50 years ago, Boeing was going to turn the 747 into a flying aircraft carrier

Half a century ago, Boeing began developing the concept of flying aircraft carriers, which were supposed to be the largest Boeing 747 passenger aircraft at the time.

The concept is based on the idea that with the help of flying aircraft carriers, the US command will be able to respond much faster to crisis situations in the world than using ordinary ones.

To do this, the modernized Boeing 747 AAS had to accommodate 10 micro-fighters, which, if necessary, would be launched using an internal conveyor belt every 80 seconds and, after completing the task, would return back. In the "mother" plane, the pilots could rest, and their combat vehicles could be refueled.

Micro-fighters were supposed to be used to deliver strikes in hot spots, as well as to escort B-52 strategic bombers.

However, it never came to the realization of the concept. First, the danger of a Boeing 747 AAS accident remained, which could lead to the loss of micro-fighters and their pilots. Secondly, at that time the necessary conveyor belt did not exist and, finally, thirdly, the micro-fighter itself was not developed either.

No less problems arose with the miniature fighter itself: its small size would inevitably affect its speed and range, as well as the possibilities for placing avionics and weapons. A confrontation with a "full-fledged" Soviet fighter would have ended in defeat for him.

It soon became clear that the AAS concept was outdated and was abandoned. In addition, the B-1B Lancer and B-2A Spirit stealth bombers that entered service no longer needed escort.

Yet the concept of a flying aircraft carrier lives on. In particular, the Pentagon's X-61 Gremlins project involves launching from a carrier - a C-130 transport aircraft, instead of mini-fighters, a swarm of inexpensive tiny drones, which, after completing the assigned task, will return to the plane or land in a given area.