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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

B-50H Superfortress

The TB-50H trainer differred significantly from the B-50D, and other models in the series. First, the TB-50H featured 2 astrodomes, which facilitated training by making it possible for crewmen to trade positions during flight. Also, in another departure from combat aircraft, the trainer had no drop tanks, could not be air refueled, and carried no defensive armament. The TB-50H was designed to teach B-47 crews how to use the K-system of radar navigation and bombings and to train specialized engineers, multi-engine pilots, bombardiers, navigators, and observers. The trainer normally carried a crew of 12, consisting of pilot, co-pilot, engineer, bombardier, navigator instructor, left navigator trainee, right navigator trainee, right scanner, K-system trainee, K-system instructor, radio operator, and left radar trainee. The TB-50H's rear bomb bay was packed with electronic gear, but the aircraft was lighter and therefore slightly faster than the B-50D.

The first TB-50H was flown in April, 1952. Within a few months, several of the aircraft reached the Air Training Command. The TB-50Hs entered operational service in August, 1952 at Mather AFB, California. They were assigned to the 3536th Observer Training Squadron of Air Training Command's 3535th Observer Training Wing. As intended, the TB-50Hs were used primarily to train B-47 crews. The last of the 24 TB-50Hs arrived at Mather AFB in March, 1953.

Delivery of one last aircraft in February, 1953 marked the end of the TB-50H production, as well as the termination of the entire B-50 program's production run. The TB-50Hs were phased out of Air Training Command in June, 1955, but once reconfigured as KB-50Ks the aircraft served the Air Force for nearly another 10 years.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:35:01 ZULU