During the early 1950s, the Air Force decided to conduct experiments on the feasibility of B-36s carrying fighter aircraft suspended under their bellies so that the bomber could carry the fighter longer distances to a combat zone. Upon reaching the edge of the enemy's territory, the fighter would be released to conduct reconnaissance or bombing missions on its own. The fighter could then return for hookup and the flight back to home base.
The YRF-84F "FICON" (which is a contraction of "Fighter" and "Conveyer") was redesigned from the YF-96A so that it could be carried by a B-36. As the FICON, it made its first flight on March 30, 1953. Twenty-five RF-84Fs were eventually converted to the FICON configuration and were operated by the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron. However, subsequent development of midair refueling for range extension of fighter aircraft proved so successful that experiments with parasite fighters were discontinued.
United States. Air Force
Willis L. Supri, Gift, 2004
0.18 Cubic feet ((1 box))
No restrictions on access.
This collection consists of the following Project FICON material: one 8 by 10 inch print of the B-36 with YRF-84F: Consolidated Vultee report, "FICON Doors, 11/1/1954;" and two Air Force manuals, "USAF Series GRB-36D-III Maintenance Instructions, 7/30/1954" and "Utility Flight Handbook for GRB-36D-III/RF-84F revised 8/27/1954."
Technical manuals -- 20th century
Project FICON Collection, Accession 2004-0065, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
National Air and Space Museum Archives