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Air Force Military Aircraft: McDonnell XF-85 Goblin Parasite Fighter, Images by Wernher Krutein and PHOTOVAULT®

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The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin parasite aircraft was developed to protect B-36 bombers flying beyond the range of conventional escort fighters. In theory, a B-36 Bomber penetrating enemy territory would carry its protecting fighter in the bomb bay. If attacked by enemy aircraft, the bomber would lower the Goblin on a trapeze and release it to combat the attackers. After the enemy had been driven away, the parasite fighter would return to the bomber, hook onto the trapeze, fold its wings, and be lifted back into the bomb bay. Although the XF-85 was successfully launched and retrieved from an EB-29B on several test flights, it was never flown from a B-36. The test program was canceled in late 1949 when mid-air refueling of fighter aircraft for range extension began to show greater promise.

Two Goblins were built. Flight of the No. 1 aircraft was delayed by ground test damage, so on August 23, 1948, the No. 2 aircraft (S/N 46-524) made the first flight. The XF-85 (S/N 46-523), the first Goblin built, made its first and only flight on April 8, 1949. It was transferred to the USAF Museum on August 23, 1950 after cancellation of the XF-85 program. You can see it here as the last picture of the series of three.

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