WRIGHT AIR DEVELOPMENT CENTER WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OHIO
The code word Zelmal stands for zero length launch-mat landing. The technique, as presently envisioned and developed, consists of launching a piloted, undercarriageless aircraft from a zero length launcher by use of a solid propellant rocket engine which is ejected at burn-out. The aircraft is subsequently recovered by landing on an inflated rubber mat equipped with arresting gear. Briefly, the operational advantages of Zelmal are that its use will provide decreased vulnerability by dispersion, increased flexibility and mobility, and higher performance as compared to aircraft with an undercarriage. The purpose of the program under discussion was to demonstrate the feasibility of Zelmal for Air Force operational application. Zelmal was initially investigated as a method for launching and recovering bombardment aircraft of the B-45 class however, this evaluation program was accomplished using the F-84 aircraft. The decision to use this lighter aircraft was based partly on the fact that there were solid propellant rockets available, in an advanced stage of development, which produced sufficient thrust to launch this weight aircraft, while the use of a heavier aircraft would require the development of larger rockets specifically for this evaluation.