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B-58 Hustler Convair
B-58 Hustler
Strategic Bomber

DESCRIPTION:
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 A total of 116 examples of the B-58 were constructed between 1956 and 1962, and the last was withdrawn from service in 1970.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

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

CREW: three

ESTIMATED COST:

unknown

AIRFOIL SECTIONS:
Wing Root NACA 0003.46-64.069
Wing Tip

NACA 0004.08-63

DIMENSIONS:
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

WEIGHTS:
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

unknown

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

PERFORMANCE:
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

ARMAMENT:
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

KNOWN VARIANTS:
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

KNOWN COMBAT RECORD:

none

KNOWN OPERATORS:

United States (US Air Force)

3-VIEW SCHEMATIC:

B-58 Hustler


SOURCES:





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