Aviation Historian 29
J.-C.Carbonel - Super-Caravelle atomique!
The original 1958 dyeline for the conventional turbojet-powered “Super-Caravelle”, on which it was proposed to base a version fitted with turbojets powered by an onboard nuclear reactor.
Sud Aviation’s March 1958 brochure for a "Super-Caravelle" included an illustration for a nuclear-powered turbojet unit fitted to the tail powerplant mounting of a standard Caravelle, redrawn here by JUANITA FRANZI. The nuclear reactor or "pile" would replace the need for conventional fuel and provide power for the otherwise-conventional turbojet powerplant arrangement.
LEFT Sud provided illustrations for both direct-flow (open-circuit) and indirect-flow (closed-circuit) propulsion systems for the nuclear Super-Caravelle. This drawing shows the indirect method, which, it was thought, would emit less radiation and therefore require less protective armour, and was thus favoured for development.
RIGHT The drawing for the direct-flow (open-circuit) method, which would eject radioactive air in its exhaust, deemed unacceptable for obvious reasons! The entire concept would throw up problems that would be difficult to solve, and ultimately the nuclear power idea was discreetly dropped.
Three views of the cockpit as provided in the brochure for the nuclear airliner; how its layout may have differed was not specified.
This original three-view from the nuclear-powered Super-Caravelle brochure shows some of the proposed version’s salient features, including, RIGHT, the strengthened four-wheel bogie main undercarriage and the nuclear pile located aft of the stowed mainwheels, BELOW.
Detail drawings showing, from furthest right, front and side views of the beefed-up mainwheel units with four wheels, and the twin nosewheel arrangement. All of them were designed to offer extra strength on the basis that, on a nuclear-powered variant with little conventional fuel aboard, landing weights would be much the same as those for take-off.