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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


The XB-59 developed out of the XB-55 program. That design was meant to replace the Boeing B-47. When the problems associated with the B-47 were solved the XB-55 program was terminated and its funds transferred to XB-59 development.

Despite the increased production of the B-47 there was still a need for an intercontinental, supersonic bomber. Design parameters called for a 10,000 lbs. bomb load, a radius of 1200 to 2500 miles and a takeoff distance of less than 6000 feet.

In response Boeing began to prepare the XB-59 design. It would be able to carry 10,000 lbs. of explosives and fly at Mach 2 speeds. As designed, the XB-59 would feature four jet engines located inside the inboard wing. Possible engines included the Pratt & Whitney J57 and the General Electric J73. All of the fuel would be carried inside the fuselage. There was a pressurized cabin for the three man crew and a remote controlled tail turret gun

In response to the Air Force's request Convair was also producing an aircraft, the XB-58. For a period the Air Force funded both projects as it examined the full possibilities of a supersonic bomber. As development progressed finding financing in the post-war period became difficult. By the Summer of 1952 the Air Force concluded that it would be more economical to select just one of the two designs even though neither was beyond the drawing board. The Air Force decided that Convair's XB-58 best fit the required parameters and concluded that Boeing's design offered "insufficient supersonic capabilities." On November 18, 1952 Convair was officially named the winner of the development contest and XB-59 production was halted before it ever literally got off the ground.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:36:56 ZULU