Lenticular Re-Entry Vehicle (LRV) (1962)
About the Design
In the early 1960s, the U.S. Air Force purportedly began development of a modified flying saucer-like airframe for use as a spaceborne nuclear weapons platform. Dubbed the "Lenticular Re-Entry Vehicle" (LRV), the craft was to be launched atop either a Saturn-like multi-stage rocket or one of the nuclear-powered rockets then under development. The LRV would park in a 300-nautical-mile-high orbit where it would wait in "Fail Safe" mode for several weeks before either launching its nuclear weapons at the Soviet Union/China/North Korea or returning to earth. Landing would be via controlled re-entry and a glide landing on a dry lakebed.
Although this "Black Budget" project may never have gotten beyond the design stage, there is some physical evidence that prototype vehicles were indeed test-flown in the 1960s. One such intriguing piece of evidence is a strange "honeycomb" cross-section of an exploded disc recovered near Brisbane, Australia in 1966.
About the Kit
This Fantastic Plastic Models kit was released in early December, 2008. The kit was unusual in that it featured a complete missile bay interior (complete with four nuclear missiles) as well as a separate shuttle, which would be used to ferry nuclear-armed missiles from the LRV to a separate orbiting weapons platform.