This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources.Find sources: "Lockheed CL-1201" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (February 2022) An editor has performed a search and found that sufficient sources exist to establish the subject's notability. These sources can be used to expand the article and may be described in edit summaries or found on the talk page. The article may include original research, or omit significant information about the subject. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Lockheed CL-1201" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (July 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Role Transport
Manufacturer Lockheed
Status Design study
Primary user United States Air Force (projected)
Number built None

The Lockheed CL-1201 was a design study by Lockheed for a giant nuclear-powered transport aircraft in the late 1960s. One envisioned use of the concept was as an airborne aircraft carrier.


Artist's impression of the aircraft

The CL-1201 design project studied a nuclear-powered aircraft of extreme size, with a wingspan of 1,120 feet (340 m). Had it been built, it would have had the largest wingspan of any airplane to date,[1] and more than twice that of any aircraft of the 20th century.

The wing would be of crescent form, similar to the British Handley Page Victor V-bomber, but unlike the British design, it was tailless.

Power would be derived from the heat generated by a nuclear reactor and transferred to four jet engines near the rear, where it would superheat the air passing through to provide thrust. The craft would be capable of staying airborne for long periods of time, with an estimated endurance of 41 days. At low altitudes, the jets would burn conventional aviation fuel. In order to take off, the plane required 182 additional vertical lift engines.

Two variants were studied, a logistics support aircraft and an airborne aircraft carrier. There was a rumored third variant, but information on such a model has never been made public.

The logistics support variant would have a conventional heavy transport role, carrying hundreds of troops and their equipment at once.

The airborne aircraft carrier would have carried up to 22 fighter aircraft externally and would have an internal dock capable of handling two air-to-ground shuttle transport aircraft.


The design specifications of the CL-1201 were:[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Rose, Bill; Secret Projects: Flying Wings and Tailless Aircraft. Hinckley, UK: Midland Publishing, 2010. ISBN 978-1-85780-320-4.