The bomb squad was called in when police in Bellevue, Washington were told about an unexpected piece of military equipment in a civilian’s residence: a Douglas AIR-2 Genie. The unguided air-to-air rocket, which dates back to the Cold War, was developed to deploy a 1.5 kt W25 nuclear warhead, which, thankfully, wasn’t equipped.
The military-grade rocket came to the attention of authorities after the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio received a call from a Bellevue resident. The individual inquired about donating the weapon to the museum, informing facilitators that it had been purchased at an estate sale by a deceased neighbor.
Upon being contacted, officers with the Bellevue Police Patrol Division and the bomb squad responded to the residence, where they were given access to the rocket, which, at the time, had yet to be identified. It was only once they had eyes on the Douglas AIR-2 Genie that they learned what it was – and the potential danger it posed.
Fortunately, as aforementioned, the W25 nuclear warhead typically equipped by the weapon wasn’t attached.
According to a press release from the Bellevue Police Department, the rocket “was inert and contained no rocket fuel – essentially meaning that the item was an artifact with no explosive hazard.” As the US military hasn’t requested that it be returned, it was left with the neighbor, who will restore it for display in a museum.
The Douglas AIR-2 Genie, previously designated the MB-1, was a Cold War-era unguided air-to-air rocket that was equipped by the American and Canadian forces between 1957-84. It was developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company and was involved in “the first and only test detonation of a U.S. nuclear-tipped air-to-air rocket” in July 1957, as part of Operation Plumbbob.
It could travel at speeds of up to Mach 3.3, and was carried by the Northrop F-89 Scorpion, the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo and the Convair F-106 Delta Dart, with early plans including the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and Convair F-102 Delta Dagger. However, these never progressed passed the testing phase.
Produced between 1957-62, just over 3,000 units were manufactured.