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B-58 Hustler Convair
B-58 Hustler
Strategic Bomber

The B-58 project began in 1949 when the US Air Force issued a request for a supersonic bomber. A proposal submitted by Consolidated-Vultee (later Convair) was ultimately selected over a competing Boeing concept. Convair then proceeded with a major development effort to make the advances in aerodynamics, structural design, and materials needed to meet the ambitious performance requirements. The resulting B-58 design featured a delta wing mated to a slender fuselage incorporating the area-rule concept to reduce transonic drag. One of the Hustler's most novel features was a large centerline pod mounted beneath the fuselage carrying fuel as well as a nuclear bomb. The idea underlying this concept was that the entire pod would be dropped over the target giving the B-58 a cleaner, more aerodynamic shape to allow the aircraft to escape at higher speeds. Other advanced features of the B-58 included separate tandem cockpits for the three crew, each featuring a jettisonable escape capsule, and a radar-guided cannon in the tail.

Following the first flight of the XB-58 prototype, the aircraft soon began setting a number of speed records. These milestones included the first bomber to exceed Mach 1, 1,000-km and 2,000-km closed-circuit speed records, and winning the Bleriot trophy by becoming the first aircraft to exceed 2,000 km/h (1,245 mph) for 30 minutes. A total of 116 examples of the B-58 were constructed between 1956 and 1962, and the last was withdrawn from service in 1970. Although Convair proposed improved B-58B and B-58C models seen as cheaper alternatives to the XB-70 Valkyrie, the B-58 was soon replaced by the F-111.

Last modified 17 March 2012

First Flight 11 November 1956
Service Entry 15 March 1960
Retirement 31 January 1970

CREW: three



Wing Root NACA 0003.46-64.069
Wing Tip

NACA 0004.08-63

Length 96.75 ft (29.49 m)
Wingspan 56.83 ft (17.32 m)
Height 31.42 ft (9.58 m)
Wing Area 1,542 ft (143.25 m)
Canard Area

not applicable

Empty 55,560 lb (25,200 kg)
Normal Takeoff unknown
Max Takeoff 163,000 lb (73,935 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: unknown
external: unknown
Max Payload


Powerplant four General Electric J-79 afterburning turbojets
Thrust 42,000 lb (186.83 kN)
64,000 lb (284.70 kN) with afterburner

Max Level Speed at altitude: 1,385 mph (2,230 km/h) at 40,000 ft (12,190 m), Mach 2.1
at sea level: unknown
Initial Climb Rate unknown
Service Ceiling 60,000 ft (18,290 m)
Range 1,735 nm (3,220 km)
4,845 nm (8,975 km) with in-flight refueling
g-Limits unknown

Gun one 20-mm T-171E3 Vulcan rotary cannon in a radar-aimed tail barbette
Stations one external hardpoint for a disposable centerline pod
Air-to-Air Missile none
Air-to-Surface Missile none
Bomb various nuclear bombs
Other none

XB-58 Prototype; 2 built
YB-58A Pre-production trials aircraft; 28 built
B-58A Production model; 86 built plus 10 converted from YB-58A airframes
NB-58A Modified airframe used to test the J-93 turbojet engine being developed for the XB-70 bomber, the J-93 being carried in a nacelle beneath the fuselage; 1 converted
RB-58A Reconnaissance model re-built from YB-58A airframes; 17 converted
TB-58A Pilot trainer modified from XB-58 and YB-58A airframes, featured a raised seat in the second cockpit for instructor visibility; 8 converted
B-58B Proposed improved model; not built
B-58C Proposed improved model; not built




United States (US Air Force)


B-58 Hustler


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