Authorities contacted a man in Bellevue, Washington, after he called the Air Force Museum offering to donate a military-grade rocket that once belonged to his late neighbor. According to the man who called the museum, his neighbor purchased the item from an estate sale.
Bellevue police bomb squad technicians said the missile was a Douglas AIR-2 Genie, an "unguided air-to-air rocket that is designed to carry a 1.5kt W25 nuclear warhead."
The technicians added that there was no warhead attached and there was no danger of an explosion.
Seth Tyler, a spokesman for the Bellevue police department, reported that the device was "just basically a gas tank for rocket fuel."
Tyler explained that the event was "not serious at all," even quipping that their bomb squad member asked him why the department was "releasing a news release on a rusted piece of metal." He added that the museum did not seem to have warned the man that they had reported his offer of a donation.
According to Tyler, the man in question did not expect a call from the police department. The man was also "extremely irritated" by the media coverage.
Despite his annoyance, Tyler said the man was "gracious enough" to let the police officers inspect the missile. (Related: Whistleblower: The U.S. government is hiding a UFO the “size of a football field.”)
After carefully examining the missile, police officers confirmed that the item was safe. It was then left with the man to be restored for display in a museum.
The Bellevue police department posted on X, formerly Twitter, to say that they think it will be "a long, long time before [they] get another call like this again."
The McDonnell Douglas AIR-2A Genie is an air-to-air rocket with a nuclear warhead designed for use against formations of enemy bombers.
The missile did not have a guidance system and was powered by a solid-propellant rocket motor. The AIR-2 (formerly known as the MB-1) was first test-launched in 1956. It became operational in January 1957.
On July 19, 1957, an Air-2A Genie was launched at 18,000 feet from an F-89J interceptor and detonated over Yucca Flats, Nevada. This was the first and only test detonation of a U.S. nuclear-tipped air-to-air rocket.
The AIR-2A was carried primarily by F-89J, F-101B and F-106A interceptor aircraft. Thousands of missiles were built for the United States Air Force (USAF) before production ended in 1962.
The missiles remained in service until the mid-1980s. A training version of the Douglas AIR-2 Genie with an inert rocket motor and no nuclear warhead, called the ATR-2, was also in service.
The AIR-2 Genie was used by the U.S. and Canada during the Cold War. It was the US Air Force's most powerful interceptor missile ever used.
Boeing reported that in 1965, Thiokol, an American rocket and missile propulsion systems company, began developing a motor for the Genie with a "longer lifespan and wider firing temperature limits."
Upgraded Genie rockets were designated AIR-2B after the mid-1970s.
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