)[7] leading to SM-65 Atlas
MX-776A RTV-A-4 Shrike
MX-776B GAM-63 RASCAL
MX-813 Convair XF-92
Program 893[2]:128 ICBM ASAT
MX-904 GAR-1 Falcon missile
Program 922[2]:129 rename of Program 437 Y
Project MX-1554 F-102 Delta Dagger
MX-1589 nuclear-powered Convair B-36
MX-1626 (FZP-110) initial Convair proposal for eventual B-58 Hustler award
MX-1712 Boeing Generalized Bomber Study (GEBO II) proposal]] (competitor against winning Convair MX-1712 design for B-58 Hustler)
1964MX-1964 Convair B-58 Hustler (previously MX-1626)
MX-1965 Boeing XB-59
WS-3061 F-105 Thunderchief

Notes and references[]

^1 When a government program number is not available, a contractor number (if available) is used in the table, e.g., Lockheed CL-282 for the U-2.

  1. 1.0 1.1 (Daso, Dik (Major, USAF) (September 1997). Architects of American Air Supremacy: General Hap Arnold and Dr Theodore von Kármán. Air University Press. pp. 76,166. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Stares, Paul B.. "The Militarization of Space". http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19851201fabook11624/paul-b-stares/the-militarization-of-space-u-s-policy-1945-1984.html. Retrieved 2008-11-24. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Correspondence: Weapon System" (Flighglobal/Archive). 6 February 1959. http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1959/1959%20-%200401.html. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Burroughs, William E. (- paperback) [1986]. Deep Black. New York: Berkley Publishing Group. ISBN 0-425-10879-1. 
  5. Cooksley, Peter G (1979). Flying Bomb. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. p. 141. 
  6. Preston, Bob (1994). "Plowshares and Power: The Military Use of Civil Space". pp. p250. http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA311050. 
  7. Braun, Wernher von (Estate of); Ordway III, Frederick I & Dooling, David Jr. (1985) [1975]. Space Travel: A History. New York: Harper & Row. p. 132. ISBN 0-06-181898-4. 

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